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Often we are asked about how to replace and install pool table rubber cushions. Replacing pool table cushions is not difficult but must be done right to ensure proper game play from your pool table. The first step is to determine which profile type pool table rubber cushions you need. This is a critical step as each pool table is designed for a particular size and shape cushion. This matched combination gives you the correct ball strike point in relation to the cushion for lively pool play without ball bounce outs. If the rubber cushion strikes too high on the ball, the rebound action will be reduced and if the cushion strikes the ball too low, the ball will likely bounce off the table. Use this guide to determine what pool table rail cushion profile type you need.
Begin by stripping off the old felt from around the wood pool table rail assemblies. Use a staple puller, a small regular screwdriver or other pointed tool to remove each staple. Pay attention to how the cloth was folded and stapled to your rail assembly so you can duplicate it during installation of the new felt. Once you have the felt removed from the rail, use a knife of other flat tool to separate the rubber cushion from the wood rail. You just need to begin the separation enough to get a hand on it and pull the old rubber cushion off. You then want to remove as much of the old cement glue as possible from the wood rail assembly. Use a solvent such as lacquer thinner or equivalent to soften and wipe as much old cement off as possible. You may want to use a sanding block to help smooth out the surface face more. Just don't change the shape of the wood surface.
Once you have the wood rail assembly ready to accept the new rubber cushion, test fit the new cushion for a good fit. Note that the rubber cushion is longer than the rail assembly and do not cut until you have it centered and glued with extra rubber cushion overhanging both ends of the rail assembly. Once satisfied with the fit, place a thin layer of contact cement to both the surface of the wood rail assembly and the back side of the rubber cushion, making sure you have all of the area covered. Wait 5 minutes and press the rail assembly and rubber cushion together making sure that the rubber cushion is centered with the rail assembly so that each side is hanging over both ends of the rail assembly. Be sure that both the top edge of the rail assembly and the top edge of the rubber cushion are level and flush with each other. Also be sure the rubber cushion is laying flat and in good contact with the rail assembly. Let this dry completely and then use a carpet knife, razor knife or fine tooth saw to cut the rubber cushion off even with the end of the wood rail. Use the surface of the wood rail as a guide to get the correct angle of the cut. You can use water or soapy water to act as a lubricant during cutting, just be sure it is clean and dry before the next step. Then center and glue the rubber cushion facings or end pieces onto the end of the rubber cushion and wood rail assembly using the same technique as before. Once dry, use a sharp pair of scissors to cut around the profile end of the rail assemblies. Then simply cover with new rail cloth as it was done before.
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