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What is the difference in pool cues

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Understanding the difference in pool cues can put a new spin on your game

Understanding the difference in pool cues can put a new spin on your game

You have never played pool but really want to learn how. Where do you start? Understanding the difference in pool cues before choosing one from the rack or making the purchase can put a new spin on your game. This increases the odds you will select the right one the first time.

Whether you are an amateur, and aspiring professional or seriously competitive, the right pool cue determines how well you play. The parts include the wrap, shaft, shaft taper, joint, weight, length and tip. The parts are made with different materials and constructed differently depending on the specific cue.

The wrap (the butt cap) is the end you hold in your hands. If you have small hands, you don’t want a large diameter or vice versa. People whose hands sweat abundantly may want one wrapped in linen, which absorbs sweat. If you choose Irish linen wrap make sure there are no loose strings, raised areas or knots. Some choose leather-wrapped because it is smooth to the touch.

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When you hear the expression “shaft taper” this means the shape of the shaft starting from the top on back. Typically, the diameter of the shaft is between 12 mm and 13 mm. The disadvantage of a smaller shaft is it can pass on too much spin on the ball. The most common size chosen is 13 mm.

The longer the taper, the more bend the shaft has. A short taper provides an unyielding, stiffer hit. Generally, the pro taper is between 10 and 15 inches.

The joint pin connects the shaft and butt. Pins are used to string the pieces together. Joint types either make contact with a metal joint collar or make contact wood to wood. If you prefer a more natural, yielding feet, select the wood to wood joint. The joint needs to be even to the wood and the pin must be evenly centered in the butt.

What weight should you choose? Cues in the 19 to 20 ounce range, as a rule, are the preference but those playing snooker like lighter cues (15 to 16 ounces.)

The length is generally 57 inches for a one-piece house cue or 58 inches for two-piece. If you are really tall or really short, you can purchase longer or smaller ones to accommodate your height. Extensions are available.

The tip and ferrule are considered the ‘business end.’ The ferrule is a metal ring placed around the end of the stick to bolster its strength. The tip should be flush to the ferrule and the ferrule should be flush to the shaft.

To achieve consistency and ball control, the tip is important. It must be well-shaped and scuffed. The customary tip is rated medium to hard. Soft tips can flatten out to speedily, not maintaining their shape. Hard tips are preferred for break cues. Medium is probably your best choice.

The buttcap and bumper need to be flush at all points with no wood chips visible at the end.
The stick should roll on a flat surface without wobbling although it can be straight but not perfectly round because of the hand-sanding done during the finishing stage.

Pick it up as you would a rifle and look down it. Turn it in your hands. Is it warped?

Hold it. Is it smooth? There should not be any blemishes on it. How does it feel? Does it feel bulky?

If you purchase the item and later decide you are not completely satisfied with it, change the tip and see if that makes a difference in your game.

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Picking the right one one may involve some trial and error but the more knowledge you are armed with before making the purchase the better off you are and the more likely to get it right sooner, rather than later.  Blair Home

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