I don’t know if you have ever played a shuffleboard game, but it’s not as easy as it may appear. The game actually requires some skills, skills that you don’t learn overnight. But the most important thing in shuffleboard is the table. That’s right. It’s not simple to manufacture. It takes time, skill and dedication to make a shuffleboard table, which is why they don’t come cheap. Everything is crucial in its manufacture, from the structure of the outer cabinet to the finishes.
Buying a shuffleboard table is not simple either. There are a few factors that you must take into consideration. As I said, they are expensive, so you have to make sure that you are buying the right thing. For example, it is better to spend a few hundreds of dollars extra, than to purchase a low-quality table that will ultimately ruin the game.
Guide to buying the best shuffleboard table
Before making an actual purchase, you have to take into consideration a number of things. Do some research, see what matters and what is worth paying big bucks for. That is why I made a simple checklist that you must cross off whenever you are thinking of buying a particular model.
- The size of the shuffleboard – this has to do with wherever you want to put it. Depending on what available space you have in your home, you can choose from a vast variety of shuffleboard table sizes. They vary from 9 feet to 22 feet. However, make sure that you don’t cram the entire space. You need at least two or three feet available on each side of the table. You want to be able to play, don’t you?
- The size of the playfield and the thickness – until a few years back, shuffleboard tables were made out of hard maple, but today manufacturers turn to soft maple. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. They may have changed the maple, but they improved the finish. Polymer finishes are a lot stronger and more durable than the lacquers people used in the past. Plus, it’s a lot harder to dent a polymer finish than a lacquer finish. The traditional shuffleboard table is about 3 inches thick. That is perfect if you need the table sanded in a few years when you want it refinished.
- Surface materials – a shuffleboard table doesn’t just have to be smooth and shiny. The wood that it’s made of is very important. The wood has to be sturdy, just in case the game gets a little rough. In the excitement of the game, players may drop their pucks. Even the high impact of the pucks can damage the table. If it’s poorly made, that is. The maple may be soft, but the secret lies with the polymer finish. The best surface materials are maple, birch, oak, and mahogany. You need that surface to be immune to dings, dents, or other accidental damage.
- The cut of playing surface pieces – if you look closely, you will notice that the playing surface is not just one long piece, but many that are attached through different means (glued or laminated). The best shuffleboard tables are made with 20 inches wide surfaces that measure 3 inches in thickness. A table thinner than that cannot be refinished, which means you need to buy a new table when you get dents. But a thick one you can be refinished a few times, and they provide greater stability. In some cases, manufacturers reduce the width of the planks just to cut costs. But that’s not a bad thing. The process of manufacturing shuffleboard tables has evolved tremendously in the last few years, and you can find some excellent tables out there. Some of them even last for 50 years.
- Table finishes: Polymer versus traditional finish – personally, I would go for the polymer finish. Epoxy it’s poured and lasts a lot longer than any spray-on lacquer. It’s more durable and will prevent dents in the near future. Moreover, it’s a lot easier to refinish a polymer table. Given the fact that the finish is one of the aspects that define a table as high-quality or low-quality, I advise you go for the polymer. If you played shuffleboard before, then you know that players sometimes drop the pucks on the table. A polymer finish will survive that way better than a lacquer finish.
- Outer cabinet structure – the outer structure is just as important as the playing surface. That is what keeps the entire table together. Always go for the hardwood tables. They are a bit more expensive than tables made out of MDF particle boards, but they are a lot more durable. Not to mention that weight is what keeps these tables in place during intense games. The point is to look for and oak cabinet (for example), not an oak finish. You need the table to feel like oak, not look like oak.
- Climatic adjusters – before doing some research, I didn’t even know that climatic adjusters are a thing. But then again, I am not an expert. Apparently, they maintain the ideal curvature of the playing surface of the shuffleboard table. Any change in temperature or humidity can affect the table, making it concave or convex. Not all tables have a climatic adjuster, so make sure to look for a table that has. That is if you take shuffleboard seriously. They are pretty straightforward to use. The adjustments are made using a bolt and a screw system. You can learn more about them here.
- Scoring system – last, but not least, you should know that shuffleboard tables have two types of scoring grids. The 1-2-3 scoring system (or the 3 level grid) is the most common. The other available scoring system is the triangular scoring grid, but that one is usually used on outdoor shuffleboard tables.
There you have it. Check these things off the list when you are making apurchase, and you will get yourself the best shuffleboard table on the market. Maybe you don’t think that there is a huge difference between the high-quality table and the low-quality one, but if you ever have the chance, give them both a try, and you will see that I am right. The difference is huge.
What are the best shuffleboard tables
The simple answer would be the tables that meet all the criteria I mentioned above, but the truth is that there aren’t many shuffleboard table manufacturers out there. It’s not the kind of product that is in very high demand. At least not big enough to explain the existence of many companies that produce them. Here three perfect examples of shuffleboard tables that provide everything you need for a great game.
Playcraft Woodbridge Shuffleboard Table
If you are a beginner, then this shuffleboard table is the ideal product for you. This is the highest quality entry level table that will give you a lot of hours of fun with your friends and family. It has a beautiful cherry tree finish that will beautify your home for years.
The thick solid hardwood butcher block bed is finished with ten coats of polyurethane. It’s not laminated but glued. That makes the table smooth, glossy, and the surface is as fast are they come. The reinforced double-paneled pedestal legs have metal leg levelers. Make sure that the table is correctly leveled. Otherwise, the game will suffer. The hardwood outer cabinet has a sturdy construction, which increases stability. The gutters and walls are carpeted for a more beautiful aspect.
The Playcraft Shuffleboard table has a leg cabinet storage where you can store the pucks, the speed wax, or whatever you feel it’s necessary. It’s nice to know that you don’t have to store them someplace else. Speaking of, all the playing equipment is included in the package. The table has climate adjusters, and it has a 1-2-3 scoring system on both ends of the table.
When you make the order, you have the possibility of choosing among a variety of sizes, from 9 feet to 16 feet. Make sure to measure the available space you have before hitting order. The table will not arrive assembled; you have to do that all on your own. Not totally on your own, of course, because the table weighs around 460 pounds. You will need a buddy of two to help you do it. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Blue Wave Shuffleboard Table
The Blue Wave shuffleboard made quite the impression. Everyone expected low quality when they saw the price. So did I. However, that is far from the truth. I can’t really explain why the price is so low (comparing it to other high-end shuffleboard tables), but I don’t think anybody would complain. As long as the quality doesn’t suffer, it can be as cheap as possible.
The design is gorgeous with a dark cherry finish. The hardwood butcher block playing surfaceis beautifully made, and you can actually see that is high-quality. Dents and dings will not be an issue anytime soon. Nothing on this table will affect the game. Apparently, the table wax that comes with the table is way too fast. Several customers ‘complained’ about it and are recommending other prospect buyers to consider buying another wax. I don’t know what to say about that. I guess that if you are a beginner, you cannot fully control a puck that goes too fast. But if you are a veteran, you should not have trouble in handling the wax as it is.
The Blue Wave table weighs less than the previous model, with only 367 pounds, but you still need help assembling it. The truth is that the legs aren’t as high quality as the playing surface, but I don’t think that’s a deal breaker. As long as they hold the perfect playing surface, that should be enough. After all, for this price, it’s already the best you can find.
The table comes with both set of pucks, one box of table dust, and a brush for cleaning. Keep in mind to purchase another table wax if you don’t think you can handle the speed. Other than that, this product is the ideal table. Click here to read more reviews and buy on Amazon.
Barrington Solid Wood Shuffleboard Table
The Barrington Shuffleboard table is made of solid wood and finished with a superb deep brown wood veneer. It’s an elegant piece of furniture that will make a beautiful centerpiece in whatever room you put it. It has an arcade style that doesn’t resemble many tables on the market, but when it comes to this, it’s just a matter of taste. The important thing is that the table is sturdy, durable, and you cannot question its quality.
The playing surface is treated with a scratch-resistance coating that will make sure the puck will slide smoothly across the table. Its purpose is also to maintain durability. You won’t have to refinish it anytime soon. Dents and dings are not very likely, not in the near future at least.
The gutters and the inner walls are lined with velvet for a more beautiful aspect. It has a built-in solid wood bead scoring, and the package includes four red and four blue pucks. I believe that, for the price of the table, you get high-quality. This table will last for years as long as you do the maintenance work properly.
Believe me when I say this, I do not recommend a product according to price. But taking into consideration all the aspects, I think that the Playcraft is one of the best shuffleboard tables I have ever seen. It has all the right features, it looks great, and its so durable that you will pass it on to the next generation.
Shuffleboard is a pretty fun game, as long as you know how to play it. It’s a great indoor activity that you can enjoy with your friends and family. But that means you have to purchase a high-quality shuffleboard table. Otherwise, the game will not be as enjoyable as it should be. Click here to buy on Amazon
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