Cue Care Update Uncovers New Technique

A note this month from one of a regulars on the subject of "Tip Shape, Nickel or Dime".

"This appears to be a subject for which little is written. I asked the Monk who advised the "nickel", but he didn't mention why or what it does differently from the "dime", wrotemy friend.

"One article says use the dime but gives no reason; another says shape to your preferenceand a third says those using a lot of english prefer a more rounded tip...

Being somewhat of a novice player, I guess I should not be concerned with such a fine level of detail, but when confronted with a choice, my curiosity got the better of me, and I just wanted to understand the reasons behind each choice", he concluded.

My Response: Larry, when it comes to cue maintenance there is no such thing as "too fine a level ofdetail" that should escape your concern.

On that note, I undertook some research on the topic of cue maintenance to see whathas changed.

I happen to use a Predator shaft on my Viking (that's another story) but the Predatorchoice was made on the basis of their published research on shaft testing so I checked thePredator website and found there are some things that have changed.

The nickel-dime theory is one:

"Predator research has clearly shown that a dime radius (or shape of a dime) will produce 5 percent to 10 percent less cue ball deflection than the more commonly used nickel shape. The cue ball deflection is reduced because the dime radius centralizes the hit to the center, or strong part, of the shaft."

Other tidbits worth considering:

What burnishing does for your shaft

The purpose of burnishing your shaft is to smooth and seal the wood. The more you burnish, the better the finish and, the slicker and more moisture resistant your shaft becomes. Moisture is the #1 enemy of your shaft. It causes the grain to raise and your shaft to warp. To burnish your shaft, use a leather burnisher and avoid abrasives. Sanding your shaft wears it down and makes the wood porous, which allows moisture to penetrate the grain and damage the wood.

Stay away from abrasives

Do not use any abrasives on your shaft and stay away from green pads in Pool Rooms. Using abrasives is going to take the diameter of your shaft down and modify the shape of your taper. It may even void the warranty of your Predator shaft if the ferrule or wood diameter falls below 12.25mm for 314 shafts and 11.4mm for Z shafts. Very fine micro papers (1500 grit) or burnishing is about all you need.

Break cue weight

Contrary to what many believe, lighter is better when choosing a break cue weight. Even though a heavier break cue feels more powerful, a more powerful break will be achieved with a cue weighing 18.5 to 19 oz. Most professional players break with a cue that is 1/2 to 1 oz lighter than their playing cue because less weight allows them to generate more cue speed, resulting in greater cue ball speed and a more powerful.