Shuffleboard tables are making a comeback. When you think about games rooms, you think about pool tables, dart boards, air hockey tables, and ping pong tables, but you do not often think about shuffleboard tables.
Many people, though, are buying and installing them in their homes. They are also a staple at community centers, communal living, and other large, living arrangements.
A shuffleboard table is attainable for your own home (or anywhere else you would like to put it), and with a little thought, you can find the perfect one. We have created this buying guide to help you through the process.
Buying Guide for Shuffleboard Tables
What Are the Sizes?
The size is an important factor when you are looking at a shuffleboard table. If you want the real shuffleboard experience, then you are going to need a lot of room. The largest ones can be 22-feet long.
You can get tables which are 9-feet long too. And, of course, you can get anything in-between. You need to make your choice depending on the size of space you have. If you are installing it in a home, then you may not have room for a full-size one and will need to buy a smaller one.
You will also need to think about the players. You will need to add 2-3 feet of length to the end to allow room for the players.
Traditionally, shuffleboard tables are 3” thick. When you are shopping, you should try to find one with this thickness. This helps to give a level and stable playing field, and the surface can be sanded should any inconsistencies develop.
Maple has traditionally been the wood of choice for a shuffleboard table, but we have moved away from hard maple and replaced it with soft maple. Due to the finishing techniques, this gives an acceptable finish.
The new polymers and lacquers give a smooth and strong finish which were originally achieved with hard maple wood.
A shuffleboard table can take a lot of damage. The pucks can be dropped on the top surface, which can dent softer woods. When the pucks are thrown down, they can impact with the other pucks and with the table.
A surface can be sanded to remove dents and imperfections, but you will want to look for a high-quality surface which will last and not need to be replaced or sanded. Soft maple with a high-quality finish is reliable, but hardwoods such as maple, birch, oak, and mahogany are best.
A good hardwood will be solid and will resist accidental damage.
The thickness of the wood, the type of wood, and the construction, are all critical, but the finish may be even more important to how the game will play out. You have two main choices when it comes to the finish: polymer and traditional.
Traditionally shellacs and lacquers were used to finish the tables, and while traditional is usually seen as a good thing, these finishes can wear down after 3-4 years and will need to be replaced.
Polymer finishes will last a lot longer and will be the finish you will want to look for. With this, there are two possible polymer finishes. A spray-on finish will be fine, but again, it will not last, and it may even add imperfections to the surface.
You want a poured polymer finish. The finish is poured onto the product, and this prevents air bubbles or imperfections from appearing. When the pucks are slid down the surface, they will dot damage the surface where these imperfections occur.
A good polymer finish will protect from any damage from falling pucks. A good polymer finish will also be 1/4 inch thick and will add an extra layer and extra thickness to the product.
Once the polymer finish is on the product, it should last a very long time.
What Else You Need To Know
If you have a 3-inch thick surface with a good polymer finish, you are going to want a strong and durable cabinet to hold it. A solid hardwood cabinet will be structurally sound and will support the surface.
They will be more expensive. MDF particle board will hold a thick surface, but it will not be as strong as hardwood. This option will cost you less money.
The other thing to think about is the weight. You may need to get the product into the paying area and move it again. The extra weight may be a burden. But, during intense and active games, the extra weight will stop it from shifting, so the extra weight can improve the games you play.
Climatic adjusters will make your table more expensive, but if you are serious about shuffleboard, then you will want them. As the climate changes, the temperature and humidity will cause the wood to shift. It can become concave or convex. The adjusters will get your it back to its original condition.
How it Keeps Score
The scoring system will be inlaid into your table and is a matter of preference for anyone who is shopping. There is the 1-2-3 system, which is the most common variety, and the triangle scoring system, which is often used for outdoor play.
The more you are willing to spend, the better your table will be. We recommend shopping around for the best prices, but there is no point skipping on your table and getting one which will fall apart.
If the surface is not smooth, the table not level, or the finish marked, you are not going to be able to play shuffleboard as it was intended. We recommend setting a budget, but also recognizing that you get what you pay for.
A shuffleboard table can be a big investment, and on that can last you a lifetime. Great shuffleboard tables have been around for over 50 years with no sign of becoming unusable. Make a solid investment and then take care of your table. You will enjoy the game for the rest of your life.
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