To many people buying stuff gets hard every day. Unlike in the past where you could trust the seller and the manufacturer to do a good job, it is very hard to get genuine products. The situation is not any different when buying a snooker cue stick and it could be worse to say the least. Before we can go into the cue stick buying guide we will look at the different parts of billiard cue stick first.
- 1 The Anatomy Of A Pool Cue
- 2 What To Look Out For When Buying a Cue Stick
- 3 Online Cue Stick Buying Guide
The Anatomy Of A Pool Cue
This is a sporting equipment that is used in different games that include carom billiards, snooker and pool. It is generally used to strike the cue ball. When we talk of pool sticks in this article or in other forums we are simply referring to snooker cues, pool cues or billiard cues. Since the different games are played on different tables that are of different sizes, we came up with a table to show you the different sizes and weight of the different cue sticks.
|Pool cue||59 Inches / 150 cm||17 – 21 Ounces||Hardcore maple, fiberglass ferrule|
|Carom Billiards Cue||54 -56 Inches / 140 cm||16.5 – 18.5 0unces||Wooden|
|Snooker cue||57 – 59 Inches / 6 Inch extension||16 – 18 Ounces||Wooden, Brass extension fittings|
After looking at the differences in the cue sticks, we can now comfortably look at the different parts of a cue stick giving them a description and the materials they are made from. We will use this image from PoolDawg for a better understanding
Anatomy of a Pool Cue – An infographic by the team at PoolDawg Billiards Supplies
The Parts Of A Snooker Cue Stick
This is the edge that is used to strike the ball and it is generally attached to the end of the stick by gluing. In some cases the tips are screwed on the end of the stick. The tip is made of well treated and compressed leather. The hardness of the tip will vary from very hard to very soft tips.
To keep the leather tips in their optimal shape they require regular maintenance. When neglected the tips get some glossiness and smoothness that lead to less friction between the ball and the cue stick leading to a miscue. To keep it in the right form, you need to apply cue chalk before making your shot.
For hard tips, phenolic resin which is a harder material is used. The tips are used on break and jump cues and they are smaller in radius. The result is a forceful shot with little or no spin.
This part is made of different materials ranging from fiberglass, graphite and in most cases hard rock maple wood. To get a smooth stroke, a lot of work goes into refining the taper to make it very smooth. For maintenance ultra-fine sand paper is recommended in the place of rock wool.
This is a joining point at the cue butt and the shaft. It allows for two pieces of the cue to join and give a firm steady connection for a longer stick. The joint is made of a male and female threaded screw that are fitted at the butt and in the shaft. There are newer versions of joints that are half threaded for easier and quicker connections. The joints are mostly made of brass but other materials are also used including stainless steel, wood, ivory, antlers or bones. They however serve the same function.
The joint comes with the ring, collar and the pin attached to the butt. The collar reinforces the pin to give a smooth energy transfer from the shaft to the butt. A key thing to consider is getting joint caps and pin caps to cover the joint and the pin after dismantling the cue stick.
This is the part of the stick that is at the extreme end. It protects the cue stick from damage and it absorbs all the pressure and all the impacts of the collisions. The bumper is made of rubber or leather and it protects the cue when it lies on the ground or when it accidentally hits the wall. It also cushions the cue from vibrations arising from the cue stick hitting the cue ball.
Pool cue cases
Transporting cue sticks can be very challenging due to their delicate nature. This can be made easier by using the recommended pool cue cases to package the sticks. They absorb all the impacts and ensure that the sticks and their accompaniments are safe.
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Types Of Pool Cue Sticks
There are three different types of snooker cues in the market. You can get the one piece cue which is the simplest type available today and it is made up of one smooth taper. They are the most common stick in most clubs and they are provided for sharing purposes.
You can also get a cue stick that has been divided into two halves. Generally this is done to ease the transportation of the sticks. They also come with a cue case or a pouch to ease in the packaging during travel.
The third type of snooker cue sticks is the three quarter two piece. It the most preferred stick among the best snooker players. The joint is located at the three quarter point of the cue approximately 14 inches from the butt.
What To Look Out For When Buying a Cue Stick
If you are having a hard time trying to get a cue sick that is right for you, then you are at the right place. We will guide you through the process of acquiring a perfect cue stick that is ideal for pool, snooker or billiards. Getting the right stick size and the right material will ensure that you have a smooth game irrespective of your mastery skills. Apart from the list price, there are other factors to consider when doing your search and they include;
The general cue stick quality
You can easily determine this by running your hand over the assembled cue. The best quality cue should be very smooth to the touch. If you find one with loose edges that are hanging and poking, keep away from it. If you have long finger nails, you can try moving them along the length to determine the smoothness.
The cue should not have any visible scratches or glues on the surface. These are the basic things and if the finished product is failing on the basic tests then it is not worth your time.
Check the tip and the ferrule
This is what makes or breaks the cue as this is the part that will be most intimate with. The ferrule should flush with the shaft perfectly and all the glue should be well cleared. Try to pop out the tip with your finger and if it goes off it is not good quality. The shape of the firmly fixed tip should be that of an even dome. If the tip and the ferrule is nicely done, then you have just identified the best brand of pool cue sticks for your next game.
How is the Joint and The Pin
Tie the cue together firmly and check across to make sure that the joint is firm and airtight. If there is some light showing through the shaft and the butt, don’t buy. The pin should be at a state of rest and it should be at the center of the butt or the shaft, other positions will mean that it is stressed. The fixing glue should be firm and well cleaned and the edge should be smoothly finished, not to mention that the pin and the joint should join easily and snugly.
Examine The Wrap
An excellent cue stick will have a smooth wrap that flushes with the entire body of the cue. For brands that use strings as the wrap, ensure that it is done nicely and it is pressed smoothly such that there are no knots or raised areas on the wrap. For the rubber and silicone wrap, ensure that it feels cool and dry and no parts are oozing out.
Apart from flushing perfectly, the rings should be finished nicely. For metal rings, the finishing technique used should ensure that the metal and the wood rhyme perfectly. This is a perfect indicator of a manufacturer who knows his job.
Ensure The Cue is straight
Inspect the assemble cue stick and try to roll it. A well done and professionally finished cue stick rolls nicely without a wobble or a flat surface. You can tell the straightness easily by holding the stick and sighting it. Just hold it with your hands like a riffle, close one eye, look it down as you turn it. You will identify any wraps on the surface. The roundness of the stick should not worry you much if it is not perfectly round. This is because the final sanding is done by hand and the roundness can vary from point to point. Ensure the joint is fixed properly and there is no wobble around the area.
Inspect The Shaft
Check the wood used to make the shaft to determine the grade of wood used. It also determines how the wood was cured as it determines the durability of the cue. Since it is very hard to look at the parameters used here with the naked eye, it is advisable to go with the trusted brand in pool cue making. Use review from other players to determine which cues remain straight for longer and which are more durable.
The general outlook and presentation
Overall the cue stick should be presentable and appealing to the eye. It should be clean, well branded and packaged. Feel the balance of the stick to identify if the weight distribution flows smoothly along the cue.
Online Cue Stick Buying Guide
- If you are buying the cue stick on an online shop where you do not have the privileges we mentioned above, you can use this check list.
- The first thing to consider when buying is the reputation of the seller over the years.
- Look out for guarantees that come with the cue
- Read through the return policy
- Check for details in the pictures which should be of high quality
By following the guides above, you will definitely land on a cue stick that will serve you for a long time. This will guarantee you satisfaction, many wins and a great learning experience if you are starting out on snooker. When you find a good cue from a seller, consider buying the whole set of pool cue sticks and enjoy your game for many days to come.