Pool Table Slate

Written by James McLean
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The slate on your pool table is one of the single most important elements of the playing surface. Too bad hardly anyone ever sees what this mineral composite actually looks like. If they did, I imagine more buyers would be far more interested in the slate than inconsequential details such as the appointments and base legs.

Simply put, the slate is what you play on when you play pool, much as hockey is played on ice and basketball on wood. With the exception of a thin layer of wool cloth, the slate determines everything about the action, speed and lift you get with a hard strike. More to the point, it is the slate that ultimately determines whether your balls roll true or find grooves and imperfections along the way.

How to Choose

Most professional slate is either 3/4" thick or a full inch, and generally comes precision cut into three pieces. Put them together at the other end and level the whole deal and you have the makings of a surface that should last for years. If the pieces don't lie flush or the cabinet isn't sturdy enough to support the weight, you may start seeing telltale seams around the head string within months.

Pool demands absolute consistency and precision in the equipment if you are to have any hope of breaking and running out. Good slate is usually described in detail by the manufacturer, whereas cheaper knock-offs tend to come unannounced on inexpensive tables. If you want something that will last and reward your practice with dazzling action, you may want to stick to manufacturers who purchase the very best cuts of this expensive material.

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