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Billiard Balls Wear Down

Billiard Balls Wear Down

A question that is commonly asked at our forums is whether or not billiard balls wear down. Many billiard players are surprised to hear that the answer is yes; billiard balls are subject to wear and tear, and they do wear down.

Billiard Balls Wear Down

The rate at which billiard balls wear down is also surprising, as within one year of play, the balls will have worn down to a size that would no longer meet the minimum in most sets of equipment specifications.

The cue ball is subject to the most billiard ball wear and tear for obvious reasons. It is struck with the cue tip, and shot across the billiard table cloth on every single shot. It is also the most common ball to be launched off of the billiard table.

Billiard ball wear and tear is also present in object balls. These billiard balls wear down from any friction produced during the shot. Billiard balls wear down much more quickly when the cloth is allowed to become dirty. The reason for this is generally the amount of cue chalk dust that is on the cloth. Since billiard chalk is made up of fine sand, a dirty cloth tends to act like sandpaper.

As your billiard balls wear down, the cue ball will generally become even smaller than your object balls. The effect of this wear is that your draw shots will become easier, and follow shots will become more difficult.

Parts of your object ball's design will wear down faster than others, and thus, on some balls you'll be able to tell the numbers by feel as they wear down faster or slower than the rest of the balls. Most experienced billiard players claim that the "eyes" of old billiard balls will wear down and will be found to bulge out.

Billiard Balls Wear Down

  • Title: Billiard Balls Wear Down
  • Author: (Billiards Forum)
  • Published: 5/7/2008 9:31:00 PM

Billiard Balls Wear Down Comments

  1. John EarlJohn Earl from Bethel, VT on 6/26/2019 12:23:26 PM

    According to Aramith, their billiard balls remain in good shape after some 400,000 hits. That would seem to be a solid response to their longevity.

    I have been playing mostly 8 ball on and off for over 70 years. With four of us playing, at 15 shots per game, and 10 games, twice a week, this would be somewhere around 62,000 shots a year, times 70 years, which would equal some 436,000 shots.

    So it seems that our Aramith billiard balls will outlast us, but not a professional.

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