And it’s not by rolling it on the table!
It’s a common myth that the way to test the straightness of your cue, is by rolling it on the pool table. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the way. In fact, it’s rather inaccurate and here’s why…
Firstly, the offending pool table:
It's quite likely that the pool table or flat surface you are rolling your cue on, is not quite 100% level in the first place.
Pool tables tend to have a natural variation in their surface from use (wear and tear) or a natural nap. This (even super) slight variation will make the straightest cue wobble.
The cue itself:
It's rare that a pool, snooker or billiard cue would be perfectly conical. And that’s just the way they are made. The butt of a cue could be flattened for grip or effect. This would cause a wobble when rolled on a table.
Weight stickers, price stickers (if you’re testing in store) or painted designs and graphics can cause an imbalance which will result in a wobble.
If your cue is a 2-piece cue, in more cases than not, the joint will have an impact on the roll, either due to the alignment or due to the size and depth of the joint in comparison to the butt and shaft.
Finally, the majority of the cue’s weight is at the butt. This naturally causes a slight wobble in the cue’s tip.
So help, how can I test for straightness?
The best way to test the straightness of your cue, or the cue you’ve picked up at the club, is with good-old-fashioned eye-sight. If it’s a 2-piece cue, take it apart and only check the shaft.
Hold your cue at eye level, with the tip facing slightly downward and away from you. So you are looking down the cue from butt to tip. Then slowly rotate the cue 360 degrees. It might help to close one eye.
It’s good to remember…
Cues, often being made of wood (a natural substance), are going to have variations that cause an effect. E.g., Temperature, moisture and humidity. Even a super expensive cue might not be perfectly straight due to natural variations in the wood. If you’re after a warp-resistant cue, you might be in the market for a fibreglass/composite cue. Often too, the more you spend on a wooden cue, the better you can expect its straightness and warp resistance to be. The materials are expertly selected, and they undergo a slower and more extensive manufacturing process.
Tips for keeping your cue in top condition:
- Avoid leaning your cue against a wall or leaning on the cue whilst you’re waiting for your turn.
- Keep your cue away from moisture or heat. E.g., super-hot rooms, direct sunlight, heaters, damp conditions or in the car.
- Don’t sand your cue or use anything too abrasive on it. Exposing the wood can result in moisture and dirt getting in.