What Is a Slate Pool Table? – Blatt Billiards

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What Is a Slate Pool Table?

by David Roeder |

You have several different options when you want a pool table for your home. Aside from the different sizes and designs, one of the major decisions you will need to make is whether you want a slate pool table or an MDF (medium-density fiberboard) wood pool table.

Pool tables have been made using slate since 1826. The first slate table was manufactured by John Thurston because he was tired of wooden tables that warped and became unplayable.

What Is Slate?

Black slate board on grunge wooden table closeup

Slate is a natural substance composed of various minerals, clay, quartz, and sand, resulting in a solid rock-like substance. The great thing about slate is that it is easy to find naturally and is easy to produce, thanks to an abundance of the materials. Plus, slate is eco-friendly and a renewable material since slate is fully recyclable.

Why Are Pool Tables Made Using Slate?

luxury marble billiard tables

Since billiards games require a flat playing surface, slate is primarily selected as the material for pool tables and billiard tables. The playing surface under the felt has to be smooth and allow the balls to move freely.

Slate provides such an ideal playing surface since it can be cut to size, ground, and polished into a perfectly flat surface that is as smooth as glass. Unlike wood, which can absorb moisture or dry out over time and warp, slate never loses its original properties and will always remain smooth and flat to provide a quality playing surface. 

One-Piece vs. Three-Piece Slate Tables

Pool room in luxury home

The slate used for pool tables should be at least three-quarters to one inch thick. Some pool tables use a single piece of slate for the playing surface. Then there are three-piece slate tables that use three pieces of slate for the playing surface.

With one-piece slate tables, the playing surface is one solid piece. This ensures that there are no seams in the slate. In comparison, three-piece slate tables should begin as one solid piece and then be cut into three pieces.

So, if you opt for a three-piece slate pool table, you’ll need to verify with the manufacturer that it was one solid sheet of slate cut into three pieces. When a three-piece table begins as one solid sheet of slate and then is cut, it will provide a consistently aligned seam that fits perfectly and avoids creating gaps or other imperfections for a smooth and flat playing surface.

As you can see, when buying a pool table for your home, you can still get a high-quality table with a three-piece slate bed, as long as it was cut from a single piece of slate.

Key Features to Look For in Slate Pool Tables

Billiard balls on the snooker table with gray felt floor.

Whether the slate for the playing surface is one solid piece or has been cut into three pieces, you want the slate to extend beyond the playing surface. Ideally, the slate should be large enough to go under the pool table’s rails and be skillfully cut to fit up against the side pockets.

Next, the slate should be securely bolted to the pool table’s frame to prevent it from slipping or moving. Last, you want to make sure the slate is leveled when the pool table is set up and installed in your home.

Pros of Slate Pool Tables

Some of the benefits of investing in slate bed tables include:

  • The pool ball rolls much smoother and easier.
  • The table lasts a lifetime or longer.
  • The slate will not warp or dry out.
  • Slate provides a superior quality material than wood.
  • Slate provides a higher quality playing surface.
  • Slate pool tables retain their value, and some even increase in value over time.
  • Most people prefer to play on slate pool tables.

Cons of Slate Pool Tables

Some of the drawbacks of slate pool tables are:

  • Slate pool tables weigh a lot––anywhere from 450 pounds to 600 pounds or more, depending on the size of the pool table.
  • Slate tables are more difficult to move due to their weight and require the assistance of professional pool table installers and movers.
  • Slate pool tables do cost more than wood but are well worth the investment for a pool table that can last for generations.

Benefits of Three-Piece Slate Tables

There are some advantages of three-piece slate tables over single piece tables, such as:

  • Three-piece slate tables are easier to move than single-piece tables.
  • Leveling the slate is also less difficult since there are three smaller pieces instead of one big piece.
  • There is less risk of the slate developing stress fractures, sinking, or cracking when installing or moving the pool table.

However, it really comes down to a matter of personal choice whether you want a single-piece or three-piece slate pool table.

Where Can I Buy a Slate Pool Table?

Part of living room with billiard 3d rendering

It is easy to find handcrafted, high-quality slate pool tables at Blatt Billiards. We offer a wide range of designs, styles, and sizes. We can also custom-craft an original and unique pool table to fit your specific needs or design.

To learn more about our slate pool tables, please feel free to browse our designs online, or for further questions or to request a free quote or design consultation, please feel free to contact us at  212-674-8855 today!