Frequently Asked Questions - Hood Leather



Q. How can I tell what kind of pockets my table has?

A. #6 pocket irons are the most common irons used today. They have a round post on each end of the iron that would go into the rail and a bolt would come up from the bottom. Also available are #3 irons, which have a rectangle flange that sits on top of the rail. Both of these types of tables are known as "antique" or "furniture" style. Old antique tables were available in a wide array of iron types. Some of the styles were:

  • Old #3's, which are similar to new #3's except they usually have a more narrow but longer flange.
  • Old #6's, which also have a slightly different dimension than new #6's.
  • "G" irons, which are similar to #3 irons.
  • 20th Century irons, which are a thicker iron and have small screw holes under the iron for a metal shield to mount.
  • #5 irons which are a smaller and thinner version of #6's.
  • Wenco irons have a square post instead of a round post on each end of the iron.
  • "Special" #5's are similar to Wencos except the side irons have no post at all. These were more common on tables that converted from pool to billiards.
  • Also available were #6, #10, #5, #7, and BCE Snooker irons.

    These are just a fraction of the iron types that are out in the pocket billiard world. At about 20 sets of antique pocket restorations per week, Hood Leather Goods has built a wealth of information.

    Q. My pool table doesn't have irons. It has inside pockets. What kind are these?

    A. This type of table is known as a "modern" style table. These pocket liners are available in rubber or leather. The pocket is called a "modern bucket."

    Q. Does it matter if the table is a ball return style?

    A. Yes, it does. This type of table is also known as a "Gully" or "Subway" table. They are available in either antique or modern style. This type returns all the balls to either end of the table after being pocketed. If you have this type of table, in the antique style, your pockets will need to have a gully boot attached to the bottom. Also, the inside trim, where the ball would strike, is generally deeper into the pocket to hide the fasteners used to attach the boot. If you have the modern style, you will only need a top liner, as the gully boot is built into the table.

    Q. How do I care for my leather pockets?

    A. Leather pockets will need very little care in order to give you years of faithful service. Periodic cleaning with a damp soft cloth should be all your pockets will need. Do not use a detergent. Also, avoid direct sunlight as your pockets may fade. We recommend you cover your table with a high quality vinyl cover when not in use, to protect both the table and the pockets. This will also extend the life of your pockets.

    Q. Why did the finish come off my pockets?

    A. While all pockets require some care, if the finish rubs off easily, your pockets were not produced with a quality dye similar to a shoe finish. Some pocket manufacturers paint the finish on the leather for cost savings. These pockets tend to have a very high luster and have a plastic, or waxy feel. The finish on the leather should be dyed into the leather as opposed to painted. Painted on finish is only on the surface and can be easily rubbed off. Dyed leather is steeped into the leather and will take much more abuse. Hood Leather Goods uses only the highest quality leather finishes. This insures the optimum durability combined with a quality leather look to the pockets.

    Q. How can I tell if the pockets are of good quality?

    A. The highest quality pockets use the highest quality leather. Esthetically, your pockets should be smooth and not have wrinkles on top. This is a sign of inferior leather. Don't be fooled by the words "distressed" or "natural look". These are excuses for choosing poor quality leather. After all, you don't buy brand new shoes with wrinkles. The nets on the pockets should be riveted to the top leather. Pocket nets that are stitched on often unravel if the thread breaks. In addition, check overall appearance and quality of finish, leather, sewing, and riveting.

    Q. My pockets are very old but in good condition. Can I replace just the torn nets?

    A. Yes. On older pockets, the nets are often the first to go. Typically, when customers want to replace only the nets, other parts of the pocket should be given attention as well. The rest of the pocket may appear to be in good condition, but often, the leather is too dry and brittle to attach new leather nets. Also, if an older table is to be reconditioned and put into service once more, please do not take a short cut on the pockets. You will be disappointed. The remaining leather will not last long.