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If you're a child of pop culture from the '80s then choosing a Shuffleboard table was probably an inevitable addition to your legacy. Even if you weren't captivated by shuffleboard when it was at its peak popularity in the 80s, you may have stumbled across these beautiful, fun and interactive conversation starters at a visit to a friend's house or your local country club.

Regardless of how you stumbled across them, now you're considering making a purchase, so we've put together a brief guide that covers all features you'll need to consider to make the most effective purchase possible.

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How to choose the right size of a shuffleboard table?

For starters, sizing your shuffleboard can be a little less straightforward than you assume. Shuffleboards can range anywhere between the official (competitive) length of 22ft long and the far more home suitable length of 9 ft long.

Of course, your choice of table length will depend greatly on the space you have available at home and what your intentions were in the first place. For example, a 9ft table would typically be better suited for an indoor bar or den, while longer tables are more likely to be suitable for an outdoor setup.

Length obviously isn't the only dimension we're concerned with when deciding on a shuffleboard. Width typically changes in proportion to length in shuffleboard design and with changes in width come changes in playable surface.

  • At a minimum, you'll want a playable surface that is 16 inches or more in width to accommodate standard play. The rule of thumb applies even if you're considering using pucks that are smaller than regulation size. This means you'll be looking at a table width of around 18-20 inches typically. (12 ft tables are generally 18 inches wide, with a playfield width of 16 inches.)

  • When measuring space for your table, you want to focus on having at least 2 ft of clearance in every direction from the edges of your table - not the playable surface. This will help you account for elbows, awkward angles and fancy or wild shots. Having some clearance also allows you to account for fragile objects or other decorations that might be in the range of a flying puck.

Helpful Tip: Use tape to measure out the dimensions of your table of choice and surround that with another set of tape that measures the 2ft of clearance you'll need. Try to visualize the height of the table as well and adjust your space accordingly. Shift couches and delicate objects, account for corners and edges that might cause discomfort or pain in the event of an over-excited or new player taking an awkward shot.

12' Shuffleboard Table
9' Shuffleboard Table
7' Shuffleboard Table
12 ' Shuffleboard Table
7' Shuffleboard Table
Tabletop Shuffleboard

What's the best material for my shuffleboard?

Material matters - skimping here could cost you.

Once you've figured out the ideal table size for your location, you need to pay special attention to the material you choose for your shuffleboard. You'd be surprised to know how many people fail to account for material when selecting a board.

The material you choose can greatly affect how long your new board lasts and how difficult it will be to keep in good condition. Your table will always be at risk from the cumulative effects of dropped pucks, knees and elbows and temperature and humidity changes. Which is why choosing a long-lasting wood is essential.

Wood

The most common materials used for shuffleboards are North American Maple, White Maple, Russian Birch and Canadian Soft Maple. These materials are very economical and choosing a table or playing surface made from these will ensure you save a few dollars, but you'll also be shaving a few years off the life of your table.

Solid Maple Wood 12' Shuffleboard
Maple Shuffleboard Table
Light Brown Maple Wood Shuffleboard Table
Solid Maple Wood Shuffleboard Table
12 8' Maple Shuffleboard Table
Simple Maple Wood Shuffleboard

Hardwood

Ideally, a hardwood such as hard maple, oak or mahogany would be ideal for the longevity of your surface, since these tend to resist impact and changes in temperature and humidity much better than softer woods.

Antique Finish Solid Oak Wood Shuffleboard Table
Solid Oak Wood 12' Shuffleboard Table
Dark Chestnut Rustic Shuffleboard Table
Traditional Style Chestnut Shuffleboard Table
Matte Finish 12' Shuffleboard Table
Solid Hardwood 12' Shuffleboard Table

Resin finish

If you can't afford a hardwood surface, try purchasing a board that comes with an epoxy resin finish. Even a softer maple coated with a finish like this can last significantly longer than unfinished maple.

Playing field thickness, often overlooked, is more important than you think.

Playing field thickness is frequently taken for granted in a few ways when making a purchase. For instance, most first time shuffleboard buyers will assume that the thickness advertised on a board is the actual thickness of the wooden playing surface.

What many fail to account for, is the thickness of finishes and sealants, which tend to be anywhere from .25 inches to .5 inches thick. You may think that losing .25 to .5 inches of hardwood in exchange for sealant or finish isn't that bad, however, the impact of this seemingly small number can be a painful lesson if you try to refinish your board in the future.

Scratches and dents can be your worst enemy as a new board owner. It's unlikely that the people around you are experienced shuffleboard players, so pucks dropped or thrown onto the playing surface are an unfortunate likelihood. Having 3 inches of actual hardwood (not including finish) can be a phenomenal buffer for possible refinishes in future.

What features should I look for when choosing a shuffleboard table?

Climactic Adjusters - An Easy Way to Prevent Long-Term Damage

As a first-time buyer - it's highly unlikely that you've heard of climactic adjusters and that's perfectly reasonable. Fear not - they're far simpler than they sound. Essentially, climactic adjusters are metal bars typically found on the underside of your shuffleboard that run across the table's width.

These bars function as a brace that helps to prevent warping and preserve the integrity and shape of your shuffleboard over time. Whether you're choosing an indoor or outdoor board, these adjusters are essential features. Even indoors, central heating or cooling can have a significant impact on table health over time, so be sure to choose a table that comes with these.

Birch Wood Veneer 12' Shuffleboard Table With Climatic Adjusters
Shuffleboard Table With Climatic Adjusters
Solid Maple Wood Shuffleboard Table
Solid Wood Shuffleboard Table With Climatic Adjusters
Walnut Wooden Cabinet Shuffleboard Table
Wood Shuffleboard Table

Quality Outer Cabinets

Skimping on your outer cabinet can be tempting, especially if you find something that looks good without being too expensive, however having a table that is sturdy lends a lot to actual gameplay and longevity of your shuffleboard.

Consider, for instance, the effect of an over-enthusiastic shot on a flimsy-but aesthetic-outer cabinet. It may not be very much at first, but repeated impact of a similar nature over time can quickly lead to leaning and warping, which will detract from both the aesthetic of your board and the gameplay.

Investing in a sturdy hardwood for your cabinet can be an incredible investment that ages well over time. Be sure to note the material your desired cabinet is made out of and not just the finish that's on top. If descriptions are vague, like "solid" or "firm" wood, don't be afraid to get in touch with your manufacturer to clear things up.

9' Shuffleboard Table
Solid Oak Wood 12' Shuffleboard Table
Sport Shuffleboard Table
9' Shuffleboard Table
Solid Maple Wood Shuffleboard Table
Sport Shuffleboard Table

Scoreboards

Not a must, but a useful feature of shuffleboards that will make the game more engaging and even more enjoyable. You can choose between Digital scoreboards that will count and display your score immediately and Manual scoreboards, for example abacus style.