The shaft is made with various tapers, the two most common are the Pro taper and the European taper.
The Pro taper has the same diameter from the tip to 30-35 cm (12-14 inches) down and the European taper is conical and widens towards the joint.
At the end of the cue there is a cuff known as the ferrule which is used to hold the cue tip in place and to bear the brunt of impact with the cue ball so that the less resilient wood does not split.
Ferrules are mainly made of ivory, carbon fiber, or a plastic such as melamine, aegis or phenolic resin which are extremely durable, high-impact materials that are resistant to cracking, chipping, and breaking. Brass is popular among snooker cues.
The Cue Tip
The Leather tips of varying degrees of shapes and hardness are affixed to the shaft ferrule.
The standard shapes for a tip are nickel and dime, determined by shaping a tip so that when one puts a nickel or dime to it, they are the same curvature.
Quarter-shaped tips are less common, though are usually used for breaking cues because less curvature means less accidental spin and more accuracy for a straight shot such as the break.
Rounder tips impart english/spin more easily since the point of contact between a tip and the cueball requires less distance from the center hit to do the same amount of spin due to the increased tangential contact.
Tips are sometimes made of harder materials such as phenolic resin because it is favored upon for a break cue (Breaks usually require less spin, thus less round harder tips preserve the shape of the tip longer without sacrificing the effectiveness of the break).
The tip end of the cue will vary in diameter but is typically in the 11 to 14 millimeter ('mm') range with 13 mm for pool cues being most common and 9.5 mm for Snooker cues being most common.
The leather tip of a pool cue is used to hit the cue ball.
Because leather naturally compresses and hardens with consequent shots, it is more likely to slide off of the cue ball, from smoothness/glossiness of the tip, on the hit without some material allowing it to grip the cue ball.
To help in this matter, Cue chalk is placed on the tip of the cue, ideally after every shot, so that the player does not miscue.
This is especially important when the player is not hitting the cue ball in the center and is, thus, imparting spin/english to the cue ball.
There are different grades of hardness for tips, ranging from very soft to very hard.
Softer tips like "Elk Master" hold chalk better, but tend to degrade faster from abrasion (from chalk and scuffers), shaping (from cue tip shapers/tackers/picks), and mushrooming (from normal use or hard hits that compact the tip from all directions)
Harder tips like "Triangle" and "Blue Diamond" maintain their shape much better, but because of their hardness, chalk tends to not hold as well as it does on softer tip materials.
Usually the hardness of a tip is from the compression that was used in making it. Some tips are layered (like "Talisman") and some are one-piece (like "LePro").
Layered tips hold their shape better than one-piece tips, but they can sometimes "unlayer/delaminate" from use, shots, or tip tools.
One-piece tips don't have this problem, but instead tend to mushroom more easily.
Return From The Shaft To Billiard Accessories
Return To The Home Page