Whether you are flirting with the idea of making your own pool cue or you're curious about the way different materials can affect playability, you first need a thorough understanding of pool cue building materials. This involves understanding the physical properties of both natural and synthetic materials.
Most pool cues are made from high quality wood. Of common pool cue woods, hard rock maple is the highest quality, although many other woods are used including red ivory, ebony, Brazilian rosewood, cocobolo, blackwood, olive wood, zircote, bicote and other exotic woods. Burls, growths found on the trunk or root of trees, have become a popular option for the points and inlays of pool cues. Various woods affect the feel and weight of the cue differently, but the commonality in usable pool cue wood is that it is seasoned and treated properly.
Aluminum, Titanium and Acrylic
As an alternative to wood, some pool cues are also fashioned from materials such as aluminum, titanium and acrylic. Professional pool players generally do not use pool cues made from these materials because they are temperature-sensitive and are more likely to bend or warp over time than cues made from wood. Of alternative-material pool cues, aluminum pool cues are the most likely to bend. Despite their susceptibility to bending and warping, these types of pool cues are still more expensive than wood cues. Professional pool players, and those who are more than casual players, generally use pool cues composed of two halves that are screwed together, while pool hall cues are generally a one-piece stick.
Metals play an important part in the crafting of pool cues; they join the collars of the shaft and butt end and create symmetry by using a metal ring to cover the joint. The shaft is the top portion of the stick, while the bottom of the stick is referred to as the "butt" end. The pin is also made of metal and is the part that joins together the two halves of the pool cue. Metal is used, as the harder the material is for the joint, the harder the pool shot will be.
Hard plastics and ivorylike materials are typically used to create the ferrule, or tip area, of a pool cue, which is located directly below the compressed leather tip and can come in various lengths. The ferrule is screwed into the shaft of the pool cue. The tip of the pool cue is generally made from highly compressed leather that is glued to the end of the pool cue. Rubber is used to form the bumper at the end of pool cues. Since pool cues are made out of various materials, it is not uncommon for metal, hard plastics and hard woods to be interchanged throughout the pool cue, often based on player preference.
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