Shuffleboard is lesser known than all of the other types of game tables so its terminology is often times confusing. One term that I’ve often heard during a shuffleboard game is “plowing”. I decided to do some research on what this means in terms of shuffleboard.
Plowing in shuffleboard refers to the puck making a trail in the shuffleboard wax as the puck collects it sliding down the table. It is a very common problem in the game of shuffleboard and can be prevented.
Before a game of shuffleboard it’s best that players apply a layer of wax to the table to help the pucks slide on the table better and prevent friction between the table and the puck. This helps it go farther and helps to protect the surface of the table wood.
Shuffleboard wax is the same thing as shuffleboard powder, dust, and even cheese. What it is is a bunch of tiny silicone beads usually mixed with some sort of powder like cornstarch to help them stay on the table. Different mixtures make it more slick.
There are many different types of shuffleboard wax and most of them are separated by grades. Grades are what tell the player how fast their pucks are going to slide. You can also use a mixture of waxes on your table to create your own ideal surface.
If you’re playing on a shorter table then you’ll want to use a slower wax. Slower wax is going to have a lower grade while fast wax is going to have a higher grade. Grades range from 1-7 but can vary depending on the brand you buy.
Fast wax is used for the longest tables (up to 22 feet long) or for more experienced players. It can be hard to get used to the slipperiness of your shuffleboard table and you could potentially cause damage if your puck goes too fast. Often times it flies over the playing surface and bangs into the edge of the alley of the table making dings in the wood.
What Causes Shuffleboard Plowing
Plowing can be a pain to deal with because the build up of wax against your puck can cause it to slow down. So how can you prevent it from happening? There are a couple of reasons your pucks could be plowing through the shuffleboard wax.
- Too much wax: If you’re an inexperienced player you might not know how much wax is appropriate to put onto your table. You want to add just enough wax to cover the whole table lightly. If you add too much wax the your puck will end up plowing it over.
- Cheap pucks: The most common reason pucks plow through the shuffleboard wax is because the pucks aren’t designed correctly. A good quality puck is going to have rounded sides on the bottom of the puck. This helps to keep the silicone beads in the wax underneath of the puck. A cheap puck is going to lack those rounded sides and are going to be in the shape of a hockey puck. The lack of direction given by the rounded sides are going to cause the silicone beads to not go under the puck but around the sides of the puck causing a trail through the wax.
- Clumped up wax: Another common reason for plowing to occur is when your wax has clumped up. This happens when a player applies their wax to their board when it is wet with something. Shuffleboard tables can become wet during the shuffleboard table cleaning process. Once in a while you’ll want to give your table a deep clean and an extra wax. People use liquid cleaners, liquid wax, and silicone sprays to give it the best look. If you don’t wait until your table is completely dry before applying the playing wax to your table it will start to clump up and it won’t be as slippery as it should be.
- Too much moisture in wax: Sometimes when players store their wax in their basements, near a window, or any other place that has a lot of moisture then that moisture gets into the wax container and clumps it up. Keeping your wax in a dry storage area away from the open air will help to keep it in a good condition.
- New finish on table: Another thing that sometimes happens is a lack of grip on the surface. This happens when the owner of the shuffleboard table has just applied a new finish to the table and it becomes too smooth for the wax to stay on the table. If you’ve just applied a new finish to your table and your wax isn’t gripping the wood as good you just need to add a little wear to the surface. Most people do this by very lightly sanding the top of of the shuffleboard to give it some texture.
Can You Reuse Shuffleboard Wax?
You can technically reuse shuffleboard wax but if you do you don’t want to do it too often. After excessive use the silicone beads can chip and potentially scratch and damage both the table and the puck.
Often times during a tournament a player will pick up the wax from the gutters of the table and put it onto the playing surface. This is because players aren’t allowed to re-wax the surface during a game but this is allowed. As long as the wax is from the wax at the beginning of the match it shouldn’t cause damage to your table.
Cleaning your shuffleboard table is a relatively easy process. Most of the times dirt gets trapped underneath your wax and gets into the shuffleboard wood. The first thing you want to do is get rid of most of the shuffleboard wax by using a wiper.
After this most people just use a mixture of water, oil, and vinegar to wipe their tables off. The vinegar pulls the dirt from your board while the oil moisturizes the table at the same time. Most people also do a waxing routine after their table is cleaned.