Moving a pool table can be difficult. Almost all tables require disassembly in order to be properly moved. As a result, there are many overlooked tips and tricks during the process that people aren’t familiar with. This is why I want to share with you 8 tips for moving a pool table. These focus on the not-so-obvious areas of moving a table so you aren’t caught off guard.
1. Locate an Instruction Manual
Since moving a pool table requires that you take it apart, the instruction manual will be your best friend. Although it may not look like it, pool tables have many different pieces, big and small. No two manufacturers make their pool tables exactly alike. So, even if you’ve taken a table apart before, you may not be familiar with the details of the table you must move.
If you don’t have the instruction manual handy, chances are you can find it online in PDF form. This is definitely worth a search as it can make the process much, much easier.
2. Come Organized
Unless you want to spend way more time that you need to, you’ll want to be extra-organized for the pool table move. As mentioned above, there are tons of little pieces you’ll need to keep track of, including bolts, stapes, and screws. And you’ll want to remember where they came from so you can put them back where they belong. You can do this by using labeled sandwich bags, so you know what goes where when you reassemble the table.
The same goes for the pieces of the pool table. Most pool tables are made with three pieces of slate which are joined together to make the flat and true playing surface. Then you have the rails and pockets (six of each), the legs, the cloth or felt, and other odds and ends that vary from table to table.
You can use a regular black marker to label most of these items, provided you can find a spot that you don’t mind permanently marking. If you’d rather not mark them permanently, you can always purchase some stick-on labels.
3. Save Everything— Even If You Don’t Think You Will Use It Again
There are some items that you may not use again. For example, some pockets are held to the table with staples. In the process of removing the staples, you may bend, break, or damage them. Or you may just want to throw them out and use new ones when putting the table back together. But until you have the table at the new spot and fully functioning, it’s best to save everything. You may need it for reference. Plus, you never really know what you’ll need until you are putting the table back together again. The same goes for felt. Even if you’re planning on re-felting the table, it’s best to hang on to the old felt— just in case.
4. Map Out a Plan
Having a plan for the move can be extremely beneficial. Not so much for the route you’re going to drive (although that is important, too), but for the route you’ll have to take to get the pool table out of the old place and into the new. Measure the doors, turns, and hallways that you’ll have to brave with the table. You may be able to move the frame of the table without taking the legs off, if you’re lucky.
It’s also a good idea to take any stairs into account. Even one piece of a three-piece slate can weigh close to 200 pounds. You’ll have to prepare for stairs by getting some help, so you don’t drop and break the slate.
5. Mind the Slate
One of the worst mistakes people make when transporting a pool table is forgetting how brittle the slate is. After all, it’s made of rock and extremely heavy, but it can also crack, chip, or break easily. But there are a few things you can do to keep the slate safe during transport.
- Wrap each piece of slate in heavy blankets, bubble wrap, or plastic wrap.
- Lay each piece flat in the vehicle. Do not prop them on their sides or set them on any uneven surface as this can cause them to break.
6. Plan for Re-Felting and Re-Leveling
Taking the table apart is one thing, but putting it back together is another. Before you decide whether or not to hire a professional, watch some videos or read some articles about re-felting and leveling the table. If it seems like something you can do with confidence, you can try it yourself. Otherwise, you’ll need to contact a professional service to do either one or both things before you can play a decent game on the table again.
You may even consider hiring someone to do the entire reassembly. This is usually significantly less expensive than paying for the entire move, and only slightly more expensive than paying for leveling, felting.
Related Article: Is Pool Table Felt Glued Down?
7. Line Up the Rails
One of the things people often overlook when putting a pool table back together is the need to line up the rails along the length of the table. Uneven rails will cause unpredictable bounceback off the cushions, will make the center pockets difficult to shoot, and will make a straight shot along the side rails impossible. Fortunately, lining up the side rails is easy to do.
Simply get the rail bolts hand-tight and then look down the length of each of the side rails with your eye just above the table. This gives you a straight line-of-sight down the rails. Pay special attention to whether the cushions line up at the central pockets, as any discrepancy will be most visible there. Then you can simply nudge the rails into alignment and tighten down the bolts all the way.
8. Allow for Settling
If you’re putting the table on carpet, you’ll want to get it leveled on installation and then you’ll want to check the level again after a couple of weeks. Pool tables are heavy and so they tend to settle a bit on carpet, which can take a while. Chances are any difference in the level of the table will be small and easy to remedy yourself using a carpenter’s level, shims, or special pool table levelers.