How To Make A Pool Table Ball Return System [Step-By-Step Guide]

Would you like to know how to make a pool table ball return system? Well, we have researched this topic and have a step-by-step guide for building one. It's crucial to have a step-by-step guide to ensure your ball return system functions properly.

To make a pool table ball return system, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the felt
  2. Remove the slate slabs
  3. Build a return ramp
  4. Attach the return ramp
  5. Build guide ramps for each pocket
  6. Attach the guide ramps
  7. Check the ball return
  8. Replace the slate slabs
  9. Replace the felt

This article will teach you how to make a pool table ball return system. We will also discuss the answers to other interesting related topics, such as how to make a pool cue holder and how to care for your pool table. Keep reading to learn more.

How To Make A Pool Table Ball Return System

Billiard balls on the table. Set of balls.

When making a pool table ball return system, it's crucial to follow precise instructions for proper function. Let's cover a step-by-step guide on making a pool table ball return system.

1. Remove The Felt

To gain access to the felt, start by removing the side rails. The side rails will be held on with a few bolts. Once the side rails are removed, you can inspect how your felt is secured.

If the felt is secured with glue, you will need to start separating the felt from the slate. You can separate the felt by lifting while pulling back. You must carefully separate the felt one section at a time if you want to reuse the felt.

If the felt is secured with staples, then you will need to remove each staple carefully. It would be best to remove the staples with a screwdriver to ensure accuracy and avoid damaging the felt.

2. Remove The Slate Slabs

To remove the slate slabs, you will need to remove the screws holding them. If the screws are covered in wax, you will need to scrape it off before you can remove them.

Once the screws are removed from each slab, lift off the slabs off the pool table. It would be best to have someone assist in lifting the slabs because each can weigh over one hundred pounds.

You will now have access to the underside of the pool table, where we will be building our ball return system.

3. Build A Return Ramp

The return ramp is the central part of the ball return system. The return ramp is the ramp the other guide ramps connect to, which leads to the ball return slot.

The main ramp should be as long as the pool table but leave about a foot of room for the ball return slot. A one-inch by 12-inch board a foot shorter than the length of the pool table should suffice.

The return ramp will need rails and a wooden holding tray the catch the balls. The rails need to be at least three inches tall to keep balls on the ramp. Cut a length of wood for rails and attach them to the ramp.

Now build a holding area to attach to the end of the ramp. This holding tray can attach either directly under the side railing, or a slot can be cut in the side railing to access balls.

The holding tray can be made from a one-inch thick board with a width and length large enough to hold all balls at once. A 24-inch by 10-inch board is large enough.

Once the holding tray has rails and is attached to the return ramp, it's time to attach the ramp.

4. Attach The Return Ramp

To attach the return ramp, secure the wooden frame of the ramp to the frame of the pool table with wood screws. The ramp must be entirely centered before screwing it in place.

The return ramp must also be kept at an angle to allow the balls to return. The end of the ramp should be at least two inches lower than the top of the ramp.

Have someone help hold the ramp at the proper angle while you secure it. While it's helpful to ensure the ramp is aligned correctly, if it's slightly askew, it's okay because the ramp is hidden under the tabletop.

5. Build Guide Ramps For Each Pocket

Now you will need to build guide ramps for each pocket. It's crucial to construct each guide ramp one at a time to ensure they properly reach the return ramp.

Measure the distance between the first pocket and the guide ramp. Cut a length of wood six inches wide to be the guide ramp. The guide ramps should also have three-inch rails to keep balls from falling.

Once the guide ramp is cut to the proper length and its rails have been added, you can fix it to the pool table. You may need to cut part of the railing on the return ramp to let the guide ramp connect. If you don't make a smooth connection between the guide ramp and the return ramp, the balls will make excess noise.

6. Attach The Guide Ramps

Once the connection between the ramps is cut, screw the guide ramp into place, ensuring it has a steep enough angle for balls to roll. Continue measuring and attaching guide ramps for the remaining five pockets.

7. Check The Ball Return

Billiard Balls / 9 ball game

Now that all the guide ramps are connected to the return ramp, it's time to test that the ball return system works. Place a pool ball in each pocket and ensure it makes its way to the return.

If one of the guide ramps isn't steep enough or doesn't make a smooth connection, now is the time to correct it before replacing the slabs and the felt.

8. Replace The Slate Slabs

To replace the slate slabs, have someone assist in lifting the slate into place. Each of the slate slabs should be centered so that they align and there are no gaps between them.

Next, drill in the screws that were removed earlier from the slate. Once the screws are secured, use wax to make a smooth surface.

Heat beeswax with a torch and allow some to drip into the groove. Use wax paper and cardboard to press the beeswax flat against the slate.

It can take practice to set beeswax on a pool table correctly. If you are having difficulty applying beeswax, you may need to hire professionals.

9. Replace The Felt

Billiard Balls and a Pool table

To replace the felt, you will want to use the same method that held the felt when you took it off. If your pool table's felt used glue, you will want to apply glue.

Apply glue spray in an even coating on the underside of the felt and start pressing it flat to the slate. Start on one corner and slowly work your way across the pool table. It's vital to take your time to avoid creases that can ruin your pool table's performance.

If staples were used to hold your felt in place, you would want to reapply some. Try to place each staple in the exact location as the previous staples. Doing this will help to reduce the number of holes in the felt.

If you're replacing the felt, you don't have to worry about realigning old staple holes. If you would like to try a new color of felt, here are two of the best available on Amazon.

CALIDAKA Billiard Cloth

You can find this product here on Amazon.

YUUKE Pool Table Felt

You can find this product here on Amazon.

How Do You Make A Pool Cue Holder?

A Pool Table, set up for a game - A game of 8 Ball, racked and ready to go!

To make a pool cue hold, you only need eight feet of two-by-four wood and two one-inch thick 18 by 18-inch squares of wood.

Start by cutting the two-by-four into four two-foot sections of wood. Screw each of these to the side of one of the wood squares. Now attach the other square of wood so that the whole thing looks like a small table with a square of wood on the bottom.

Now drill around a dozen one-and-a-half-inch holes into the top of the pool cue holder. The pool cues can then be inserted into the top and held in place above the ground. 

How Do You Care For Your Pool Table?

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Caring for your pool table is as easy as practicing proper maintenance. One of the best ways to care for your pool table is by brushing the felt after every game.

When you are finished playing a game on your pool table, brushing off the chalk can help to extend its life. It's also good to clean around the railing of your pool table with a wet washcloth.

If any crumbs are spilled onto your pool table, instead of brushing them into the felt, use a vacuum to prevent damage. Relaxing with colourful chairs, pool table, fireplace, tv and bar, How To Make A Pool Table Ball Return System [Step-By-Step Guide]

Final Thoughts

This article taught us how to make a pool table ball return system. We also learned how to make a pool cue holder. Remember, your pool table will last longer if you practice proper care and maintenance.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to learn more, check out some of these other posts:

Can You Paint A Pool Table?

Can I Use Candle Wax For My Pool Table?

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