Refinishing Your Shuffleboard Table
Understanding the construction
The average home shuffleboard table is composed of two halves that are bolted together in the middle, often held upright by a sturdy center leg. If you want a custom-designed, one-piece shuffleboard table, be prepared to pay a little more. When you shop, be sure to read the materials list on any shuffleboard table, as these vary from model to model. Often, retailers and manufacturers will refer to their shuffleboard tables as “wooden,” but will in fact include plastics, laminates, and hardwood facsimiles in the table’s construction. While there is nothing wrong with a plastic or laminate table, it is important that you recognize this so you don’t pay “all-wood” prices on a “partially-wood” shuffleboard table. As a side note: tables with thicker tops are far less prone to warping than thin tables, and, to give plastic its credit, tables constructed from a conglomerate of wood and plastic also tends to warp less than all-wood tables.
A word on old vs. new finishes
While you can find some shuffleboard tables on second-hand sites or in second-hand stores, there are several benefits to “buying new.” Perhaps the most prominent benefit of a brand new shuffleboard table is the enhanced durability of the protective finish or laminate. The shuffleboard tables made over a decade ago were generally finished with little more than a polyurethane or lacquer coating with a wax polish. This finish usually necessitated maintenance (and re-finishing) at least once a year. Now, however, modern shuffleboard tables feature an advanced polymer coating that all but eliminates the need to re-finish your game table. With a good lacquer job and a polymer coat, your shuffleboard table surface will last a lifetime. Just remember to keep it well waxed to prevent puck scuffing and other unsightly scratches.
Refinishing old tables
If you have a vintage or antique shuffleboard table, chances are you will need to refinish it at least once per year. If this does not sound appealing to you, consider upgrading to a lower-maintenance modern shuffleboard table. If you like the vintage style (which is really quite beautiful and charming), then you may want to hire a professional refinisher or craftsman to enhance the table. You should not attempt to refinish the table yourself unless you are confident in your sanding and sealing abilities. Nicks and scuffs in the table can be repaired with a common wood filler, sanded down and re-sealed. Try to preserve the idiosyncrasies of the table to maintain its unique character. If you are not confident that you can refinish the table and preserve its personality, consider hiring a professional.