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Sounds weird? After all, who would want to stand on a table used for playing billiards? Well, we know no matter how astonishing the question might appear, it crosses the mind of almost every beginner, and the thought sparks from pro players on TV, dancing on the table to celebrate a win.
So, can you stand on a pool table too? Simple answer – No, but, why? Your home or club pool table is probably not as sturdy as the commercial pool tables used by TV celebrities. Hence, you may end up causing some serious damage, requiring costly repairs. If you must stand on the pool table for any reason, follow precautions and preparations.
Many beginners carry a misconception that big and solid pool tables are perfectly sound platforms capable of sustaining human weight. However, the external structural looks are deceiving in this case. Most of the pool tables used at homes or neighborhood clubs are made of cheap to mid-grade materials supporting the slate bed.
Let’s Take A Closer Look At The Pool Table Structure
If you are in the market to look for a pool table, you will come across two main varieties – fiberboard (MDF), also known as wood bed tables and slate beds. The tables made from medium density fibreboard MDF (wood chips bound with resin or wax) are cheaper, usually smaller sized tables.
The material works well for pool table because of its higher density compared to most other manmade wood composites and easy molding process. Standing on them can be as risky as standing on a fragile plastic table. We would recommend you to avoid doing so, unless you want to ruin the table.
Slate bed style pool tables are more common and they have been around since 1835. They are also available in two different varieties – residential and commercial. They come in different sizes and price brackets to suit your diverse needs.
The standard British tables usually comprise of a single slate of ¾’’ thickness for bed. The US tables are slightly bigger in size with three pieces of slate that range in thickness, but they are never less than 19 mm. One of the biggest reasons why you should never stand on a pool table is that the slate used for making them does not include a support frame.
Even though the slate appears to be solid and sturdy, it’s actually quite brittle due to fine-grained metamorphic rock composition. It is created when mudstone and shale are compressed and bound together with some minor heat to form a slate.
The clay minerals in mudstone and shale undergo a transformation and the foliation develops at the right angles. This leads to a vertical foliation exceeds the bedding planes that are existing in the shale. After that, the slate is planed and milled down to make perfect pool table beds.
Standing On Pool Tables Is Not A Good Idea
Most pool tables do not have the support at the bottom to hold the MDF bed or slate together if someone stands on it. As the structure is not designed to sustain a human body’s weight, it may easily crack or fall apart on a lower end table that does not have adequate support.
The scenario is similar to walking on a tile floor wherein the tiles are supported just by the edges unless it’s a high-end commercial pool table capable of sustaining heavyweight. In ordinary circumstances, the slate is typically made from shale and mudstone, not steel or wood so it should be handled carefully.
Besides the potential damage to the slate structure, the felt is another matter of concern. If you stand on the pool table, this could also damage the delicate felt that ensures smooth rolling of the balls. Please bear in mind that replacing the pool table felt is not cheap or easy.
Another potential reason to avoid standing on the billiards table is that if you accidentally step on the cushion or rail, this may lead to unwanted damage or disruption to the flow of the game. So, for the sake of the game and your love for it, restrain yourself from stepping on the slate.
There may be exceptional cases when you need a table repair something or fix a light, and there’s nothing else available. Only in such a circumstance, you may stand on the table but you must be very careful and cover the bed and rails with a thick blanket. Here are some precautions you need to take to avoid damaging the table:
- Place a plywood sheet ¾ inches thick flat over the bed. This will help in distributing and to some extent diffusing the weight when you stand on the table.
- Consider using a small ladder to gently get on the table instead of jumping on it from the ground as the later exerts more pressure.
- Once you are on the table, make sure you make a simple and easy movement. Slide your feet around the plywood carefully to avoid applying too much weight.
- Get done with the work at your own pace and then get down gently. We suggest having someone nearby to help you while getting up and climbing down.
- Finally, please stand on the table only if there’s a very necessary situation. Even with the above precautions, it’s not safe to get on the billiards table.
Clearing The Myth About Standing On A Pool Table
Yes, we know you have seen TV personalities and pro players jumping on the pool table to celebrate and commemorate a win. However, as already mentioned earlier, these are extremely pricey high-end tables that are with additional support than the ordinary slate beds.
These pretty and highly durable slate beds are specially used exclusively for the competitions or special programs. They are not only made from the full wood backing frame, but the slate itself is an inch thick, similar to the professional 9-inch tables used by the BCA (Billiard Congress of America).
Furthermore, let’s not forget that just like the professional football players who do not wear the same cleats again, the pool players will probably not use the same table of cloth again for the next competition. Even then, standing on the pool table cannot be justified.
10 Rules To Protect Your Pool Table
- Make sure you do not stand on or move the table after the installation work, as this can pose irreparable damage such as popping of slate seams, broken legs, broken aprons, broken slate, and knocking table out of level.
- When you lean over the table to take a shot, be careful to not let the belt buckle or other accessories scratch the rails. Items like bracelets, rings, and watches can easily dent or scratch the finish.
- Avoid sitting on the pool table rails as this may damage them and other sections of the table. You must also avoid sitting on the rails as this may cause the cushions to get separated from the wooden part of the rail.
- When the table is subjected to fluctuations in humidity and temperature, this can significantly reduce the lifespan of pool table cloth and cushions. So, make sure you keep the table in a climate-controlled environment.
- Never use leather conditioners, cleaners or anything inside of the pockets as the residue from these products may stick to balls and get transferred to the felt too. We suggest using saddle soap to clean the pocket exteriors, at least once a year.
- You must also avoid using traditional furniture polishes to make the rails shine because they tend to leave a greasy residue that shows fingerprints and also gets transferred to the cushion cloth. We suggest using a non-residue dusting agent like the mild lemon oil.
- Your house pool table is not too sturdy so avoid slamming shots hard into the pockets as this can hit the cloth in the pocket area and damage it. Also, please avoid scoop shots, masse, or jump.
- Direct sunlight can fade the table felt so avoid exposing it to harsh sun’s rays. It can also dry out the leather pockets and cushions. We suggest that you invest in a heavy-duty pool felt to ensure that it lasts longer.
- A new felt takes some time to get acclimatized and once breaks-in, you must maintain it well. Take good care to clean the pool table to ensure good performance and a longer lifespan.
- Never use the table to keep your drinks or food as any kind of spill can destroy the felt and cause immediate stains, causing quick deterioration of the cover.
Is it okay to sit on the table
No, because sitting on the table is not much different from standing on it. Any type of excess weight on the slate may result in the same disaster. Besides the body weight, the buttons on your clothes, watches, jewels, and other things on the cloth can scratch the paint and damage the cloth.
Many people have the habit of leaning on the table or sitting on the rail while they wait for their turn. While this may not be an issue immediately, you can see the negative impact of this after some time.
How to fix a cracked or chipped slate
Even when you follow our advice and do not stand on the slate, you may still notice some issues as the billiard table ages. However, there’s no need to push the panic button immediately. There are ways you can cover up some minor scratches, chips, or cracks on the slate.
One easy method is to heat up the wax and apply it to the cracked or chipped area, wait to dry, and then scrape off the area to get rid of the excess wax. For a broken slate, you may use glue to stick the parts together. When the glue dries, scrape off and sand to make the area smooth.
How long does a pool table last
If you use the table every day for about four to six hours, you may expect the felt to last for about 3 years. However, many people will change the cloth when it starts showing the first signs of aging or discoloration.
How much weight can a pool table take
A billiards table can easily sustain a weight of several hundred pounds without getting damaged. The top section of most pool tables comprises a 1.5 to 2″ of thick and heavy slate rock that won’t deflect or bend with a lot of force. The table itself weighs between 450 and 750 pounds.