guide to restoring an old foosball table​

The ultimate guide to restoring an old foosball table

Preview: Learn how to bring that old foosball table back to life and get that competitive fun back this summer!

guide to restoring an old foosball tableIf you have an old foosball table laying around and want to revamp it, chances are you’re not alone. The very first foosball table patent dates back to the 1890s so there is likely plenty of old foosball tables around that could use some sprucing up and plenty of foosball lovers who want to do some sprucing up.

For the foosball lover who enjoys a good DIY or restoration project, this guide will help you tackle foosball table restoration with ease. But as with any DIY project, planning is key.

There’s a lot to consider with this project, so we’ll walk you through (a) what to look for when buying an antique foosball table for restoration (b) tips on how to how to restore your foosball table and (c) whether buying an old foosball table is right for you.

Some things to look for when buying an antique foosball table for restoration

As one foosball player put it: “The players were filthy. The rods were rusted. The ramps (in each corner, to the side of the goal) were chipped and pulling away from the playing surface. One of the players was facing backwards.”

Maybe you’re one of those lucky foosballers who were able to find an old foosball table at a thrift store or a yard sale. Although most foosball tables should be in good condition for restoration, they have quite a few functioning pieces that all work together, like the players and the rods.

Take a quick look and see that all of the parts listed below are there. You also have to see how damaged the parts are. Remember that if some of the parts aren’t working, it’s easy enough to order new ones!

  • Goalie configuration

  • Counter-weighted players

  • Table surface

GOALIE CONFIGURATION. When you begin your hunt for the perfect used foosball table, you may notice that some tables will have only one goalie per side while others will have a three-man configuration per side. Most tables in the U.S. will have a three-man set up whereas tables in the U.K. will have a single goalie set up. Make sure the table you’re eyeing has the right goalie configuration for you.

People who like fast paced games will find the three-man goalie configuration to be more fun. Three-man configurations are also the better option for novice foosball players and children. However, if you’re more interested in refining your foosball skills, then the one-man goalie configuration will be right up your alley.

COUNTER-WEIGHTED PLAYERS. Finding a foosball table with counter-weighted players means that you’ll be able to play like the pros. Foosball players stay in a horizontal position once you release the rod — if your players are counter-weighted, you can take your shot without worrying about your other players getting in the way. In short, counter-weighted players create a better game playing experience.

TABLE SURFACE. The surface of the foosball table should feature laminated designs instead of stick-on designs. Stickers can peel and hinder game play. Also, make sure the tabletop is a smooth, hard surface because it will help your ball travel faster as you play. Many European tables feature solid wood table tops which causes the ball to move slower.

Related article(s): Should You Buy A Used Foosball Table? Important Things To Know

Tips on how to how to restore your foosball table

For scratches:

  • “I was able to sand the scratches out of the actual wooden components, and we’ll re-stain when we’re done.”

For rods:

  • “20 years of use followed by 20 years sitting in a basement isn’t a great environment for chrome rods. The chrome got pitted and wore off in spots, and where that happened, it got rusty. Which wore off more chrome. Several rods were flat-out difficult to spin. […] I went to work with super-fine steel wool, and then Brasso. And the results were… actually pretty good. The rods aren’t shiny where the chrome is missing, but they’re perfectly smooth and spin well.”

For players:

  • “I used Goo Gone, which has been my product of choice for cleaning up vintage collectible stuff over the last 15 years. […] Of course, when you clean off 40 years of filth, some paint comes off, too.” This blogger recommends keeping the players, scrubbing them white, and completely repainting them for a “blue-v-red match.”

For laminate repair:

  • “The “side edge” laminates have some chipped and missing areas.” This blogger used a bathtub crack repair kit then sanded the filled-in areas to match. 

Related article(s): Going Underground #1 – The Foosball Table Restoration and Going Underground #2 – Foosball Table Restoration – Cleanup

Should you restore an old foosball table or buy a new one — old is gold

After going through this article, you might be asking yourself why anyone would want to buy a used table instead of simply buying a new one. Well, there are a couple of reasons:

Reason #1: Affordable Prices

Many times when people are looking to pick up a used foosball table, they can find one priced well under the retail price. If you’re a savvy shopper and negotiator, you could get a high quality table that is in excellent condition for a fraction of the price.

Tip: Sometimes you can call a distributor and ask if they have any used foosball tables for sale. These tables can be refinished so they look and play like new. And, as we’ve spent this entire article discussing, used tables could also be restored.

Reason #2: Easy To Buy

The Internet makes it easy to buy just about everything, but there’s always an extra cost for shipping. By using second hand seller sites or even buying locally, all you have to do is go to the place and pick it up. It can be that easy.

If you’re looking for an affordable option with a decent array of features, you can find a used foosball table for sale on eBay or Craigslist. You could also keep an eye out for used tables at yard sales, flea markets, and even thrift shops.

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