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Room & Slate Size Chart

Our plans include four standard pool table sizes.  While your table may fit in the room, you must also ensure you will have unobstructed play, or at least plan for obstructions up front.  This decision is crucial prior to buying your slate.

In order to use the chart below, you need to know a standard pool cue is 57" long and draw length is about 6".  This means you can draw the cue stick back 6" from the cushion nose when the cue ball rests against the cushion without hitting anything behind you.

Playfield + 2x(cue length + draw length) = Room Dimension

You can shave a few inches off by not allowing for as much draw length, but you may be hitting the wall unless you use a shorter cue.  Finally, remember that since the playfield is between noses of the opposing cushions, the minimum room dimension is going to be larger by 2x(cushion + rails).  No provision has been made in room dimensions for chairs, tables, floor cue racks, wall racks or other items which could become obstructions.



Table Size Playfield Play Space Size Finished Table Size Slate Size
7' Home 38 x 76 13'8" x 16'10" 49 x 87 45 x 83 (450 lbs)
8' Regulation 44 x 88 14'2" x 17'10" 55 x 99 51 x 95 (570 lbs)
81/2' Oversize Regulation 46 x 92 14'4" x 18'2" 57 x 103 53 x 99 (620 lbs)
9' Tournament 50 x 100 14'8" x 18'10" 61 x 111 57 x 107 (715 lbs)
10' Snooker 56 x 112 15'2" x 19'10" 67 x 123 63 x 119 (790)

For Snooker Tables:  Add 2" to each Play Space Size dimension for every 1" of cue length greater than 57".

Slate - A Short History

The slate used in our pool table plans is known as "oversized" slate.  This slate is larger than older, "standard" slate so it can be bolted between the slate frame and the rails.  Previously, pool table slate was bolted through the sides of the table into lead anchors or turnbuckle mechanisms.  You may have noticed the pretty rosettes used to conceal the bolts?  Some larger (10' and 12') tables still use standard slate.  But when table weight approaches one ton, weight is no longer an issue.

Use of oversized slate has two distinct advantages:  First it is constrained in a sandwich by the rail and slate frame.  Designed and assembled properly, pool tables using oversized slate are the superior choice for strength and reliability.  Secondly, oversized slate weighs more than standard slate.  This means your table is heavier!  Why is this important?  Because a heavier table is sturdier.  This is especially important on the smaller tables.  How would you like it if you bumped your hip on the table and the balls shook or moved?  This is why we recommend our customers should use 1" slate on the smaller tables (7' and 8').  Of course 1" slate must be used on larger tables.  11/2" - slate is used on 10' tables, and 2" on nearly all 12' tables (snooker and carom).

We use slate on billiards tables for a variety of reasons.  Try to think of some before reading on.  The first is because it is abundant.  Next it can be mined, honed and lapped (flatness) inexpensively.  So why do we not use granite?  Easy, it doesn't have the wicking (moisture absorbing) properties of slate.  Honing granite is also more expensive.  Slate actually wicks moisture FROM the cloth resulting in more consistent playing conditions.  Even today you sometimes hear serious players complain about "slow" tables when humidity is high.  In fact slate heaters are still used in a few places, mostly in Great Britain.

So what is the best slate?  Ask 100 people.  About 90 will say Italian.  A few will say Brazilian, and 1 may say Chinese.  The slate we used on our Mission pool table is 3-piece, 11/16", doweled, Pennsylvania slate.  Our opinion is it probably does not matter!  Here is why:  Assuming the slate is flat (correctly honed) and your house is temperature controlled, wicking is not an issue.  Moreover, the Italian Slate Industry (OIS), whose members enjoy a huge market share, have (to our knowledge) never issued physical test results comparing their slate to other sources.  The way we see it a business should invest to grow or retain market share.  We have received business inquires from Brazil and China.  We reply by requesting samples and physical test reports.  We have received neither from any!  It is quite possible all of these products play well.  Frankly, we do not have enough information to make an informed decision nor a customer recommendation.  By the way, our Pennsylvania slate plays wonderfully.

Fortunately Italian slate is plentiful and proven.  In our opinion, there is none better, but the other sources may be as good.  In fact, proper table assembly is more important than the origin of your slate.

How do you get your slate?  We have addressed this crucial question on The Real Cost page.  Just click on this page and scroll to the bottom.  Good Stuff!

Mary Southall & Brian Swift.

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