CUE Is one piece better than a 2 piece cue.
Posted 10 October 2010 - 08:14 PM
4-11-03, 10-10-10 4 pages, CR, Fast Larry Guninger all rights reserved. Published in DC, bpn, czm, upp, ppt, btt.
I said a one piece cue is always better than a two piece cue, that cutting it in two does not make it better, just easier to carry around. Evidence of this is English snooker players who for over two centuries only played with a one piece cue they carry around in gun cases. These cues are handed down from father to son and to grandson. They are the ultimate potters of balls, they must know something. These cues are priceless. People then ask why not make the cue out of one piece of solid wood and the answer is it would be too stiff. Adding splices to the butt makes it play better as long as you donít over splice and add too much which then weakens the cue.
Most of those old snooker cues are made out of Ash, an ugly wood with big stripes down it that no pool player would use, and itís also too stiff of a wood for a shaft, but it makes a great break shaft wood. Years ago, people preferred stiff wood, and today, along comes Meucci, OB-1, and shafts with flex, and English are now regarded as being better with less deflection.
The next one piece cue you can buy or find in pool halls are what we now call house cues. You walk into a pool hall and grab one off of the wall at no charge. Most of these one piece cues were made with Canadian hard rock maple and this hard wood with a very thick taper, hard thick ferrule plays very stiff and it does deflect a lot. They are made for pool halls to be given to the worst ball banging beginners who do not own a cue or for everyone to break with. They are made to survive total abuse and are not designed for delicate play by a fine top player. They are tanks. They are not a corvette car, they are a hummer. You could make a one piece cue with a pro taper and design it to play but nobody does because there is zero market for such a cue. Nobody wants to run around with a one piece cue, they want two pieces to carry around. What you see in pool halls are what I call break cues, not playing cues.
The best ones are Dufferins with the maple leaf logo inside a plastic circle on the butt. Very strong Canadian hard rock maple cues with very stiff strong tapers. I have run over a hundred balls with one of these. You can also buy the same cues from Dufferin in two piece which is the best and cheapest sneaky Pete you can find. But alas, they finally went out of business and they were bought out and the line went to China a legend died, now all the house cues are very low quality. The end of an era occurred. When I began play in Kling and Allenís and later most of the inventory went over to Millers at 12th and Grand, in KCMO, in the early 60ís, the same house cues they put in play at 12th and Baltimore in 1912, were still in use and in great shape in Millers. The butts were pure Ebony and they had been cured for 50 years, put a champion tip on one of those and many there ran a century with them. They were so damn good; many saw no reason to even drag your own cue into the joint. Today to get a custome cue builder to make you a cue like I came up with on the rack, he would charge you $600. You kids today, get a cue off the rack they pay $6 for. My My, how times have changed and how all you kids today get **** to play with. In my day, all we got, was the finest made, in the top rooms, and Kling and Allenís was the top room in the country in its time, so it of course, had the top house cues. I was so fortunate to play in the top room, in the country, at the very last of the golden age, to see exactly how it was, in 1912.
Here is why when you buy a very expensive custom cue you do not always get a better cue and in fact you usually get an inferior cue. The people making them canít run 3 friggen balls. If they canít play, then how do they know if their own cue plays? If they never develop that great feel a pro has, how can they build that feel into their cues and the answer is they donít. I have posted this before and many top cue makers have said I am right, that a lot of cue makers canít even make a bridge and many others canít run 3 balls.
There are exceptions to this, such as Mike Sigel and Gullasey and many others who can play and now build cues. Most of these custom cue guys canít play pool well, canít gamble or win and canít ever make a living with their cue. Most begin doing tips and light repair work, ferrules and cleaning up shafts. They buy a used lathe and get deeper into this. Every cue repair guy wants to evolve into being a cue maker and most do. Most buy some machinery and do exactly that, working out of their garage producing 125 cues a year. There are hundreds of these people this size. A one man band in a small shop with an Illegal Mexican assistant doing most of the dirty work for him. Some of them have names that are well recognized. They make a living and are very happy doing this.
They begin making a plain Jane cue they can sell for a reasonable price and soon find out nobody wants such a cue and they make no money on it. They then make a cue with a lot of ivory and ornamentation on it and find it does sell at a really nice profit. Making the cue expensive, loading it up with worthless dead animal teeth becomes the objective. Ivory on a cue never made a ball for me. Archers Schon with $13,000 of ivory and inlays after a few years became to come apart on him and he stopped playing with it.
Making a new cue sell for $800 is the only objective, making it actually play does not even enter their minds. They put on an equally worthless ivory ferrule because it only costs them $15 and they can get $100 extra for it. Nothing produces a worse performance than a super hard brittle ivory ferrule. The cue is beautiful, looks great, plays like a dog. The maker could give a flying ####.
Most buy these cues and never hit them ahead of time. They are forced to pay for them in advance and then wait for the guy to get around to shipping them which can average 6 months to two years. I go, how dumb can people get, you pay for the cue when it shows on your door step UPS COD. That gives the guy the incentive to finish it to get your money. Pay for any cue in advance you insure the guy never makes it any time soon. He puts your order to the rear and spends your money now. They are buying a name and prestige. The poor player who just shelled out $800 for this cue which is supposed to be better than his production cue he is now playing with which only cost $300 and he will never admit to himself he just bought a turkey. The poor guy tries in vain to make it work and it never happens. He spent all of that money and does not get any better; some now play worse and do not realize it.
I call these cues expensive furniture, like paintings, they are wall hangers that are where I have all of mine, where they belong on my wall to show off. I have many in the 2K to 6K range with beautiful ivory work. I can also bring in my Rambo or original Balabuska if I want to show off. Yes I bought these at one time like you chasing the ultimate cue and going from flower to flower like the busy bee. When I finally realized that cue did not exist and nobody actually made it after owning over 100 cues, that the only cue that really had all the answers, was my original Balabushka but running around in public with a $15,000 cue can get you mugged or killed so I sought one that would work as well. I built for me what worked which was the Bangkok birch shaft from Ray Schuler. Sorry, itís mine, not for sale and no you cannot have it. That is my advantage over you and I take its secrets to my grave and tell it to the lid of my coffin. That is my stiff cue I perform many of my Artistic shots with which is on a Schuler butt. I set over 20 world records with that shaft and cue. The shaft, has twice the tensile strength and twice the bend modules of Maple, yes I did discover and design, pools ultimate shaft, but Ray did not have the money to put it on the market, and soon died after that and his company went under, and with it, pools ultimate shaft. I have 50 of them, now still in stock.
When I want to play artistic pool I bring in my Meucci power piston PP-2, which is a plain Jane cue because pool is not about looking good or impressing people with your $6000 turkey gobble. It will make some shots, my stiffer Schuler canít possibly make.
I began to realize, I need my Schuler stiff shafts to make some shots, and my Meucci to make shots that required the shaft to flex. There were a couple of shots, only the 314 would make.
When I first came into Artistic play and began making all the world class shots, the best of the best was Raymond Steylearts of Belgium and he used 17 different flex shafts to make all of those shafts. He had won 6 European world artistic championships so he was the man, so I copied what he was doing. I had Ray Schuler make me 14 different shafts, which covered every possible shot I could imagine, and then, using the Meucci and 314ís I was at 16 shafts and two cues. Raymond was right.
I donít show up on the golf course with a $6000 driver I use a production model for $350 that works great. These are for sale at 20 stores right off the shelf within 3 miles of where I live. I donít have to wait 2 years for it, I walk in the door and score it and I am out the door. It is really ugly but I am only looking for performance, not pretty. If wanted pretty or to impress you I would show up with my 1950ís 945 and 693 persimmon wood headed drivers which are 50 years out of date with low technology and poor performance.
When you show up with your big name custom cue with its 50 year out of date technology and ivory ferrule you do the same thing, you have a pretty impressive cue that plays bad. Frankly I call that dumb. When you compare how these pool cue makers are selling their products compared to other main line sports then it becomes clear, you have been hustled and coned. Like golf, you should be able to walk into any store and walk out with a $250 or $300 cue that friggen plays, I mean how hard are that to do. If Tennis and golf can do it, pool can. They just do not want to and why should they if they have you now conned and sold into this farce.
These custom cue guys like turkeys do flock together and form little clicks. They then get this monkey see monkey do thing where the head turkey is building a cue this way and they all just copy him. They never ask if that way was right or wrong, they just follow along like sheep. Some of the methods and things they do to make a cue are dead wrong, but it does not matter as long as the cue is pretty so they get by with this. Nobody is making them prove, their cue actually plays and performs. That is the great mistake being made here.
I am the first to take these guys on and point this out. This is where a lot of the attacks on me come from, these people and or their dealers who do not like me showing them for what they really are. Some of these cue salesmen are nothing but used car salesmen out of a job and carneys with good teeth selling cues now that the circus got reposed and the sheriff locked up the lions and tigers. They will lie to you; tell you any thing you want to hear. They just wanít your money. I called the distributor of ### tec and the guy lies to me saying itís an American cue made in their own factory in NY. When I told him it was warehoused in their office in New York and they had no factory and I know it is made on the ROC in China he then backs off and changes stories. That is what you are dealing with if you believe these guys. Liars, cons, hustlers. They prey on you not to know the score here. I am trying to tell it like it is and wise you chumps up so you will no longer be pool cue buying chumps but now an informed intelligent buyer that can sort out all of this crap and know the truth from the con.
CAVEAT EMPTOR MY FRIENDS.
They are building for the most part the same cue Mosconi was playing with in the early 1950ís, that is their blue print, what they copy today. If they were in Tennis they would be building you wood rackets, in golf, persimmon head clubs with wood shafts and selling you pretty. They would be telling you to invest in your golf driver and paying $1,000 to $6,000 is the smart thing to do. In golf you do not want to pay any more than $350 because technology keeps changing and when a better one comes along in 2 years, you dump the old one and buy the better one. You never invest in a golf club, but they sell you that con in pool. They just sell you their cue for $800 because if they sell it to you for the fair price of $300, they can only make 125 their gross revenue becomes 37K and after paying for materials and the assistant they starve. $800-x 125 =100K a year. You are paying this premium because the guy has no company, no modern machinery, No CNCís, no volume, no savings in purchasing in quantity and no production line.
Because he does not have the money to set up a cue company you pay triple for what the cue should go for. He does not have the technology to produce the modern ferrule like Meucci or Predator or Adam does so his ferrule he buys for 15 cents deflects 50 to 100% more than the big boys does. His shaft is usually to stiff. Itís always too big and fat, usually 13 to 13.25mm. They tell you $800 buys you a better cue. I am telling you I can sell you 2 Adam balabushka's for that. You boys need to wise up here and get hip.
If you bought one of these over priced turkeys accept this and toss the shaft in the fireplace where it belongs along with the worst shaft ever made by man is: IMHO, the black dot shaft from Meucci, but a 314 from Predator will play well. You just blew $700 for a butt that has no effect on the performance of a cue. Its all in the tip, ferrule and shaft. Even the joint only affects performance 4%. Stop blowing a fortune on expensive butts that do nothing is my final advice here and then wake upÖ.. your turkey custome cue plays like **** and then you have to pop for another $300 high tech shaft to make it play. How stupid is that trip? ****, buy a $200 nice looking decal cue, toss the shaft, buy a Z shaft, and you are out for $475. I just saved you $425 on what you will pay this custome turkey.
Here is a similar concept; you buy a Lincoln town car to have prestige, to show off your wealth. You can buy two Crown Vics for the same price and that car will drive circles around the Lincoln. That is the point I am making.
Okie Dokie, so Schuler dies, company goes under, I have to jump over the Meucci, it goes bankrupt, and I now look for a different cue, and I pull back to the Adam Balabushka cue I played with for many years back in the early 90ís. I pull it off the shelf and I find, the 13mm shaft, is too strong, too stiff, too dead, and I begin to modify the stock cue, now changing everything and making it no longer a production cue, but a true custome cue.
I succeeded, making a cue and shaft that outplayed the high tech Z shaft, which several Z owners swear on a bible I actually did. I did this, for me, for my personal use, because others would not make it, I made it for me. And I let others play with my cue, and they went nuts over it, and I began making and selling them. And for $500, you could get a custome cue from me, that out played any other cue, made on earth. That alone, should be, and could alone, make my legacy. My gift to pool, which only came from decades of study and experimentation with dozens of top cues and in close work in the actual factories of with the legendary cue builders of pool, late 60ís in the Chicago Rambo factory, late 80ís in the Chicago Schuler factory, late 90ís in the Mississippi Meucci factory, what Herman, Ray and Bob taught me, I never forgot. I know a little about cues, because I was taught by the best in the business.
The wood back then, was totally superior to what we get today. So my 93 Bushka shafts, today, are made from a wood you cannot get in 2010. Wood gets worse, every year. The old growth woods are gone, acid rain; lots of things make new wood bad.
I have a plain Jane Rambo cue Herman made for me back in the mid 60ís, and it has the most pure, best hitting shaft I have every played with. I have shown that shaft to all the top boys saying; make me one, just like it, and none could. Schuler giving up said, you just got lucky, you caught one of those one in a million, perfect pieces of wood, I can make a shaft exactly like it, but I canít make it play exactly like it, because me wood I buy today, is ****.
Enter the Woods:
Customarily, a pool cue of exceptional quality is made from a straight-grained hard rock maple wood, especially the shaft. Today, many different types of woods are being utilized amongst cue makers, and continue to increase in popularity. Some of the favorite woods used amongst today's cue makers are Red Ivory, Ebony, Brazilian Rosewood, Cocobolo, Blackwood, Olive Wood, Zircote, Bocote, in addition to a whole slew of other exotic woods.
While certain woodland materials like pine and ebony are very consistent and easy to pinpoint, the appearance of exotic wood can be so varied in color and figuring that even experienced woodworkers have difficulty identifying them.
Oddly enough, Burls - a deformed, wart-like growth on the trunk or root of a tree, are also increasing in popularity, and often used for various cue points and inlays. The popularity of Burls can be attributed to the large number of cue builders that utilize these woods by coring them out and placing laminated dowels inside to strengthen the fragile wood. In fact, there are dozens of woods suitable for use in a pool cue, just as long as they are seasoned and treated in the proper manner.
Despite what some manufacturers might lead you to believe, many of these beautiful woods arenít even all that expensive.
Warping (and the Alternative):
While there are some cues out there made entirely of materials such as aluminum, titanium, or acrylic, theyíre generally frowned upon by the majority of the authentic pool playing community. Many of these non-wood cue sticks (especially the aluminum) can be very sensitive to temperature, and will often bend over time. In contrast, some players insist that fiberglass or graphite cues are a good, cheap alternative to wood, and are less prone to warping and dings.
Still, with fiberglass or graphite, you might be sacrificing performance. A quality wood cue should never warp unless it is subjected to large temperature fluctuations, or improper storage. Basically, if this has happened to your cue, itís probably because you allowed it to happen by not taking the proper precautions.
Up to WWII, Brunswick would take down shafts and hang them for a year to cure them. I today, when I bring in shafts for my personal playing cue, I bring in 8, play with 4, hang 4 to cure for four years.
To prevent warpage, a quality cue company such as Viking used to take four to six months to make just one cue shaft. The cue is slowly lathed down over time, sometimes taking up to 2 months before the next lathing. This elongated process allows the wood to dry, and by the final shaping, the wood has finished the majority of the warping it will do naturally. This is one of the reasons Viking went out of business in 10-10, because nobody cared any more, they only wanted low prices, and they bought the cheap Chinese cues that were less, and had no curing and green wood that would warp when they dried out. The warpage that comes in from China, I am told will run from a minimum of 3% to 10%, and the blems which is another problem, can run as high as 15 to 25%.
Some American companies such as Meucci and Peachaeur used to put their shafts in a kiln to dry them out faster and to turn brown shafts into white, which they could sell at a higher price, making people think it was finer better wood. Hello Mcfly Maple is brown, not white. This effort to cook the water out of the shafts, did not always work.
Time is the only process that works on wood.
So today, the cues you are getting shipped, are at least 25% warped or blemed. The Chinese donít reject anything, everything they make, even if itís bad, they ship and dump it on us. They wonít take it back, so it gets dumped on you, by my competitors. But I inspect everything coming in, and if itís not perfect, I reject it and send it back. Every cue I send out I personally do a 4 way roll warp test on it before it ships. I hand inspect every cue in the sunlight. When a cue leaves our store, its right, or it will not ship.
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THE POWER SOURCE POOL SCHOOL ďFast LarryĒ Guninger
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