Billiards tables come in many different sizes and appearances. Traditional tables have natural hardwood frames and green felts, while some modern designs boast grey and green felts with dark painted frames. Likewise, you can find billiards tables in assorted sizes to fit all homes and spaces.
The Need for a Solid Frame
Regardless the look, table composition changes between manufacturers, too. High-end tables consist mostly of hardwood. Consumer-grade tables mix in some softwood like plywood and particleboard.
The more solid the frame, the less maintenance and fewer repairs. Always, hardwood offers better stability—but this also depends on assembly.
Types of Billiards Slates Available
A billiards table needs a strong foundation to bear the weight of its slate. For professional tournaments, the only acceptable material is rock. The ball rolls accurately on concrete. It also promises the highest durability, stability, and straightness.
Slate comes in two weaker varieties: core and wood. Core combines both wood and concrete, whereas wood is simply plywood or particleboard.
Slate core often sags near the rails because of the weight and pressure applied by players. This affects how balls roll nearest the pockets. Slate wood—although susceptible to warping, too—poses a unique disadvantage. The roll of the ball itself is different, which aggrieves experienced players. This is due to how far the ball sinks into the wood and the resistance of the grain.
The minimum width of any slate is 1-inch. That said, the length differs as pure and core slates often come in as many as three pieces for easier portability. Consequently, such slates are harder to level. But when properly installed, the difference between a one and three-piece is undetectable. Slate wood often comes in a single piece, too, usually on smaller recreational tables.