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Cue Buying Guide

The information below is to help you choose the right cue for you from this website. The terms used will help you understand why various factors and techniques in the specification and design and making of the cue are beneficial.

You can always pop in for impartial advice on buying any cue, the only thing we will stress is that our prices are usually cheaper than buying anywhere else on the high street or internet, so even more reason to come in and buy.

Dimensions – Length

The length of a snooker cue is about the same as your shoulder height (usually 57 inches but Peradon are 58 inches). This allows you to grip the queue firmly at the cue butt and use a smooth action to strike the ball accurately and properly. If the cue is too short your playing action becomes awkward and if the cue is too long it can be difficult to maintain the correct balance when sliding the cue tip over the bridge made by your hand.

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Dimensions – Tip Diameter

The narrower the cue tip diameter the more swerve, top spin, side spin or reverse spin can be applied to manipulate the ball when playing. However this extra control comes at a price as the narrower a cue tip becomes, the more difficult it is to play long distance shots the full 12 foot length of a snooker table without applying this spin to the ball. Every player has a different comfort zone and this is therefore really down to personal preference and style of play.

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Most cues are predominantly made from ash with an ebony butt although other woods are in use as well as man made materials. Metals such as lead and iron can be inserted in the butt to add balancing weight as an alternative to using more expensive hard woods.

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The grain of the wood can play an important part in how the cue feels when the cue ball is struck and is better to run in one direction along the cue. Furthermore the lines of the grain can be a distraction when eyeing up the tip, cue ball and object ball making playing a shot more difficult.

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In order to connect two pieces of different wood together a technique called splicing is often used. This gives rise to the traditional saw tooth appearance of the darker ebony butt of the cue against the lighter ash main shaft. The denser ebony adds weight to the butt of the cue helping to provide the correct balance.

Another technique of balancing the weight along the cue is to insert a lead or iron rod into the cue butt. This can be used on its own or in combination with traditional splicing techniques. Furthermore by using a combination of techniques to balance the weight more decorative designs can be incorporated into the cue using a variety of different shaded and lighter woods whilst maintaining the appropriate balance.

Many of the cheaper cues are simply painted to appear spliced and in such cases the traditional look is there for decoration only.

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Handmade or Hand Crafted

Cues made by a dedicated craftsman will each be unique and ooze quality, as each cue is made one at a time. This allows the woods generally ash and ebony to be specially selected and matched perfectly. Any imperfections in the wood can be used advantageously by the craftsman to produce a playable and attractive cue.

A mass manufactured cue does not have this personal touch and may not meet the same high standards. However this additional personal care affects price and availability. Some renowned craftsmen produce fewer than 100 cues a year which are extremely sought after and therefore are not always available.

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Machine Splicing Verses Hand Crafted Splicing

Mass manufactured cues can easily be identified, the splicing tends to be much sharper narrowing to a point. With a handmade cue the splicing tends to narrow towards a more elliptical point.

Any imperfections in the wood such as the grain, knots etc can reduce the quality of the finished cue and these are more likely in a manufactured cue. In contrast the wood used to make a cue by hand will have been carefully selected to avoid or take advantage of the naturally occurring features of the wood.

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The smoothness of the cue can affect your playing action and it is often the case that a handmade cue will be sanded much smoother and contribute to better splay. Cheaper mass produced cues often make up for this by applying thicker varnish.

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Some of the more expensive queues use a wide variety of woods such as walnut and cherry in the cue butt to embellish the design and produce a highly playable and attractive cue.

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Joint or Split Cues

A snooker is usually 57 inches (Peradon are 58 inches) long, for many people carrying their cue about with them is therefore inconvenient due to its length. The natural alternative to a single piece cue is a split or jointed cue, however some purists believe such cues to be inferior though many find them to be just as good. The following information should be noted buying a split cue and is in addition to the information about buying queues in general (link).

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Half or Three Quarter Length Split

The obvious place to split the cue is half way down the shaft and thus halving the overall length of the cue case being carried. However for some players this split is inconvenient as the brass connection can be a distraction when looking down the length of the cue. In such cases many prefer a three quarter length split where the screw connection is nearer the cue butt and therefore out of the line of sight. The only down side to this is that the cue case is not a short as it may otherwise have been. Additionally, a three quarter length split allows alternative butts to be attached to length the cue for example when using a rest.

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Single Piece of Wood

Hand Made cues are often made out of one piece of wood which is then split and the connection added, in such cases the grain matches when the two pieces are connected and the balance of the cue can be more true. With manufactured cues the two pieces are manufactured separately and the cue tip end and the cue butt ends are made from separate pieces of wood and so the grain and balance will not match perfectly.

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Cue Cases

Since the purpose of using a split cue is to make it easier to carry and transport it is natural to purchase a case with a split cue and we stock a wide variety to cater for your needs.


Snooker Supplies