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If you plan on getting a pool table, or you already have one, then something that you may know is that beeswax and putty are essential parts of pool tables, unsung heroes so to speak. Although you can’t see them on the final product, these substances play important roles.
Let’s figure out exactly what role beeswax and putty play in pool table making, which of the two is better, and how to actually use them too.
What Are Beeswax and Putty Used for on a Pool Table?
Yes, it might sound odd that many pool tables you will find contain beeswax in their construction, but this stuff is quite important. First and foremost, beeswax or putty are both used to seal the gaps between the slates on pool tables, particularly in the gaps between the slates on two-piece and three-piece slate pool tables.
Of course, having a totally flat, smooth, and even pool table is very important to the overall quality of the game, which means that even the smallest of gaps between slates can affect the way the ball rolls and can quite literally stop the ball in its tracks. Beeswax or putty can seal those small gaps, bridge those gaps, and help to create one long, continuous, and 100% smooth and even playing surface.
On that same note, beeswax and putty are also used for pool table repairs. For instance, if you managed to chip or damage the slate on your pool table, either beeswax or putty can be used to fill in those holes, therefore allowing for a cheap repair where an expensive replacement would otherwise be needed.
Beeswax vs. Putty: Which Is Better?
OK, so whether you plan on doing this yourself, or you want to hire a professional to do it for you, a decision you have to make here is whether you want to use beeswax or putty. Now, what we want to say right off the bat is that there is no general consensus as to which one is better. Which one you use really depends on the circumstances, how much money you are willing to spend, and where you live.
For instance, putty does get rock hard, harder than beeswax itself, and in fact, if you find the right kind of putty, such as Bondo, the bond it forms will actually be stronger than between the slate itself. This high level of durability is something that people really like. Moreover, putty is also very easy to work with, it is easy to spread, it dries and cures fast, and you can find it at more or less any home improvement or pool table shop for a fairly limited cost. There is also the fact that putty is not sensitive to extreme heat.
On the other hand, beeswax tends to be the much better choice because it’s actually better for your pool table. For one, although beeswax may not be quite as hard or temperature resistant as putty, it does have the advantage that it won’t damage the slate.
Putty can actually get into the pores of the slate, and this might cause the slate to break if you ever have to move it. Moreover, the liquid from the putty can get into screw holes and cause the holes to rust.
When it comes down to it, beeswax is more than hard and durable enough for the job, it’s fairly easy to work with, and it’s much better for your pool table than putty is. The other advantage that you get with using beeswax as opposed to putty is that it remains somewhat flexible, which means that if you move the pool table, you can still level the slate, something that you cannot do once it has been bonded with putty.
What Is the Best Type of Beeswax for Pool Table?
The number one best type of beeswax to use on a slate pool table is tiger beeswax. Tiger beeswax is known for being extremely durable, yet also somewhat flexible, and at the same time appears to be longer-lasting and more heat resistant than other types of beeswax. On a side note, never use candle wax for this application, as it is far too brittle!
How to Use Beeswax to Fill the Gap Between Pool Table Slates
Quite honestly, if you are not a pool table construction and installation specialist, then in no way, shape, or form is this something that you want to try doing yourself. Even the smallest of errors can end up in a pool table that is not flat or even. Generally speaking, unless you are willing to take a huge risk in terms of ruining an expensive pool table, this really is not a DIY kind of thing.
That said, you would level off the two or three pieces of slate with each other using classic pool table slate leveling techniques. You would then spread the putty around so that it totally fills the holes and gaps, and then scrape away the excess. You would then allow it to totally dry, shave away any excess, and then use a special tool to sand and smooth it all out so that the pool table surface is 100% flat, smooth, and level.
Now that you know everything there is to know about what beeswax and putty are used for with pool tables, you can make an informed choice between the two.