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Mosconi On Choosing A Cue
"In pocket billiards, great force is seldom required, so the cue should be of a medium weight, between 18 and 21 ounces. The length of the cue depends again on the individual, but I recommend a cue 57 inches in length for pocket billiards. If the cue is too short, the player will get into trouble when he has to stretch far out on the table to make a shot.
My cue is 57 inches long and weighs 19 1/2 ounces. The diameter of the tip is 13 millimeters."
~From Willie Mosconi On Pocket Billiards
More On Choosing A Pool Cue
"Only the first 10 inches or so of a cue have any real effect on how the cue ball is struck, yet virtually all of the money we pay is for the other four feet."
"Cue sticks? Just get the best one you can afford and keep a good tip on it."
"Avoid Kmart, Walmart, Sports Authority, or other non-billiard cue manufacturers, unless they are carrying a brand name cue... Some cues are just not worth taking home... A good quality basic beginner's cue from a name brand manufacturer is only a few dollars more and makes all the difference in the world... (See Players and Action). Almost all makes have a plain model for around $35 - $50."
~Larry Giles - BCA Certified Instructor
"To use a cue at billiards well is like using a pencil, or a German flute, or a small sword -- you cannot master any one of these implements at first, and it is only by repeated study and perseverance, joined to a natural taste, that a man can excel in the handling of either."
William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair
Parts of the Cue
Tip - Ranging between 12 mm and 14 mm depending on the taper of your shaft, the average and most common tip size is 13 mm. The tip is typically made from treated and compressed leather and is attached at the top of your cue by glue.
Ferrule - This piece of the cue is made of a strong durable material. Its job is to strengthen the tip area and reduce vibrations from the impact of your shot. It is attached by slipping, threading, or gluing it onto the end of the shaft.
Shaft - This section of the cue is generally made of hardrock maple. Shafts made of graphite or fiberglass are also available. The longer the taper the more flexible the shaft and the softer your hit will be.
Joint Collar, Rings, Pin - The joint connects the forearm and the shaft and allows for a consistent flow of energy into your shot. When you take apart your cue, it is a good idea to keep the joint secure with joint caps.
The collar is the portion of the joint that is attached to the top of the forearm. Often constructed from a solid material such as stainless steel, wood, ivory, or molded phenolic resin, this portion of the cue is glued on and threaded to reinforce the pin at the end of the shaft.
The rings can be found below the collar and also on the joint end of the shaft. The rings are used to reinforce the vulnerable joint portion of the cue. In addition, rings are used to enhance the look of your cue.
The pin is the male end of the joint located at the base of the shaft. This threaded piece, usually made of metal, connects the shaft with the forearm. Your pin should also be protected by a joint protector that simply screws over it.
Points - These are the most commonly used designs on a cue stick. The classical look of the point varies in number, length, and width. If inlayed, there should be an even number to reinforce the forearm from warping and to help balance the cue.
Forearm - The forearm is all about design and personality. This is where the points, inlays, veneers, or other designs show themselves off to the world. This section is usually made of a hard rock maple and can carry the heaviest part of the price tag.
Inlays - Inlays are a structural and aesthetic balance for all manufactures. Inlays feature materials ranging from exotic woods to ivory or gemstones. In many cases, the value of a pool cue is based on the use of intricate and rare inlays.
Wrap - The wrap is situated over the handle of the cue, below the forearm and above the butt. Common materials used are Irish linen or leather. These materials help provide a sure grip, long life, and moisture absorption from hand sweat. Some players prefer no wrap at all.
Butt Sleeve - The butt or butt sleeve is the portion of your cue just below the wrap. This portion of the cue is usually made with exotic wood that matches the wood in the forearm or in the points on the forearm.
Bumper - This piece keeps the butt of your cue safe from incidental contact with the floor or other damaging incidents. It is typically made of a rubber composite or other durable or flexible material.
Hard Tip vs. Soft Tip
Let's talk about Pool Cue Tips . As you probably realize, they come in all sizes and densities. With so many tips to choose from, picking the right tip for you can be an overwhelming task. Here are a few things to consider.
As you know, tips range in density, or level of hardness, from soft to extra hard. At its most basic level, the softer the pool cue tip, the more likely it is to mushroom or flatten out with normal use. What this means is that a soft tip will require more maintenance than a harder tip. Many players prefer a soft tip because they feel it enables them to get more english on the cue ball. More english, they go on, translates to better cue ball control. In addition, softer tips are typically easier to scuff and have better chalk retention, meaning fewer miscues. The opposing camp consists of players who prefer a harder tip. Similarly, they believe the hard tip gives them consistency and better control of the cue ball. In addition, a hard tip will retain its shape better than a soft tip, requires less maintenance, and will need to be replaced much less frequently.
Which One? So now that you know a little about tips, which one should you buy? By far, the most popular hard tip is the Le Pro Pool Cue Tip. Also known as Le Professional Tips, Le Pro tips are found on most major brand cues. For those who prefer soft tips, Elk Master Pool Cue Tips are a popular choice. And, if you're ready to step up to a high end cue tip, consider Tiger Laminated Sniper Tips. Tiger Tips are made with some of the highest quality hides on the market. They are more expensive, but those who use them swear they're worth it. And, of course, there are Moori Tips the popular Japanese leather tip.
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