Best Billiards - Specializing in Pool Table Repair
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How-To Guides
Building the Cabinet

Cabinet Size
Before beginning the cabinet, you need to triple check the measurements. You want the outside of the frame to be inside of the corner pockets. To calculate this, you obviously measure the depth of the side pockets on the slate, right? WRONG! This works for the side pockets, but when you project the line to the corner pockets, your cabinet will stick out by a few inches. To solve this problem, I drew the lines on the slate itself so that I would just clear the corner pockets. And because the legs come out from the body, I had to subtract an additional 3/4". I measured these lines, and it came out to be 14" subtracted from each dimension of the slate. So the slate would overhang the entire cabinet by 7".

Now I have the measurements to the outside of my cabinet. But since I'm building this in three layers -- Oak Plywood under Hickory Frame, then another 3/4" layer of decorative Hickory trim (which will also just add to the strength of the cabinet) -- I had to subtract 3/4" three times to get the outside dimension of the first layer, the oak plywood (the third layer subtracted was for the 3/4" that the legs stick out.)

Cabinet Style: Most cabinets are built with a 15-degree angle sloping inward from top to bottom. The basic idea is the same, there are just a few more angles to figure in each cut. I chose a square style, mainly because I like a simple rustic look, and also because there are far fewer brain cramps involved.

1st Layer - 3/4" Oak Plywood
After double checking another three times (that would be considered triple checking - therefore I guess I checked a total of 6 times.) I cut the pieces of plywood to length. I wont give specific dimensions since most of you will be building a different size table. I then used Tightbond II to glue the square joints, while holding them tightly in place with my clamps. I have a brad nailer, so I use that to initially hold the joints together, then I add screws to really tighten it up. I'm using a simple square joint because if I cris-cross the different layers, they will act as interlocking fingers (picture below.) Just make sure you subtract the thickness of the board attached to maintain your overall dimension. You will also want to glue and screw glue blocks in each corner of the cabinet. This will really tie things together. I also checked the cabinet for square several times through this phase. I wanted the glue to dry with the cabinet being square.

Sawhorses: I had none. This process might have been a little easier with a pair (less bending over, leads to less "plumbers crack.")

2nd Layer - 3/4" Hickory
After completing the first layer, I attached the hickory by spreading a layer of glue over each board then clamped, nailed, and screwed each piece into place. As I mentioned before, Hickory doesn't come in 12" widths, so I used two 6" pieces butted up and glued side by side to form the 12" wide frame. I interlocked the layers ends to cris-cross for strength.

3rd Layer - 3/4" Hickory Trim
Because the legs stick out from the frame, and the trim will go between the legs, I decided to wait 'til the legs were installed before I installed the trim.

Next...prepare for the legs.