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Playing pool on an uneven surface is not fun. Your balls will be rolling in odd directions. You may end up missing shots that you would normally be able to make. You can’t develop your skill as a player. Thankfully, learning how to level a 3-piece slate pool table isn’t actually that difficult. Let our experts guide you through the process.
So, how do you level a 3-piece slate pool table? Well, in most cases, it is simply a case of tightening all the screws that hold the 3-pieces together. If this doesn’t work, then you may need to adjust the table legs to ensure that the table is sitting level with the floor. If that fails, then you will likely need to use shims to adjust the slate.
Of course, this is only a brief answer on how to level a 3-piece slate pool table. The process can be quite complicated, so read on if you wish to find out a little bit more about how it is done.
How to Level a 3-Piece Slate Pool Table
Ideally, you would pay somebody to level the pool table for you. This is the only way to ensure that it is done properly. This may be the only option available if you have a slate pool table. This is because a slate table will be difficult to level on your own. However, if you insist on doing it yourself, there are a few steps that you will need to follow.
We are going to assume that you already know whether your table is level or not. If you do not, then please read the next section.
In these instructions, we are going to assume that you have the cloth on the pool table. The only time you will need to remove the cloth (short of it being damaged) is if the pool table slate is not level at all. This may involve resealing the slate and that is a job for a professional. In 99% of cases, this method should work.
Tighten the Bolts and Screws on the Pool Table
In most cases, this should be more than enough to level out a slate pool table. If you have owned it for a while, then the screws are bound to come loose, which will stop the pool table from sitting straight.
This is likely going to work. If it doesn’t then you may need to make a few more adjustments.
Level the Legs
If there is a serious slant to the table, then there is a strong chance that the table legs are the issue. If the slate isn’t parallel to the floor, then it is going to be tough to level the playing surface.
Most modern pool tables will have some sort of mechanism on the legs that will allow you to adjust their height. If your pool table does not then you may need to use wedges (known as shims) like this on Amazon underneath the legs to help keep them level.
Using Shims on the Slate
At this point, your table should be level. It is rare that you will need to do anything other than adjust the legs or tighten the screws. If you still can’t get it level, however, there is more option available. For this, you will need to be lifting up the slate, so it may be worth asking a friend or two to help. For this, you will need metal shims. Wooden shims will likely be a bit too weak.
You will need to start by working out which parts of the table are not level. If you followed the previous two methods, then most of the table should be fine. There may just be the odd corner that needs to be adjusted.
If one corner of the table rests a little lower than the other, you will need to go under the table and slightly loosen the screw holding the slate in place. The slate will then need to be lifted up ever so slightly, and a small metal shim needs to be slid between the slate and the table.
The lower the slate is, the more the shim will need to be pushed in. Once you feel that you have placed the shim far enough in, tighten up the screw again. Hopefully, it should be level now. If it isn’t, then loosen the screw and repeat the process (pushing the shim in or out) until everything is as level as possible.
You will never get it perfect
It is unlikely that you will ever get a 3-piece slate pool table completely level. The only way you will ever get things close to 100% level is if you used a single piece slate. As long as the table is ‘pretty much level’ i.e. the bubble on the level is close to the center, then your table should be ready to be played on.
How Can You Tell if a Pool Table Isn’t Level?
In most cases, it should be easy to tell whether your pool table is level or not. Most players will almost instantly spot when balls are not rolling in the right way, or if their shots seem a little bit off. A pool table not being level will be a gradual process, but eventually the issues will be quite noticeable.
If you spot something is a little off, but aren’t quite sure, then you will need to use a carpenter’s level. You will need to place the level in multiple places to get a solid reading:
- Place the level, facing from one end of the table to the other, in the center. If the bubble is not resting in the middle, it means one end of the table is shorter than the other.
- Switch the level to be horizontal, facing from side to side on the pool table. Check the position of the bubble to see if one side is resting lower than the other.
- Place the level by each of corner pockets. The level should be resting against the top most cushion horizontally. Try to have it positioned as close to the pocket as possible. If the bubble is pointing more towards the pocket, it means that this leg is resting too low, or the opposite leg is too high.
- Place the level horizontally against the middle pockets. This should provide a similar reading to when you placed it close to the center of the table.
If the bubble in the carpenter’s level is not resting at the center at any point of your measurements, then you will know that your table is not level and will need to be corrected.
Will a pool table become less level over time?
Yes. It will be bolts and screws holding the table together. Over time, these may loosen. The result will be the table being less level. In most cases, it is simply a case of tightening up these bolts and screws to ensure that the playing surface is level again.
Do you need any special tools to level a pool table?
Most pool tables can be leveled with a simple tool kit. A small carpenter’s level and a set of screwdrivers are often all that is required. However, some people may also use small wooden wedges (known as shims) to help level the legs of the pool table. This may not be required if the legs already have a system for adjusting them.