Choosing the best pool cue for you could become a simple and streamlined process, if you can understand the basic principles of its material, construction and design. Traditionally, wood is the most preferred material used in the making of the pool cue. The other materials are graphite, fiberglass and reinforced metals like titanium.
Performance, strength, durability, lightweight, flexibility and ease of use are some of the essential features you need to consider while choosing the cue. Accuracy, spin and speed are the key factors which can help you score points in the game.
Pool Cue – Understanding the Anatomy
The traditional pool cues are made of tip, Ferrule, shaft, joint and a collar. The composite cues are made of pin, collar, forearm, wrap, butt sleeve and a bumper.
Traditional Pool Cue
Traditional cues are made of single material (mostly maple wood, ebony, rosewood, black-wood etc). You can feel the impact of the hit better. The volume of energy transfer to the ball is also higher on low impact hits. The obvious disadvantage is its warping nature with time. Maintenance procedures are more compared to the other materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber and graphite.
- Tip Construction: The hardness of the pool cue tip can vary from X-soft, soft, medium, medium-hard, hard and X-hard. Softer tips generate additional spin to the cue ball, while the harder tips generate less spin. But softer tip wears out faster compared to the harder tip. The medium range of tips can generate good amount of spin and they can last longer. You can also avoid miscues with this version of the tip. The tip is usually made of compressed leather and it is commonly found in traditional cues.
- Shaft Construction: The shaft is made of hardwood that provides stability and strength to the shots you play. The shaft can reduce the deflection angle of the cue ball and increase the hit accuracy. The diameter of the shaft and the radial construction can enhance the accuracy to a considerable extent. Heavier shafts can generate high impact. But you may need more experience to gain control over your shots. Lighter wood can give you better control. But it may result in lower impact hits.
- Joint Construction: The traditional pool cues use wood as the joint as it gives better hit feel. It can also be metal for enhancing the hold capacity and lightweight. The hit strength is determined by the material construction. Wooden joint is the most preferred type.
- Collar Construction: The collar is the point which you use for hitting the ball. It s made of wood or metal. Metal is the preferred collar as it provides higher grip and force of impact.
- Better hit feel
- Higher kinetic energy conversion at the tip
- Better speed
- Good for advanced and intermediate level players
- Not recommended for beginners
- Probability of warping is high
Modern Pool Cue
The fiberglass pool cue is relatively light in weight and it is often made of composite materials like fiberglass and titanium. You can get better control while playing with this type of cue. The other materials used in the making of the modern pool cue are carbon fiber and graphite. Both of them use composite materials like titanium, ebony and other metals, depending on the brand you prefer.
- Pin Construction: The pin construction and the joint type is very important in determining the hit strength and accuracy. Thread pins are commonly used, while radial and QR types are also being used nowadays. Thread pins shafts with have larger diameter, while the radial pins have medium to small size shafts. The angle of deflection gets considerably reduced with the radial pin. Titanium pins are mostly preferred for the cues as they are light in weight and deliver better hit force.
- Collar Construction: The collar is the connecting joint between the main body of the cue and the pin. A metallic collar is the preferred choice as it can withstand the high hit impact from the bumper and transfer it to the pin. It also provides structural stability for the pin.
- Ring Construction: The ring provides the mechanism for holding the pint joint securely to the main body of the cue. The ring is preferably made of metal as it can provide better bonding.
- Forearm Construction: The pool cue forearm is the part that provides balance and stability to the pool cue. Fiberglass is light and string in nature. The energy transfer rate for a pointed forearm is higher than the other types. Veneer is another popular material for the forearm which can provide higher strength and deliver better force.
- Wrap Construction: The wrap is the part which gives you grip over the cue while aiming and shooting. Regardless of the material of the cue, the warp is generally made of leather for the best grip. Make sure it can absorb moisture and has an extended durability. The other recommended materials for the wrap are the Irish linen and stacked leather.
- Butt Sleeve Construction: The construction of the butt sleeve is generally made of fiberglass, ebony or carbon fiber in the modern pool cue. The inlay of the fiberglass sleeve gives better control over the entire pool cue. Ebony is relatively heavier in nature compared to the other two materials.
- Bumper Construction: The bumper is the base which is under your control. You would obviously like the construction to be light in weight and higher in the energy transfer ratio. The material should be preferably made of wood, ebony or titanium metal, since they have higher energy transfer ratio compared to the other materials.
- Modern cues are light in weight
- Higher accuracy and lower deflection angle
- Optimum speed
- Extended durability
- Recommended for all categories of players (beginners, intermediate players and experts)
- Economical pricing
- Relatively lower force compared to traditional pool cue
Regardless of the type you need (traditional or modern); you have to check these basic parameters before choosing the best pool cue for you when you search online.