Pool Table Felt and Cloth
Pool table cloth, or pool table felt, has been around for centuries. The basics of having a cloth surface on a pool table started because the table looked more appealing, the balls rolled true, the wear and tear on the table itself was reduced and the sounds were muffled. Many refer to pool table cloth as pool table felt because most of the early pool table cloth was very “nappy” or fuzzy. This is the difference in the two styles of pool table cloth that exist. The two styles are directional (close up pictured to right) and non-directional. Directional cloth is very fuzzy where non-directional pool table cloth is not.
Directional pool table felt gets its name because of the way it plays and the way it’s cleaned. With directional pool table felt, the fuzz or “nap” is designed to lay in one direction. It will actually cause balls to roll slightly off and even make the table appear not to be level because the nap can raise the playing surface up a few thousandths of an inch, which will redirect a slow rolling ball ever so slightly. Players will often notice a different color or color pattern from the cloth being touched during play. A pool table felt will have two different shades of green depending on whether the nap is raised or not. It’s much like a baseball field that has two shades of green depending on the direction the mower cut. When a player addresses the cue ball, they run their hand along the cloth, thus raising the nap or lowering already raised nap depending on the direction they move. In the past, because this phenomenon was present, it was an element of the game. There are even strict rules to how the pool table felt is installed and cleaned. A pool table cloth should always be installed with the nap lying down if it is brushed towards the foot spot (area where you rack the balls.) Thus, the cloth should always be brushed towards the racking end of the table if it is non-directional pool table felt. The benefits to directional cloth are very simple. It costs less and generally lasts longer than non-directional pool table cloth. There are several makers of pool table felt and cloth that provide different weights of cloth. The heavier a weight, the slower a cloth will play. In other words, the balls will slow down faster. The heavier cloth will last longer and is generally the cloth used in most bars around the world. Poolrooms generally use a lighter directional cloth as one of the tools to enhance the playing experience.
Non-directional pool table felt and cloth (pictured right)is the most popular cloth used by serious players. The reason is the playability. This type of pool table cloth rolls very consistent because there is no nap present to redirect the course of a moving ball. The cue ball direction and even distance traveled can be controlled much more accurately. Generally this type of cloth is considered “fast” because the balls seem to roll farther and smaller amounts of spin can allow a player to experience draw, follow and english (side spin.) The setback with non-directional pool table cloth is that it is generally more expensive and doesn’t wear as well. Both types of pool table cloth and felt have their advantages and uses. The choice is up to the owner of the pool table ultimately. If the owner wants to play but doesn’t want to be a professional then directional pool table cloth and felt can suffice. If the pool table owner wants to experience more cue ball reaction to spin and is more particular to the rolling of balls, then they should invest in a non-directional pool table cloth.
Pool Table Felt Cloth Installation Instructions
Non-directional Pool Table Cloth and Felt:
Simonis pool table cloth and felt
Championship pool table cloth and felt
Sterling pool table cloth and felt
Directional Pool Table Cloth and Felt:
Mali pool table cloth and felt
Fortsmann pool table cloth and feltPool Table Felt and Cloth