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Components of a Cue

THE LEATHER TIP – is made from compressed leather. Very popular today are layered tips. The tip is glued to the ferrule, and then turned on the lathe to match the ferrule’s diameter. The surface of the tip is shaped and scuffed so chalk will adhere. Chalk creates friction that allows the tip to hit the cue ball outside of the center. Chalk reduces miscuing and allows control over the spin of the cue ball. Quality and shape of the tip contribute to the performance of every cue.

FERRULE – The ferrule strengthens the tip area of the shaft and reduces the vibration from impact. On most custom cues it is tapped, threaded and glued onto the end of the shaft, then turned on the lathe to match the shaft size. Ferrules come in two styles; capped, and hollow. Capped ferrules cover the end of the tenon; hollow ferrules allow the wood tenon to make contact with the tip. Ivory is often used for the ferrule on high-end cues. Linen-based phenolic resins and other plastics are also used. The length of the ferrule will also affect playing characteristics. Ferrules range from 1/2 inch to 1-1/4 inch, the most common being 1 inch.

SHAFT – Mainly 3 types Solid Maple shaft, Laminated Shaft and Carbon Fiber.

Maple from cooler climates is favored for shaft wood because of its light color, stability, and resiliency. Carefully dried and aged wood is chosen, with emphasis on tight, straight grain lines. The raw wood endures several turnings in the process of becoming a shaft. Shaft length varies, average being 29 inches. The first 3 to 6 inches of wood, from the joint toward the tip will have a high-gloss finish that protects from dirt and moisture. From that point to the ferrule the shaft is open-pore wood with a very smooth surface. The common shaft diameter today is 13mm. Larger and smaller shaft sizes are available for comfort and particular billiard games. The shaft diameter remains constant for 6 to 14 inches below the ferrule, and then it grows larger to match with the joint. Shafts will vary in stiffness based on the length and taper to which they are cut. A short taper has less flexibility and is stiffer. A longer taper will create more flex/deflection and have a whippy feel.

Quality laminated shafts on the market today are from Jacoby Cues, OB Cues and Tiger Cues. Here is some detail on the very popular Jacoby shafts.

The Jacoby Ultra Pro and Ultra Super Pro Hybrid can be custom ordered in different joint styles and shaft lenghts up to 31". Ultra Pro is 12.75mm and Ultra Super Pro is 11.75mm.

Also available from Jacoby Custom Cues is the Carbon Fiber shaft made from 100% Aerospace Carbon Fiber. I highly recommand the "Black" Carbon Fiber from Jacoby Custom Cues. Long lasting, will not nick or warp.

Reducing Cue Ball Squirt:
Cue ball squirt is caused when the cue ball is hit off it's centerline when applying English. As a result, your aiming point changes in order to compensate. The need to compensate is minimized by reducing front weight and increasing shaft flex, so upon contact the cue ball is able to push the shaft out of its path in order for the cue ball to stay on the desired path.

The typical unwanted shaft vibration present when extreme English is applied is virtually eliminated by the vibration-dampening core. This leads to being much more accurate.

A feather light ferrule and vibration-dampening core greatly reduce unwanted weight in the front end. This drastically reduces unwanted shaft deflection.

140 veneers for the Ultra Pro and Ultra Super Pro. The veneers are stacked on edge, 90 degrees to the centerline.

Balanced Construction:
The spliced laminated construction yields unprecedented symmetry and balance found in no other shaft, providing maximum stability and radial consistency in play.

Becuase of the construction of the shaft, the individual characteristics of the veneers average themselves out. This yields a shaft that is more consistent than any other shaft in the way the shaft will react on each shot, along with the weight and playability of one shaft to another.

Our ferrules are comprised of rigid polyurethane that is very light and provides great impact resistance. They are machined with a unique hole pattern to further reduce weight and insure maximum tip adhesion.

JOINT – The joint provides alignment of the shaft and butt. The joint can be made from  wood, stainless steel, ivory, or phenolic resin. Each material will provide a different hit or feel.

PIN – A threaded metal pin is glued into the end of the forearm which secures the connection to the shaft. The pins vary in width, length, thread pitch, and channel depth. Wider pins (3/8 x 10) can screw directly into shafts that have tapped wood threads or into a nylon insert. Thinner pins (5/16 x 14 or 5/16 x 18) require an insert in the shaft. Some cue makers machine their own custom p
in and tap the shafts to match.

COLLAR – Collars made of stainless steel, ivory, or phenolic resin are glued onto the forearm to reinforce the pin and stabilize the shaft.

RINGS – Located below the collar, on the butt sleeve, and on the joint end of the shaft are rings that reinforce the joint and are often decorated with inlays.

– Located between the joint and the wrap/grip area. The forearm is connected to the handle by various methods that may include a threaded dowel or pin. The forearm is commonly made of hardwood, dried and seasoned to insure stability. The forearm may include inlaid points or spliced points and are often decorated with inlays. Its surface will later be finished to a high gloss.

POINTS – Points vary in style and design. Artistic creativeness also varies in traditional and contemporary methods. Points reinforce the forearm, help to avoid warping, and add value to the balance of the cue. Points can have colored veneers to enhance the base wood color of the forearm. Traditional points have a flat base starting at the wrap. Many cue makers today “float” the points in the forearm. Points are inlaid into a flat routed pocket or fitted in a spliced V-groove.

– Most inlays are made of exotic woods, precious metals, ivory, gems, or mother-of-pearl. Since inlay materials vary in weight this consideration has to be taken into account during construction. A rotating bit called an end-mill attached to a pantograph cuts a design into the wood from a template, leaving a flat-bottom pocket for the inlay. Additional hand techniques are often required to refine the pockets. After that an end-mill is used on the pantograph to produce the part that will be inlaid into the pocket. The end result is an artistic work of art. This work may also be accomplished on CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines that allow cue makers to create flawless inlay designs to exact tolerances.

WRAP – The grip area of most cues are covered with some type of wrap. The finer wraps are made from Irish linen, leather, cork and some exotic skins like Sting Ray. A newer style wrap being used is the "Stack Wrap" which is like a leather shoe string that is wrapped around the cue and then pressed smooth. The purpose of the wrap is to provide grip and to absorb moisture from the hand. Wraps complement the color of woods or inlays used in the cue.

– The handle is the portion beneath the wrap. It is connected to the forearm and is often made from straight-grained maple because of its proper weight and density. Other woords can be used to create a certain hit or feel. Some handles will be turned down to accommodate cored sleeves of exotic wood, horn or ivory to accent the grip.  When the grip handle is made of cored sleeves or a single piece of wood, the surface will be coated with a high-gloss finish.

– The butt-sleeve is a cored cylinder, usually made of exotic wood. In some construction methods a solid cylinder is used for the butt-sleeve to create the desired balance. Designs with inlays in the butt-sleeve compliment that of the forearm.

BUTT/END CAP – This cap strengthens the base of the cue and contains the bumper. Butt/End Caps are made from various materials that provide protection for the wood and inlays that are often found in the butt-sleeve.

– The bumper is most often made of rubber. It protects the butt end cap from contact with the floor or rack.

FINISH – Highlights the workmanship of the cue maker. The finish protects the cue from most atmospheric conditions. A fine finish adds to the beauty and value of a cue for a lifetime. Most cue makers today use an automotive UV finish that buffs to a super high gloss.

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