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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: rws on April 04, 2018, 12:25:11 PM

Title: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: rws on April 04, 2018, 12:25:11 PM
First the Question: Should I get rid of an old billiards table in my basement and turn the space into a wood shop ?

The table was included when we purchased the home two years ago. The initial novelty wore off and now we never use it even when friends/family visit. Woodworking is a hobby and I build things on a regular basis - mostly furniture for the house. I've been thinking about making things to sell on Etsy as an extra income stream and investing the profits towards FI.

My current workshop is a 6' x 10' corner in the opposite side of the basement, walls on three sides. On the 4th side is the washer/dryer, water heater and boiler so it is not possible to expand the space. Only one electrical outlet. Despite my best efforts the Dust gets everywhere - all over the washer/dryer and the other things we store in the basement. It does get decent lighting during the day from two small windows.

The table is in an enclosed room, approx 12' X 20', with fluorescent lighting, 5-6 electrical outlets over 3 walls, has direct access to the backyard (would make moving lumber in and out easy and provide good ventilation). Since it's enclosed the dust wouldn't coat everything in the storage space / laundry area. Aesthetically the room is nothing special - 4 walls and some cheap old commercial carpet on the floor

If i can get someone to do the manual labor of taking the pool table there will be no cost to moving my shop to the bigger room (except for buying more tools to fill in all the space!).

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: NoStacheOhio on April 04, 2018, 12:31:27 PM
Seems like a no-brainer.

Throw the table up on Craigslist or something (free/cheap, you pick it up).
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: RyanAtTanagra on April 04, 2018, 12:33:42 PM
Yea I'd go for it.  Pool tables are one of those things that gets used the first year then hardly ever again.  Whenever I go over to someone's house with one and they have a bunch of people over, they're encouraging everyone to use it, I think so they feel less guilty about keeping it around.  Billiards is much more fun at a bar, for some reason.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: eljefe-speaks on April 04, 2018, 12:38:29 PM
Seems like a no-brainer.

Throw the table up on Craigslist or something (free/cheap, you pick it up).

Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: affordablehousing on April 05, 2018, 10:26:19 AM
Totally go for it! A wood shop is 1,000,000 times more fun than pool. Also, don't waste your time throwing out the pool table, just cut it apart and use the materials in projects. If you rip the rails down you might get some usable straight lumber, and the slate could be useful for all kinds of things - big chalk board for family chores, cut into pieces for cheese boards, drink trays, table top. Just get the sawzall out and cut the table to size. We did that with an old hot tub, the redwood skirting became a fence in the front yard.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: Linea_Norway on April 05, 2018, 10:33:28 AM
Do it. You need a wood shop with good lighting, ventilation and electricty. I don't think amyone will buy your house in the future because there is a billiards table in can always advertise it with: room for a billiards table.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: robartsd on April 05, 2018, 10:44:09 AM
I'd want to change out the floor covering before converting to a wood shop. Don't want the carpet loaded up with wood dust forever, much better to have a easy to sweep surface.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: rws on April 05, 2018, 01:25:37 PM
affordablehousing > using the materials for other projects - genius! If i can't get any money for it this is a great suggestion.

Linda > funny you say that. It wasn't a major factor in us buying the house but it did excite us a bit, which made me think that having it when we sell would not be a bad thing. The previous owner used it as a bargaining chip - we keep the table, a bar, some furniture and a big snowblower rather than them paying us for a broken shower valve. We took the deal - gave away some of the furniture to friends, used the snowblower to clear the 30" of snow that fell the night we closed on the property :).

robartsd > Indeed. The carpet is very thin and will come right up off the concrete. I keep seeing pictures of epoxy floors on pinterest, wonder if that's a good option for a basement? Smoother surface and easier on the knees.

Thanks everyone, I appreciate all of your thoughts!
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: marielle on April 05, 2018, 01:37:59 PM
This is funny to me, because pool is one of my major/competitive hobbies so your house is literally my dream house. I don't like going out to most pool halls to play and have wanted my own table for months.

That said, not everyone is into it, so I see no reason to keep it if you're not.

However, I could offer some tips on selling it (also, whether it's worth it or not). What size table and brand? How thick is the slate (you should be able to feel/measure from a pocket)? What condition is the felt in (is it smooth or fuzzy/napped)?

I suspect it's likely one of the cheaper ones that look pretty as a furniture piece, with fancy wood legs and such, but aren't as great to play on. You could still get a few hundred for it potentially. Over $1000 if it's a quality table with newer felt. 7ft and 8ft tables are easier to sell. 9ft tables struggle to sell and are usually better quality and have thicker slate.

@ The person who suggested tearing the table apart...I almost cried at that suggestion!

That is, unless the table is a POS. Then be my guest.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: rws on April 05, 2018, 06:34:36 PM
I just tried to post some pics but it looks like it didn't work. It's a Brunswick table, not fancy looking, more like the kind you'd find in a bowling alley.

Playing surface is 90" x 45", slate is 3/4" thick, felt is ok but could stand to be replaced. Drop pockets. Let me know what you think!
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: marielle on April 06, 2018, 07:00:25 AM
It's probably an 8ft table, which should have a playing surface of 44" x 88". Did you measure under the rails or the actual playable surface?

They do have 8.5ft tables, which are 45" x 92" but that's pretty rare.

3/4" slate is pretty thin, so it sounds like you'd likely sell this table to someone who wouldn't care about that anyway.

You can probably get a few hundred for it and get it out of there quickly. Check other posts for tables in your area and adjust accordingly based on how fast you want it gone. We had an okay 8ft Brunswick a few years ago, bought for $1300 (used) and sold for the same price, but the felt was only a year old and I think the slate was thicker so it played fairly decently. It was closer to one of those that have legs of a fancy dining table, so a typical house table and not commercial quality. But the wood was in good shape without too many dings. Similar to this: (
The guy who bought it wasn't a serious pool player, but it looked nice and the felt was the exact color of his favorite football team.

Also note that you should only move tables by using a professional table mover, which can cost $200+. So your buyer will have to arrange for that or take the risk of damaging the table/slate. New felt is $100-150 for average felt. I personally would always get new felt with a used table, but I have higher standards than most people for felt. If you're desperate and the table looks relatively nice, you should be able to get rid of it for free quickly. The bright side is that an 8ft table is easy to get rid of because it's a popular size for houses.

Unless you live in the middle of nowhere. Then...good luck!
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: rws on April 06, 2018, 07:05:05 AM
Here is a link i found with the same table.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: TheWifeHalf on April 06, 2018, 10:34:29 AM
Can you make it (assuming wood shop) so that fumes, smells don't get to the rest of the house?


Is it damp? Not good for tools, but ways to work around

Are you able to get a piece of plywood, or a 12' piece of lumber down there?

These are all things we talked about 30 yrs ago, when we were planning our garage
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: rws on April 06, 2018, 01:37:21 PM
I would use anything that gives off fumes or odors in the garage.

Great article on dust collection! It's another item on my list, I have a downdraft table for sanding small pieces, wear goggles and a mask but it still gets all over.

It's very dry and we have a dehumidifier.

12' piece of lumber would fit down the stairs. 4x8 sheet of plywood might (they are bilco doors and i'm not sure it would make the downward angle) but i can always cut it down in the garage or bring it in through house if needed.

My garage has a pretty serious slope otherwise i would use that as the workshop.

Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: DreamFIRE on April 06, 2018, 01:56:37 PM

I used to live in a smaller house with no room for a pool table.  I spent hours every week playing at clubs and pool rooms.  When I bought my current house, one of the thing things on my "want" list was finding a house with a large open area to put a pool table.  I found the house and bought a nice 8' Olhausen pool table with a thick slate, solid oak, Accufast rubber cushions, and Simonis 860 worsted cloth (it's not felt.)  The problem is I then lived over an hour away from the friends that I used to shoot pool with, so while I've used the pool table, I haven't used it nearly as much as I thought I would.  So I sometimes have thought about getting rid of it, but then, I don't really need the space because I have a big house.  And now, I'm thinking about re-locating within the next couple years, so I figured I would just let it go with the house if that happens.  In the meantime, I'll try to get some good out of it from time to time, and perhaps if I FIRE in another year, I might be more inclined to use it more frequently.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: Fishindude on April 06, 2018, 02:38:05 PM
I think a basement is a very poor place for a wood shop.   Too much dust, noise, odor, etc., plus access in and out with materials and tools is difficult unless it's a walk out basement.   If you are tired of the pool table, I would find another use for that space other than a wood shop.   Do your woodworking in the garage or consider building a separate shop building.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: affordablehousing on April 06, 2018, 04:10:00 PM
Couple of suggestions- before you let go of the carpet, consider the debate about commercial carpet as a woodshop floor on the Make Something Youtube channel. The guy spec'd carpet for his new construction shop, I thought he was a complete friggin idiot, then he demonstrated that it was easy to vacuum, was nicer on the knees, and softer on tools that get dropped. Maybe I would now call him an idiot rather than more. Also, a basement, while less ideal than a walk-in garage, sounds more ideal to me than a sloped surface. Let the limitations of the space inspire you to greater creative heights. Also, as for dust, just get a good respirator, change out the filters regularly, and do your best with tool-actuated dust collection like Festool vacs or arduino controlled blast gates. Or just live with it.

The best maker alive (IMO) Jimmy Diresta (youtube and tv star) did his best work in a basement. Now he has a huge shop he built and his work has suffered I think, from the lack of constraints that force him to think outside the box.
Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: Igelfreundin on April 06, 2018, 09:33:09 PM
Chiming into to say - I have a basement woodshop and I love it. I don't have a garage, so that wouldn't have been an option for me. The previous owner installed the work benches and peg boards. I think his mantra was "You can never have too many outlets or too much empty space", and boy do I agree.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Billiards Room Vs Wood Shop?
Post by: rws on April 07, 2018, 08:13:31 AM
Thanks all, these are great suggestions!

In the Make Something video he makes a good case for carpet. What i have is very thin/dense like his so I think I'll leave it for now. Working on concrete is tough after a while.