BCE entered Canada in late 1970’s and approached Family Recreation Centre about selling their pool tables and darts. Prior to that time we knew nothing about the game of darts.
We started like most people and did not know anything about darts, that shafts break and flights need to be changed. We quickly learned the game from our customers and playing.
When we opened our store in St. Catharines we quickly became the place to buy your darts. Don Crookshanks from Falcon darts took a great interest in our store and taught us that players must all try the darts before they buy. We installed a dartboard for all players to try out the darts and learned how to assist players in weights, shapes and lengths for each player
We started a fun for players on Valentines Day. It quickly became a social event of the year with over 60 teams participating. We handed over the tournmant to the legions to continue.
In the late 80’s many youth were coming into the store with no place to play. We started the St. Catharines Youth Dart league with 4 players. The league had a Canadian Champions in Jeff Kompon, and many Ontario Championships David Munro, Jeff Butt, Keith Maccuish to name a few. We took the youth to many tournaments in Ontario and held our own during the grape and wine. Boy did we score alot of dart games in thoses years as we allowed children as low as 9 into the league with little math skills. They sure did learn how to add, subtract and multiply after they finished playing. Many still come into the store today with their children
During that time we had many helpers and handed over the league to them organizing the Ontario Championship in Niagara Falls that year. We still sponsor the youth leagues.
I was born in 1958 to Stanley and Ruth Kozak in Simcoe Ontario. At birth her Grandparents Roy and Lena Whitehead together owned and operated Norfolk Recreation. Stanley Kozak also worked in the billiard room racking balls, recovering pool tables, repairing cues and more.
In the early 1970’s the Kozak’s were approached by Brunswick Billiards to start a Brunswick authorized franchised store for home snooker and pool tables. Since Stanley had been working on old antique tables and reselling old tables for another of years and Ruth has a thriving business knowledge they decided to give it a try. It was a huge success with many truckloads of pool tables being delivered.
To help with the delivery of the truckloads of tables Stanley engaged Sandi’s boyfriend at the time Gary Chard. That was Gary’s first introduction to pool tables.
In 1977, I attended McMaster University and received a Bachelor of Commerce degree and decided to join the family business after marriage to Gary Chard.
Gary learned the craft from Stanley on new and used antique tables. I did most of the selling of the tables.
In 1983 we decided we would like to start our own Family Recreation Centre and choose St. Catharines, Ontario to start our business.
There you have it how we got started in the billiard industry
When is it time to replace a cloth?
When the cloth is torn, picked badly, or worn excessively, it is reasonably obvious that a cloth change is needed, but we replace a lot of cloth for cosmetic reasons.
When is it time to replace the cushion rubber?
Not as often as some people think. The cushion rubber can dry rot with age, get harder or softer etc., but on average we find more problems in the field with the cloth not being pulled properly, or the cushion glue being broken. If someone’s sits on the rail, it will depress the cushion and cause the glue joint to break….that is why you do not sit on a table. The biggest group of cushion problems we see, seem to come from imported cheap tables with cheap rubber cushions.
OK, there you have it. A brief summary of where to look, and what to look for according to me. Remember, everyone has an opinion. And I am entitled to mine. So if you disagree with me on any point, that’s your privilege. This is what I look for, and my standards are admittedly high.
Be patient. Use common sense. And you could have that pool table you’ve always wanted at a price you never thought possible.
The Canadian dollar buying power? When purchasing a used table today many people say what they purchased the pool table for. Unfortunately for them they do not take into account that pool tables have been reducing price in Canada due to the Canadian dollar vs USA. 1″ slate brunswick pool table today sells for 1449 whereas a few years ago it sold for 1999.00
Internet stores vs Motar stores? Since you are on the internet looking at this chances are you have also done a search for the internet pool tables companies. A few major things to consider with the internet stores are shipping, duty and not comparing apples to apples. We have done massive research ourselves plus had horror stories from customers that have purchased a pool table on line thinking it is the same quality as a Brunswick pool tables and the price so half the price only to find out when it is installed it is half the quality of a Brunswick table. The inflated prices that the on line only stores say their tables are worth are usually not comparing with a similiar quality. Unfortunately pictures do not tell the whole story. I have even found one store that used the Brunswick pictures saying it was their tables. But the botton line is…….check the whole price. Many of these stores add more for quality cloth that is standard on a brunswick pool table. The shipping and installation is usually twice the price of a brunswick pool table. The quality of the equipment is usually over inflated in price and half the quality as well. In the economy of today many of these on line stores have come and gone. The tables are falling apart the finish is peeling the rubber has died and there is no one to get a part from or back that lifetime warranty. Most Brick and Motar stores like ourselves love when you bring in a price of an online only store. We usually are the same or cheaper price for better quality.
HOW TO BUY A USED POOL TABLE
WHY buy a used table, instead of a new one?
In my experience, the average used pool table BUYER is looking to spend around $500 to $1000. And that’s the range most average used tables sell in. The seller has no choice but to sell the table by a certain date. Such as, a job transfer and the new company won’t pay to move the table and the moving van is arriving in a day or two. To this person, YOU are their savior! Now you can forget someone whose only selling the table because their wife wants the dining room back. THAT person will not give you any deals, because they are (usually) not in any kind of a time crunch. ” I would suggest you check the price of new tables in comparison. With the Canadian dollar being stronger in the last 4 years many tables are decreased in price in the last few years. New Brunswick slate tables start at 1,650.00 for 1″ framed slate
And just HOW do you find these people?
The best way to find a pool table is Kijiji. The second way is to watch the classified ads in the major city newspapers near you. I mean RELIGIOUSLY! Don’t miss a single day….because that could be the day YOUR table was sold to someone else.
The 3 cardinal rules of buying a used pool table:
Rule 1: Be patient!
Rule 2: Be patient!
Rule 3: (refer to rules 1 and 2)
You have to resign yourself to the possibility it may take a year, or two, or more, to find the right table at the right price…. If you are in a hurry, don’t expect any bargains to come your way. And don’t fall in love with a particular model or make. First, decide if you want open leather “traditional” pockets, or ball return. Then buy your table based on HOW it is CONSTRUCTED.
Another good place to look is bulletin boards.
“What” do you look for?
3/4″ or 1″, BOTH are fine for a 8′ or smaller home table. A 3 piece slate bed is much better than a one piece bed. Slate that screws to the base frame of the pool table is essential for slates not to separate over the years.
Brunswick slate—-how is it mined and why it is their slate is the best in the world a video
The frame of a pool table is called the cabinet. When looking at a used table get down and look under the cabinet and table. Check the legs to see if they have been wet or have mold. This is usually a sign that water has damaged the legs and could result in split legs or the stability of the table has been compromised
You want rails that have the nuts INSIDE the rail itself, like Brunswick. You do NOT want rails where the plates are screwed to the bottom surface of the rail.
Pockets made of vinyl as in commercial tables are durable and long lasting. Traditional leather pockets should be inspected for cuts in the leather that chip the balls. They can be replaced but cost starts at approximately $100 to $400.
Cloth can be reused, but any small holes when recovered become large holes. The cost of cloth starts at $130. Rails are tricky to recover…do not even attempt to do them yourself. The bed cloth you can do yourself, if you are handy and can follow directions. Or have a pro who moves tables do it for you (such as Family Recreation Centre).
6) Rubber-Well has the last five years been an eye opener for rubber in the industry. Many pool tables manufactures have not taken into account how import rubber is. Brunswick uses good year rubber with a secret formula. They do show a video on how there rubber is made available here. On purchasing used table please inspect the rubber (where the ball bounces). Many tables today are lasting under 5 years. Rubber like a rubber band if not used will shrink. Also lower grades of rubber does not last as long. Brunswick in 1995 added a lifetime warranty on the rubber for the original owner of a table.
7)Pool vs snooker pocket
Pool tables are not all alike. There are actually three types. Carom without pockets which is not common and we all know what they look like (no pockets on the table) Snooker pockets used for 2 1/16″ balls usually played on a 6 x 12 table but in the 70’s and 80’s many were sold in 4 x 8 and 4 1/2 x 9 size. Pool (Boston in Ontario) pocket for balls 2 1/4″. Today most people want a pool pocket as it is more player friendly and this is the game we are going to play the most. How do you tell the size of pocket? Snooker tables have round pocket openings whereas pool have V nosed or triangular shaped. In the past snooker tables have one spot per rail whereas pool had three spots per rail …however some tables have been rerubbered and have been changed. The price of used snooker table is half of pool tables in today market as the snooker table is not the preferred players today. Unfortunately the opposite is true of new tables as many manufactures have seized to make snooker tables. new snooker
8) Room Size:
Check our room chart so you do not get too big a table for your room.
NEVER assume the size of a table without ACTUALLY measuring the width between the cushion noses.
MOVING your new used table.
NEVER, EVER try to move a pool table by getting a bunch of guys and picking it up! NEVER! There are only a handful of tables made that are designed to be moved in this manner and they are 8 foot bar tables, usually with coin mechanisms and 1 piece slate beds. You do NOT want a table like this for a home. If you want to crack the slate, pop the cabinet joints, split the rails, or otherwise destroy your “find” of a pool table….go ahead, move it in one piece. The best and safest way is to hire a pro to do the entire job. But if you are “handy”, have a couple friends who don’t mind lifting, and have access to a vehicle that can carry at least 1,000 lb…then go ahead and disassemble and move it to your room yourself. Then hire a pro to do the set up. Set up is the MOST critical part. Disassembly Take a Magic Marker and match-mark EVERYTHING where it will not show! Do as much marking as you can BEFORE you start disassembling, then continue marking as you go. This is to make sure the table goes back together EXACTLY the way it came apart. Remove the rails first (bolts under the rails). Remove the pockets (bolted to the rails, but the rails usually have to come off the table first). Remove the screws holding the slate to the cabinet (a 3/8 variable speed drill with the correct Phillips bit is best here). Remove the slate from the table and transport VERTICALLY on EDGE. Do NOT lay the slate flat unless you first make crates out of 2x4s and clamp each piece of slate in it’s own crate. A cracked slate can cost upwards of $300 to replace. If necessary, remove the legs. A 1″ thick slate, 9 foot table will weigh around 1,000 pounds. ALWAYS use a weight support belt when lifting heavy objects. ALWAYS lift correctly. Use your head. Not your back! Most tables can be moved in pieces with 2 average men.
Hire a pool table mover (Family Recreation Centre ) if you think it’s beyond your strength, or abilities. It’s not worth destroying the table, or going to the hospital with a damaged back. Don’t be “penny wise…pound foolish”. How to a table is installed is illustrated here