Here is Why Rolling a Pool or Snooker Cue on a Pool Table Just Does Not Work
We’ve all done it, either with a new cue or with the dodgy cues at your local pub, we have all rolled a cue on a pool table to check that it is straight and not warped. Maybe your dad or mates taught you to check a cue this way, or maybe you have just seen others do it. Most people are shocked to learn that rolling a cue on a table is a very inaccurate way to check that it is straight. But why?
There is a good chance that the pool table or flat surface you’re using is not level. But a more overlooked issue than this is the table felt or cloth. Any slight variation in the table felt whether due to wear, tear, or the natural nap, will cause any cue to wobble a little making even the straightest cue appear warped.
Pool, snooker, and billiard cues are not usually conical, and each have different tapers which will affect the roll of the cue. The butt of the cue is often flattened, which will also impact the roll. Also, cues often have weight stickers, price stickers, or designs over the wood which can cause the cue to wobble/bounce when rolled. In the case of two piece cues, the joint will almost always impact the roll either due to the alignment or due to the size/depth of the joint in comparison to the butt and shaft. As a final point, a cue's weight is concentrated close to the butt of the cue, and this disparity in comparison to the shaft can cause a rolled cue's tip to wobble.
It is important to remember that cues are generally made of wood which is a natural substance and is therefore affected by its surroundings (usually due to temperature, moisture and humidity). Each individual cue will have some slight variation in its taper, straightness and roundness.
So How Do I Test a Cue for Straightness?
So, before you begin blaming your losing streak on your cue, follow this easy method to check your cue for straightness. The most reliable way to check your cue for warping is to ‘sight’ the cue. We recommend dismantling a two piece cue and only sighting the shaft. Holding the cue/shaft slightly downward at eye level, look down the cue focusing your attention on the tip whilst slowing turning the cue 360 degrees. If you scroll to the top of this blog, you will see a picture of Butch sighting a cue the correct way. This is the most reliable way to check for significant warping.
Remember, cues are natural products that are affected by their surroundings. Each piece of wood in each unique cue has their own characteristics. Even the more expensive cues may not be perfectly straight, and each cue can still move a little despite being taken cared for perfectly. If you are wanting a warp resistant cue, it may be worth considering a cue that contains quality fibreglass, composite materials, or graphite. Examples include our Cuetec Powerbond range or our Grafex Graphite range. If you prefer a cue stick that is more traditional and only made of wood, you will need to consider a more expensive cue. Cues such as those from the warp resistant Barracuda range, have gone through an extensive drying process which can span weeks to years. The wood of these cues are hand selected to ensure hardness and straightness.
Maintaining Cue Straightness
- Lean your cue against a wall, or lean on the cue yourself between shots.
- Expose your cue to moisture or heat. This includes a hot room, direct sunlight, fireplaces and heaters.
- Never ever leave a cue in a car. The heat will increase the likelihood of warping, and the cold can cause the cue to sweat, especially if it is damp. This can cause warping.
- Avoid sanding or applying any other abrasive material to your cue. This exposes the wood and allows moisture, dirt and heat to penetrate the wood.
- Store your cue in a secure cue rack or a hard case, as long as the cue is not left in a hot car or room.
- Keep your cue in an environmentally stable place. Try to limit the amount of environmental changes the cue will be exposed to (this includes temperature, humidity and seasonal changes).
- If you do clean your cue, we recommend resealing the cue by either burnishing with leather and/or treating it with a cue shaft sealant.