« Open Mike: Photo Essay (Part II) | Main | Digital Nikon FM2? »

Sunday, 20 October 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The space looks like an old darkroom!

Northwestern has a pool teacher? Yet America lags in so many measures of educational achievement. How can that be?

[The United States has the best colleges and universities on the globe, far and away. People come from every country on the planet to go to college and, especially, graduate school here. And many colleges offer all sorts of intramural sports and games, such as chess clubs and karate classes. Those offerings have no bearing on the quality of the institution's academics but rather on the quality of student life. --Mike]

Saw the table being installed and thought"wonder if it comes with pontoons to help it float when the basement floods???"

[It would take a whole lot of help to get this thing to float. But the basement never floods, per se. --Mike]

Very interesting. I've often wondered how these "behemoths" were moved. Anxious to see more shots, and then the finished project! (The dampness of a basement isn't a problem for something like this?)

Mind your own beeswax
I that where the expression came from?

Wow! This is fascinating: up-to-date technology with a noble history and no temptation to go digital…

Uh ... so in the end that's what you did with your darkroom? *grin*

Thanks for sharing the sequence showing how a pool table get installed: I've always wanted to know how it would happen.


How is it that he who was fretting about office space now has room for a pool table?

Did I miss a chapter?

[Sigh...yeah, we've been over this. The basement gets wet. Not flooded, but wet--puddles on the floor after two or more hard rains. Which makes it unsuited for a full-time office. It's not actually a terribly healthy place for a pool table, either (it's a bit moldy too), but it's all I got, and I'm only down there for twenty or thirty minutes a day, versus the five to ten hours a day, seven days a week, I spend at the computer. I ain't spending my life down there.

And before anybody asks, yes, I've looked into waterproofing the basement. Upshot: nine grand, and they still won't be able to guarantee it will stay dry. On that basis, no thanks. --Mike]

This is definitely not "off-topic". Good documentary photo-essays are, sadly, becoming something of a lost art form.

Thirty-eight years ago I restored a 1927 Brunswick. I used plaster of Paris to fill the seams.That is how that table had originally been set up. I used orange cloth instead of green because it complemented the wood veneer on the sides of the table.
Have fun with yours, Mike!


Pretty Cool. I was wondering where you were gonna put this, given you space issues. Now you will have to finish the room around the table. You never did tell us about finishing your darkroom.

That looks like a beautiful table, Mike! I'm envious. There are two things I've wanted in my home since I was a boy. A full-sized pocket billiards table is one. (Not gonna happen.) Have fun with that!

Seeing tnese makes me glad you didn't take up stamp collecting.

Get back to photography, please.

Nice job documenting the process, Mike.

It looks more like they did a restoration than just a setup. Is it always this labor intensive, or do most tables come in more or less assembled?

[Most real (i.e., 1" slate) tables come in very much like this...sometimes in even more pieces. Often, however, the cloth doesn't need to be put on the cushions on-site. This table was just refurbished, so Jerimy did the cushion cloth here. --Mike]

Nice a/d/s/ L 990 or 1090? In the background... Excellent speakers. Very likely better than Whatever is in your upstairs system. You should give them an honest try in your real Listening Room.

[L1290's, and I love 'em. Perfect for 35-wpc EL-34 tube amps, which is what I've got running them. --Mike]

Interesting series. I always enjoy fine craftmanship no matter what the field. It may not be so much off topic if you consider fine photography also requires a high level of craftmanship.

Calling any of your posts "off-topic" is like calling John McPhee a writer without direction. Keep up the great work.

Great documentation, real interesting to see the whole procedure.

Looks like you won't be moving any time in the near future.

Is there going to be a TOP pool shoot out any time soon at TOP-HQ?

Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

I also am interested in photography and pool. Both have brought pleasure and $ for 50 years. I do not mind your pool posts at all. On the other hand, I can see why some people would object to pool posts on a photo site.
My man cave can be viewed at http://dapplehill.blogspot.com/2013/01/billiard-room.html

My photographs of more general interest are at the site linked.

If negative comments are a problem, start a new blog...I'd keep up with it!

I thought the website link would show on the comment. If not, it is at [email protected]

I quick search revealed that those Championship cloths are available in 32 colours! Who knew? But I'm glad to see you have gone for a tradition green. Any idea what the history behind cloth colours is? You very rarely see snooker or billiard tables in Europe and the UK in anything other than green. I imagine the original cloth was only available in green and that the colours were probably introduced in the USA just for fun. Pure speculation.

Very Cool, thanks.
I do have a question, my recollection was Plaster of Paris for the seams too.
I noticed he filled an imperfection with bees wax as well. Since balls do sometimes bounce a bit on tables, how do they keep the areas with bees wax from developing divots or slight ridges.
I even remember that in setting up trick shots some folks used to tap one ball on top of another to fix it's position exactly.
Does the bees wax have to be renewed from time to time?

Didn't Ewa turn up to try it out? Or Kathy? C'mon!

[Sorry Rod, they're both Brunswick people. --Mike]

Sooo ... this is what jealousy feels like! I wish you lots of fun with that table!

Nice, I have L1290 series 1 speakers too, owned since 1988 or so. Such a great speaker, the best in that line I think and better than their later series too. Only thing that could touch them were stuff like L 1530s or 2030s. Despite their age they really are top shelf, and hold their own against modern stuff quite well. Enjoy!

Not sure if you are prepping for a "how to" magazine, or a revival of "Life". Always interesting watching others work - especially experts.

How much distance do you need around the table so that your cue doesn't hit the wall?

Very unfair. Not only do you get to make a living looking at, talking about and taking photographs - but now a gorgeous pool table to boot. Enjoy, and know that there are others out there (me included) turning a green not unlike the cloth on your table.

Isn't it nice to get something you don't have to plug in and load updates on before you can use it?

A few years ago, I needed a bookcase that could house my small but growing collection of photobooks + my small and stable collection of CDs / DVDs. I couldn't buy a bookcase to suit, so I designed one and asked a wood-worker friend to build it. Between passing him various wood-working tools, I photographed the process as well.

Enjoy your new pool table !

Should you ever wish to build your own pool table, here's how.

I live a few miles from Worsted, in Norfolk, UK.

Mike wrote, "All three slates, which are backed by thick, dense masonite, weigh the better part of half a ton."

That works out to 300 lbs. each slate which means that the two guys carrying one in the picture above are very strong. When I lift and move one 80 lb. bag of concrete, I'm risking serious and embarrassing injury. Two are impossible.

This brings back many fond memories of playing pool in our basement as a kid growing up. I actually got pretty good (no more though). I loved that table but all things must pass. It was an antique from Conn Billiards in Washington, DC and had webbed leather pockets with ivory diamonds in the rails. The slates were over an inch thick. It was a really work of art... Thanks Mike!

Beautiful! I am totally jealous Mike! BTW - Do you have a good size dehumidifier installed in your basement? I'm sure that would go a long way to keeping your new table playing fast, among other benefits.

Now all you need is a proper light fixture over the new table and you'll be all set to hold basement tourneys. Congratulations on the new acquisition.

Nothing has ever come this close to getting me to look at pool as a pastime. :)

Let me concur with the others who mentioned they enjoyed this (and other) off-topic posts, particularly the ones relating to pool. I have little interest in pool myself, but I do enjoy when people are engaged and actively enjoying their own private interests, and positive, fun stories like this pique my attention, definitely.

Enjoy your new table! You deserve the break from your desk, and pleasure it'll bring you!

I can honestly say, in my 57 years I have never had any interest in pools or poolbuilding and yet here I am, fascinated by each and every word and digging photos.
Cool stuff! Not what I came for, but Thanks!

Btw. re. water in the basement. Don't try to waterproof from within. It *will* fail... instead you should look into outside drainage around the buttom of your foundation. And while you're down there, you can coat your foundation as well... typical DIY (grins)!
Like this: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/green-basics/foundation-drains-0

Mike Johnston wrote:
> I decided to get a pool table, by the way, because my doctor
> said I have to have a reason to get up from the computer

It seems my devious plan to chain you to your desk by pointing you towards a picture of good standing has been foiled.

Loved the pool photo essay, Mike. Of course, snooker is the game in the UK (although pool is played in pubs and some clubs) and here's a 50s time lapse video showing a snooker table being built up. Pretty much the same problems to be overcome just on a larger scale.


The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007