Weaving cloth since 1783!
At AW Hainsworth the family business behind Hainsworth TopTable, we have been weaving high quality woollen cloth at our mill in Yorkshire, England since 1783. As a fully vertical mill, one of the very few still remaining in the UK we carry out every process in house, from the selection of raw wool bought from as far as Australia and New Zealand through to the finished cut bed and cushion set, at no point in the process do the materials leave our mill for processing. This allows us to control every element of the manufacture and ensure absolute quality of all finished cloth, this also guarantees anyone playing on a Hainsworth covered table has the best possible game experience they can.
The manufacturing process that every cloth goes through is extensive you can view our short video below to see this for yourself or scroll down further to read more about the detail of how our snooker and pool cloths are made.
Our process always starts with one thing, the selection of only the finest and highest performance fibres in the world. This is an area of expertise that has been passed down through seven generations of the Hainsworth family. Different climates result in different wool qualities, to ensure we are using the perfect wool for each product we ensure we purchase a variety of quality raw fleece by visiting sheep farms, auction houses and merchants all over the world.
Blending mixes the fibre components into an even mass, different products use different proportions of fibres to achieve their required speed and durability balance. During the blending process fibres pass through opening machines which separate the fibres and remove any loose contaminants, we also then add extra oil so that the fibres don’t knot through the rest of the process.
The blended wool then goes through a series of rollers covered in small metal teeth that comb the fibres into alignment. On the carding machine the fibres are aligned twice, once horizontally and once vertically, this ensures a lovely soft cloth and smooth even playing surface can manufactured. Once the fibres have formed a light mesh , this is split into narrow lengths and twists are added to allow this to be wound onto a spool as “slubbings” at this point it starts to look like yarn.
The slubbings are then loaded onto the spinning machine where they are have many twists added to them to give them strength. This gives us a a strong yarn to weave our snooker cloth, the more twists added to the slubbing the stronger and more durable the yarn will be.
In warping the cones of spun yarns are arranged onto a beam in long parallel lengths of equal tension ready for weaving. Depending on the cloth there can be thousands of individual yarns that are manually threaded and checked through the machine and all must be in exactly the correct position to ensure the perfect playing surface is produced.
Weaving is the interlacing of warp yarns (vertical) and weft yarns (horizontal) on a loom to construct the cloth. A basic weaving loom comprises of the weaver’s beam which holds the warp yarn, heald shafts which control the warp threads, a reed to space the warp threads and to push the weft threads (picks) into the cloth. At this point we add yellow threads to the selvedge and weave in the authenticity of the cloth with the distinctive Hainsworth quality markings.
Hainsworth achieve unparalleled colour vibrancy, colour consistency and colour fastness in our cloth thanks to our 235 years of experience and our fully equipped dye house. The dyestuffs are fed from a mixing kitchen directly into the dye vessels. Once the dyeing cycle is complete samples are taken from the pieces and checked against colour standards stored in our computer database. This ensures a consistency of shade from batch to batch be it the traditional Olive Green of Hainsworth Match and Hainsworth Precision or the bright Orange of Hainsworth Smart.
Milling and Scouring
After weaving and dyeing the cloth is quality checked before moving into milling and scouring here it has the excess oil that we added at the beginning or the process washed out while at the same time being exposed to heat and pressure to encourage the yarns to contact. This changes the look of the woven cloth from a wide, thin hessian like appearance to the narrower, thicker and soft cloth more recognisable as a cue sport cloth.
Hainsworth have a specialised range of finishing equipment which are used to impart bespoke finishes to a variety of fabrics, for the snooker cloths this includes brushing the fabrics and cutting the nap to the required length this has to be closely monitored to ensure the perfect playing experience is achieved.
Our Conversion team cut the finished rolls into bed and cushion sets ready to go out to our customers.
We have our own in house design and screen printing department and they produce a lot of logoed pool cloth onto cut beds. A mesh screen is produced with the required design , coloured inks are then passed across the screen using squeegees to apply the ink through the open sections of the mesh onto the fabric. The ink is then cured and dried ready to be dispatched. The print process we use means that the ink sits within the fabric rather than on top and so there is not interference on the playing surface.