In my experience as a table owner for over 8 years, the slate seams split
due to (1) humidity changes, (2) shifting of the table's substructure
(probably caused by humidity), (3) shims slipping out (humidity?), and, of
course, (4) rough-housing (which we'll rule out in this case). I've been
advised by cuemakers, more than a few times, that wood is "alive" and
moves -- a lot. I have an expensive wood cue with silver rings that has
been refinished 3 times over the last couple of years and the rings have
popped out again. The cuemaker is willing to fix it for free each time, of
course, but it just demonstrates the amount of movement in the raw material.
It's small wonder that, under certain circumstances (e.g. humidity changes),
those slate pieces slide away from each other.
The easiest fix, which I just learned myself recently from a top craftsman,
is to get under the table with a small hammer. Find which piece of slate is
lower and tap a shim gently under the support beam to raise it until it is
flush. The last time this happened on my table (just a couple of months
after it was freshly recovered/releveled), it worked like a charm. If that
approach doesn't fix the problem, then call back the installation crew
although it's probably not anything they did wrong.
Maybe tables should be made from a synthetic substance precisely to avoid
these problems with wood. My table is in a ba***t which undergoes
significant changes in seasonal humidity. In the summer, I can pull out 5
gal. of water each week or so from the de-humidifier. In the winter, the
unit never even cuts on, so I decommission it until spring. In my case, I
end up with a seam split about once a year on the average. Fortunately, I
have learned how to fix them myself until the table needs to be recovered.
> Hello. I bought a seven foot table recently from a west coast company
> and had it shipped to New Jersey and installed by a local installer.
> About three weeks after installation, I have noticed that one of the
> three pieces of slate, a side piece, has lifted against the middle and
> there is a line in the table, one that can be felt but not easily
> seen. Also, the felt seems to be pulled too tight near one of the
> rails and balls near there tend to settle on the rail.
> What could be causing this? Is there anyone in the Northern New
> Jersey area who does this kind of repair?
> Martin Eisenstein
> Martin Eisenstein