1.How do you buy a cue shaft
For cue shaft, players generally choose maple. Based on players’ years of experience buying. Players, especially newbie, it is difficult to choose a cue shaft when buying a pool cue.
Some friends say the whiter the shaft, the better. And some friends said that the yellowish pool shaft is harder. Some merchants said that the heavier the pool shaft, the better, and that the texture of the pool shaft should be clear.
These views are complicated for players. It is not just the wood itself that affects the cue shaft. The taper also has an impact on the cue ball. For example, Pro Taper and European Taper Shaft.
I can’t directly say which is best. Because the most suitable for you is the best. The cue shaft you choose should be suitable for your shot habit. Follow your heart 🙂
The shaft is composed of tip, ferrule, and wood. The quality of the shaft determines the performance of a cue. A good shaft needs to consider the characteristics and quality of the wood, the manufacturing process, and the ability to strike.
We need to examine an excellent cue shaft carefully. Below we first discuss the characteristics and qualities of wood.
Species of Wood-
Cue shaft wood-white hard maple
Some people once used birch, purple heart, and other wood to make the shaft. But in the end, people found that the hard maple is more suitable for a pool cue.
At present, almost all cue makers believe that the shaft made of maple is the most suitable for billiards. However, people in Europe often use ash as a snooker cue shaft. It is less used in a pool cue.
We can divide it into soft maple and hard maple. The factory generally does not use soft maple to make the shaft.
Hard maple is divided into two types: sugar maple and black maple. We can often see sugar maple in the pool cue shaft. Sugar maple is also called rock maple, hard rock maple, or Canadian white maple.
Sugar maple is distributed between North America and Canada. Approximately north of New York, southern Michigan, and near Ontario and Quebec in Canada.
There are two kinds of hard maple wood grain. Workers use the straight grain to make the shaft. The butt used to make the cue is made of wood, which is more curved. Or the grain shapes like bird grain.
According to market research, consumers prefer the white shaft. The basic colors of the shaft are white and light brown.
The shaft is generally taken from the wood between the heart of the maple and the bark. The wood used by Shaft is affected by the external environment.
From maple’s growth environment to production and processing will affect the color of the wood. The production and processing I’m talking about here refer to the cutting season and drying method of wood.
If workers cut wood in the summer, the temperature will affect the wood. Similarly, if you use high temperatures to dry wood quickly, the wood may become dark or damaged.
Therefore, winter is the season suitable for logging. It should be noted that if the wood is often wet by rain before processing, the color of the wood will also change. These problems may lead to poor shaft performance.
The first consideration when choosing wood for the shaft is whether the wood is neat and tidy. Stripes or spots appear on a considerable portion of maple wood.
This is not good, although these shortcomings have little effect on cue performance. After long-term use by players, the appearance defects will disappear by cue chalk, hand sweat, and oil.
Some cue makers choose expensive top-quality maple. This kind of cue shaft is expensive because top-grade maple wood grows slowly.
Therefore, we often choose wood with speckled texture to make the shaft. Unless you are willing to pay a high salary.
2.The grain of the cue shaft
There are three points to note about the hard maple used to make the shaft:
1. The grain of the wood should be straight
This is easy to understand. Players prefer the straight wood shaft when purchasing. After all, it is at least beautiful.
2. The grain of the wood should be consistent
It is the basic requirement for wood grain that the grain of the wood should be straight and consistent. Good shaft wood grain is uniform and symmetrical. And we can find that its wood grain interval is the same.
How do we choose wood? Choose wood that is 15 to 45 cm long from the bottom of the tip. The wood selected in this way can effectively avoid the bending of the cue shaft. And these pool sticks are easy to hit the cue ball.
3. The texture of the wood should be closely arranged.
The tight annual rings indicate that the wood grew slowly in the cold north. Generally, the factory will choose 4 to 32 annual rings of maple.
To get the best shaft. I recommend using at least 8 rings per inch of wood to make the pool cue shaft.
Most cue makers believe that tight-grained wood is usually heavy. Therefore, the cue shaft made of heavier wood will be heavier. So, the common shaft weight is more than 4 ounces.
However, there are some cue makers who disagree. They don’t think that the tight-knit shaft will be very hard. And too hard shaft is not necessarily suitable for every player.
The weight of the Cue shaft depends on the player’s usage habits. But they all believe that straight wood can make the best pool shaft.
3.How to make cue shaft
Common steps are seasoning, turning, and taper. Let’s take a closer look at the specific steps.
Seasoning is required before starting to make the shaft. Factories often put wood in a dry place to air dry. The wood thus obtained is dry and straight.
It should be noted that the wood should be dried long enough. Short drying time will cause the wood to bend. Some shafts that are quick to meet the deadline will bend slightly.
The pool shaft made of curved wood will affect the performance of the pool cue. So how long does it take for the wood to dry? This is determined by the manufacturer’s process.
Like cue masters George Balabushka and Gus Szamboti, they often dry wood for several years. The pool cue shaft made of such wood must be the best. There are also billiard factories that only dry wood for one year.
Bulk cue manufacturers sometimes put wood in hardeners and setting agents for rapid production. I do not recommend you to use the cue shaft produced in this way.
Cutting the shaft on the lathe is called turning. First, cut the long square wood into circular wood strips. Then cut the round wooden strip to a suitable length. Afterward，the lath is cut with a lathe at intervals. This cycle depends on the factory process.
Generally, players need cutting every two months. The process may last six to twelve times. Some billiard factories will spend months or even years on this process. Some factories are separated by months to years.
The purpose of this practice is to make the shaft gradually adapt to the natural climate. Such as temperature and humidity. This gives the pool shaft excellent elasticity and hardness. We can call it the best pool cue shaft.
For pool cue, shaft performance is the most important. A pool cue with only a beautiful butt cannot be called the best pool cue.
Some factories now use chemical stabilizers to treat shafts. This method quickly reduces the chance of wood bending and cracking. But the shaft treated with chemical stabilizers will affect the pool cue’s hitting performance.
Step 3-taper shaft
The taper is the amplitude that gradually fades from below the ferrule to the joint. Generally speaking, there are two types of taper: European Taper and Pro Taper.
Snooker cue tends to use European Taper. European Taper is more suitable for a snooker cue. This is because the player does not use the ring hand rack during the push stroke. European Taper is beneficial to promote heavier cue ball. Especially Three Cushion billiards.
The other is Pro Taper. About eight to fourteen inches after the ferrule, the diameter of the shaft gradually began to increase.
There are two types of Pro Taper. The first is a short acceleration shaft. The diameter begins to increase approximately 6-8 inches after the ferrule.
The second type is the long acceleration type, which begins to increase in diameter after about 10 to 14 inches after the ferrule.
The current pool cue generally uses Pro Taper. This is to ensure that the strength of the pool shaft during strike ball is consistent.
Starting with ferrule and increasing the diameter of the shaft in small increments is the most suitable for a pool cue. This pool cue shaft is suitable for players who prefer to use a ring hand rack.
When the player strikes the cue ball and has the action of extending the cue, it is easy to control the cue and smooth out. There is no need to intentionally enlarge the diameter of the ring hand to make the push stroke smooth.
Maybe you have doubts about the performance of a hard shaft or a soft shaft. To get a larger cue ball offset, is it better to have a hard pool shaft or a soft shaft?
This requires you to understand the reason for the cue ball offset in detail. Factors affecting the cue ball offset also need to be considered.
The main reasons that affect the performance of shaft hitting are deflection, squirt, and friction. You can click here to learn more details.