The Ultimate Shuffleboard Table Buyers Guide

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When buying your own shuffleboard table there are some things you need to consider. Instead of relying on the salesman's pitch it’s good to do your own research on what you’re looking for. Here are 6 things you should consider when buying your own shuffleboard.

What Size Should You Get?

The regulation size of a shuffleboard is 22 feet long and 20 inches wide. If you’re thinking about getting your own table their aren’t a lot of people who can fit such a large table into their house. If regulation size isn’t that big of a deal for you then you have a lot of options to choose from.

Shuffleboards come in many different sizes. The most popular sizes people get are 8, 9, and 12 feet long with 20 inches in width. These sizes are much easier to deal with when you’re thinking of commercial use. Keep in mind that most tables are easy to take apart and the play surface typically comes in two pieces to make it easy to install.

When you’re picking out a room to put your shuffleboard in there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The first is the size of the room. It’s good to have a minimum of 2 feet along every side of the table. If you’re expecting to have spectators in the area during a game you also should make room for them along with other items like tables or chairs.

Some other things to consider are the moisture levels in the room as well as the level of sunlight. You want to have the least amount of moisture in the air so it’s good to buy a dehumidifier for your table. Sunlight can bleach the wood of your table or dry it out.

The width of your table can also affect the game play. Tables that have a width less than 18 inches are going to make it hard for proper puck movement. 18 inches is even cutting it close because this includes the whole table and not just the playing surface.

What Are the Parts of a Shuffleboard?

If you're going to buy your own shuffleboard it's important that you know all of the parts of your table during game play and especially during assembly. These are the most important components of a shuffleboard table:

  • Playing Surface: This is the area that you're going to slide your puck on. It's the large slab of wood between the two alleys of your table.
  • Foul Line: The foul line is usually located directly in the middle of your shuffleboard table but for longer tables there are sometimes two foul lines. Pucks must pass this line in order for their points to count. If they fail to pass this line then they're removed from the playing field.
  • Alley: The alley is the gutter that surrounds the playing surface on three sides. Pucks that land in the alley are not counted for points.
  • Scoring Lines: These lines separate the scoring areas. In order for a puck to count in a higher area it must completely cross over the scoring line. 
  • Cabinet: The cabinet is the foundation of the shuffleboard table. It supports the playing surface and is usually made from wood.
  • Leg Levelers: These are components attached to the bottom of the legs of the table that help to control the height of the table. Not all tables have these but they do the same job as putting blocks of wood underneath the legs.
  • Climate Adjusters: These are bars attached to the bottom of the board to either add a concave or convex to the playing surface. Most players add a concave to their board to prevent the pucks from going into the alley.
  • Deck: This is the wood that supports the cabinet and the playing surface. The deck is usually made out of plywood or solid wood. Try to avoid tables that have decks made from MDF or other cheap woods.

What Materials Are Best?

Shuffleboard can be damaged by a lot of different things. Dropped pucks, liquids, or not ideal room qualities can all damage your shuffleboard so it’s important to choose a table that’s made from the most durable materials. 

A damaged playing surface can be very expensive to replace so the ideal material you want your table to be made out of is a harder wood like birch, oak, hard maple, or mahogany. These woods are more resistant to dings as well as warping over time.

The thickness of your playing surface will also help to keep your table in shape. Thicker pieces are less likely to warp from changes in moisture or changes in temperature. 3 inches thick is a good measure to look for in a table.

It’s important to know the difference between a “hard oak finish” and actual oak wood. Manufacturers like to use this type of terminology to fool the customers into thinking their tables are made from a good quality wood when they’re really just applying a finish that makes it look like a durable wood.

The rest of the table should be made out of the same wood used on the playing surface or a similarly hard wood. Frames aren’t involved in direct game play but they are still liable to being damaged by outside forces. The box between the board and the alley is often damaged by pucks that are thrown with too much force. You can purchase pads that can be attached to the inside of these walls.

Other factors that can affect the game play of your shuffleboard table include uneven pressure. Often times players will lean over the table and put their body weight against it. No one should be leaning on the table and especially should not be sitting on it.

What Kind of Finish Works Best?

There are many different kinds of finishes that have been used over the years and each one has its benefits. However, durability is the main thing you should look for. The four main finishes used are shellac, lacquer, epoxy, and polyurethane.

  • Shellac was used more in the 1900's and is known for its glossy shine. As for protection it’s not very durable but if you use a hardwood surface you should be fine. Because it wears down easily you’ll more than likely have to reapply it often. It scratches easily and dissolves when it comes into contact with alcohol.
  • Lacquer was also used in the earlier versions of shuffleboard tables but has since then been modified to lessen the toxicity and flammability. Today’s lacquer hold the color of the wood the best and is fast drying. However, it’s not used much today because it lacks durability and must be reapplied often.
  • Epoxy is one of the most durable finishes. Producers poor it over the wood and it dries into an almost Plexiglas material. You most likely won’t need to refinish your table if it has an epoxy finish. However, it isn’t very flexible and doesn’t work well with large temperature changes.
  • Polyurethane is the most popular finish out of all of them. Because it’s less thin than epoxy it is more flexible and resistant to temperature changes. It isn’t as hard as epoxy and may take more damage but it’s more scratch resistant as well.

What to Buy With a Shuffleboard?

In order to play shuffleboard you’ll need a couple of accessories. The most important one is the shuffleboard puck. These are made out of polished steel and come with plastic caps to give the player a better grip and help to protect the pucks from getting or giving damage.

Another important product is shuffleboard wax. Powder, sand, salt, or cheese all refer to shuffleboard wax. Wax helps the puck slide along the surface by preventing friction between the table and the puck. It’s made out of tiny silicone beads that are sometimes mixed with cornstarch or other similar materials.

As you’ll notice, not all shuffleboards are flat. Often times players adjust their tables so that it dips in the middle a little bit in order to prevent it from sliding off the sides. Climate adjusters are used to adjust your board. They’re called climate adjuster because shuffleboards tend to bend inwards or outwards in certain types of climates.

These are you basic necessities but there are a ton of other products that you can buy for your shuffleboard table such as scoreboards, cleaning supplies, and table lights. Most all products you buy can be customized to fit best with your game room.

How Much Should I Spend?

Shuffleboards can get very expensive especially if you’re looking for a high quality table or a table with special features. Of course the length of the table you choose to get will also affect the price.

There are good quality shuffleboard tables that cost under $1,500. Design and length are what effect the price the most. I wouldn’t expect to pay less than $1,000 for a decent table. Shuffleboard tables can cost more than $10,000 but they all vary.

Related Questions:

How Much Does a Shuffleboard Table Weigh?

The weight of a shuffleboard table can differ depending on how long your table is, the type of wood used, and other attachments included with your table. No matter the size it’s going to weigh a couple of hundred pounds.

How do You Score in Shuffleboard?

At the end of a shuffleboard, there are 3 areas that are labeled 1, 2, and 3 (3 being the farthest away). Players must attempt to slide their pucks into either of these designated areas or try and hit their opponents pucks off of the board. The number that a puck is located on is the amount of points that puck gets. The player with the most points wins.

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