This is an eight foot Fischer “Duke” pool table we delivered to our clients in Yorba Linda, CA last week. These pool tables are imports made in Malaysia, in the same factory that produces American Heritage pool tables. One of the major differences between Fischer and American Heritage is the way that the slate liners are attached. On all Fischer pool tables each piece of slate has an “MDF” (medium density fiberboard) wood backing that is glued directly to the bottom of each piece. However, on all American Heritage tables, a very large piece of MDF is attached to the top of the cabinet. Large sections are cut out for the the installer to wedge the slate from underneath.
One of the advantages of having the slates lined with wood is that if the pool table ever needs to be moved, the slates are much less likely to be broken during transport. The second advantage of having a pool table with backed slate is evident during the installation process. Wood wedges are used to precisely level each piece of slate before the felt is installed. In the case of Fischer which has slate that is backed, the leveling wedge is directly leveraged against the top edge of the pool table’s cabinet/frame. This foundation is usually about two to three inches in width. Conversely, in the case of American Heritage, with it’s slate liner that is attached to the pool table’s cabinet/frame, the leveling wedge enters directly between the slate and liner and there is a six to seven inch over-hang of slate liner wood, which is twice as far away from the top edge of the pool table’s cabinet/frame.
What this boils down to is a lot of the energy exerted by the leveling wedge is absorbed by this extra slate liner over-hang. This means that the slate must be raised even further off of it’s foundation. In the long run this will lead to more sagging of the slates and more problems with the slate seams settling and becoming uneven. The tell-tale sign is always a faint white line that crosses the width of the felt where the two seams are, and sometimes the pool balls will hop slightly as they pass over the uneven slates.