It’s not easy to install a billiard table. Four to six hundred pounds of slate have to be lifted into place and perfectly leveled. Seams, screw holes and small voids must be filled, leveled, and made perfectly smooth. The cushions must be clothed (a very difficult job) and the bed cloth must be stretched tight enough to eliminate wrinkles while still remaining loose enough to lay totally on the slate. An experienced installer judges the humidity in the room that day, guesses how much it will vary in a year (looking at heat sources, insulation, etc.) and tries to tighten the cloth so that it will handle changes in the future. If you can, try to hire an installer who is authorized by a major billiard company (Brunswick, Olhausen, Legacy, for instance).
Generally the installer also delivers the table and brings it into the room. Handling slate is very dangerous. It can shear and cut off a toe or a finger if you are not careful when you are carrying it: much like carrying large sheets of glass. Trying to save money while doing that yourself can be very short-sighted. Internet dealers usually deliver by a trucking company and then hire a local installer (or get you to hire someone) to finish the job. Be very careful of this. We hear all sorts of stories of truckers dropping a table off the end of a truck and driving off or insisting on an additional $200 “tip” to bring the parts into the house!
We’ve even heard of local “dealers” who offer “free” delivery without installation, or “free” installation without delivery. Or, as with the internet dealers, delivery does not include bringing the parts into the house. If a dealer arranges for delivery at a different time from the installation, ask a few questions before you get an unpleasant surprise.
Most local installers these days are fed up with problems from installing tables when they did not control the brand, quality, or handling. Typically, they either refuse to install cloth or tables outside of their control – or charge more with cash in advance. Let’s say that the table is missing parts or does not go together well, and some internet company with no address has already charged your Visa card for it. The installer doesn’t see any reason why you shouldn’t pay him for his wasted time!