Do You Glue the Felt on a Pool Table? (Explained Options)

Do You Glue the Felt on a Pool Table

When it comes to refurbishing and keeping a pool table in good condition, one of the most crucial aspects is the playing cloth, which is fundamental to both the playability and the overall aesthetics.

Therefore, the installation method and how you refelt your pool table matters a great deal. 

Whether that’s gluing the felt on a pool table or otherwise, I will answer all within this article clearly and comprehensively.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the importance of correctly installing felt on a pool table.
  • There are two main methods of refelting a pool table: gluing and stapling.
  • Gluing is a little more forgiving if you make a mistake.
  • Stapling maintains a good, tight stretch on the material.

The Quick Answer – Do You Glue the Felt on a Pool Table?

Do you glue the felt on a pool table?

Yes, you can glue the felt on a pool table, which is one of the most popular methods to install pool table felt.

Advantages of Gluing Pool Table Felt

There are a couple of reasons why gluing is a good option:

  1. When using glue, it should be applied evenly across the edges’ of the cloth, and many players believe this to be the smoothest type of application.
  2. There are some arguments in favor of a tighter playing cloth, for longer, when it is glued down.

Step-by-Step Guide to Gluing Pool Table Felt

When using glue to secure felt to a pool table, the adhesive only needs to be applied to the area on the underside of the cloth that meets the edge of the table.

Here is a step-by-step guide to gluing pool table felt

Preparing the Surface

  1. Clean the Slate: Use a brush to remove any debris or old glue from the slate.
  2. Measure and Cut the Felt: Measure the felt, leaving extra material for adjustments.

Applying the Glue

  1. Apply the Adhesive: Spread a thin, even layer of adhesive on the outer edge of the slate or MDF bed.
  2. Laying the Felt: Carefully lay the felt on the adhesive, starting from the center, stretching the felt evenly.

Smoothing and Trimming

  1. Smooth Out Bubbles: Use a roller to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles.
  2. Trim Excess Felt: Carefully trim the excess felt around the edges.

What Kind of Glue Do You Use to Refelt a Pool Table?

The type of adhesive you use should allow enough time between application and bonding, to fix the cloth into position.

Spray adhesives are the best to be used when attaching the cloth to the bed.

One of the best is the 3M Super 77 Multipurpose Spray Adhesive.

  • It bonds after 15 seconds, but doesn’t fully set until 30 minutes.
  • This allows plenty of time to work with and make any adjustments to the cloth positioning before it becomes permanent.
  • It’s a spray adhesive, so it’s pretty easy to work with on an area the size of a full pool table.

Alternatively, my other suggestion would be the Scotch Super 77 Multipurpose Adhesive Spray, which also leaves a nice clean and clear finish with a strong bond. 

Alternative Method to Gluing Pool Table Felt

While gluing the felt onto a pool table is a popular method, there is another alternative that can be equally effective.

Stapling the Felt

Stapling the felt onto a pool table is a traditional and widely used method.

Tonnes of players prefer stapling the felt down for a few different reasons.

Advantages of Stapling Pool Table Felt

  1. Stapling allows for incremental adjustments during installation, ensuring a smooth and even playing surface.
  2. The process is relatively straightforward and doesn’t require specialized tools or materials beyond a staple gun and staples.
  3. When it’s time to replace the felt, staples can be easily removed without dealing with adhesive residue.

Step-by-Step Guide to Stapling Pool Table Felt

  1. Center First: Start by aligning the felt in the center of the table. Staple the felt at the center point along one side, pulling it taut to the opposite side, and staple there.
  2. Work Outwards: Continue stapling from the center out towards the corners, pulling the felt taut as you go. This prevents wrinkles and ensures a smooth surface.
  3. Corner Technique: At the corners, fold the felt, like wrapping a gift. It should be smooth and tight. Staple the felt under the table to secure it.
  4. Rail Stapling: When stapling felt on the rails, pull the felt evenly and staple it on the underside of the rail. Ensure it’s smooth and free of wrinkles.

What size staples do you use for pool table felt?

If you decide to use staples:

  • Try to keep the distance between each staple at least 1″.
  • The size of the staples to use should be 1/4″ inch.
  • Regularly check the surface for wrinkles or loose areas as you staple into the felt.

Can You Staple into Slate Pool Tables?

No, you should not staple directly into the slate of a pool table.

Slate, a dense, fine-grained rock used in most high-quality pool tables for its flatness and durability, is not designed to be stapled into.

  • Wooden Backing: Most slate pool tables have a wooden frame or backing around the edges of the slate. This is where the felt should be stapled.
  • Stapling on Rails: For the rails, which are typically made of wood, use a staple gun to attach the felt.

Why You Can’t Staple into Slate

  1. Damage to Slate: Stapling into slate can crack or damage it, compromising the table’s integrity and playing surface.
  2. Ineffectiveness: Staples do not hold well in slate due to its hard, non-porous nature. They are likely to come loose, rendering them ineffective.

How to Refelt a Pool Table

Is It Better to Glue or Staple Pool Table Felt
How to Refelt a Pool Table

To refelt a pool table, you can either hire a professional or do it yourself.

It’s not an easy job and requires patience, precision, and the right tools, which is why it is often easier and less problematic getting a professional, however it is less expensive if you have a tight budget. 

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you begin, gather all necessary tools and materials:

  • Pool table felt
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Scissors
  • Billiard glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Pool table brush

Disassemble the Rails

Carefully remove the rails from the table. This usually involves unscrewing them from underneath.

  • Tools Required: Screwdriver, wrench.
  • Process: Unscrew the bolts holding the rails, and carefully lift them off.

Remove the Old Felt

Gently pull the felt from the staples or glue.

  • Be careful not to damage the slate.
  • Use a staple remover or a flathead screwdriver to gently remove the staples or glue holding the felt to the rails.

Attaching the New Felt

Make sure the area is cleaned and check for cracks or uneven areas that might need repair.

  • Measure and cut the felt, leaving extra cloth around the sides to work with. 
  • Using either glue or staples, attach the cloth to the bed after stretching into place.

As a general rule of thumb, when replacing your table’s felt, it’s best to use the same method of securement that was previously used.

Simonis 860 premium pool table felt

Reassembling the Table

Once the rails are refelted, carefully reattach them to the table, ensuring they are aligned correctly and securely fastened.

Is It Better to Glue or Staple Pool Table Felt?

Assuming your table has a wood backing, deciding which is better of the two often simply comes down to individual preference.

They both work just as good as each other, so you won’t go wrong with either method, in all honesty.

When using glue, it can be a little more forgiving if you make a mistake with the indexing, which is highly likely if it’s your first time re-felting the playing surface.

In my opinion, I prefer stapling over gluing, because I find it’s slightly easier to secure the fabric while maintaining a good, tight stretch on the material.

Final Thoughts on Do You Glue the Felt on a Pool Table?

One of the most popular forms of the securement of pool table flt is to use glue. But it is not your only option, as you can also staple the fabric down. Both methods work ca work just fine, however you may be best placed to use glue if your table is old and has been re-clothed many times using staples.

As I highlighted above, some multipurpose spray adhesives, allow you the crucial time to be able to position the felt before they set permanently. Even the most experience table fitters don’t get it right first time around.


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