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Everything You Need to Know About Shuffleboard Tables

Shuffleboard tables are a pretty hard bar room game to miss. Usually taking up an entire wall of your favorite watering hole or in your friend’s basement, they can be a great addition to any game room and one that can last decades! Shuffleboard is a great game because it takes only a few minutes to learn and provides endless hours of fun! When playing shuffleboard the object of the game is to slide, by hand, all of your pucks alternately against those of an opponent. The goal is to get the pucks to reach the highest scoring area without falling off the end of the playfield or sliding off the side. A player's pucks must be farther down the playfield than his opponent's, in order to score on him or her. This can be achieved either by knocking off your opponent's pucks, or by outdistancing/outscoring them. Depending on the game in question, usually players will play to a given score to win a game.

When deciding to purchase a new shuffleboard table for your game room there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Like ‘Where am I putting it?’ or ‘What are the dimensions?’ or ‘How long until my teenagers damage it?’ Well, we’re going to answer some of the questions for you today!

When purchasing a shuffleboard remember that it is a long term commitment and it’s not unusual to see quality tables still in use 50 to 60 years after they were made! So opting to spend a little more can really make your purchase worth it in the long run.

The first thing to think about is the space in which you intend on placing your new shuffleboard. It is recommended that 24-36” is left free and clear all around the table. Shuffleboard tables can come anywhere from 9’ to 22’ long, 20” or more wide so remember to add another 2’ to 3’ on all sides to make sure that it will fit comfortably into your room.

Shuffleboard tables are made of wood and the best tables will feature solid North American maple or white maple. These are going to be the most expensive but they are also going to be less apt to warp and shift with heat and humidity. They will also be less likely to dent or be damaged by the pucks during game play. It is important to know that some manufacturers will advertise maple surfaces but the unit itself will not be solid wood. Be sure that the playing surface is solid wood. This is especially important for the playfield.

To protect the playfield, the best manufacturers use a coat of polymer resin poured over the top of the table. This coating is usually hard enough that many manufacturers give it a lifetime warranty. The coat is generally ¼” thick and will last the life of the table.

There are also some spray-on finishes for shuffleboard playfields but they aren’t as durable and need to be refinished every few years to keep the table playable.

Due to changes in heat and humidity the playing surface will fluctuate and need to be adjusted. On the underside of any shuffleboard (or any that you might want to consider purchasing) will be climate adjusters. Climate adjusters are metal braces that can be adjusted to subtly change the playfield when it is affected by variances in the environment.

When purchasing your shuffleboard pay attention to the game cabinet. You can look at the cabinet as an extension of the playfield itself. This is going to support the entire playfield plus some of your aggressive guests that take shuffleboard more seriously than you do. If possible, try to get solid wood construction, but what matters most is the design of the cabinet. If the cabinet has enough support to hold the playfield upright, while still making it steady (no movement from side to side or end to end) you’ve got a good cabinet. Some cabinets appear to be solid wood and are actually only veneer, so be aware. These cabinets can provide ample stability but are not solid wood.

No matter what shuffleboard game you’re playing you’re going to want to keep score. Scoring units for shuffleboards can be as small as a mounted scoring abacus on either end or large, monstrous, lighted and logoed score boards that can be controlled by players on either end via scoring buttons. Most shuffleboards that are used in the home will have an abacus but many customers enjoy having the ease of electronic scoring.

To use your table you’re going to need 3 accessories:
  1. Silicone Spray
  2. Powder Wax
  3. Pucks

We will start with the silicone shuffleboard spray: This is used as a base beneath the wax granules. Begin by spraying a very light mist over the entire playfield. Now using a playfield brush or clean rag, gently go over the playfield to get an even coverage of silicone. Some players will sprinkle a light layer of wax down before brushing. After the silicone has been spread out we now can use the wax.

Contrary to its name, shuffleboard powder wax is actually made primarily of silicone and goes by many names, including: powder, dust, and sand. To use it, sprinkle the wax side-to-side over the playfield as you walk down it, trying your best to get a thin, even layer over the entire surface. Once done with the wax you can now use the pucks on the table. The shuffleboard pucks should slide smoothly across the table without leaving streaks in the wax. There are varying speeds of wax that players can purchase depending on their preference in game play.

As with most gaming products you can find used shuffleboard tables from homes and also used bar shuffleboard tables. As previously mentioned, a quality shuffleboard table can last over half a century, so even buying a used shuffleboard that is 20 years old, it will still have a lot of game play left in it! Pay attention to the playfield to see if it needs to be refinished and also inspect the climate adjusters. If either seems off, it could be a major repair down the road.

Some shuffleboard arcade games that were purchased with commercial use in mind may also have coin mechanisms and score boards included that you wouldn’t need for home use, but will add to your cost. There are enough used shuffleboards for sale that you shouldn’t have to settle for a commercial unit if it’s not what you need.

Last but not least are the shuffleboard accessories. Like everything else there is a never-ending assortment of improvements and personalizations to choose from. Customers can get quality covers to protect their investment or special carrying cases for their pucks and even custom logos etched into the playfield. Extra wax and silicone are always a wise choice with any shuffleboard purchase but there’s no need to stop there! Make sure to stop by our webstore to check out our assortment of shuffleboard accessories. Game Room Guys carries shuffleboard bowling pins, shuffleboard t-squares, gates (for commercial use), custom scoring units and much, much more!

We hope that this overview of shuffleboards helps with your decision but if you have any other questions that we didn’t cover please give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help!