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How to Recloth a Pool Table: A Comprehensive Guide

One of the key elements to an optimal pool playing experience is the condition of the pool table cloth, or felt. Over time, the cloth may wear out, leading to decreased ball speed, irregular ball roll, or even damaging the table underneath. Luckily, reclothing a pool table is a task that, while demanding precision and patience, can be accomplished by any diligent DIY enthusiast.

Here's a comprehensive guide on how to successfully recloth your pool table.

How to Recloth a Pool Table

Tools You'll Need

Before you begin, ensure you have all the necessary tools on hand. These include:

A new pool table cloth. Make sure it's of good quality and the correct size for your table.

A staple gun or adhesive, depending on the design of your table.

A flathead screwdriver to remove the old staples or glue.

A pair of scissors for cutting the cloth.

An iron for smoothing out the cloth (ensure it's set on low heat to prevent damage).

A pool table brush to clean the surface.

Step-by-Step Guide to Reclothing a Pool Table

Step 1: Remove the Old Cloth

Begin by removing the rails and pockets from your pool table. This may require a bit of force or the use of tools, depending on the specific design of your table.

Once the rails and pockets are removed, you can begin to remove the old cloth. If it's stapled on, use your flathead screwdriver to carefully remove the staples. If it's glued on, gently pull the cloth away from the table. Be careful not to damage the slate underneath.

Step 2: Clean the Table

With the old cloth removed, take this opportunity to give your table a good cleaning. Use the pool table brush to sweep away any dust or debris from the slate. Ensure the table is completely clean before proceeding to the next step.

Step 3: Apply the New Cloth

Center your new cloth over the pool table, ensuring it hangs evenly over each side. If your table requires a staple-based attachment, start at one end, pull the cloth taut (but not stretched), and put a few staples into the underside of the table. Work your way around the table, constantly checking to make sure the cloth is smooth and taut.

If your table uses an adhesive, apply the glue to the table in a thin layer, then gently press the cloth into place. Again, start at one end and work your way around, constantly smoothing out the cloth.

Step 4: Cut and Secure the Corners

Once the cloth is attached, you'll need to cut and secure the corners. This can be a bit tricky, as you'll want to ensure there are no wrinkles or creases. The best approach is to cut diagonally from the corner toward the table's center, leaving enough cloth to wrap under the table.

Then, pull one side of the cut cloth taut and secure it under the table. Repeat this for the other side of the cut cloth. You should have a smooth, clean corner with no visible wrinkles. Repeat this for each corner of the table.

Step 5: Reattach the Rails and Pockets

With the cloth securely attached, you can reattach the rails and pockets. Ensure everything is properly aligned and securely fastened.

Step 6: Iron the Cloth

Finally, set your iron to a low-heat setting and gently iron the cloth. This helps to eliminate any remaining wrinkles and ensures a smooth playing surface. Use straight, end-to-end strokes, following the weave of the cloth.

That's it! You've successfully reclothed your pool table.

Recloth a Pool Table

Maintenance of Your Pool Table Cloth

If you've successfully reclothed your pool table, you might be interested in some additional information about maintaining the cloth and enhancing your pool table experience.

Maintenance and Care for Your Pool Table Cloth

Proper maintenance is crucial to keep your pool table cloth in good condition. Here are some tips:

Brushing: Brush your pool table cloth regularly. Brushing removes dust, chalk, and other debris that can affect your game and degrade the cloth over time. Always brush in one direction, starting from one end and working your way to the other. This helps to preserve the nap (direction of the cloth fibers).

Ironing: After brushing, consider ironing the cloth. This removes wrinkles and maintains a flat, smooth surface for gameplay. Remember to use a special pool table iron that doesn't produce steam, or use a regular iron on a low-heat, non-steam setting. Always follow the direction of the nap when ironing.

Ball Cleaning: Dirty balls can damage the cloth and leave marks. Make sure to clean your pool balls regularly to help maintain the cloth's integrity.

Replacing Pool Table Cushions

The cushions (also known as the rails or bumpers) on your pool table can wear down over time, impacting the quality of your play. If your cushions are hard, not providing enough bounce, or showing signs of degradation, it might be time to replace them. Most often, you can replace the cushions when reclothing the table, but they can also be replaced independently.

Levelling Your Pool Table

Ensuring your pool table is level is another essential aspect of table maintenance. An uneven table can dramatically affect the roll of the balls. Use a carpenter's level to check the surface in several places. If adjustments are needed, these can usually be made by turning the feet of the table, adding shims under the legs or, for slate tables, under the slate itself. It's advisable to call in a professional if significant leveling is needed, as improper adjustments can damage the table.

Choosing the Right Cloth

Cloths are not all the same, and the right cloth for you can depend on various factors such as your skill level, the type of pool game you usually play, and your budget. For instance, worsted cloths like Simonis are favored by professionals and are great for games like snooker and 9-ball, while woolen cloths are more common in pubs and home tables, and work well for 8-ball.

Remember, each time you undertake maintenance or improvements to your pool table, you're not only ensuring the quality of your gameplay but also prolonging the lifespan of your table. Happy gaming!

Choosing the Right Cloth


Reclothing a pool table is a meticulous task that demands patience, but it can also be quite satisfying. By following these steps, you'll not only improve the performance of your table but also extend its longevity. Make sure to treat your new cloth with care: brush it regularly, avoid spills, and try to keep it away from direct sunlight. Happy playing!

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