To find the point that you will drill your bolt holes: First, measure from the side of your pocket leather,
to the center of the bolt hole. Now just transfer that to the side of your rail, directly under the
pocket ear hole that we drilled earlier. Do not yet drill...make your mark only.
Now take a 1" spade bit, and drill about 3/8" in. This is the recessed area to hold your Hex Nut, and washer.
Go slowly with this bit -- I cracked the sub rail on one of the holes.
For the actual bolt hole, take a 1/2" bit and drill all the way through to the ear hole.
Your rails are now ready for the pockets.
Marking the Rail Mount Holes
Each rail is mounted to the slate itself, with 3/8" by 2" Hex Bolts. The Hex Bolts are bolted to Rail
Mount Plates. These can be purchased from bestbilliards.com.
To find the exact location of each Rail Mount Plate, we need to assemble the rails and the pockets to the top of the slate.
FIRST, position your slate to the point that it will permanently be. Make sure the slate overhangs the cabinet
evenly on each side
Then use your clamps to clamp the rails roughly into place, and loosely install the pockets. At this point,
we need to temporarily tape the bumpers onto the rails so that we can measure the actual playing area (bumper to bumper.)
My playing area was 44" X 88" (8' Table.) I aligned my rails, and pockets,
to match the measurement exactly, while checking for square along the way.
To square the table: I aligned one of the End Rails to the end of the slate,
then used my large square to align the two Side Rails which are next to that end rail. I "eyeballed"
the other side rails to make sure they were on a straight line with the already squared Side Rails.
Keep in mind that there will be a little bit of play
when it comes down to the final bolting down of the rails, so it doesn't have to be perfect at this time...just real close.
It took a bit of
tugging, squeezing, and yelling at my kids to hold tighter (because I didn't have enough clamps.) But, I got
it in place.
NOTE: If your rails are square and true to your slate, the reveal between the slate and the rail should be
the same around the entire table.
After the rails are in place, Take a pencil, and from underneath the slate, reach up with the pencil and draw
your circle onto the bottom of the rail where each hole in the slate is.
OH!!! And if you didn't buy pre-drilled slate, you will need to spend the next week drilling the holes :)
Drilling the Rail Mount Holes
Use your 1/2" bit and drill each hole about 1-1/4 deep. Just deep enough to hold the rail mount plate
and the end of the bolt.
Routing for the Recessed Rail Mount Plates
The Rail Mount Plates will need to be recesses into the rail itself. To do this, I bought a straight cutting
bit for my router (about 20 bucks.) I then screwed one of the two inch hex nut into one of the plates, and
then stuck the bolt into one of the holes that I just drilled. Take the pencil, and trace around the plate.
You now have your recess line.
Set the router depth to the thickness of the plate, plus a hair. I started to design a jig for these recessed
but it didn't work with my type of router bit. So, I got brave, and hand-routed for the first time in my life,
and it worked just fine --
and it was very fast. Don't worry if you are outside of the lines a little...it's not that crucial - just
don't be inside the lines.
Attaching the Rail Mount Plates
After routing all of the holes, I put the bolt through the plate to keep it in the proper place,
then took a 1-1/4" long screw and attached each plate. Done!