It was nearly 30 years ago when Jim Bond and a friend of his had a bar pool table and decided to figure out how to restore it.
That was the first table Bond worked on, and the start of a business that has taken him all over the state. Despite working construction full time, Bond, of Amsterdam, also services pool tables part time.
As he gets older, he's trying to take his pool-table servicing full time and do less construction work.
Jim Bond, owner of JB Billiard Co., looks at a pool table he refelted at the Rockton House in Amsterdam on June 2.
The Leader-Herald/Mike Zummo
"I'm 55 years old and this is a lot easier work than getting on a roof and doing roofing," said Bond, who calls his side business JB Billiard Co.
Easier and far less time consuming. Between two people, Bond said it takes about six hours to service a bar pool table or a home table.
The biggest difference between the two tables is that a bar table has the felt glued to the slate tabletop, but on a home table, the felt is stapled to the wood underneath the slate top.
It's not a new trade for Bond's family.
"My father was an upholsterer," he said. "It's basically a similar trade, using hammers and stapling."
He said on a bar table, the felt might have to be changed once or twice per year depending on how much it's used. On a home table, it might be changed every five to 10 years, depending on usage.
A bar table could also take a beating from bar patrons spilling drinks on it.
Technology, however, has come up with an answer for that.
"They make felt now that's liquid resistant," Bond said. "You just wipe it right off and it won't ruin it or make a stain."
His work on pool tables has taken him all over. He has serviced pool tables for Brunswick and Islander Pools, to name a few. His business has taken him as far as Long Island.
"Last year, I picked up a table in Rensselaer. I disassembled it, brought it to Long Island and repaired it because the slate was cracked," he said.
He also has worked in the area.
He recently refelted a table for the Rockton House in Amsterdam, formerly Tony's Pizzeria.
Bond found the Rockton House table for Tony's Pizzeria about 10 years ago. Bond said it was in pretty good shape when he picked it up in New Jersey.
"I'll travel just about anywhere to find a table," he said.
He and another person maneuvered it through a tight door before setting it down in the bar area. Three months ago was the first time Bond serviced it since bringing it in.
"It had new felts when I got it," he said.
Finding tables, like he did for Tony's, is another aspect of his business. If a customer calls him and is looking for a specific table, he will find it and take it in any condition, new or used. Sometimes people call him looking to sell a table.
"I'm not that much money hungry," Bond said. "If you sell me a table for $1,000, that's what I'm going to sell it for. The way I really make money is by putting it together for people, setting it up and making the delivery."
On June 3, he traveled to Delmar to service a table for a customer. He's also worked in Northville, Albany, Colonie and Schenectady, servicing mostly home tables. The only other local bar table he's worked on was in Gloversville.
"Not too many bars own their own tables because it's much easier for them [to] get it 50/50 [with the table seller], which doesn't make sense to me," Bond said. "If you can make 100 percent off a table, fine, make your money, own the table."
Mike Zummo is the business editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.