How to remove slate from a pool table

Written by micah rubenstein
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Removing slate from a pool table isn't difficult, but the steps must be followed in order. Most good pool tables use slate, covered by felt, for the surface of the table. Depending upon the length of the table, the surface will be two or three slabs of slate. Some tables use slate that is as thin as a 1/2-inch; other tables use slate that is as thick as 1 1/4 inches.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Paint scraper
  • Cloth
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Small hammer

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    Exposing the Slate

  1. 1

    Remove the bumper rails. Most pool tables have six rails that are attached by screws from underneath the table.

  2. 2

    Remove the felt from the table. Most felt is usually lightly glued to the surface of the slate, so you may have to scrape off portions of the felt.

  3. 3

    Wash off any remaining glue residue on the slate with a cloth and warm, soapy water.

    Removing the Slate

  1. 1

    Look for spots of hardened spackle on the slate. The spackle was used for one of three reasons: to fill an imperfection or chip in the slate's surface, to cover a crack between one slab of slate and another, or to cover up recessed screw heads that are securing the slate to the pool table frame. It's pretty easy to tell by their size and shape which areas of spackle are covering screw heads.

  2. 2

    Remove any spackle covering the screw heads. The easiest way to do this is to take the small hammer and gently tap the centre of the area with the flathead screwdriver. The spackle will break away and expose the screw head.

  3. 3

    Unscrew the screws. They may be spackled in tightly, making them difficult to remove. In that case, insert the screwdriver into the screw head, and lightly tap the screwdriver handle with the hammer a few times to loosen the screw a bit.

  4. 4

    Follow the steps above in reverse if you need to re-lay the slate or replace it with new slate. Set the slabs on the frame, screw them in so the screw heads are recessed, cover the screw holes with spackle and scrape the spackle to a smooth finish. Then fill in the cracks between the slabs with spackle (again, making it smooth), lay down new felt and then reattach the bumper rails.

Tips and warnings

  • Slate should be carried and transported vertically--like glass. When you remove it from the pool table frame, slide it halfway off the frame. Then use the frame as a fulcrum to swing the slate into a vertical position.
  • If the table felt was glued to the slate, you won't be able to reuse the felt once it has been removed. Slate is extremely heavy and slabs should be removed from the table frame by two people.

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