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Slate vs Wood vs MDF Pool Table: Deciding which material is best for you

What are pool tables made of? We call most tables “beasts” And we are about to find out why.

Everything you need to know about what pool tables are made of

I’m going to give a quick run-through of everything used to make a pool table.I’ll be quick. BUT. Every nook and cranny shall be covered.

What are various pool tables made of |The best and worst materials used

In the same way, ice cream has different flavors to meet different taste buds. Pool tables are the same.

There are different types of materials to meet different tastes. In both style and endurance. Let’s dive right into the best and worst materials used for billiards tables.

Quarried Slate

Solid rock that is made of many minerals. These include quartz, clay, and mica with a fine grain. It is taken to the quarry processing plant and cooled with water. The extraction and processing create slate as we know it. Slate has a lifetime warranty from many manufacturers. Avoiding the risk of fracture, the slate is separated into three pieces of 1 inch or 1/4 inch thickness. This makes for a strong pool table

Features

  • It is strong, solid, and durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Does not warp or degrade over time
  • Heavy-weighs between 400 and 600 pounds
  • Does not succumb to rigidity

Uses

  • Used for making a flat surface on the POOL TABLE BED
  • Ensures that the playing surface remains smooth and level

Pros

  • Maple wood has a great appearance
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Hard and extremely durable
  • An affordable purchase

Cons

  • Sensitive to extreme humidity
  • Prone to warping & splitting
  • Fades over time
  • Scratches very easily

Slatron

This is a synthetic slate. It is made of a layer of plastic that surrounds particle board. It is known to be the most durable of synthetic slates. Its quality is far below that of real slate. Slatron does not cost much. A slatron table’s cost is also low. You wouldn’t need to sell an arm and a leg to get one of these billiard tables.

Features

  • This type of slate unlike Thor’s hammer is not heavy
  • The playing surface is not guaranteed to be super flat or leveled
  • Slatron does not produce a stable pool table

Uses

  • On a billiard table, it would be used to make everything
  • Legs and Frame
  • Play surface

Pros

  • Lightweight so can be easily moved around
  • Cheaper than slate

Cons

  • Not stable
  • Warping over time
  • No protection against water or humdity

Hardwood – MDF

 Medium-density fiberboard is an engineered product. It is made by breaking down hard and softwood residuals into wooden fibers. The fibers are then combined with wax and a resin binder and glued. This hardwood material is much cheaper and lighter than slate pool tables.

Features

  • It is not waterproof
  • Has limited exposure to humidity.
  • Safer in a temperature-controlled room
  • The best way to separate between Medium-density fiberboard and slate is the price tag
  • This pool table has a flat playing surface

Uses

  • Billiard tables use this material for the frame
  • Legs and Playfield

Pros

  • If properly built it could pass as a slate pool table
  • The weight of this table is not as heavy as slate
  • The price tag will not give you a heart attack. LOL.

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Prone to warping
  • Not sturdy

Oakwood

This is a hard, stiff, and shock-resistant wood. This makes it ideal for the construction of billiard tables. As hardwoodoak has a high level of water resistance as it is dense.

Features

  • This hardwood is used to make outdoor furniture because it is waterproof
  • It is shock-resistant
  •  The second most popular Oakwood to make furniture from

Uses

  • Frame
  • Legs
  • Playfield

Pros

  • Sturdy as a rock
  • Can be used indoors or outside
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not easily movable. (Heavy)
  • It is expensive

Maple wood

Maple is one of the most used hardwoods. This is because of its heavyweight, density, and durability. Maple has a pale color with a fine grain pattern. It is known to accept stain well when finished. Wood stains are coatings that protect the surface of wooden pieces. It gives a modern look as well.

Features

  • it expands and contracts due to moisture in the air
  • Warps in moist areas
  • Maple wood is a good choice for indoor furniture
  • It can be treated to weatherproof it

Pros

  • Maple wood has a great appearance
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Hard and extremely durable
  • An affordable purchase

Cons

  • Sensitive to extreme humidity
  • Prone to Warping & splitting
  • Fades over time
  • Scratches very easily

Felt

The pool table cloth is called felt. It is a textile material. The process of matting, condensing, and pressing fibers is used. Felt has many brands but comes in 2 types; Worsted and Napped.

Napped cloth is the standard felt. It is included with most tables purchased at any company.

The worsted pool table cloth is of higher quality. It has good play ability and is durable. Worsted cloth is made of tightly woven wool called Baize. Which is also known as woven felt or bocking flannel.

Features
  • Baize is thin
  • More Durable than napped felt
  • Heat retention abilities -high
  • Fabric breathability – medium
  • Moisture-absorbing abilities- high
  • Low stretchability
Uses
  • Pool table covers
  • Gaming tables
  • Costumes
  • Writing desk covers

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Has options for both affordable and pricier qualities
  • Baize is more durable

Cons

  • The napped felt wears and tears easily
  • Expensive

Vulcanized rubber cushions

Vulcanization is like hardened rubber. How? By combining it with sulfur or other substances. This is done using heat and pressure. Vulcanization gives the rubber its strength, resistance, and elasticity. The finished rubber is flexible and resistant to swelling and scratching.

Features

  • Flammable
  • Flexible
  • Strong
  • Scratch-resistant

Uses

  • Gives good bounce to the pool balls
  • Improves playability by giving a fast rebound to the balls
  • Give momentum when the balls hit the pool table walls

Pros

  • Durable
  • Last for over 5 years
  • Resistance to hard balls

Cons

  • Flammable
  • Tends to melt if left in both heat and cracks in the cold
  • Replacement should be done by professionals

Aluminum VS Stainless steel frame

Just like teal and blue. Aluminum and Stainless Steel might look similar, but they are quite different.

Strength to weight ratio- Steel is stronger than aluminum. BUT aluminum weighs more than steel.

Features/ Differences
  • Stainless steel does not rust
  • Aluminum is a good heat conductor
  • Aluminum is softer and easier to cut and mold than stainless steel
  • Stainless can be used at much higher temperatures than Aluminum
  • Stainless steel is a poor conductor of current compared to aluminum
Uses
  • Used on Frames and legs of mostly outdoor pool tables
  • Pool table rails

Pros

  • Weatherproof
  • Can be used in the indoors and outdoors
  • Thick and solid
  • Adds a more modern style

Cons

  • Heavy

Leather

Leather is durable and flexible. Created by tanning animal rawhide and skins. These materials are used to make a pool table pocket in any style.

Although there are different sized pockets depending upon the pool table size, they are all universal.

Features

  • Durable
  • Thick
  • Modern look

Uses

  • Used with pool table pockets

Pros

  • No dust mites and other insects
  • Easy to clean
  • Waterproof
  • Durable

Cons

  • Sensitive to extreme heat
  • Limited color options

In conclusion

I’m sure we can safely say that I just did you a solid with this article. Any burning questions on what pool tables are made of have been answered fully. Now you can shock everyone by confidently throwing around billiards lingo without breaking a sweat.

Still want to learn more?

Check out our other articles on everything related to pool here.