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Cannot get a Tight Rack


Cannot get a Tight Rack

I own a used Brunswick Medalist 9 foot pool table. I had a highly recommended tech assemble the table, install new felt, new cushions and dial the whole thing in about 18 months ago. The table looks and plays great with one exception; it is impossible to get a tight rack.

The cloth is still tight, the table is in a heated/cooled and humidity controlled room but from a month after setup 'til now tight racks are verboten.

Brushing, vacuuming, and rolling make no change. My gut hunch is the table joint-wax/sealant has de-laminated and migrated to the area surrounding the foot spot and the "micro-crumbs" under the felt/cloth, act like salt grains - leaving "micro-bumps" that force balls to roll out of the rack.

The amount of movement seems to affect anywhere from 2 to 6 balls on the pyramid perimeter - and they move anywhere from a hair to around 1/4" away from the pyramid.

I've seen abused bar tables hold tighter racks.

Other than re-waxing the joint(s), are there any tricks to reduce this loose rack phenomenon?

Cannot get a Tight Rack

Replies & Comments

  1. ZekeBilliardsBill on 5/29/2012 10:41:58 AM

    Changing the spot can help. They will develop an indentation after a relatively short time and can cause the rack to move. I change mine once a month. Also, tapping down the first three balls in the rack while holding the balls tightly together can also help to keep the rack tight.

  2. ZekeZeke on 5/29/2012 3:07:56 PM

    I've tried both methods to no avail. I'm certain the problem is from a bad install. The guy didn't spend enough time to do it right, so he did it fast instead ):

  3. ZekeBilliardsBill on 5/30/2012 12:02:17 PM

    Are you sure that the table is still absolutely level? You should check it, because occasionally the slate can settle a bit and you may need shivs which you can insert between the framing and the slate from underneath the table to bring the surface of the table back to an even level. It is worth checking because it is a fairly easy fix and you can get the shivs from Muellers or I'm sure many other billiard supply companies over the internet.

  4. ZekeMitch Alsup on 5/30/2012 12:32:31 PM
    1. in order to get a perfect rack, all of the balls have to be the same diameter. So the balls must either be new/newish or get out the dial calipers and measure them.
    2. the slate under the cloth must be flat, without dimples that older slate picks up under years of breaking abuse. The right fix is bondo and sanding before the cloth goes on.
    3. the cloth must be tight and equally tight in both directions. Take a pin/needle and lift the cloth, if it comes up more than a couple of mm it is probably not tight enough.
    4. The rack may be worn out and allowing the nose balls (the two just back of the head ball) to spread. You can address this with a new rack, or by laying the rack up, then using your hands press the front 10-balls until the nose balls touch, then gently roll the back five forward to touch. {All in all a new rack is easier}
    5. The rack could be dirty, any accumulated dust, chalk, talc needs to be removed so the sides of the rack are perfectly smooth and free of pull
    6. You can take a wall paper roller (the 1" thin one) and roll the seam with heavy pressure to lay a beeswax joint back level. It may come back up, until you roll it a few times. But this is lack of professionalism on the installer.
  5. ZekeZeke on 5/31/2012 5:43:29 AM
    1. I have three sets of balls. All three do the same thing. One set is my "best" one. It's the Aramith set that runs $100+. No difference regardless of which set is on the table.
    2. A pro assembled and installed the table. The wax joint job was obviously rushed. In fact he may have used something besides real joint "wax." He may have used Bondo! I'm paying the price now. To get to the joint, the table will have to be disassembled and the 18 month old felt compromised.
    3. When one applies firm 5-finger contact "push" in any direction, it is still impossible to induce any sort of ripple in the surface. The cloth's as tight as I've ever seen.
    4. I tried the 9-ball rack as well. The balls that fall out of contact are random and un-directional when they fall out; providing no indication of one bad spot - or direction of any one spot being lumpy. The entire area of the rack seems affected. However, no where else do balls seem to be abnormally rolling off-line.
    5. Mitch, if we slide the triangle off any slower and more carefully it should be a foul :)
    6. You've given me an idea. My wife owns an "upscale" rolling pin made from marble. It's around 16" long and 2-3" in diameter. Highly polished and not "handmade." Probably turned and polished on a lathe. I'll let you know how it works out. If he used wax, I may have a shot. If it was Bondo, I'm stuck in a bad place I'll just have to play through it until I recover the table...

    Thanks again Mitch & Bill for taking the time! I'll get out the rolling pin and see how it goes. I'll post the results, either way.

  6. ZekeBilliardsBill on 6/3/2012 12:42:19 PM

    When I said use shivs to level your table, I actually meant shims from Muellers. Sorry for the mixup. Good luck with your table. Also, if you are only breaking on one side of the table, you could put a spot on the other side and start breaking that way. It might be level on the other side. Just a thought.

  7. ZekeZeke on 6/4/2012 10:34:58 AM

    Thanks Bill. This table has ball return rails and a ball-collection "box" at the foot. Were we to switch ends, the loose rack phenom would be replaced by the inconvenience of having all balls collect on the wrong end of the table.

    I have yet to try the marble rolling pin "fix." But as soon as I do, I'll let you know what happens!

  8. ZekeZeke on 6/15/2012 1:07:51 PM

    So I took my wife's marble? Faux marble? rolling pin to the pool room and brushed the rack area well. Took the rolling pin in hand and applying pretty weighty hands on it, slowly rolled it over the pyramid area in one direction.

    I'd guess the weight of the rolling pin alone is ~5 lbs. and my hand and arm pressing down added another 20-30 lbs.

    The results? Nada.

    I asked three independent unaware players if they noticed slightly improved rack tightness and all three said "Not noticeably - why do you ask"?

    Later, one said to me, "Perhaps it is better." Hardly a comment to place any hope in :)

    I'll keep you posted if anything else gets suggested - that may help...

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Cannot get a Tight Rack

  • Title: Cannot get a Tight Rack
  • Author: (Ken Secor)
  • Published: 5/29/2012 7:24:01 AM