One Piece Slate vs. Three Piece Slate

1 piece vs. 3 piece slate pool table

It’s the age old question: What’s better a three piece slate pool table or a one piece slate? Well, that all depends on who you’re asking.

If you ask a bar or pub owner, they’ll tell you that they often have to move their coin operated pool tables around for special events. These coin-ops have a 3/4 inch one piece slate for this reason. Moving a pool table in one piece can really mess up the seams where the three pieces meet on a three-piece slate. But, these commercial pool tables are constructed differently. The cabinet holding the slate wraps and hugs the slate, so that even when the table is tilted on it’s side (experience required), it remains locked into place. When the pool table is put back into position final leveling is dialed in by commercial grade leg levelers.

If you ask an Aramith Fusion Pool Table owner, they’ll tell you they love having a 3/4 inch one piece slate because it allows their pool table to lower to dining height, then raise again to playing height with a single click. These Fusion Tables, like the coin operated ones, have a special frame that holds the slate snug. These Fusions don’t really move around the room, but the up and down motion of the legs necessitate the one piece slate.

If you ask an owner of a one piece slate furniture style pool table, they will likely give you a different reason. When they purchased the table (around 35 years ago), they were told that a one piece slate was far superior. A one piece slate has no seams to affect the playing field. It is a perfectly smooth surface all the way across. This is true, but remember that smooth doesn’t always equal level.

IMG_8459If you’re asking me, a billiard mechanic with 24 years experience moving all types of pool tables, I’ll tell you it is a pain in the behind to struggle with a one piece slate. One piece slates weigh approximately 450 pounds. They are difficult to maneuver when refelting your pool table. They are more difficult to move through hallways, narrow doorways and corners. When there are stairs involved while moving a one piece slate, it is not just tricky, but downright dangerous carrying all of that weight. This is why it costs more to move or service these types of tables.

I can also tell you that there is a performance downside to owning a one piece slate pool table. There is the issue of leveling the playing surface. Not all slate is perfect. There can be natural low or high spots in the stone. Especially on the bigger 8′ slate pieces. No amount of shimming or tweaking can remove these.

Three piece slates tend to be at least 1/4″ thicker than their one piece cousins. Thicker slates have less imperfections and are usually permanently framed with pieces of wood to further support it when atop the pool table cabinet. Three and four piece slates start out as one piece, but are cut during the milling process. They are a matched set left to the billiard mechanic to level properly. Experienced mechanics must take great caution when leveling multiple pieces of slate. They must take into consideration the type of flooring and construction of the cabinet that will support all of the weight.

A three piece slate, leveled properly, will without a doubt give you superior play. This is why the pros prefer to shoot on a three piece slate pool table as opposed to a one piece. I’d recommend a three piece slate over one solid slate if given the choice. But, remember, no matter the value, number of slates, or style of table, proper professional setup is key to getting the best possible roll.

Posted by Pool Table King

19 comments

Not sure where you got the weight mentioned for pool table slate, but it seems far off of actuality (other than on a 7 foot coin table) the weight difference between 7,8,8,10&12 foot tables are increasingly more heavy (and most 12foot have become 4 sections to assist in moving the table). then comes the difference in slate thickness 1/2 inch (used on most tables from china) to 1&1/2 inch (commonly used on Brunswick or coolly tables). Alone just the thickness of slate can increase the weight drastickly ranging from 4th lbs (on cheap tables) up too 700lbs+(on better quality tables)

[…] reading this article come back here and see a pretty good post on the differences between a 1 and 3 piece slate pool table. (well OK only if you’re […]

where are the dates on antique pool tables

Pool Table King

We consider tables pre-1950’s to be antique. But, antiques from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s typically require special care and tools. There are also antique replicas with more modern reproduction dates.

Shifting a 8×4 on friday about 40 miles, we will be using a car transporting trailer with tyres underneath for support. Is this a feasible way of moving a 1 pce slate table. It will be held down with ratchet straps.

Pool Table King

hello marc, are you just removing the legs from the base frame?

Yeah mate, has 6 legs, will lay it flat on tyres, got 4 blokes organised for the lift, does it sound ok?

Pool Table King

Okay Mark I see what you’re talking about now it sounds like it’s a very heavy pool table if it has six legs I would recommend strongly that you do not pick up the pool table from the rails rather remove the rails entirely from the slate surface so that there’s no chance one of your blokes might try lifting from the rails and possibly cracking the slate it sounds doable what you’re referring to to transport the pool table without its legs flat on tires to absorb any kinds of shock or vibration way to go bro

Pool Table King

Well Marc, how did it go?

Yeah mate, all good, the tyres work a treat, have played about 50 games so far and it rolls perfectly. The cushions will need to be refurbished but apart from that, its all sweet as bro, cheers for the help?

Just moved a 3 piece slate murrey table can see slate and wax on outside underneath local billard place without seeing told me cheap walmart table Murray told them check spelling took 12 guys to pick up and mover 15 feet to and off trailor in home all bolted with 9 1/16 bolts is it a cheap table ? Price was from family how can I tell

Murrey, not Murray. Slate table, three piece slate. Not cheap. Do not move in one piece.

Hi
I have a 3 piece slate two of the pieces got stuck on top of each other the glue dried and are stuck together how do I get them apart? Help

Billiard Mama

Hi Chris, yeah that’s happened to me before. What I’ve done is to tap into a few hardwood wedge in between the slates. Make sure you space theM out a bit and be careful when you hammer them in so that you don’t Crack the slate. Do a little at a time should be fine.
Good times, Dave.

Thanks Dave,
I’ll give it a shot….
Thanks for your help!!!!

Chris

Lee Delatorre

Would you happen to know where i could sell my one peice slates and at what price would you recommend?

Billiard Mama

Sorry Lee, the only one piece slate that has any real value would be a 43×83 inch as this size is typically used in 7 foot coin-op pool tables. If this is what you have I’d say it is worth $150 in excellent condition.
Good luck, PTK.

Does anybody have any info on a Fischer pool table? I have serial number but can’t find anything on it. It’s a 3 piece slate top thanks

Pool Table King

To the best of my knowledge all Fischer pool tables made before the 1980’s are one piece slate.

Leave a Reply