Dead Cushions? Already?

You have a beautiful pool table, but something is just not right. You can’t put your finger on it, but it just doesn’t play like it did when you bought it. It seems like the cushions are just not bouncing right. But how can that be? The pool table is only 5 or 6 years old. Cushion rubber is supposed to last like 20 years, right? What is going on!?

Here’s the scoop:
Recently, we have seen many pool tables less than 10 years old with bad cushion rubber. Some less than 5 years old. Some were inexpensive to buy, but most weren’t. There are a few major pool table manufacturers that used a batch of cushion rubber that was inferior. It can affect only one or two cushions or all six. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason. But the truth is, if one rail has gone bad, the others are likely to follow suit shortly after. We’ve seen a few different brands of pool tables that have cushion rubber issues, but at the top of the list are American Heritage Pool Tables and Artisan Pool Tables. We’ve even seen it on a few Beach Manufacturing and Golden West Pool Tables. These are all nice, well built tables that just had poor quality rubber on the rails.

The inferior cushion rubber is K-66 profile and most often pink in color. You probably don’t know what color the rubber is, since your cloth covers it. But, it is pink rather than amber or tan. Don’t take off your cloth to see the color! You can test your cushions by rolling a ball firmly against a cushion on the short side. It should make 3-4 cushion to cushion contacts before coming to rest. The telltale sign of a dead cushion is a “thud” noise on contact. Cushions should be quiet and lively.

Good pool table cushion rubber generally lasts 20-25 years, although some last longer. We can swap out your bad rubber for good rubber and get your table playing like new again.

44 thoughts on “Dead Cushions? Already?”

  1. I just bought a used antique pool table from the early 1900’s I believe. I’m not sure who makes it but the rails are dead and I don’t know which ones to buy. I live in Kansas and it’s kinda a small town so we don’t have professionals I can go to. Can you help me please !!!

    • Hi Bryan, to the best of my knowledge most antique pool table rails used k-55 profile rubber. That being said that’s not 100% but what I would recommend is purchasing both k55 and k66 rubber cushions stripping your rails getting them ready for the new rubber, take one piece of each rail rubber place it on the wood and have somebody measure to the center of the nose down to a surface such as the Slate, you want your measurement to measure 1 and 13/32 of an inch. This will give you the best bounce possible. Best wishes, PTK.

  2. I have a table but have not been able to find a name on it ,it has a solid maple skirt 3 piece slate very heavy legs that are at
    least 6 inches at the top with a claw design at the bottom of the legs. Skirt is right at 2 inches thick and it does have 2 2×6 supports under the slate and leather pockets. the table has a natural finish on the wood. is there a way i can find out what brand or the maker of the table. By your way of measuring it is a 8 foot table

    • I can’t pinpoint a manufacturer based on that description. Natural maple stain would lead me to believe the table was likely built in the early to mid-1990s.

  3. Hello, i have a question. Help me choose from a brunswick ventura pool table with leather pockets i believe it was made early 1900. OR i beach mfg/gus adams model pool table with ball return system . Both cost around $500 and both tables look New. What would you buy knowing what you know about used pool tables. THANKS FOR THE HELP

    • Hi T Mack, I would buy the Beach Mfg pool table over the Brunswick Ventura. They are both very high quality tables but the Gus Adams model with the hidden accessory drawer is a great feature and at $500 is a steal.
      Best, PTK.

      • I have a new 8 foot pro am table orderd from diamond billiards im trying to figure out first of all does the pro am come stock with the artemis cushions and if not should i have them upgrade me to the artemis vs the diamond billiard black cushion rubber what are your thoughts on this thanks

  4. I have a new American Heritage (Gateway model) with MBS K66 cushions. They are pink with canvas backing…are these cushions on your rotten tomato list or does AHB actually put a better quality cushion on their higher end table?

    • Great question and to my knowledge the manufacturer uses the same cushion rubber on all their pool tables. Check the label that is printed on the bottom of the cushion. Best, David

  5. Global 9 foot table with an ice rink cloth and a set of k66 rails that direct the ball in random ways. Played for five plus hours per day by little old men. The only thing that seems ok are the levels.
    It needs the works.
    But with the selection of clothes and possible rails, were not sure what to use.
    Any suggestions?
    And what light bulb do you recommend for a tornement green felt? Thank you.

    • Bruce, Global Mfg. makes quality pool tables for commercial use. You probably need new cushion rubber and cloth. Have a qualified billiard mechanic do the work. If you have the available funds I’d splurge on Artemis cushions and Simonis cloth. Lightbulb wattage can run 60-75 watts.

    • Yes, leisure bay is also one of the pool table brands to have used inferior “pink” cushion rubber. These tables were likely made in the same Malaysian factory as American Heritage pool tables. The profile is K-66 but the problem I have had with these tables is the presence of a horizontal hump or ridge of wood that I think was designed to aid in the allignment of the rubber when being installed. The problem I had with the “ridge” was when I would apply my K-66 rubber to the rail the top of the cushion would not sit perfectly flush with the top of the rail. This would cause the “nose” of the cushion to dip below the recommended cushion height. So if you want to solve the problem I would suggest you remove this “hump/ridge” by planing off with the appropriate tools. Using a good quality table saw or an electric planer works great. Just be very careful not to change the angle of where the rubber will be glued on!!
      Best of luck, PTK.

  6. How do I know what type of cushion I need k55 vs k66, etc. I have a 7 foot table that is at least 30 years old. The labels says Brunswick Bristol. The cushions are deteriorating and I want to bring it back to life for my kids. Any suggestions?

    • There isn’t an easy way to check really. Your table requires special order cushion rubber called Century. Using standard rubber will cause cushions to not bounce properly. You could use standard k-66 but you’d have to run the rails through a table saw to change the profile. This wouldn’t be the recommended way. Ordering proper rubber is better.

    • You’ll have to first figure out what profile cushion rubber you have. Please contact us for more information if you are in the Orange County area.

  7. The supreme prince table has a counter inside it it tells u how many times its racked up it reads 1236 . could it be that the cushions and cloth need done as the table is DEAD !! Any advise.

    • Not sure about this Prince pool table you speak of. In my experience the more games of pool a pool table sees the better the action off the rails. It is a dormant pool table that I’d be worried about possibly having “dead” cushion rubber. Cheers, Dave.

  8. Hi there I have just bought a second hand supreme prince 7 foot pool table . The guy told me the the is 18 months old . It’s a great looking table , the cloth was a bit thick looking with a couple of scuffs nothing to serious . I’ve ironed the table a good few times but the table just seems to be dead !!!! Can’t make my mind up if the cushion need done to . Any advice..

    • Hi David, the perfect height of a cushion measures 1 13/32nds. of an inch from the felt to the center of the nose of the cushion.

  9. Where should the rail / cushions touch / hit / meet any billiard ball. In other word “in the middle of the ball’? just above middle? ???? Installing the wrong cushions can change the height of the rail to where it touches the ball first. thanks

    • Hey Mike, the perfect height of a cushion measures 1 13/32nds. of an inch from the felt to the center of the nose of the cushion.

  10. Heelo
    First off thankyou so much for answering me so quickly, as far as hardness it is only where the corner pockets are. This table was bought new and only about 3 weeks ago maybe 4 at most

    • you’re welcome deborah. so what you want to do is feel the edges of the cushion rubber (the part the balls bounce off of) and make sure the consistency is firm but not too hard. check all of the rails in different spots along each rail, consistency should be same on each rail. maybe your cushion rubber has prematurely hardened. the only other thing i can think of is the mechanic you hired did not tighten the rail bolts properly. loose rails will give the appearance of a “dead” rail.
      good luck, ptk.

  11. Hello I am hoping you can shed some light on the problem I am having with my table, I bought a brunswick tremont not the best choice but anyways I had to have the pool mechanic and I say that loosely come back two times. This last time after he fixed it I now have a thudding sound when the balls hit the rails, could this just be cause I bought a cheap table or is something wrong with the cushions?

    • Hello, do you feel any hardness along the nose of the cushions? Did you buy this pool table new or used? A thud sound after the ball collides into the rail means you have a dead cushion.
      Hope this will help, PTK.

  12. I have a late 20’s Brunswick Wilmington.. I have just replaced the old “Master Fast” K66 cushions. Hard to tell but, they look very old. Unfortunately, the new Champion
    Tour Editon rails seem to play even slower than the old set. I’m not a pro but I’m very meticulous and capable. However, at most the cushion nose height is high by an 1/8″ evenly around the table. I guess I installed them poorly, but I don’t know of Its just the ball hitting low. Its has a deadening chop sound when struck firmly. Yet, it rolls and bounces smoothly.. The ball will touch 4 total times between the side cushions, which doesn’t seem quite enough. Could the staples be causing the offset on nose height? Or have I simply installed them wrong? Thanks a lot for any advise.

    • Hi Bob, that’s a great question. I have to say first of all I don’t prefer to use that type of cushion rubber. I just don’t like the bounce it produces, or lack of I should say. If you set the height of the new rubber exactly following the wood on the rail, the height should be the same as the old Master Fast. The other thing that’s possible is when you were tightening your rail bolts, maybe you didn’t push the rails down hard enough before doing the final torque on the bolts. Check for any slight gaps at the bottom of each rail. The other thing you can try is using K-55 cushion rubber. This profile cushion has a slightly lower nose. Honestly though, four cushion to cushion contacts from side to side is not too bad at all, considering your table uses a side bolt method of fastening the rails to the slatebed. Well Bob, there you have my nickels worth of knowledge. Let me know how things go, Dave.

  13. I am a experienced
    shooter. That is to say I know about english and balls jumping off the table. But I have one rail that no matter how you shoot the ball that hits the rail will jump. Why is this and how do I fix it please?

    • That’s a great question Joe. The balls are hopping off the rail because the nose of the cushion is slightly too low. When your ball strikes a rail that’s too low it jumps up a bit at the point of contact. You should check one other possible cause which would be if the cushion has become detached from the rail and has slightly fallen down towards the slate. If it’s not this, then the problem is easily fixed. Find a cereal box that you can cut into strips that are about two inches wide by 10 inches long. Then start by un-bolting the rail from underneath the slate. When the rail is loose enough insert a strip of cereal box underneath the rail in four different spots making sure you don’t cover up the rail bolt holes. Install and tighten up the bolts and perform a bounce test. If the ball still hops then you’ll need to add another layer of cereal box shims. Good Luck my friend.

  14. I have a 1898 Pfister 6 Leg 5×10 Snooker Table. I had it recovered just after I brought it home 5 months ago and at that time I was told the cushions had about 90% life in them. Now this table came out of an old home where there was drastic changes in temp and humidity. Now I have it in my home which I built to Energy Star standards and has a complete computer controlled environment. I have just noticed the past few weeks that the rubber by the pockets sound like the ball is hitting concrete. Could it be possible that the cushions are drying out and gone hard or just wear . We normally get at least three games on it daily. Very tough to make shots in the corner pockets because there seems to be no give to the rubber and the pockets are almost 5/8″ smaller then World Snooker Tables

    • Thanks for your question Les. I’m wondering if your snooker bends are staring to go bad. You may have to contact a qualified billiard table mechanic in your area. Someone who could listen to the sound your balls made as they rebound from the suspect cushion rubbers. Regards, Dave.

  15. Not sure I understand the reference to “pink” cushions being bad. Aren’t Artemis cushions pink and for the most part considered the best in the industry? The photo above shows installation of pink cushions don’t they?

    • Hi Jack, It’s true that most pink colored cushion rubber is not good. However not all pink cushion rubber is bad, for example when i’m doing a recushion job on a table that requires a k-55 cushion i’ll use rubber from mbs and it’s pink. but i guess you’d have to be around rubber all the time, cause to me this pink smells differently than other pink. sound wierd, but i can smell a difference.

    • Hello Karen, I imagine that replacing the bumpers is possible on just about any pool table. Knowing the size of cushion is what we need to find out. Might you email me some pics of the rails?
      Thanks for your comment.

  16. I have several Vally and Dynamo pool tables with dead rails,all are 7′ tables except one and it’s an 8′ table all coin ops.Can you tell me how much the rails might cost or refer me to someone in the Atlanta,Georgia area? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    • You can expect to pay about $180 per set if you buy 4-6 sets at a time. If you’re in the vending business you may be able to get a break on this price.
      Contact Fred at Penguin Amusement in Sheppard, MI.
      Phone (866)772-3636

  17. Your right on the mark, my 3 year old American Heritage pool table had 2 “dead” bumpers. I tried contacting the company where I purchased my pool table from (i think they’re out of business now) but at the time they were located next to the 55 freeway in santa ana. At the time i contacted them they were still in business and all I heard from them was the cusion rubber was not covered under their warranty. I spoke with Rory at DK Billiards in Orange,CA. She was very helpful and explained to me the difference in cushion rubber color and the normal life expectancy of “good” cushion rubber. The color does make a huge difference, anyway Rory’s husband David came to my home and dismantled my pool table’s rails and took them to his shop. David explained to me that since my pool table’s felt was only 3 years old there was a good chance he could save the felt on my rails so there would be no need to refelt the rails (aka bumpers). About a week later he came back and re-installed the rails on my pool table and I could tell the difference right away. My pool table was back to playing the way it should. David explained that the cushion rubber that he uses is amber in color and does not contain as much clay filler as the pink rubber does. This will allow the cushions to remain lively much, much longer than the previous rubber that american heritage used.
    Thanks for the great service and education about pool table cushion rubber.

  18. There are many sizes and styles of pool and billiard tables. Generally, tables are rectangles twice as long as they are wide. Most pool tables are known as 7-, 8-, or 9-footers, referring to the length of the table’s long side. Full-size snooker and English billiard tables are 12 feet long on the longest side.

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