Investment quality equals an appreciable asset furnishing, destined for antiquity. Invest in your family future with a custom designed pool table. Order an original work, or a limited edition. We build only proud to own family heirloom furnishing, rich with family history and priceless heritage. This process begins with you and your family personalizing each piece with your own special design requests. Master craftsman and artist H. J. Nicksupervises the details and drafting process with his design team, and upon your approval, we then build your product. Once you receive your item, you can enjoy it secure in the knowledge it will increase in value and become a cherished family heirloom that is guaranteed to stand the test of time. Call us today 1-800-292-0008.
History of Billiards Table Design
The earliest known billiard table, in the royal court of Louis XI of France (1461-1483), was simply lawn brought indoors and placed on a large, everyday table. Rail-bounded, cloth-covered tables specifically for billiards, with wooden beds rail cushions (made of layered felt, or stuffed with straw) soon evolved as the game’s popularity spread among French and later other European aristocrats.
The increasing demand for gaming tables and other equipment in Europe was initially met by furniture makers of the era, some of whom began to specialize in billiard tables. By 1840, the table beds were made of slate, as they are to this day in quality tables. English table maker John Thurston was instrumental in this change, having tested the surface since 1826. After experimenting with hair, shredded fabric and feathers as stuffing for the cushions, he also introduced rubber cushions in 1835. This was not initially a success, as the elasticity would vary with ambient temperature. After attempting to market cushion warmers with only partial success, Thurston was saved by the 1843 discovery of vulcanization by English engineer Thomas Hancock. Thurston used vulcanized rubber in his later cushions, and it is still used today by many manufacturers (some use synthetic materials). Thurston’s first set was presented to Queen Victoria.
In the United States, manufacture of billiard tables has been ongoing since at least the mid-19th century. The forerunner of the Brunswick Company began commercial manufacture in 1845. In San Francisco, California, several manufacturers were active by the late 1800s.
Pool Tables and Cue Sports
Cushions (also sometimes called “rails”, “rail cushions”, “cushion rubber”, or “bumpers”) are located on the sides of the tables 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 “rail” 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.
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 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
Snooker tables use the K-66 profile, like pool tables, but the cushion is an “L” shape. This is mostly because snooker uses balls of a smaller diameter and smaller pocket entrances than does pool.
Cloth 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.
Carom billiards tables or Pocketless carom billiards tables are used for such games as three-cushion billiards, straight rail, balkline, artistic billiards and cushion caroms. Regulation carom billiards tables are rectangles, with the bed of the table (the playing surface) measuring 10 feet by 5 feet (though 9 ft by 4.5 ft are increasingly common).
The slate bed of carom billiard tables are 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 billard 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….”
- Pool Table: variety of sizes all 2:1 rectangle ratio: 9′, 8.5′, 8′, or 7′ tables
- Carom Billiards Table: 10′ x 5′
- Snooker and English Billiards Table: 12′ x 6′ or smaller pub tables 10′ x 5′
History of Custom Furnishing Designs
Most furnishing designs used today were conceived hundreds of years ago by the world’s most famous architects and designers that worked for the aristocracies and the well-to-do of their period. Many of these architects and designers are as well known as Leonardo da Vinci (renaissance architecture) or Michelangelo (baroque architecture), and more recently William Morris, John Ruskin (founders of the Arts and Crafts furniture movement in circa 1800 England), Gustave Stickley (founder of the American Arts and Crafts movement in America circa 1900), Frank Lloyd Wright, and Charles and Henry Greene to name a few.
Every successful creative enterprise is always built on a foundation that was laid down by its predecessors, just as all creative people are dependent upon the groundwork laid down by those who came before them. H. J. Nick, artist and direct descendant of the Marbella brothers, and Scottsdale Art Factory have built on these foundations and have raised the bar of quality even higher, thus setting a new standard in the 21st century, and offering the finest one-of-a-kind handmade furnishings found anywhere in the world. Our master craftsman build all of our products using the identical methods and materials of the historical period of each furnishing’s design conception.
Our Custom Pool Table Construction Methods
Fine Furnishings Custom Built with All Natural Wood
Our of our billiards tables are build from a variety of species of natural, air-dried hardwood. We never force dry or kiln dry our wood. This high quality drying process allows for better joinery and drastically reduces bowing, warping, or cracking of the wood during the custom pool table build. Read more about the wood and learn important details about our timber and craftsmanship.
Master Craftsman Hand Carved Designs
All architectural elements in your pool table custom designs, are hand-carved by artisans using old world techniques in world class relief. Our designer game tables are never machine produced, your fine art furnishings is carved by one master craftsman. The hand carving information page shows important details about the kind of carving you can expect when you order a custom designed pool table from Scottsdale Art Factory. You can order any carving colorized. In order to achieve a colorized carving, multiple stain colors are used. The stains are hand applied and blended with an artistic eye to achieve an enhanced natural appearance.
Master Blacksmith Hand Created Furnishings
All iron is coal fired, hammered by master blacksmiths the old fashioned way and patina finished. At Scottsdale Art Factory, we take pride in our traditional, superior quality workmanship and craft our products from only the finest metals. Our master blacksmiths have been classically trained, and utilize old-world techniques such as coal firing, anvil hammering, and hand forging to create the finest hand-crafted hardware available anywhere. All of our iron work is hand patina finished by heat applying iron oxides to achieve a natural patina finish that will stand the test of time.
We create works using solid hand forged iron, nothing is drop forged. Drop forging is a poor quality, casted copy of a hand forged work of art. Nothing is made with low quality steel. Wrought iron is superior to high carbon steel and will last forever with no maintenance and is never powder coated or painted.
Patina finish available in various colors Of hand-applied iron oxide patinas. Our beautiful patina finishes are hand applied using a special patented process where natural oxides are hand applied and bonded into the metal at over 1000 degrees. This permanent finish beautifies with age. We do not paint or faux finish any of our iron creations. Paint fades, chips and cracks over time, but patinas last forever. No drop forged casted copies, no paint, and no powder coated finishes are applied to any custom pool table metals designed and created at Scottsdale Art Factory. Every surface of this furnishing is finely finished including the undersides and hidden areas.
Every custom built billiards or game table at Scottsdale Art Factory is finished to be virtually maintenance free and to age with grace. All iron parts are hand patina finished the old fashioned way by iron oxide hand applied with high temperature heat. We never powder coat or faux paint our iron, it has been proven paint and powder coating methods do not hold up over time. You may choose from many natural iron oxide colors. Our patina finishes are water based and earth friendly.You may order any single color or texture finish at no extra charge. To learn more about our designer furnishings finish process, patinas, sealants, or wood finishes, visit our Fine Finish Information page. Order hand forged matching furnishing of any design, contact us today to discuss your project by calling 1-800-292-0008.
Scottsdale Art Factory Guarantee
We guarantee each item “Forever”, no questions asked, backed by over a century fine furniture craftsmanship. Learn more about our pricing and how you may purchase hand made custom furniture and fine art furnishings at production prices.
A One Stop Furnishings Shop the Scottsdale Art Factory
Many of our clients commission furniture for every room, doors, gates, built-in cabinets, lighting and hardware for their entire project. We are capable of starting with your entrance door design style or personalized carving coat of arms, family crest or business logo, and expanding this design in a tasteful and elegant way into your interior and exterior lighting fixtures, entrance doors, interior doors, cabinets, structural elements, entrance gates or furnishings for every room. Making your home a unique piece of your family’s tradition and legacy.
“When Only The Best Will Do”
We custom build fine art furniture for residential and commercial applications. Our factory designers are experts at manufacturing our products and are instructed to educate – they are not salesmen. We only provide accurate facts about each product we build. We instruct our designers to provide you with factual comparison product information when possible, without bias or hype. All Scottsdale Art Factory furnishings are designed in America and built in America using only the finest materials such as solid, natural, air-dried timber, genuine stone, marble, granite, fine leathers, fabric, and hand forged iron by the hands of true American Master Craftsmen. We use “No” engineered cores or faux materials such as paste boards, veneers, masonite, MDO plywood, melamine or oriented strand board panels with expensive wood sounding names such as walnut veneer or hickory veneer etc.