Slate is a fine-grained, hard rock made up of clay, mica, quartz and other minerals. Because it is durable stone with a low moisture-absorption rate and a stable surface, slate is absolutely the best material for use on a billiard table. In the United States slate is located in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Arkansas. It is also present in other countries such as Wales, Spain, China, Korea, Italy and Brazil. Depending upon the mineral content in any specific area, slate can be found in many colors. While most slate is traditionally gray, it can also be black, red, green and purple. It is important to remember that billiard slate quality is not measured by color or by country of origin, but by one key characteristic: a flat surface. Obviously, having slate of any particular color is of no advantage in playing billiards.
Italian slate is taken from underground and is relatively soft. It is not suited for outdoor use but is fine for billiard tables. Because it is soft, Italian slate is more flexible. Italy has historically been the billiard industry's prime source for slate. However, today's global market has uncovered other excellent sources of prime quality slate.
Mined from open pits, most Brazilian slate is harder than Italian slate*. The machining process is more difficult, but Brazilian slate is not nearly as sensitive to abuse. It does not bend easily, so storage is less critical. It is also more difficult to break.
Because of its hardness, Brazilian slate is subject to complex manufacturing operations, which in turn produce a very…very flat surface. Remember that the essential element in slate quality is flatness. Properly processed, both Italian slate and Brazilian slate are well suited for use in billiards.
There is not a better playing surface for a pool table other than slate. All the top manufacturers use Italian and Brazilian slate. Only the finest quality slate, obtained from select Brazilian sources, are exactingly manufactured to meet our strict quality standards.
Flatness, the essential element in slate quality, is achieved through a precise art of machining and curing--a process stringently monitored by the professionals. This exacting
craft of machining and curing produces premium quality, flat slate--the type of slate you are guaranteed to find in all our tables. Despite natural differences (such as color variations) occurring between Italian and Brazilian slate, the playability and warranties of the two are identical. You are assured that every piece of slate meets rigid BCA specifications, and is certified to offer exceptional playability and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Long's Billiards high standards for product integrity are exactingly applied to every detail of the table, including the slate. Our slate is diamond honed, precision machined and leveled to within 1/100 of an inch. Demonstrating our commitment to superior performance, every piece of slate approved for use in our tables comes with a lifetime warranty.
*The hardness of some types of Brazilian slate is equal to Italian stone. This type of Brazilian slate is easy to machine and repair, and after meeting all certification criteria, may also be used in Brunswick tables.