Cushion Rail Information
Cushion Rail Information
Valley-Dynamo has used three different profiles of cushion rail rubber: U-23, K-55
and the current spec – K-66. When changing your rail sets it is critical that the profile is consistent. Valley switched from U-23 to K-55 in 1989 and from K-55 to K-66
in 1999. Dynamo switched between K-55 and K-66 several times, based on player
and Operator preference.
U-23—prior to 1989
K-66—current use
Our Dual Density K-66 rubber is optimized for shot accuracy, but may not
play as fast as other rubber profiles. Based primarily on feedback received
from Tournament play, this is our rubber of choice for new production tables
and replacement cushion rails.
All rail rubber is date coded. We also began stamping the
profile and date on the wood rail in 2002 to make it easier for
Operators to keep sets matched. All packed boxes of genuine
Valley-Dynamo rails are date stamped, and all sets since 2009
now have a Richland Hills TX stamp.
Playing with mismatched rails is like hitting the Basketball court with one Air Jordan
and one Converse All-Star. Someone watching may or may not notice, but if you’re
the one playing, you will notice... big-time!
The Valley Panther tables
feature our new 5-bolt
Rail System (patent pending)
What’s different?
Two additional rail-bolt attachment points added
Now using Threaded Inserts instead of T-nuts
Small dead spots in rubber now eliminated
What are the advantages to the new system? First, going to a five-bolt system on the new
Valley Panther and Panther ZD-X tables allows for more secure attachment without risking
overtightening the bolts. Now if one rail bolt backs out, comes loose, breaks, FOUR Bolts
shoulder the rest of the load instead of two, and the load is
evenly distributed. Second, the Threaded Inserts can be
more easily replaced in the field and are less likely to strip.
Third, the threaded inserts allowed us to eliminate the gaps
shown in the photo at left. The small dead spots these gaps
allowed are now gone, and the cushion rail rubber can do its
job more effectively.
What are the disadvantages? Here’s the good part: NONE.
Will the new rails fit my existing table? YES. We kept the center and outermost bolt locations unchanged. If your table uses three bolt rails, the five bolt rails should fit just fine.
For tables built prior to 1998, the same rules apply for using newer rails on older tables.
The table modification procedure—demonstrated on the next page—is unchanged. Likewise, for old tables where the rails attach with wood screws, these rails will also not work.
Can I modify my table so the Cushion Rails attach with five bolts? Specialized CNC
equipment ensures the bolt holes are correctly located on new tables. While modifying
an older table is possible, it is not recommended.
Has the rubber changed? Definitely not! The Valley Panther 5-bolt rail system uses the same
K-66 Dual-Density cushion rubber by Championship. The Dual-Density rubber provides
an ideal combination of responsiveness, accuracy, and long-term durability.
The current Valley rails will only fit tables using rail bolts to attach the rails
(beginning with the model 510 series: from late 1969-present). If the rails are attached with wood screws, the best option will be to have the rubber replaced on
the current rails, and have them covered in new felt. If your Valley table is of 19701999 vintage, your table will require this minor modification for the current-model
rails to fit.
Drill the end mounting
holes on the side rail using
a ⅜” diameter drill bit.
From the cushion side,
drill no deeper than 1 3/64”. This
will allow just enough movement
of the rail bolt so it can be angled
to attach to the current-model
cushion rails.
Your best source for genuine Valley-Dynamo Parts… Valley-Dynamo
“I’ve been fixing pool tables forever,
Don’t tell me how tight to make the rails”
HOW TIGHT IS NOT TIGHT ENOUGH? Players’ complaints about “dead
rails” may be easily solved with simple tightening of the rail bolts. We are frequently asked how tight the rails should be. Experience has found that 65 inchpounds of torque provides the optimum tightness for cushion rails. This setting
assures the rails can stay set at the recommended height and maintain the expected rebound properties (although proper mounting is a much bigger factor
in play quality than tightening the rail bolts to specifications). To avoid crossthreading your rail bolts, MAKE SURE YOU START THE BOLTS BEFORE FULLY
TIGHTENING to torque specs. Cross-threaded bolts are not a covered warranty
Our new Panther-series tables,
and every set of Panther 5-bolt
cushion rails, include a set of
Nylon Inserts. Install them as
shown in the drawing as additional protection against overtightening your cushion rails.
If you have replaced an oil filter
you understand. Too tight can
be a bad thing. Too tight can
cause damage. Get your cushion rails snug and secure, and
everything will be OK!
Also, check your rail height as shown on page 5. Rails mounted too high can also
result in dead action. Finally, rails that may seem dead could have experienced
separation in the glue bond attaching the rail and wood. Strip the rubber away
from the wood, clean the old glue residue from both surfaces, and re-glue to solve
the problem. The cushion rails on a table in heavy use for more than 18 months will
begin to lose their bounce. Consider restoring the table’s play with a new set of
Genuine Valley-Dynamo rails—they are available pre-covered, or uncovered
(most sizes) so you may use your choice of cloth.
One more tip— Overtightening rails repeatedly in the past will cause the tightened rail bolts to gradually dig into the wood, so now a rail tightened to normal
specs will be a little too deep. If this is the problem, add a few more washers before tightening the rail bolt to allow for proper spacing.
WHAT REALLY IS THE PROPER CUSHION RAIL HEIGHT? – A frequently-askedquestion if ever there was one. BCA Specifications are 60% - 64% of the height of the object ball, or more simply measured: 1 7/16” above the bed of the table. Many people
align the cushion rail even with the top rail laminate—which should put the rails at the
bottom-end of the specification. Valley-Dynamo sets rails at the top-end of the specification from the factory. This allows an operator to use unbacked bed cloth on the slate
but still keeps the nose of the cushion within specifications and above the top rail laminate. In our years of experience, a higher setting keeps balls from “jumping” off of the
table just as easy as the lower setting. (Flying pool balls are usually not appreciated in
your local tavern). If you prefer to increase the speed or bounce of your rails, set them
lower… at your own risk.
The first step for any complaints about “dead” cushion rails should be to measure the
height and verify it is within specs. Rails mounted too high will play dead. The best tires
in the world will ride horribly if not mounted and balanced properly.
ABOUT DUAL DENSITY RUBBER: The Championship Dual Density rubber used on
Valley cushion rails is designed for accuracy, consistent shots and long life. Other rails’
rubbers are designed for maximum bounce above all else, at the expense of accuracy.
Tournament players prefer consistent, accurate shots.
THEY STILL LOOK A LITTLE HIGH TO ME: Sometimes, the cushions may be as
much as 1/16” higher than the rail laminate. Not a problem. Rail height is measured from the slate surface up. If you set the cushions so they are flush with the rail
laminate and ignore the crucial measurement from the slate surface, you increase
the chance of balls bouncing over the cushions— and onto your players!
… BUT THEY STILL LOOK A LITTLE HIGH TO ME: The wood backing on our
cushion rails extends into the groove between slate and side wall for more solid
mounting of both slate and rail.
Also, the accumulation of glue on the slate from repeated recovering over time
raises the surface. It’s important to strip the slate of excess glue when recovering.
Is the shoe on the right foot?
We occasionally get calls/e-mails from customers VERY upset with us that the bolt
holes and angles on their cushion rails are totally wrong.
Now no laughing from you folks who’ve been working on tables for 60-odd years or
however long. Let’s give the rookies a hand for even wanting to learn about this.
Remember, your left and right shoes are different, and so are your left and right
cushion rails.
Stand at the long side of the table at the center pocket. Either side. Trust us.
“Left” and “Right” are your left and your right. No matter which center pocket you
stand at this is the case.
“End” are the two rails way out at the ends of the table.
So remember, if your cushion rails are the right width but totally don’t fit, be sure
you are trying to fit them in the right locations.
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