The pool table. If you have the space, having your own pool table is a great investment.

One of the classic ways to fill a game or entertainment room, a billiards game can be a great way to pass time, enjoy drinks, or simply kick back and shoot away some stress.

You’ll be surprised to know that, almost anyone, no matter the age, likes a good game of billiards every now and again. Plus, there’s no better way

The only problem you’ll find with any table is that they can be expensive to buy. There are always cheap, inexpensive options, of course, but the nicer tables are constructed of better materials, making their cost considerably higher.

That’s why we recommend building your own.

It may seem like a tall order, with specific materials and tools needed to finish, but really, it’s not much different than any other table. Aside from some added felt, that is.

If you’ve been looking to add billiards to any room, garage, or space of yours, this is the guide you need to build your own.

What Your Table Will Look Like

Billiard Table and Billiard Materials
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Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

The guide you’ll follow will, by the end, create a pool table that is made from inexpensive materials, but also that makes an impression on people.

Depending on the design, you’ll find stained walnut accents, MDF-constructed bases, or maybe even a honeycomb layout to prevent wood warping on the bottom. Your design may even consist of compartments on the sides to store the cue sticks, rack, and a ball tray.

Just remember that if you don’t like the look of something, most materials are interchangeable with others. So, if you’d rather go for pine instead of oak, for example, that’s fine.

By the end, you’ll be left with everything necessary to have a standard-sized pool table built in a few days.  

Without any more explanation, let’s see how it’s done.

You’ll Need Some Specific Materials

Pool Table materials
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As with anything you build yourself, you’ll need the materials to do so. Constructing your own billiards table is no different.

The only differences come in the form of specific materials that will make the finished product pop.

Essential: The Wood and MDF Parts

You might be surprised to know that you can build a high-quality table out of MDF, or medium-density fiberboard, if you’d like to save some money.

For us, we’d use MDF so that extra funds can be invested elsewhere, but just know that any MDF you see listed can be substituted for real wood if you desire.

Essentially, you’ll need either material to compose the frame of the table. The frame uses the most wood and will be used to hold up the slate, or tabletop, of the board. Thus, this structure needs to be sturdy.

The wood you choose will be the centerpiece of your table, so make sure to pick a high-quality cut.

Some of this wood will be cut down, but for now, that’s the wooden, or wood-like, supplies you’ll need.

The Billiards-Specific Materials

As we mentioned before, there are some crucial goods needed to complete any pool table project, and most come in the form of items that make a billiards table a billiards table.

The first is felt.

You’ll want, at least, 8-feet of precut felt. This can be any color of your choosing and is available in a variety of colors. This is personal preference, so however you’d like to compliment the wood, color-wise, is your decision.

We won’t be crafting our own pool sticks, balls, or brushes, so you’ll want to pick up a billiardaccessory kit for those items. You will also need K66-style bumpers, which you’ll end up cutting down for the size you want.

Depending on the look you’re going for, you can switch out the style of pockets for the project. However, we like to use Western-style leather pockets, which you’ll need 6 of.

To make everything stick together, you’ll need some spray adhesive for installation. Two big cans out to do the trick. Depending on the color of paint you’d like to use, 1-gallon of latex paint is required. This can be any color, but we’d suggest a dark grey or brown for added stylepoints.

The last of the supplies you’ll need come in the form of furniture wax. This is, again, a personal preference, but we recommend a rich-tone color.

Just remember that everything mentioned above has the potential to be used. You won’t require anything else, but this is a good baseline of supplies you’ll want on-hand before building.

Tools Are Required for Construction

tools for construction
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image source: via Barn Images

Building a pool table also warrants the usage of many different tools.

First up are the saws: you’ll want to gather up table, chop, band, and hole saws. But they don’t stop there: you’ll also need the use of a jig and manual saw, at least potentially.

To keep everything together, you’ll need a router, nail gun and nails, along with wood glue and a staple gun. If you want to make things smoother, using wood clamps will help. Of course, to get the wood smooth and down to the measurements you need, you’ll want to have sandpaper, an orbital sander, and a drill on hand.

Plus, a chisel for good measure.

Some random items you should have around include a measuring tape, paint brushes (disposable work best), towels, and a razor blade for exact cutting. Lastly, screws will be an essential part in holding the finished product together for a while.

Overall, there isn’t anything unfamiliar here, and you may even find no use for certain products above. But, whenever building anything, we feel it’s better to have all the potential tools up front rather than searching later.

Time to Build Your Own Pool Table

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image source: via Annie Gray

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary materials and tools, it’s time to start your project.

For this, you’ll want a big, open area to have all the space required. After you’ve secured a space you feel can fit everything inside, you’re ready to start building.

Before you begin, though, just remember that with any woodworking project, you’ll want to exercise major caution when doing any cuts and measurements. Pool tables require patience, and a keen eye for details, so it pays to remember that when building.

Make sure to measure twice and cut once.

We aren’t going to provide you with a specific design for crafting a table, as the exact design and style of the pool table are ultimately yours to decide.

The most basic tables will be made with a wood or MDF frame, which is where all your wood comes into play. On top of the wood frame, which can be a simple square-shaped plank pattern, you’ll probably want to lay down some slate.

Slate is a strong, rock-like material that is made from quartz, clay, and mica, among other things, that works to support the table itself. It’s what you’ll lay your felt onto. The best designs will make easy use of laying slate on top of your frame, while the pockets will be cut out of the wood itself.

After the slate is installed on your frame, the rails will come next.

These are crafted from a wooden plank, such as pine, and a rubber cushion. The cushions go on the sides facing the table and act as side-protectors. Most custom-made pool tables don’t have a ball return system, so know that going in.

You can make one, however, but it’s not the most common system you’ll find in any pool design.  

Choosing When to Build Your Own Billiards Table

Pool Table
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At the end of the day, building your own pool table can be an extremely lucrative, and fulfilling, project. It can also be a tough one to tackle alone, especially without much background in woodworking or power tool usage.

That said, if you have the chops for it, crafting a table that only cost you $1000 in materials is a great bargain. Most of the time, custom tables, the ones built by professionals, can easily skyrocket to $3000 in price.

If you follow this guide for the required materials and tools, you can accomplish a custom table for half of that.

Overall, there isn’t any shame in letting a professional do the job, either.

There’s nothing worse than undertaking a project only for it to be put on the backburner. Or, even worse, if you make a mistake during construction and the whole task needs to be scrapped and started again from the ground up.

But if you require a challenge, and have the woodworking skills to do so, there’s nothing better than moving your custom-built pool table into the entertainment room once everything’s done.

Featured Image: Image by Cucu Petronela from Pixabay

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