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A Guide To Buying A Shuffleboard For Beginners

June 17, 2020 5 min read

There are many factors that you must consider before buying a Shuffleboard.  It is important that you know what you need for your space, along with what features will best serve you and result in an overall longer lifespan for your table.  It is not unusual for a table to last 50 to 60 years, so it is a long term investment and it is worth taking your time to research. With proper care, it can last decades without need for restoration.

The quality of materials used, does not just affect overall lifespan of the table, but also stability and playing speed.

When shopping for a table you must consider these 8 things:

Size

Thickness

Material

Climate Adjusters

Outer Cabinet

Scoring System

Finish

Accessories

Size

The first thing you want to consider is how much space you have to fit your shuffleboard.  It is recommended that you have at least 2ft but preferably 3ft or more around your table for comfortable playing. When deciding where to place your table, try to find an area that is dry and has a low amount of sunlight as moisture and sun can damage the table. You can use a dehumidifier if necessary. You can put one side against a wall if needed but it is preferable to make as much room as you can.  

The Regulation size of a shuffleboard is 22 ft long and 20 inches wide.  This is typically much larger than most people have room for and is not necessary unless you are training for tournaments. Most people use 8 to 14 ft tables for residential use and find this size adequate.  Keep in mind that shorter tables are easier to play on, which can take some of the challenge away if you get too short of a table.  

If you are wanting to participate in competitions or tournaments, you may want to be between 18 and 22 ft. Width is important to consider. You can get a table smaller than 18 inches wide but most pros will advise against it. It is recommended that you get at least 18 inches wide. The smaller the width of the table the more the pucks collide making it less about strategy. However, if you are just looking to have fun or do not have a door wide enough to fit the table, you may want to consider a smaller table.

Thickness

Playing Field thickness is relative to how thick the playing board is. You want to pay attention to the finish as most of the time it’s included in the measurements. Most pros will tell you to go for a table that is 2 to 3’’ thick in wood, plus the finish. Some will advise looking for butcher block countertops. The thicker tables tend to last more beyond refinishes, if you are looking for a long-lasting table it’s one factor to take into account. However, a higher quality wood or finish can accommodate a thinner table.

Material

High-quality tables are typically made of mahogany, bamboo, oak, maple, or birch. The traditionally crafted tables will include a layer of protection over it with plastic laminate or wood grain vinyl. These hardwood tables with these types of wood are less prone to warping than their plywood or rubberwood counterparts. 

Poplar is also a lower cost alternative that is more lightweight but is similar in durability and comparable to oak. However, if you want your table to last longer it’s advisable to get a wood that works well with your climate and is solid. However, you can adjust the table some with a climatic adjuster to help with warping. This is explained in the next section.

You also might want to pay attention to if there is carpet or felt inside the box of the shuffleboard as it can help from creating dents or dings against the wood when the pucks hit the gutter. It will also help your pucks stay in better shape.

Climatic Adjusters

climatic adjusters are under the board and allow you to control the surface of your board to adjust to changes in weather. There are usually four to six climatic adjusters per board depending on the length of your table. They are under the board about 1 ft away from the end of the playing surface. They should be about 3 to 4 feet apart from each other.

They are set to be slightly concave so that the pucks don’t run into the gutters as easily. You will have to adjust the climatic adjusters during different seasons typically to get the right level surface. A good way to test is to use a straight edge tool and lay it across the board, then slide a paper underneath. There should be just enough room to lay the paper underneath it. If there is more or less, then you need to adjust the Climatic Adjusters.

To adjust the concave level, first, loosen the inside nut all the way on both sides. Next, you will tighten the outside nut using two turns. Do the same thing to the other outside nut. Repeat the process and allow for a few days in between adjusting to see the changes you need. To adjust the convex level of your table, you do the exact opposite. First, loosen the outside nut all the way on both sides. Then slowly tighten the inside nut using two turns, and repeat on the other side.

 Outer Cabinet

The outer cabinet is an important aspect to consider as well. It is what holds the table together. The material is best as a hardwood. Stay away from particle board if you want a quality table. Solid wood will add weight and keep them in place. Keep an eye out for misleading terms like maple finish instead of solid maple, as they may just be stating that it looks like maple and is not actually made of maple. Solid wood with a nice finish like veneer will last longer and withstand more use.

Scoring System

You want to choose your scoring system wisely as you cannot change this later on. It decides how you play the game. Do your research on how you want to play. The most common is the 1-2-3 system with three rectangular areas. It is the traditional layout and is known by most players. The other common system is the triangular system that has six scoring parts within a triangle at the end of the table. However, this is typically used for outdoor shuffleboard.

Finish

Poured polymer (epoxy) finishes are the best type of finish because they protect the longest against cracks or dings from the pucks. 50 years ago, spray-on finishes of simple wax, lacquers, or shellacs were the standard. These older finishes typically wear out over 3 to 4 years of use. Refined polymer resins are typically at least ¼ inch thick and will withstand the test of time.

Accessories 

As you can imagine, there are many add ons that you can get for your table. Some are deemed necessary. For example, you will need to get shuffleboard table powder to keep the pucks gliding on the table. There are many different blends depending on if you are a newbie or a pro. High control blends are better for beginners and pros will likely do well with a speed silicone blend. You can always purchase a variety pack to see what works best for you. 

To keep the table maintained and healthy, you want to regularly clean the table with a gentle wood cleaner, polish with a soft cloth and then apply shuffleboard table wax and finishing silicone spray. After that keep your table covered with a protective cover. Take care of your investment and you will keep the table for decades to come. In addition to maintenance accessories, you may want to invest in a scoreboard, some drink holders, a rule book and some nice pucks.  

There are many features and add ons to consider, but what’s great about that is that you can make your shuffleboard table perfect for you.