WHAT IS A BILLIARDS TABLE
- July 22, 2011
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A billiard table or billiards table is a bounded table on which billiards-type games (cue sports) are played. In the modern era, all billiards tables (whether for carom billiards, pool or snooker) provide a flat surface usually made of quarried slate, that is covered with cloth and surrounded by vulcanized rubber cushions, with the whole elevated above the floor.An obsolete term is billiard board, used in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Cushions (also sometimes called “rail cushions”, “cushion rubber”, or rarely “bumpers”) are located on the inner sides of a table’s wooden rails. There are several different materials and design philosophies associated with cushion rubber. The cushions are made from an elastic material such as vulcanized (gum or synthetic) rubber. The chiefly American jargon “rails” more properly applies to the wooded outer segments of the table to which the cushions are affixed.The purpose of the cushion rubber is to cause the billiard balls to rebound off the rubber while minimizing the loss of kinetic energy.When installed properly the distance from the nose of the cushion to the covered slate surface is 1 7/16″ while using a regulation 2 1/4″ ball set.The profile of the rail cushion, which is the cushion’s angle in relation to the bed of the table, varies between table types. The standard on American pool tables is the K-66 profile, which as defined by the BCA has a base of 1-3/16 inches and a nose height of 1 inch . This[clarification needed] causes the balls’ rebound to be somewhat predictable during game play.On a carom table, the K-55 profile is used (with a somewhat sharper angle than pool cushions). K-55 cushions have cloth, usually canvas, vulcanized into the top of the rubber to adjust rebound accuracy and speed .Finally, snooker tables may use an L-shaped profile, such as the L77 profile. This is mostly[clarification needed] because snooker uses balls of a smaller diameter and smaller pocket entrances than pool does.
Billiard cloth (sometimes erroneously called felt) is a specific type of cloth that covers the top of the table’s “playing area”. Both the rails and slate beds are covered with 21–24 ounce billiard cloth (although some less expensive 19oz cloths are available) which is most often green in color (representing the grass of the original lawn games that billiards evolved from), and consists of either a woven wool or wool/nylon blend called baize.Most bar tables, which get lots of play, use the slower, thicker blended cloth because it can better withstand heavy usage. This type of cloth is called a woolen cloth. By contrast, high quality pool cloth is usually made of a napless weave such as worsted wool, which gives a much faster roll to the balls. This “speed” of the cloth affects the amounts of swerve and deflection of the balls, among other aspects of game finesse. Snooker cloth traditionally has a directional nap, upon which the balls behave differently when rolling against vs. toward the direction of the nap.
Regulation carom billiards tables are rectangles. The playing surface (measured between the noses of the cushions) is 2.84 meters by 1.42 meters with a 5 millimeter allowance. The height of the table, measured from the playing surface to the ground is between 75 and 80 centimeters.The bedThe slate bed of a carom billiard table must have a minimum thickness of 45 millimeters and is often heated to about 5 degrees C (9 deg F) above room temperature, which helps to keep moisture out of the cloth to aid the balls rolling and rebounding in a consistent manner, and generally makes a table play faster. A heated table is required under international carom rules and is an especially important requirement for the games of three-cushion billiards and artistic billiards.Heating table beds is an old practice. Queen Victoria of England (1819–1901) had a billiard table that was heated using zinc tubes, although the aim at that time was chiefly to keep the then-used ivory balls from warping. The first use of electric heating was for an 18.2 balkline tournament held in December 1927 between Welker Cochran and Jacob Schaefer, Jr. The New York Times announced it with fanfare: “For the first time in the history of world’s championship balkline billiards a heated table will be used…”