Old pool tables can often be purchased at a fraction of the cost of a new one. Performing some restoration work will have your pool table looking and functioning like new.
Disassemble and Mark
To prepare your pool table for restoration, you’ll need to remove the legs, rails and apron, which is the vertical piece directly beneath the rail. Mark these pieces appropriately so they can be put back in their correct position at the end of the restoration project. Do this by writing a number on the piece and then marking the spot where the piece goes with the same number. Place any hardware in small bags and mark them with the name and number of the piece they came from.
Finishing the Wood
After all the pieces are taken off, you can refinish your wood surfaces. If the table is solid wood, this will involve sanding it down and then re-staining it. Several coats of stain could be needed followed by one or two coats of polyurethane. If your table is made from veneer, you can purchase new facing from a home improvement store. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for cutting, trimming and gluing this material in order to ensure a precise fit.
Replacing Cushions and Refinishing Rails
Remove the cushions from the rails along with the facing. You can then refinish the rails in the same manner that you finished the other components of your table. Once this is accomplished, scrape any glue from the inside of your rails, and sand the surface lightly. Glue new cushions into place using a special adhesive designed especially for this purpose. Trim away any excess, and then cover with new felt.
Reassemble Some Components
The next phase of construction involves partially reassembling the table. You’ll need another person to help you carefully turn the table upside down in order to attach the legs. Once they are securely in place, you can then reattach the apron pieces. Turn the table right side up and inspect it to ensure it is level. If it appears to wobble on one side or the other, use shims or playing cards to help even it up.
Replace Felt Cover
Add a new felt cover to the top of your table to make it look like new. Before doing so, inspect the flat surface to see if there are any cracks or gouges in it. If so, add a filler to this space and then sand until it is smooth. Stretch the felt over the table beginning at one corner, gluing or stapling as you go. Keep the felt pulled tight while you are attaching it; this could require you to have a helper. Once the felt is in place, reattach the rails, and your restoration project is then complete.
Restoring a pool table can take several weeks if the job is to be performed correctly. When you are finished, your friends will be virtually unable to tell that you purchased a table that previously showed signs of extensive wear.