The job of the heaters is to ensure that the slate of the table is kept at a roughly even temperature. This ensures that the movement of the balls on the slate can be controlled. This means that, for the most part, the players will be playing on a table that has a consistent playing surface.
If slate gets too cold or too warm, then it will start to contract or expand. It will only be small amounts, but it will be enough to change the surface of the snooker table.
As the slate changes, the cloth changes. This can cause micro-bumps in the cloth, or it can stretch it a little bit too much. This will cause balls to move unpredictably.
A Heated Surface Ensures a Flat, Smooth, and Level Snooker Table
Snooker works best when the table is completely smooth. There should be absolutely no friction on the table. If there is, then the job of the player becomes a lot harder. If there is friction, they may have to hit the balls with a bit more force, or they may have to change up the angle of their shot.
If the problem is too bad, then it no longer becomes the player vs. their opponent, they will be playing against the table.
Now, slate is a brilliant material for the snooker table bed. In fact, it is the best on the market. When machined properly, the table surface will be completely smooth. However, like most rock, slate is subject to small variations when the temperature is a little bit inconsistent.
Not only this, but the table will start to gather moisture as the game is played. After all, there will be people in that room, and where there are people, moisture will be floating through the air.
As the moisture settles on the cloth, the cloth will absorb it. This will add friction to the table. Once again, this is going to cause the snooker balls to act in an unpredictable manner. The heat will cause most of this moisture to evaporate.
If tables in a professional environment were not heated, then you probably wouldn’t be able to play on them after a game. It seems like a bit of a waste when these tables cost thousands and thousands of pounds, right?
How Are World Championship Snooker Tables Heated?
World Championship snooker tables will be heated with under table heaters.
These heaters will be cranked up to around 50-degrees-Celsius, although they may be a little bit hotter depending on the conditions that the snooker is being played in. So, a colder room means that the heater would have to be a little bit hotter.
When a table is heated correctly, the surface of it should end up being around 20-degrees. It may be a little bit hotter than this depending on the room temperature.
Before a snooker match, the referee may inspect the surface of the table to ensure that it is perfectly level.
How Do You Heat Your Own Snooker Table?
Unless you are very lucky, it is unlikely that you will have access to heaters for your own snooker table. This means that you may have to do things a little bit differently.
Do bear in mind that this advice strictly applies to slate snooker tables. You do not have to heat a wooden snooker table, in most cases. If you skip ahead to the next section, we will provide you with a little bit of advice for dealing with a wooden snooker table.
If you are dealing with slate, then all you need to do is iron the surface of the table. This should help to level out the top of the table for the game. This means that the balls can flow smoothly over the surface of the table.
You should probably bear in mind that using an iron is probably not going to be as effective as using an actual under table heater. However, it is still going to be better than nothing!
Of course, if you do have a bit of cash to splash, then you can invest in your own heater for under the table. These heaters will often come equipped with temperature sensors so you can keep an eye on the temperature of the slate and make adjustments.
Do not use portable radiators under your snooker table. They are not built for the job. They also do not do well when the heat is reflected back at them. This could end up causing a fire. If you are going to heat your snooker table with a heater, then please make sure that you are always purchasing an actual billiards table heater.
How Do You Keep Your Wooden Snooker Table Level?
You can lightly iron the playing surface. This will help to keep the cloth nice and flat. However, this isn’t really going to have an impact on the wood beneath the surface.
Obviously, you do not want to be heating the wood from below. That could be quite dangerous. Instead, the best you can really do is ensure that you keep your table in a cool and dry location. You never want that table to come into contact with moisture because it can eventually kill the table. It is very, very hard to dry out a wooden table that has even the slightest amount of moisture in it.
World Championship snooker tables need to be kept in very strict conditions. This ensures a consistent playing field for all of the players. Keeping a snooker table heated will ensure an even and moisture free felt.
If they are not kept warm, then the table may end up losing a little bit of its flatness which can increase the friction of the balls. This can make shot movement a little bit more unpredictable and, of course, this is going to have an impact on the players.
Keeping the environment controlled, like a heated snooker table, will give all the players an even playing field.