Pool Table Restoration
A couple in Laurelhurst, rebuilding a large waterfront home asked me to restore a 1924 New Brunswick Snooker table that came with the property. Stripping the piece revealed stunning mahogany and rosewood veneers with ivory accents. Much of the carved detail at the feet was missing along with some of the ivory on rails. A tropical plant, the tagua nut serves well as an ivory substitute.
The slate top, in three pieces was carefully reassembled and new felt applied by a dedicated professional team of felters.
Last summer, I was asked to do an antique restoration on a 1924 New Brunswick snooker table for a couple in Laurelhurst. Snooker is similar to pool with a larger table & smaller balls, in this case, 5 feet x 10 feet.
The table work was scheduled to coincide with a major renovation of the large, somewhat open plan house, including various game rooms featuring pinball, taxidermy on the walls, a tiki bar and an olympic sized swimming pool.
The house was published as an exemplary model of 1970’s modernity. Some of this is retained in the current restoration by my clients.
According to local legend, this billiard room functioned as a kind of operations center for the hard drinking, cigar smoking party animals of the Laurelhurst ‘mafia’ back in the day.
The snooker table suffered a lot of superficial damage to the carving on the feet and a portion of the rail covers was fractured & lost. The massive, veneered side elements were very much intact as were the three 11/2″ thick slates under the old felt. I had to fabricate a double pinned steel tool to remove the multiple large retaining bolts holding the rails to the top. Fortunately, the slates were permanently attached to soft wood frames carefully carved to meet the six pockets. This made handling & reassembly much easier and safer.
Most of the snooker table was veneered with ribbon striped, quarter sawn mahogany, except for the top rails which were East Indian rosewood with ivory inlay. These pieces were badly worn & needed a lot of veneer replacement and repair. The trade in ivory being immoral as well as illegal, i find a suitable substitute with tagua nuts from the West Indies. The match up with old ivory is remarkable.
My portion of the job was completed with hand applied varnish & wax after which a team of felters came in to reset the slate slabs using playing cards for shims to achieve that perfectly level playing surface which is then covered with new felt.