We were looking for an inexpensive billiard table that would not break the bank but provide a good playing experience. Most of the inexpensive tables under $300 have a wood playbed which is very likely to warp and not provide a good play experience - the balls will end up rolling towards the bumpers instead of staying in the middle of the playing field. We were looking for a table with a good playbed that would last for 5 to 7 years and not warp, and we wanted to be able to build the table ourselves. From our research, Slatron was the best playbed that matched these requirements. Slate is the best playbed but weighs 500+ pounds which makes it so you need 3 grown men to install the table. My wife and I built our Hudson table with no outside help.
The Hudson is the cheapest table that we could find that featured a Slatron playbed. The Slatron is pressed board (particle board) that has been injected with plastic or something similar to give it a hardness and smooth playtop. It is about 3/4 inch thick, so it has some strength. We incorrectly assumed the Slatron would be in one piece, but discovered upon receiving the table that it actually comes in two pieces that must be leveled and the crack between the pieces sealed. The finished wood on the Hudson is particle board with a wood veneer finish that looks nice.
The Hudson installation went smoothly. The delivery comes in one box, but the box is way too heavy to carry. We opened the box and carried the pieces downstairs to its installation location. My wife and I built the table in about 8 hours. The building of the legs and table base went very quickly - probably an hour or two. The instructions are very straightforward on building the table and we followed them without problem.
I spent two hours installing the Slatron bed and making sure it is level. Mizerak includes a few plastic leveling pieces, but I found these to be completely inadequate to level the table. The instructions recommend using playing cards, and I ended up using three decks of cards to level the table. I spent so much time leveling the table because it is the single most important aspect of a good playing experience. You also have to seal the center crack between the two pieces of Slatron with putty and sand it smooth. It is not difficult but it does require some patience.
Glueing the cloth covering was very straight forward but required two people. Once this was done, it was simply a matter of putting on the bumpers, side pieces and pockets, which probably took another hour or so. I would recommend having several days to perform the installation so you don't get frustrated and tired. Take your time and you will be very happy with the results.
The table seems very durable. We had a party with a dozen 12 year old boys and they played pool continuously for several hours, and the table held up admirably. We made sure no drinks or food were around the table because the playbed will warp if it gets wet. We got the Mizerak billard accessory kit which includes very good quality pool ques and balls.
We don't notice that the table is only 7 foot. The play experience on the table is excellent and it looks like the quality is enough to last for 5 to 7 years. Even though the table is Slatron, it is still very heavy (250+ pounds) so don't plan on moving the table once it is built. Overall we are extremely happy with the purchase and feel we have gotten a good quality table that will last throughout our family's use of it.