Through a Customer's Eyes

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CLB Dutchess

Pool Table from a Layman’s View

We often offer our opinion on construction of pool table frames from various manufacturers. It is easy for us to get carried away with minor details and billiard terms that some people aren’t familiar with. We strive to keep things simple, but sometimes hearing from someone not a part of our business, helps put things in perspective.

A gentleman by the name of Tom recently reached out to us via e-mail with some questions regarding C.L. Bailey Pool Tables.

Hi David,

I just spoke to you on the phone. As I said, I’m shopping for my first pool table and liked what I saw on your website and blogs. Unfortunately, being in Harrisburg, PA, I can’t get in to your shop or I’m sure I’d be buying my table there. I have found a local pool hall owner that seems to share a lot of your approaches and sells and installs CL Bailey equipment. But he didn’t seem to have worked with them much lately or know much about recent changes there. 

You seem to have stuck by CL Bailey. Have you had any issues with their back and forth changes in ownership or their move of all of their manufacturing to China? Have you seen any negative impacts on their quality or their warrantee?

On the technical side, is their slate sourced from China? Does that matter?

Another thing I couldn’t tell from any photographs I’ve seen is if the backing board covers the full bottom surface of the slate? Is that important?

I also have a local Olhousen dealer who’s offering a new model in the Americana line with a deep discount introductory price of $1,550, down from $2,400. But, I just don’t like the cabinet construction. Do you have any experience with the Americana design?

 I really like the aesthetics and construction of the CL Bailey Duchess. To me, its vertical beams and leg mounts are superior to the Olhousen Americana line. 

So, I guess the bottom line is, would you go so far as to recommend the Duchess for $2,400 over the Olhousen for $1,550?

Thanks for your time, here and on your blog posts – they really have been a great learning tool for me.

It’s easy to see that Tom has done his homework on pool tables. His questions were logical and important enough to share with our audience. David has worked on nearly every brand of billiard table under the sun. And, although Tom isn’t local to us, he still felt it necessary to respond, candidly.

Hi Tom. You’re best bet is going with the Dutchess. Cl Bailey’s cabinet construction exceeds that of anything in the Americana series.  Slate is slate no matter where it comes from as long as it’s milled flat. To my knowledge all cl Bailey’s slates are framed with an mdf backing. The slate liner as we call it in the business doesn’t need to cover the entire bottom of the slate, it’s unnecessary. 

The most important thing to know about pool tables is who’s installing it and how they level the slatebed.  I always use a starrett machinist’s level. Hopefully you’ll find someone who knows his stuff!  As for changes within the CLB company, there are none. Construction practices are the same as before only except now the tables are made by a Chinaman. Their cushion rubbers are great quality and produce an excellent rebound. Their leather pockets are top quality as well.

You won’t be disappointed with the dutchess as long as it’s installed properly. 

Best wishes, 


The reality is, no matter the country of origin, the construction quality has to be there. We sell both imported (C.L. Bailey and Aramith) and domestic (Connelly Billiards) pool tables. Often times, customers compromise subtle details in carving or stain choices to get a table that is more in their budget. The two things we will not compromise on are construction and proper installation. Not on an import. Not on a domestic. That is just how we operate.

Tom chimed in one more time.


Thanks for the quick reply. If there’s anything that I’ve figured out in the research I’ve done is that the installer’s an equal part of the package. From what I’ve seen, a great installation can’t make a bad table good, but a bad installation can make a good table play like junk. I feel pretty good about this one. It’s a father son shop run out of a pool hall, been doing it for 30 years: rails and cushion rubber on the bench in his shop, bees wax, machinist’s level, estimated 4 or 5 hours for the installation, not 2 like the other dealer I mentioned. He demonstrated how he lines up 3 balls and strikes the back one to send the front ball down the cushion slowly as a final check of level – and on the table in his hall it went true as could be the length of the table. I tried to trick him about the level and, playing dumb, asked “For that leveling do you just use a carpenter’s level? And he said “Oh no, that’s not nearly precise enough, you have to use a machinist’s level.”

This is why I reached out to you and why I appreciate your blogs so much. They really provide an excellent insight into the craft that I haven’t seen anywhere else. I really feel like a much more informed consumer – even as a newbie – from the pictures and write-ups you’ve posted about so many of your jobs. Keep up the good work and best of luck to you. 

Thanks again,

There is more to buying a pool table than just a pool table and value is not alway just what is written on a price tag. If you are local, visit us in our Orange County pool table showroom. If you’re not, that is alright too. Click through some of these blog posts to help you navigate buying a pool table.

Important Facts About Import Pool Tables

Olhausen Secrets Revealed

DK vs. Cheap Imports

Should I Buy a New or Used Pool Table?

What Size Pool Table?

Duke Pool Table Delivery

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Cheap Pool Tables for Sale in Orange County

This recent slate pool table delivery was done in our client’s newly remodeled gameroom. The Wesminster, CA couple found us online and decided to drop by our local Orange County pool table store. Both clients fell in love with a slate pool table called the Duke. This custom pool table manufactured by The CL Bailey Co. in Marionville, MO features one inch, three piece slates and K-66 professional grade rubber cushions. The clients lucked out because this was one of the last 8′ cinnamon stain on maple that we had in stock. The CL Bailey Co. has decided to discontinue the stain due to a lower than anticipated demand for the cinnamon finish. However we do have one last 8′ cinnamon Duke floor model for sale. Your choice of new felt color for the floor model. First come first serve on this.

1970's Delta Billiard Table Vanishes

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This 1970’s pool table was located in our client’s Santa Ana, CA garage gameroom. We recently disassembled this nine foot Delta custom billiard table and made it into smaller, easy to handle pieces for our client to later move himself. The three piece slate bed was the heaviest part of the pool table. Each piece of slate weighs about 250 pounds. We gently laid the slates on their side and leaned them against the garage wall. Our client’s in-laws had just given him a 1960’s Fischer bar pool table which he will be restoring. My client told me the reason he was having us breakdown the nine footer was because it was just too big for him and he prefers to play on bar sized pool tables.

Pool Tables Delivered to Your Home

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Here is another import pool table which we recently delivered and installed to our clients home in Fullerton, CA. The pool table is a CL Bailey brand. This model is called the “Dutchess”, it features solid wood construction throughout the entire cabinet. All CL Bailey pool tables come standard with permanently framed, one inch, three piece slates. The clients had been looking around at used pool tables but weren’t finding the right combination of size and stain color. The room we set up this pool table was just a hair too narrow for the “standard size” pool table, commonly known as a 4×8. We were able to solve their problem by providing them with a seven footer in a warm chestnut stain that fits their space perfectly. If you’re on the fence about which size pool table to buy, visit our O.C. billiards showroom so that we may provide you with the answers you need.

Free Pool Table Deliveries

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Yes folks, that’s right! All of our pool table models come complete with deluxe playing equipment and free local delivery. You’ll never have to lift a finger, except to point to where you want us to professionally install your new slate pool table. We stock new import slate pool tables with prices as low as $1699. For our more discerning billiard table aficionados, we are proud to represent America’s finest custom billiard table manufacturer. Connelly Billiards, with over 30 meticulously hand crafted models to choose from. Feel free to browse our immense online menu of fine billiards tables. Or, if you’re the kind of person that likes to “kick the tires” before buying, visit us at our Orange County pool table store. We’re open for business!

The Wrong Way to Move a Slate Pool Table

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This client of ours from Placentia, CA was doing some home remodeling. When it came time to move his slate pool table out of the way, he and four of his friends thought it would be an easy task that they could handle. Wrong! They managed to get his seven foot World of Leisure, three piece slate pool table all the way out to the garage. The only problem was that in the process of tipping the 600 pound slate pool table on its side, they broke two of the leg mounts. It was at this point when our client decided that he needed the help of the pool table experts.

He weighed his options. Should he have his 20 year old pool table which was now broken and sideways in the garage repaired? Even before he and his buddies had moved the pool table it was going to need a lot of restoration. To bring the pool table back to a usable condition it was going to need new cushion rubber, new felt, new leather pockets and repairing the damaged leg mounts. Our client decided to invest his money in a new pool table. He bought one our import pool tables by C.L. Bailey.

Looking for a Quality Slate Pool Table?

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Are you in the market for a new pool table? You may be surprised to know that not all pool tables are created equal. Understanding the key components of a pool table will help you make wiser decisions before you pull the trigger on just the first nameplate you see.

Yes, almost everyone knows that Brunswick makes pool tables, but they’re not as American as they’d like you to believe. In fact all of their so called Contender Series pool tables are made in China. With their thin walled cabinets and thin unframed slate all you’re getting for your two thousand dollars is a low quality Chinese pool table with a Brunswick nameplate on the rail. I’m not knocking import pool tables by any means. What I don’t like is their deceptive marketing tactics.

Dollar for dollar our slate pool tables, (which are made in Malaysia and China) are constructed very similar to Brunswick. With the exception of our slates being permanently framed with wood and are a full one inch thick. Also our cabinets are 25% thicker, and feature double interlocking width and length slate supports which yields a much more level playing surface. Just because you have not heard of Fischer or C.L. Bailey pool tables does not mean they are inferior. Look beyond the nameplate and take a look at what’s inside our tables, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Important Facts About Import Pool Tables

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Buying a good quality import pool table can be a great way to entertain at home. The problem is knowing the good qualities from the bad. There are several key aspects of a pool table’s construction and each one plays an important role in the playability of the table. The most important quality of a pool table is the cabinet, or frame. The cabinet is what supports the slate. Slate is the large, very heavy, flat surface which is underneath the billiard cloth, or felt as it’s commonly called. The slate liner that is permanently attached to the slate serves several functions. It’s primary function allows the pool table installer to staple/install the felt. But even more important is it’s role in leveling the playing surface or slatebed. American Heritage Pool tables (which by the way are imported from Malaysia, not made in USA) use a large 51 by 95 inch piece of M.D.F., also known as “particle board” (which is screwed into the top of their cabinets) as a foundation to which the slates are supposed to be leveled upon.

As a pool table installer myself, I typically use wedges to level/shim the slatebed. The leveling wedges are used to manipulate and raise each piece of slate independently to achieve a perfectly level and flat playing surface. The problem I have with American Heritage tables is by the time I’ve gotten the slatebed nice and level, the slates are usually raised up by as much as a quarter of an inch from their unattached slate liner. This opens up a whole new can of worms. Because of the short slate screws they use and the flimsy, three quarter inch thick (cabinet attached) slate liner, there is only about a half of an inch of thread that’s actually anchored into the liner.

What I think sets Fischer and C.L. Bailey pool table construction miles apart from American Heritage is the fact that Fischer and C.L. Bailey use a two inch thick piece of solid wood which is securely mounted to, and runs the perimeter of the pool table’s cabinet. Fischer and C.L. Bailey’s slate screws are three inches long and by the time that the slatebed is perfectly leveled, there’s at least an inch and a half of thread anchoring the slates to the cabinet. Pure and simple, it’s a much better way of securing the slates to the pool table cabinet. Which in the long run will result in your pool table remaining level and playing “true”.


7' Dutchess Pool Table Delivers Family Fun

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This family of four from Orange, CA. has been wanting a slate pool table for a couple of years. But now that the kids are entering their teenage years, Mom and Dad thought it was the perfect time to buy one. Keeping an eye on their budget while still seeking quality were two important goals that we were able to achieve harmoniously. The family chose our most popular import pool table by the C.L. Bailey Co. The “Dutchess” offers style and quality all wrapped up in one. This is one of our most popular stains called warm chestnut. We also offer C.L. Bailey pool tables in cinnamon, traditional mahogany and classic oak. As with all of our import pool tables, the Dutchess features solid wood construction throughout and one inch, backed slate.

Please visit our Orange County pool table showroom to see our full line of Fischer and C.L. Bailey models. We also carry American made pool tables from Connelly Billiard Mfg.

Fischer Stratford Pool Table Sale

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Fischer Stratford with accessory drawer


This is a slate pool table we recently delivered and installed for our clients in Fullerton, CA. This model, called the Stratford by Fischer features a hidden accessory drawer that holds all playing equipment. We are currently running a special on the Stratford, we have one in stock at a 20% discount off regular price.