Getting it Right
My first big break came in about the summer of 1982. Tony Capelli, from Tony’s Billiards in Guelph, gave me a job sorting out about 30 snooker tables that had been “Dumped” in his basement.
Tony had sold his Snooker Hall and taken it back. Within a year the new owners had driven the business into the ground. In the mean time they had moved tables into the basement literally throwing all the parts into one huge pile. It took me weeks to sort the mess out. Fortunately it was a very large basement. This turned out to be invaluable experience since I learned all the table parts and Brunswick’s numbering system. Most of the tables were 6×12 Brunswick Gold Crown Snooker tables, with some 10 Snooker Viscounts.
Once the tables were sorted Tony decided to open a new club upstairs, now “Tony’s Place”. So I went to work stripping and repainting all the Gold Crown Snooker tables to there original Ivory Bases with Gold rail skirts. The 5×10 Viscount Snookers to their Black legs with two tone, I think, Ivory and Brown, rail skirts. Once the tables were all painted up I then set the entire group of tables up stairs. That’s would be two flights of about 80 -100 stairs to the second floor. That’s two guys carrying each piece of slate carried by hand. If I recall there were about 7-8, 12’ Snooker tables and about 3- 4 5×10 Snooker tables, a total of about 43- 52 pieces of slate. That was done during the summer.
So then all the tables where up stairs leveled grouted and ready to recover. By this time I had picked up a proper “Machinist Level” and painstakingly leveled each piece to within a .001”. Remember, though, I really didn’t know what I was doing when it came to properly clothing a table. Tony however had promised me he would make a deal with Bob Graham, a properly trained Billiard Mechanic who had been trained at Ontario Billiard Supplies, that’s another storey in itself, to have Bob train me. The day came and Bob finally showed up, that’s common, but he was not keen on training me. Even though I had done the bulk of the work and he was quite impressed I don’t think he wanted the competition. I didn’t put up a fuss and let Bob finish the job.
I don’t think I have any pictures of Tony’s, then, New Club but I am going to look. Pool tables have taken over the room by now.
Well, by this time I had already opened a store front inside, Canadian Pools, on Manitou Drive in Kitchener and was selling used snooker tables and Graham Carters left over National tables. Pool tables in Canada at this time were very rare. It is hard to believe the switch would be so fast and complete. I was also selling product from Adams Cues, owned by Terry Haddock, which then became BCE. So, any way, I made a deal with Bob Graham to come and work for me doing my service and installations. I had advertised to the bars and legions and was getting a fair number of Snooker table recoveries. Bob agreed and I would go along as a helper. Along the way I would ask lots of questions and watch his technique. Knowing he had been “hustled” he relented and showed me the most important details in recovering a snooker table. He was never big on leveling though; he would wipe off the dust put the level on the table move it around a
few spots and say that looks good. Needless to say I never learned how to level tables from Bob. Learning to level is another story.
I serviced Tony’s tables for most of the next 10 years. We also did several deals together selling off and installing the rest of his 12’ Gold Crown Snooker Tables. I will always be ever grateful to Tony for the work and mostly for the opportunity he gave me.
Many Thanks Tony!! (There’s a few interesting a people I met through Tony, Stories for another day)
Even though Bob and I never made it together in business, out of the 3-4 jobs he did for me, that I didn’t go on, I had to go back to everyone to fix something he screwed up. A thread under the bed at Riverside Billiards in Galt, ON., table not level, figure eh! And screws that were never put in. no love loss here. But I am grateful for what he did teach me. Thanks Bob