Before laying the cloth down, you want to make sure your slate is clear of excess wax, and particles. The
last thing you want is a piece of anything under your cloth. I took a very fine, piece of a sanding sponge
and LIGHTLY sanded the slate, in the direction of the tiny groove lines. You don't want to take off any grooves,
just lightly knock off any debris on the surface. If you have any negative bumps (scratches, nicks, etc.)
you will use your wax to fill these imperfections.
Then clean the slate with a damp rag. Lastly, and most importantly, take your hands and wipe the surface, feeling
for any loose particles or inconsistencies on the surface. Believe it or not, your hands pick up more tiny particles than
a rag will. Do this several times before laying your cloth down.
Ripping your cloth
Cloth actually rips in a straight line, there is absolutely no need for cutting.
Use the Cloth Cutting Guide to determine the cuts (rips) for your
specific size of table. I cut the width of mine, about a half inch short, and it ended up bringing me in
the #!# later. Cut it an inch longer, trust me, you will have enough left over for the rails.
Stapling the Bed Cloth
You will need an electric stapler or a hand stapler (which I used), and an extra hand, if you have one.
Take the cloth and spread it out over the table. Start at one end, in the middle, and staple the cloth outward
to each end - pulling outward on the cloth, fairly tight, as you go.
After completing the one end, go to the other end. Starting from the middle again, you will want to pull as
tightly as possible and staple outward. Consistent tugs are VERY important here. Don't worry about ripping the cloth,
it is extremely strong. I know this, because I cut one side of the cloth short, so I had to use clamps to pull it into place.
I thought ripping the cloth was inevitable, but it held up.
Do the sides in the same way. Start on one side, in the middle and just staple it tugging outward. Be sure
not to pull the cloth away from the other side too much. Just cover the wood backing, but no more (if you
pull too much on the first side, you will leave the other side short.) Do the entire side, then go to the
other side, start in the middle and pull as hard as you can while stapling out to each end.
Take a 1" piece of cloth and staple it to the slate backing around the edge of the pocket. This will cover
any showing wood or slate after we make a few cuts in the table cloth. Now make three cuts (four for the side pockets)
about 3/4" away from the slate. One in the middle, then evenly to the right and left of that cut. The cuts
will start toward the pocket, and meet each other at the bottom of the middle cut. Now you have three (or four)
long triangular shaped pieces of cloth hanging down. Start in the middle, pull that piece as tight as you can
and staple it to the bottom of the slate backing. Do the same for the rest. It should be nice and snug.
Pay attention to where you put the staples for the little 1" piece of trim...you don't want them showing.
If you screw up, as I did, that's okay. Just take the staples out, and do it again.
You will also need to cutout the holes for the rail mount bolts at this time.
Clothing the Rails
The rails were a lesson in patience for me. Take your time, then take the staples out, and do it again.
The first thing to do, and the easiest, is lay the cloth over the top of the rail (the bad side should
be facing up, at this point. Take your feather strip, and pound it and the cloth into the groove with a rubber
mallet. The feather strips, come in either rubber or 1/4" X 1/4" strips of wood. I had the wood, but it was
just a touch too wide to fit. I took the strips and very slowly, ran them through my table saw, and ripped
them to 1/4" minus a hair. They fit perfectly after that.
Wrap the cloth around the bumper, and tightly, but not too tightly (you don't want to wrinkle the bumper) pull
the cloth and staple it to the bottom of the rail. Staple it right to the end, on the side pockets. Leave
about 4" unstapled for each corner pocket.
Side Pockets: The cloth will actually be folded to make the turn into the rail. Take your time and figure this
out before stapling (it's fairly simple.) The trick is, you don't want too much bulk from the cloth, because
it will hold your pockets away from the rail. So you will need to make a cut at a 45-degree angle
to trim away the excess. After trimming away the excess, fold and staple it to the bottom of the rail.
HINT: hold the pocket up to the side of the rail. You will get a better idea of what it needs to look like.
Corner Pockets: You left yourself about 4" of unstapled cloth before you met the corners. Go to the very end
of the rail (where the rail will meet the pocket) and tug it tightly, and place a staple in the bottom of the rail.
From there, and in between the other side of staples, you will need to evenly wrinkle the cloth around each side
of the corner. Take your time, then do it again. You will find that if you just relax and make a little wrinkle...
staple it, then make another wrinkle, staple it...etc. It turns out pretty good.
I do not yet consider myself an expert at covering a table. So, I am probably not the best source to learn from.
bestbilliard.com has a wonderful step by step process of how to recover a table.
www.bestbilliards.com/recover/ I suggest looking this over a few times.