California Pool Tables

Written by James McLean
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Pool is one of the great lifetime sports, which may be why recent years have witnessed an unprecedented boom in the sport's popularity. No matter how good you are, there is still tremendous satisfaction in pocketing balls, applying English and watching the cue ball spin into place for the next target. No wonder so many people who catch the pool bug find themselves dreaming of pool when they close their eyes at night.

The problem comes when people realize how expensive pool can be to play. Many billiard halls charge exorbitant prices for the privilege of shooting a few hours, and even those that offer unlimited memberships tend to keep those rates high. Unfortunately, there are few ways to improve other than playing, and watching the hustlers down at the local hall as they break and run.

Practice Counts

These days a growing audience tunes in to the TV matches that feature Allison Fisher or Corey Deuel playing the game the way it's meant to be played. Even if you own a TiVo, however, no amount of rewinding and slow-mo can ever substitute for quality table time. You can learn a lot from the greats, but you can learn even more from executing the same shots yourself.

Thus, there inevitably comes a time in the development of any serious pool player when the option of buying a table of his own becomes more than mere speculation. No hourly rates, no distractions and no closing time have all proved irresistible to countless shooters over the years, and the numbers are only growing. Golf pros can't install 18 holes in their cellars, but pool players can essentially do that very thing.

Buying Isn't Easy

Of course buying a pool table requires knowing something about its construction. Constructing pool tables are extremely intricate projects, requiring expertise across a vast range of skills. Anyone who has ever tried to put one together will tell you this is an enterprise that demands you become expert in carpentry, garment work, embossing and leather tooling.

Every part of a pool table is essential to proper play, but probably the most important are the wooden pieces that compose the cabinet and base. Extra reinforcement below the playing surface can lead to more solid action, and proper bases and legs are machined from hardwoods that will not give no matter how much weight you throw on the rails. Even the apron adds structural integrity to the overall design.

The Right Tools

That said, you won't get very far without good thick slate and gum rubber cushions to promote fast action and proper game play. Generous rails with inlaid sights improve the look of the table, and high quality, 21 oz. cloth completes the picture. Add in some gorgeous detail work on the pockets and a perfect stain, and you could be looking at the billiards table you have always wanted.

Most people go to major manufacturers for these tables, but a growing number of savvy players are looking into smaller builders. Lower prices and custom craftsmanship are the big draws to these mid-size vendors, as well as the chance to custom design a table no one else has ever seen. Whatever your final decision, you aren't likely to go wrong with a well-regarded pool table manufacturer in California.


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