Used Pool Tables Buyers Guide Part 1 9

Used Pool tables are everywhere on Ebay, Craigs List, and Local Classifieds. "Buyer Beware" tags should be posted on each of them. What does it really cost to buy a used pool table? What are the risks? How can a buyer protect themselves from the unscrupulous seller?

Would you buy a used car without a car fax history report? How about without looking under the hood or having a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle? Buying a used pool table presents some similar challenges. Unless the seller will allow you to take the table apart, even a certified table technician can not tell the true condition of the table from a visual inspection.

You must also consider that there are no manufacturers guarantees on a used tables. If you buy a used table from a reputable local dealer they will usually give an installation guarantee or offer to warranty the table through the dealership, like Certified Pre-Owned Warranty at a car dealership.

You must factor in the cost of the tear down, move, and reset of the used table as well. Three piece slate tables are easily damaged when moved in one piece or by untrained individuals. The charge for a reputable local dealer to tear down, move, and reset the table will range from $300 to $600, depending on the make, model, age of the table, and part of the country. If the pool table cloth needs to be replace (which it usually does on a used table), be prepared to spend an additional $200 to $400 on a re-cover. Be careful using contractors who work out of the trunk of their car. They charge less but are not certified or insured, and will not usually guarantee thier work in writing.

You need to research the used table to make sure the manufacturer is still in business and builds quality tables. Particle board tables with 3/4" slate are next to impossible to keep level and don't last long unless they were built by quality engineers (Major Manufacturers like Brunswick, Olhousen, Connelly)

How old is the table? We recently had an inquiry about a used Brunswick. The seller represented that the table was only 3 years old. We identified that the model had been discontinued 10 years earlier and sold new for around $1200.. The seller was asking $1000.. Buyer beware. Even new tables are regularly misrepresented as quality wood when in reality they are a wood product such as MDF. A gentleman proudly stated that he purchased a solid hard rock maple table for $895. delivered. When it arrived I pointed out to him that it was a maple finish and not solid maple. He continued to insist it was solid maple until I pointed out that the box stated solid maple finish not solid maple wood, it was MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard or Particleboard).

Quality used tables range in price from $1,000. to over $100,000 for a true antique. Remember, if the table was truly a good deal, wouldn't the sellers friends, co-workers, or Family buy it before it had to be put in a classified ad? The fact is, 90% of used tables "for sale" are in such bad condition or so out-dated in style, the seller is usually looking to get rid of it before it costs them any more money.

Remember these rules when looking for a used Table:

1: Look for Major Manufacturer Tables less than 5 Years Old. Check the Manufacturers Web Site or email them to confirm that the table was in production during the time frame the seller claims. Avoid E-Tailers Tables Used (pooltablesusa, billiardsdirect, BilliardEX, ec.), you will not be able to get parts and they do not hold up well after the first few years of use.

2: Inspect the Table in Person, Take Digital Pictures, Look under the Table for Damage, Play on the Table a Little, and Look for tables with relativly new billiard cloth (not worn or over 5 years old)

3: Verify that the seller is the original owner, ask them where they bought it, and call that dealer to find out what they really paid for it!

4: Always try to get the original dealer to Tear Down/Move/Reset/Recover the Table if possible, they prefer to work on tables they originally setup and might cut you a break on the price!

5: Finally, Check your total investment against buying a new table from a local dealer, most of the time you will be within a few hundred dollars of getting a new table with a warranty!

Billiard Pool Balls Buyers Guide Part 1 0

 Why does one set of pool balls sell for $29. and another $300.?   The Billiard Congress of America (BCA), standards for balls dictate that they must be of a certain weight and a certain roundness.  Polyester or plastic can't meet those standards.  But more importantly they are very hard on billiard cloth.  Under a microscope you would see that they look like the surface of the moon.  Only phenolic resin balls can be made smooth enough and meet the standards of the BCA.  They also are not painted but made with the colors in the material.  By spending just over $100. on the balls you will save money on the cloth and on your game skills.  Keep shooting!!

  • Patrick McGarity

Game Room Layout Tip #2 0

 Everyone is dealing with high gas prices, high food prices, and high drink prices in bars.  The good news is that those with a well outfitted game room at home are saving on all of the above.  This "nesting" trend has picked up over the last decade with a marked decline in international travel.  Families find that they don't have to drive to the pool room or bar for a game or other entertainment, they have it all at home.  The more seasoned of citizens enjoy time with friends over a game of cards, Table Shuffleboard, or hanging out in comfy home theater recliners.  The x gens, twenners, and teens, enjoy partying hardy with all the X-Box or Merritt games on-line, and of course all enjoy the interactive Wii games. 

Check out the ECI Montecello Home Bar Collection

With new flat screen TV's having wireless capability, the lines are blurring when defining entertainment space in the home.  For example, a wi-fi TV can display movies streamed via Netflix from the Wii right into the living room.  The internet connection, the Wii, even the Blue Ray/DVD player don't have to be in the same room!  Now noisier games like Air Hockey and Foosball can be tucked away into a more private part of the basement while the new "high tech" home entertainment options can be enjoyed anywhere in the house.  This blend of old and new home entertainment makes it easy for young and old alike to entertain at home without conflict.  With a nice home bar outfitted with a kegerator and other beverages, as well as good home "cookin" this lifestyle is not only catching on but growing fast, enjoy!!!

  • Patrick McGarity

Barstool Buyers Guide #1 0

 We use the term "barstool" to refer to a stool whose seat ranges in height from 26" to 44."  They can be made of metal, wood, mdf, particle board, or other more exotic materials.  They can range in price from $20 to over $2000 per stool.   The variance in price is due to the building materials, the swivel mechanism, and the workmanship durring the manufacturing process. 

Check out this good quality mass-produced bar stool.  Simple wood finish, basic fabric, and few options keep this import stool price attractive.  Glued and doweled wood components, steel bearings, and good quality foam set this appart from many cheeply made knock-offs.  Stools like this range from $350 to $600.

Above is a domestic manufactured stool from Darafeev in California.  This type of stool represents the "top tier" as every stool is hand made to order.  Notice the custom leather welting, hand set brass tacks, ornate wood carving, and premium "distressed" oil finish.  Stools like this have Sprung Seats, much like a full size relciner (as opposed to the foam seats on most bar stools).  They also carry "lifetime warranties" against wood spliting and manufacturer's defects.  This is truely investment furniture and prices start around $800 per stool

Because of the height of the legs better quality materials and better manufacturing are necessary for large swivel stools to last.  Emagine a 250 lb person sitting on soft wood or thin aluminum tube high stool.  Next time you are in a good bar feel the weight and sturdiness of the barstools.  That should be your benchmark for quality.  Now determine how much use your stools are going to get and how important the "look" of your room is to you, then start your search!

Game Room Layout Tip #1 0

 While you can not easily change the square footage of a room, figuring out what is the best use for the room is a first step.  We recently helped a family realize that the basement was not the best room to create a gameroom and a media area.  When they thought about it the up stairs living room that never gets used and the dining room that is used 3 to 4 times per year it became obvious.  The family room next to the kitchen and the eat-in area was the most trafficed space.  A constant battle of TV volume over cooking noises and other family activities in the kitchen area was a problem. 

                Check out this Gathering Height Dining/Poker Table

After talking it over and reviewing alternatives the dining room was converted to a home office, the living room converted to a state of the art media room, the family and eating area reconfigured into the game room including an 8' pool table, flip top poker table, which serves double duty as an extra dining table and a large pub table with 4 chairs which is used for both cards and casual dining.  The basement is now used for table tennis, a WII and playstation.  Each area is being used far more than with the old layout.  The only real expense was the media room but what a great investment for family fun.  Think about your home layout and what is really important to your family before committing to a plan.

  • Patrick McGarity

Antique Pool Table vs Old Pool Table 0


Just because a table is 30 or more years old it is not necessarily catagorized as an antique.  In 1947 Brunswick developed a new construction method called the floating nut plate system.  Prior to '47 rails were attached to the table with a screw through the side of the rail into the slate.  The result of the new system is that the rail can be pulled down onto the slate in a much tighter fashion which leads to livelier more consistent bounces.  I won't get into angles of deflection now but save it to say that a pre-'47 table could not qualify for BCA standards today.  Most old tables, before 1947, are old pool hall tables consisting of wood laminate or veneer.  The "antiques" are the solid exotic hardwoods that craftmen like John Brunswick custom built for specific customers.  Some go for over $100,000.  So, buyer beware, don't pay antique prices for old tables.

Check out this Antique Reproduction Brunswick Pool Table

  • Patrick McGarity
  • Tags: brunswick