Yesterday was a big day here at FastMikie's Fun House. I finally got the new cloth installed, and it is most excellent.
After searching for the BEST, the Michelangelo of table mechanics, and based on recommendations of friends, I finally selected Steve Leistikow ("TableMechanic" at AZ Billiards forum) to do the job. He started in on disassembling the table and then moved to recovering the rails, and that's when I got my first look at what a quality job Steve does.
Check out the photo below. You're looking at a before/after photo of two rails, upside down, facing each other. On the left is the prior rail covering job done by someone else. On the right is the new job, done by Steve. And this is on a part of the table no one will ever see once it's assembled. 'Nuf said, eh?
About 8 hours later, the job was done, including releveling, lowering the table an inch, and drawing the rack outline on the cloth (for straight pool). Needless to say I was chomping at the bit to hit some balls. It had been a couple of years since I hit some balls on fresh cloth. It's something I really enjoy, not just because of the perfection and cleanliness, but because the behavior of the balls is so different from cloth just a few weeks old. Most of all, I wanted to try drawing the cue ball the length of the table, and how sweet it was when I actually did it! My life is now complete. (I'm easy to please.)
Next, Steve and I got into shooting some 8 ball to give the setup a good test. We played at least half a dozen games, and I gave him the breaks each time (I'm still hurting in the shoulder). Needless to say, this setup plays LOTS faster than the old cloth, but I liked the speed and won all the games except one. I even made a few nice shots, enough to be moved to say to him "Go and tell all what you have seen here tonight!" (only partially joking).
Thanks, Steve! You did a great job.