Playing pool is usually a blast. Moving a pool table, however, is something else entirely—especially if it’s a one-piece slate pool table that can’t be broken down into segments.
The obvious advantage of a one-piece table is that there are no seams. The surface is perfectly smooth and (at least in theory) even. Even though today’s higher-end three-piece tables offer a playing surface that’s just as smooth and even, many players still prefer the one-piece. But like so much else in life, there’s a price to be paid for this kind of loyalty, and in this case that price is the difficulty involved in moving a piece of furniture that can weigh upwards of 500 pounds. Moving a one-piece slate pool table isn’t just difficult—it’s downright dangerous, especially if sharp corners and stairs are involved.
This is why safety is paramount and why proper planning and precautions are an absolute must. Moving a one-piece slate pool table involves a lot of lifting, shifting, twisting and turning. That’s fine if you’re dealing with a futon. No big deal. But when you’re dealing with something that weighs about the same as a baby grand piano, planning is critical.
The Must-Haves for Transporting a Solid Slate Pool Table
First of all, you have to recruit some help. You’re going to need them. Next, distract them from their own grumbling and groaning by keeping them as busy as possible. Put them in charge of gathering all the necessary tools and equipment. A dolly, for example, is an absolute must. If you prefer to use a professional pool table mover, that’s fine too, but be prepared to shell out a few hundred bucks.
Be sure to have a good supply of furniture blankets or padding on hand, and spend some time making sure you have access to a wide assortment of screwdrivers and socket wrenches, as well as a power drill. Measuring tape is critical. (Note: It doesn’t hurt to go a little overboard in this area. The one tool you think you’ll never need is sometimes the one you need most, so err on the side of collecting a wide assortment of tools).
Next, assess the immediate environment carefully. Know the layout and write down the measurements of doorways, hallways and staircases. Clear obvious obstacles and put anything fragile in another room or a closet.
Step-by-Step Disassembly of a One-Piece Slate Pool Table
Remind your team why they’re there: to make things easier, but also to make things safer. Insist that everybody keep a close eye on everybody else as they work. Assign each team member a specific area of responsibility.
Once that’s done, it’s time to start disassembling the table. A one-piece pool table is, as its name implies, one piece, but there are still things you can do to make moving it easier. First, detach the pockets carefully and label the rails for quick and convenient re-assembly. Then, using a simple staple remover, gently peel back the felt and roll it up for later use.
Next, unscrew the frame from the slate. And then, using the utmost caution—and employing proper lifting techniques—remove the slate and wrap it in protective moving blankets.
Maneuvering with Caution
Now it’s time to prepare for the move itself. Using immense care, load the slate onto the dolly. Don’t rush. Secure the slate with straps or ropes, or both if you’ve got them. Again, take your time and make sure the slate is balanced and secure. Rely on the dolly’s wheels to help with any necessary maneuvering. If you need to, disassemble the frame further and then stack the rails in preparation for transport.
When it comes to navigating doorways, stairs and tight spots, tilt the slate vertically for narrow passages and use ramps or plywood to deal with stairs. Again, slow and steady is the operative principle. Keep thinking about possible issues as you get closer to the moving vehicle and the best way to overcome them safely.
Transporting with Care
When it comes to loading everything into the vehicle and securing it all for transport, always position the slate vertically against the wall, then position the remaining components in a way that minimizes any potential shifting during the move.
When you arrive where you’re going, follow the same basic principles listed above to transport the table to its intended destination. Be methodical. Carefully unwrap the slate and inspect it for any damage, then align the slate properly on the frame.
To attach the frame and rails, secure the frame to the slate using screws. Then re-attach the rails and pockets using the labels you made earlier. To re-install the felt, first lay it out and smooth out any wrinkles, then use a staple gun to carefully reattach it to the frame.
Table Leveling Essentials
Finally, use a level to make sure that the table is even. Adjust the table’s feet or shims as required.
There are a few critical principles to keep in mind from the beginning of the move until the end. Maintain open communication with your team members. Let them know that any one of them has the power to stop everyone else, at any time, if they see something that concerns them. Safety comes first. In addition, always use proper lifting techniques to prevent injuries and, again, take your time during disassembly and reassembly. Be sure to keep all screws, bolts, and components organized. And remember – if you can afford it, and you don’t feel confident in your ability to move such a large item, consider hiring professionals. 500 pounds is serious business.
In brief, don’t take moving a one-piece slate pool table lightly. Prepare thoroughly. Collect the right tools, measure everything carefully, and assign each of your helpers a specific role. Disassemble the table by detaching the pockets and labeling the rails. Carefully remove the felt and take apart the frame and slate. Load the slate onto the dolly and secure it thoroughly, then reduce the frame further if necessary and stack the rails for transport. Navigate doorways, stairs and tight spots slowly and cautiously. Load everything into the moving vehicle with the slate against the wall, and secure the entire load thoroughly to prevent shifting. When you get to where you’re going, follow all of the same basic principles, then carefully unwrap the slate, inspect it for damage, and align it properly on the frame. Re-attach the frame and rails and re-install the felt. And finally, make sure the table is level.
By following this simple guide, moving a one-piece slate pool table becomes a far simpler and safer endeavor. Careful planning, teamwork, and attention to the little things at every stage of the process guarantee a smooth and successful move.