Replacement Pockets for an Antique Pool Table

Puppy Sadie should graduate from puppy school next week, so perhaps one of these days I’ll be able to get back to more crafty endeavors. Right now, though, she’s still extremely curious and eager to “help” (if by “help” you mean trying to pull the double-pointed needles out of my hands so she can play with a half-knitted sock).

Good things are worth waiting for, or at least I hope my brother-in-law agrees since he’s still waiting for his Christmas socks.

Good things are also worth doing right.

You might remember that I made a set of replacement pool table pocket nets for my cousin’s gorgeous old pool table a couple years back. It took a while for him to devise a strategy to attach the new pockets, and from what I understand it was a bit challenging because you have to work at awkward angles. He attached the final pocket net a couple months ago, so I asked him to write this guest post.

 

 

New Pockets for the Brunswick Home Comfort

By Mark Hendrickson

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This Brunswick pool table, the Home Comfort model as it’s known, has been in my family since I was a little boy. I first remember seeing this table in the parlor of an elderly couple who lived next to my family when we lived in town. As this couple disposed some of their possessions, they gave the table to my parents.

The 3.5’ x 7’ Home Comfort, made in about 1905, turns into a couch when the heavy playing surface is flipped up into a vertical position. In a 1911 Brunswick catalog, the table is described as “a very popular design especially adapted for use in a den.” The table sold originally for about $150.

On this particular table, the seat back and seat cushion are original — leather covering with horse-hair stuffing. The felt on the table was renewed in 2012.

The original pockets were a mesh fabric made of forest green wool. Over the years they had torn or stretched to the point where they would no longer hold pool balls that fell into them. Luckily for us, we have an outstanding knitter in the family (Paula) who agreed to make new pockets, using the existing ones as a model.

Once Paula finished making all six pocket nets, it was my job to affix the pockets to the table. The pockets are attached in two major ways.

 

How the pockets are attached

First, the lower edge of the pocket is stapled into the wooden frame of the table bed below the playing surface, at each pocket location. After this part of the pocket is secure, the top and outside edge of the new pocket is sewn to the leather and metal bracket that is screwed into the top of the rail at each pocket. It takes good strong button thread and a sturdy needle to puncture the leather lip on the bracket.

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Once the pockets are stapled and sewn in place, the final step is affixing black fringe around the pocket bottom and around the outside edge of the upper leather and metal bracket.

The bottom of each pocket has a round wooden plug, shaped somewhat like a squashed hourglass. This wooden plug helps enclose the bottom of the pocket and provides a solid surface for affixing the fringe.

In creating the new pockets, Paula incorporated a length of wire at the ends, around the circumference of the hole at the bottom. This wire is wound around the hourglass at its narrowest point, thus effectively closing the pocket at the bottom. The lowest part of the wooden plug extends beyond the knit pocket and thus allows us to hot glue the fringe (salvaged from the original pockets) to the plug.

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The upper fringe was affixed to the leather and metal bracket with hot glue. Originally, I suspect that the fringe may have been sewn into the leather, but they didn’t have the ease of hot glue in those days.

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Overall, it took me approximately 6 hours to complete the installation of the new pockets. They work wonderfully, look as the originals did, and we no longer have to station someone by a pocket to catch a ball before it drops to the floor!

Check out the massive hinge that allows the table to be turned into a not-that-comfy sofa!

Check out the massive hinge that allows the table to be turned into a not-that-comfy sofa!

 

Note from Paula: After a bit more use, friction will help the fibers of the nets “felt” slightly so they’ll look more like the originals did in their prime.

 

Photos courtesy of Mark Hendrickson. Not only is Mark an amazing wood worker, he’s the creator and executive producer of Barn Find Fever. Follow him on Twitter: @FindBarn and Instagram: @nassaublue66.

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About Paula Hendrickson

I'm a full-time freelance writer with an addiction to yarn, cooking and all kinds of crafty things. I come from a long line of creative and entrepreneurial types on both sides of the family, making creativity almost like competitive pursuit.

Posted on April 15, 2016, in heirlooms, macrame, pocket nets, Pool Table, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow! Awesome collaboration and restoration project. The placement of the new pockets reminds me of surgery! Well done, both of you. Game of Crazy 8 anyone (or is that stripes/solids). Either way, it’s the only game I know.

  2. Paula Hendrickson

    Mark totally needs to have an indoor version of a pool party!

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