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View Full Version : What is missing in Cuemaking


bstroud
09-28-2010, 07:19 AM
Cuemaking is a hybrid of sorts. It is a combination of art and craft.

The craft side has evolved to the point that perfection in construction and execution is possible.

The art side seems to be stuck in the past. How many more cues with points or boxes and inlayed with diamonds and dots will be made. Sure there is a place for cues like this. It's called a MUSEUM.

Why don't more cuemakers try something new and different? The apparent reason is that most, if not all, lack any formal art training.

I am approached frequently by people wanting to become cuemakers. They want to know about machines and software. I tell them all the same thing. Go to art school. Learn to design properly. Then become a cuemaker. That is what the industry needs.

I know that I along with a few other cuemakers have struggled long and hard to become better designers. It's not easy. I takes lots of time. The results are worth it.

It saddens me to see so many cuemakers with obvious talent succumb to cliches like "I like traditional cues". What they are really saying is either "I am afraid to try something new" or I'm doing just fine making what I am".

Either way it is a cop out.

Can the situation be changed for the better? Perhaps. The collectors' show that I started is one way and it is having a positive effect. More artistic cues are created every day just for that show.

The main way however is for you ( the buying public) to demand more of your cuemaker. Push on them for something new and different. Get them out of their comfort zone.They WILL respond with something special!

Sincerely,

Bill Stroud

Winston846
09-28-2010, 07:29 AM
While I'm not a cuemaker, I can say that there truly are people out there who like "traditional cues". I being one of them. In fact, I recently had a cue made where I specifically instructed the cuemaker that I wanted it to look like it was made in 1965.

Not saying there's anything wrong with trying new things, but I for one don't like a lot of fancy things in a cue and truly am a traditionalist.

KSwiss10
09-28-2010, 07:51 AM
I too am a fan of traditional cues. My cue is as plain as they come in the looks department. It is a Jacoby and is just a solid piece of cocobola with an Irish linen wrap. A few silver rings at the joints is as vancy as it needs to be. Also all that "art" adds a lot of time to the construction process and money when someone goes to purchase a cue.

My cue may look plain but it is a custom from Jacoby and plays great, and I didn't have to spend a lot of money to get it.

I think it would be cool to see some cue makers try different things but it's not for everybody.

bstroud
09-28-2010, 07:57 AM
While I'm not a cuemaker, I can say that there truly are people out there who like "traditional cues". I being one of them. In fact, I recently had a cue made where I specifically instructed the cuemaker that I wanted it to look like it was made in 1965.

Not saying there's anything wrong with trying new things, but I for one don't like a lot of fancy things in a cue and truly am a traditionalist.

Winston,

You are the exact type of person I was trying to attract with this post.

There is nothing wrong with liking "traditional" cue designs but I would imagine that you are no long using "rabbit ears" to watch TV.

The point I'm trying to make here is that cuemakers just need to move on.
They need to try new things and it is people like you that can push them to do so. Give it a try next time. Perhaps you can find a bridge between a modern and a traditional design the you would like even more.

Thanks for your reply,

Bill Stroud

Hierovision
09-28-2010, 08:03 AM
I ordered a cue from Chuck Starkey based on multiple pieces of mesquite and asked him for a Native American theme to the cue. I know this has been done before, but it's far from traditional. He also has expressed ideas for brand new designs, and is very excited about it. I'd like to think I'm doing my part with my first custom-ordered cue to promote new design :p

While I don't dislike traditional cues, I would never order one new from the cuemaker.

bstroud
09-28-2010, 08:05 AM
I too am a fan of traditional cues. My cue is as plain as they come in the looks department. It is a Jacoby and is just a solid piece of cocobola with an Irish linen wrap. A few silver rings at the joints is as vancy as it needs to be. Also all that "art" adds a lot of time to the construction process and money when someone goes to purchase a cue.

My cue may look plain but it is a custom from Jacoby and plays great, and I didn't have to spend a lot of money to get it.

I think it would be cool to see some cue makers try different things but it's not for everybody.

I find it interesting that you claim to be a traditionalist but I noticed that you play with an OB1 shaft. Hardly a traditional approach.

There is a clear distinction between design and technology however and perhaps one day you will make the leap in design and try something a bit different.

Thanks for your reply,

Bill Stroud

Spimp13
09-28-2010, 08:12 AM
I am all for this. I check the gallery frequently to see what is posted and it is rare for something deemed "new" or even a cue constructed with a non-traditional technique being made. Recently Mr. Marshall posted some cues on here with a new approach to cue making and it is unique and I liked seeing it. I would love to see some more out of the box cues being made. I do think customers are afraid to request these things or even some cuemakers deny these requests possibly. I would like to hear feedback from other cuemakers in this thread. Maybe on my next cue I will come up with something to try.

Quesports
09-28-2010, 08:23 AM
Hello Mr Stroud,
About two years ago I spoke with a very well known cuemaker about new cue shaft technology and it's correlation to golf shafts in particular. The converstaion came about because I wanted him to build me a cue with two of his shafts and also an aftermarket new shaft made by another company. He was not very receptive to using the other companies shaft but I persisted. He is a golfer so I pointed out all the new golf shaft technology that has evolved in the last ten years or so. He finally agreed that the new golf shafts are an improvement over the hickory shafts I used as a kid! After hearing me out we did finally come to an agreement and everything worked out. I was somewhat surprised at the coaxing I had to do to convince him that sometimes new technology does work. Hopefully other cuemakers will embrace and experiment with new products and the billiard industry will benefit as a whole.
Dan

63Kcode
09-28-2010, 08:28 AM
The main way however is for you ( the buying public) to demand more of your cuemaker. Push on them for something new and different. Get them out of their comfort zone.They WILL respond with something special!

Sincerely,

Bill Stroud

Carefull what you ask for. This is what happened when I let the customer have what he wanted. Warning these pics can cause monitor damage.

http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=202930

It has been fun doing something off the wall though.

Larry

RRfireblade
09-28-2010, 08:35 AM
You build what the customer wants.

Pool is a traditional game and the meat and potatos buyers seem to prefer designs that look like a pool cue. That's what sells , that's what they ask for.

This also why most tables are also made using tradational materials , designs and colors. That's what sells, so that's what is made.

Different alone is not "Art" , New alone is not "Art". "Art" only sells if someone buys it , otherwise "Art" is just a museum piece. ;)

book collector
09-28-2010, 08:39 AM
Thanks Mr. Stroud, I was thinking about this just the other day. I was looking at cues with the idea of buying a new playing cue. What I saw was about 6 designs with minor variations from 10 different cuemakers and the prices went from $800.00 to $3000.00 depending on who made the cue. They were the same designs from the 60s and 70s. They were beautiful cues but I am ready for change also. I remember when Mike Shamus put the book out that showed some of the old Maces with the inlaid scenes and I saw a couple of scrimshaw cues that I would love to own.
Not every cuemaker is going to have that artistic ability but what would be wrong with going to an art class at a University and asking students for some design ideas and giving a cash prize for the ones you use. Maybe you could have them do something on a regular basis. Good Luck and thanks for all the great work you have done. If you do something like what I described I hope you will give me first chance at it , thanks.

ridinda9
09-28-2010, 08:41 AM
Carefull what you ask for. This is what happened when I let the customer have what he wanted. Warning these pics can cause monitor damage.

http://forums.azbilliards.com/showthread.php?t=202930

It has been fun doing something off the wall though.

Larry
LOVE that duct tape wrap !

bstroud
09-28-2010, 09:05 AM
You build what the customer wants.

Pool is a traditional game and the meat and potatos buyers seem to prefer designs that look like a pool cue. That's what sells , that's what they ask for.

This also why most tables are also made using tradational materials , designs and colors. That's what sells, so that's what is made.

Different alone is not "Art" , New alone is not "Art". "Art" only sells if someone buys it , otherwise "Art" is just a museum piece. ;)

I you are only making cues because "that's what sells" you might try some other line of work before you go crazy.

Bill Stroud

bobalouiecda
09-28-2010, 09:11 AM
Bill: I have been struggling with the same problem since the middle seventies. I have designed, fabricated, and installed many thousands of Stained Glass panels in the last 33 years. Although the mix of art and fabrication are twofold, the ultimate goal was to enjoy the process and create new and different art pieces. It took less than two years to fully understand that what the public wants to buy and what I prefer to create are totally different. Most buyers are extremely conservative. Consequently, the majority of my work has been unfulfilling and boring, but has afforded me a decent living. The only Stained Glass artists who can think outside the box and make money are the very few famous artists who rarely do their own fabricating. Bob H

14oneman
09-28-2010, 09:19 AM
Why don't more cuemakers try something new and different? The apparent reason is that most, if not all, lack any formal art training.

I think it's because there are a lot of people, like myself, that love the "old school" look. Personally, I can't stand some of the "modern" designs that I have seen. Give me a 4-6 point cue, with veneers and inlays, and a wrap, and I'm happy. Apparently there are a lot of folks out there who feel the same way.

That's why Baskin-Robbins makes 31 flavors. :wink:

Winston846
09-28-2010, 09:31 AM
Winston,

You are the exact type of person I was trying to attract with this post.

There is nothing wrong with liking "traditional" cue designs but I would imagine that you are no long using "rabbit ears" to watch TV.

The point I'm trying to make here is that cuemakers just need to move on.
They need to try new things and it is people like you that can push them to do so. Give it a try next time. Perhaps you can find a bridge between a modern and a traditional design the you would like even more.

Thanks for your reply,

Bill Stroud

As far as art goes, maybe. But I would be against any technological advances to the cue (low-deflection shafts, "hybrid" cues, etc.). With all the technological advances in golf clubs, practically everyone is driving the ball 300 yards now - just swing the club, it does the rest of the work. With all the technological advances in bowling balls, practically everyone is averaging over 200 now - just roll the ball, it does the rest of the work. I would hate to see pool become that way.

My "1965" cue is also as simple as they get. Purpleheart spliced into straight maple (4-points) with a single black veneer, plain beige Irish linen wrap, plain purpleheart butt-sleve, plain white butt-cap with a rubber bumper, stainless joint with plain black collars. For its simplicity, I've received many comments on it and it hits better than any cue I've ever owned. Simple looks and function... that's all I look for.

bstroud
09-28-2010, 09:32 AM
Bill: I have been struggling with the same problem since the middle seventies. I have designed, fabricated, and installed many thousands of Stained Glass panels in the last 33 years. Although the mix of art and fabrication are twofold, the ultimate goal was to enjoy the process and create new and different art pieces. It took less than two years to fully understand that what the public wants to buy and what I prefer to create are totally different. Most buyers are extremely conservative. Consequently, the majority of my work has been unfulfilling and boring, but has afforded me a decent living. The only Stained Glass artists who can think outside the box and make money are the very few famous artists who rarely do their own fabricating. Bob H

Bob,

I didn't think that cuemaking was the only craft/art that has this problem.

It's common in the art world as well. It is a thankless job for an art gallery to convince a client to try something new and different.

But in the art world at least a big part of the thrill of collecting is in the discovery of emerging artists that have something new to say through their work. This is why the cuemaking world is so frustrating for me. I have attempted through the cue show to introduce the collectors to new cuemakers and new designs that are not "traditional" in the usual sense. On the contrary, most of the designs submitted are new and fresh. It is these designs that attract the collectors and the press.

For the past few years I have commissioned a "theme" collection and the results have been remarkable. It is so interesting to see what the same idea translates into by the various cuemakers involved.

I feel that cuemaking and cue collecting is on the verge of an explosion of creativity and fresh ideas. That's the main reason I would like to see the "traditional" designs find their rightful place in history.

As I end my career, I can only hope and attempt to promote a breakthrough that will give rise to a new generation of artists that are also cuemakers.

Bill Stroud

LGSM3
09-28-2010, 09:54 AM
Bill, if it makes you feel any better i have a whole stack of garbage that is a result of my imagination. I'm proud of the garbage as some of it has turned out pretty cool, but will take alot of perfecting. I agree with your post 100%. Some guys will continue to build 4 point cues and thats fine, maybe thats what they enjoy and they will probably be good at it.

I sometimes have so many new ideas that it becomes a hendrance. Had to just start writing it all down and drawing pictures, my brain became so clouded. As far as formal art training...i may feel differently, i think you either have it or you don't.

Blue Hog ridr
09-28-2010, 10:06 AM
With all due respect Bill, my main player is a BBC house cue conversion.
One of the best descriptions that I heard at the hall was, "Thats an elegant looking cue".

I fully understand and appreciate what you are saying. Green dragons and silver vines make for an interesting design, but do little to make balls go into a pocket. And thats pretty much all I'm interested in, making balls fall into pockets the best way I know how.

I have 2 lathes and I do know the extent of my artistic ability. CNC is something that interests me greatly, as I do have an IT background so the programming part is within my grasp, (maybe, maybe not) but alas, I'll be long gone before I ever afford a set up that will allow me to go beyond traditional.

And the truth is, I like traditional. If I ever get to the point where I'm proficient at points and veneers, I'll die a happy repairman.

And no one uses rabbit ears any longer. When it comes to new technology we all want the newest and best.
Funny tho, ever notice how many places are selling reproductions of old furniture, I think they call it Art Deco or something like that.

Kickin' Chicken
09-28-2010, 10:10 AM
Cuemaking is a hybrid of sorts. It is a combination of art and craft.

The craft side has evolved to the point that perfection in construction and execution is possible.

The art side seems to be stuck in the past. How many more cues with points or boxes and inlayed with diamonds and dots will be made. Sure there is a place for cues like this. It's called a MUSEUM.

Why don't more cuemakers try something new and different? The apparent reason is that most, if not all, lack any formal art training.

I am approached frequently by people wanting to become cuemakers. They want to know about machines and software. I tell them all the same thing. Go to art school. Learn to design properly. Then become a cuemaker. That is what the industry needs.

I know that I along with a few other cuemakers have struggled long and hard to become better designers. It's not easy. I takes lots of time. The results are worth it.

It saddens me to see so many cuemakers with obvious talent succumb to cliches like "I like traditional cues". What they are really saying is either "I am afraid to try something new" or I'm doing just fine making what I am".

Either way it is a cop out.

Can the situation be changed for the better? Perhaps. The collectors' show that I started is one way and it is having a positive effect. More artistic cues are created every day just for that show.

The main way however is for you ( the buying public) to demand more of your cuemaker. Push on them for something new and different. Get them out of their comfort zone.They WILL respond with something special!

Sincerely,

Bill Stroud

Hello Mr. Stroud;

I am a fan of your work and consider you to be on the very short list of the best cuemakers of all time.

I recall your chiming in not too long ago when a young new cuemaker (Marshall Piercy) began posting some pics of his uniquely-styled cue designs here on azb. You encouraged his outside the box thinking. I applaud you for that nice gesture. :thumbup::clapping:

I also applaud you for encouraging us, the buying public, to try to get cuemakers "out of their comfort zone" with what they build for us.

I wonder what you would consider to be outside of your comfort zone. And would you be willing to go there at this point in your career?

I'd be willing to put money where my beak is to see... :wink: Seriously... :smile:

Thank you for your huge contribution to our sport and, in particular, cuemaking.

Best,
Brian kc

pooln8r
09-28-2010, 10:16 AM
Mr. Stroud,

I also think if you want to see someone who's trying to stretch the limits in cue making and cue design in general that Marshal Piercy could be your go to guy. He's piercyexclusive on here and prides himself in trying to head in new out of the box directions. He on a daily basis was challenging himself as well as others on AZ to do the same. I've seen some of his artwork on his cues, on joint protectors and in sketches which I have to say are very impressive. I'm not a cue maker unless you count one not so pretty cue I built years ago but I have some background in art. When he's back to full health and building again I think you'll see a lot of good stuff from him and most of it is non-traditional. Right now, if you were to search on his az name you'll find his take on what pointed cues look like to his artistic mind. Great guy but a little misunderstood as his challenges haven't been taken in the proper creative light. Hopefully people will watch with open minds to see what he can dream up and produce.

daveb
09-28-2010, 10:20 AM
I've been teaching college level art and design for 33 years. Most of the cue designs I see are incredibly redundant and boring.
It seems most cue makers want to play it safe with designs that have a traditional marketability. It's like students in a class who want to copy what everyone else is doing and not take a chance on something personal or creative because it involves the risk of disapproval.
I have two BEGINNING design classes working right now on a basic motif and pattern assignment that is perfectly applicable to the theme of this thread. You don't have to be an art degree major to take a basic design class. You don't even need to know how to draw particularly well.
Part of a design curriculum is about the creative process itself and how to generate ideas and to experiment with variations of those ideas to get the best possible result.
I can understand cue makers whose designs are limited by their equipment,their level of experience and training; but I agree with Bill. I'd like to see more builders step it up. It doesn't take as much as you might think. Take a class.
One other thing, I get people calling all the time wanting students to do FREE artwork "for the experience" or "for their resume". Bullsh*t. These are usually people trying to take advantage on the cheap. Nothing wrong with soliciting design students for work but PAY THEM!

SK Custom Cues
09-28-2010, 10:20 AM
Cuemaking is a hybrid of sorts. It is a combination of art and craft.

The craft side has evolved to the point that perfection in construction and execution is possible.

The art side seems to be stuck in the past. How many more cues with points or boxes and inlayed with diamonds and dots will be made. Sure there is a place for cues like this. It's called a MUSEUM.

Why don't more cuemakers try something new and different? The apparent reason is that most, if not all, lack any formal art training.

I am approached frequently by people wanting to become cuemakers. They want to know about machines and software. I tell them all the same thing. Go to art school. Learn to design properly. Then become a cuemaker. That is what the industry needs.

I know that I along with a few other cuemakers have struggled long and hard to become better designers. It's not easy. I takes lots of time. The results are worth it.

It saddens me to see so many cuemakers with obvious talent succumb to cliches like "I like traditional cues". What they are really saying is either "I am afraid to try something new" or I'm doing just fine making what I am".

Either way it is a cop out.

Can the situation be changed for the better? Perhaps. The collectors' show that I started is one way and it is having a positive effect. More artistic cues are created every day just for that show.

The main way however is for you ( the buying public) to demand more of your cuemaker. Push on them for something new and different. Get them out of their comfort zone.They WILL respond with something special!

Sincerely,

Bill Stroud

Mr. Stroud,

I am a rather new cue maker, and I do agree with your comments. My approach to cue making has now become a slow one. I started right out of the gate buying a mini lathe having no experience whatsoever in cue making, and the rest is history. I personally have no ambition to use CNC in my cues for the mean time. Presently, I feel that mastering the hit - feedback - harmonic tones - (as I believe the cue is more a percussion instrument than an art piece) is my goal.

In time, I may upgrade my shop with CNC equipment, but at the current time, I have only my Clausing lathe, and one wood lathe for finishing. Compared to some of the others out there, I do feel a bit primitive, but from what I have heard, Mr. Balabushka arrived at quite a nice product with limited equipment, but I could be wrong.

With these tools, I feel I can accomplish a great deal without ever having done a single inlay. To me, mastering an art is understanding the basics in your bones before you move on. Maybe, if that day comes, I will graduate on to inlay work.

I hope to someday be on your level of cue making, and any of your opinions are always welcome.

Thank you for listening, and thank you for posting here on Az.

Sincerely,
Sung Kang

TATE
09-28-2010, 10:25 AM
Bob,

I didn't think that cuemaking was the only craft/art that has this problem.

It's common in the art world as well. It is a thankless job for an art gallery to convince a client to try something new and different.

But in the art world at least a big part of the thrill of collecting is in the discovery of emerging artists that have something new to say through their work. This is why the cuemaking world is so frustrating for me. I have attempted through the cue show to introduce the collectors to new cuemakers and new designs that are not "traditional" in the usual sense. On the contrary, most of the designs submitted are new and fresh. It is these designs that attract the collectors and the press.

For the past few years I have commissioned a "theme" collection and the results have been remarkable. It is so interesting to see what the same idea translates into by the various cuemakers involved.

I feel that cuemaking and cue collecting is on the verge of an explosion of creativity and fresh ideas. That's the main reason I would like to see the "traditional" designs find their rightful place in history.

As I end my career, I can only hope and attempt to promote a breakthrough that will give rise to a new generation of artists that are also cuemakers.

Bill Stroud

Bill,

The one that comes to my mind is Dave Barenbrugge. I truly think Dave could have been a world class artist in Montmarte, with canvas and palette, or a marble sculptor in Italy, or a car designer for Pinan Farina. I look at his stuff and I just get blown away. I don't even know if Dave can do an inlay! Maybe he was just born with a sense of balance and color. Maybe they can be made - I don't know. Maybe the trick is to turn artists into cue makers, not the other way around!

By the way, I doubt anybody has done more than Mr. Stroud to promote the art of cue making.

Chris ---> my playing cue is a JossWest too, and I ain't changing it!

bstroud
09-28-2010, 10:36 AM
Mr. Stroud,

I am a rather new cue maker, and I do agree with your comments. My approach to cue making has now become a slow one. I started right out of the gate buying a mini lathe having no experience whatsoever in cue making, and the rest is history. I personally have no ambition to use CNC in my cues for the mean time. Presently, I feel that mastering the hit - feedback - harmonic tones - (as I believe the cue is more a percussion instrument than an art piece) is my goal.

In time, I may upgrade my shop with CNC equipment, but at the current time, I have only my Clausing lathe, and one wood lathe for finishing. Compared to some of the others out there, I do feel a bit primitive, but from what I have heard, Mr. Balabushka arrived at quite a nice product with limited equipment, but I could be wrong.

With these tools, I feel I can accomplish a great deal without ever having done a single inlay. To me, mastering an art is understanding the basics in your bones before you move on. Maybe, if that day comes, I will graduate on to inlay work.

I hope to someday be on your level of cue making, and any of your opinions are always welcome.

Thank you for listening, and thank you for posting here on Az.

Sincerely,
Sung Kang

Sung Kang,

I too started with a single metal lathe, a wood lathe and a drill press.
Like you I experimented with materials and construction methods until I found one the worked. But at the same time I was asking myself how to do the things that I saw in my mind.

It took many years before the technology caught up to my ideas. That was the main reason I started CNC in cuemaking. The other methods were just too limiting.

I am still experimenting, still try new ideas. All because perfection in design and execution is always a moving target. Each time I feel I have reached it, it just moves further away.

I hope you find the construction method you are seeking but don't forget to dream about all the other things that make cuemaking so interesting and so much fun.

Bill Stroud

GetMeThere
09-28-2010, 10:40 AM
Winston,

You are the exact type of person I was trying to attract with this post.

There is nothing wrong with liking "traditional" cue designs but I would imagine that you are no long using "rabbit ears" to watch TV.

The point I'm trying to make here is that cuemakers just need to move on.
They need to try new things and it is people like you that can push them to do so. Give it a try next time. Perhaps you can find a bridge between a modern and a traditional design the you would like even more.

Thanks for your reply,

Bill Stroud

Bill, great thread!

I'm not a cuemaker, btw. But I think you're missing one design point: the SHAPE of a cue (a long thin stick) places considerable limits on design. I would say that almost all the recent cues I've seen with "modern designs" looked like crap to me.

I'm just another guy who appreciates the traditional designs, done with taste and understatement.

mia
09-28-2010, 10:41 AM
Cuemaking is a hybrid of sorts. It is a combination of art and craft.

The craft side has evolved to the point that perfection in construction and execution is possible.

The art side seems to be stuck in the past. How many more cues with points or boxes and inlayed with diamonds and dots will be made. Sure there is a place for cues like this. It's called a MUSEUM.

Why don't more cuemakers try something new and different? The apparent reason is that most, if not all, lack any formal art training.

I am approached frequently by people wanting to become cuemakers. They want to know about machines and software. I tell them all the same thing. Go to art school. Learn to design properly. Then become a cuemaker. That is what the industry needs.

I know that I along with a few other cuemakers have struggled long and hard to become better designers. It's not easy. I takes lots of time. The results are worth it.

It saddens me to see so many cuemakers with obvious talent succumb to cliches like "I like traditional cues". What they are really saying is either "I am afraid to try something new" or I'm doing just fine making what I am".

Either way it is a cop out.

Can the situation be changed for the better? Perhaps. The collectors' show that I started is one way and it is having a positive effect. More artistic cues are created every day just for that show.

The main way however is for you ( the buying public) to demand more of your cuemaker. Push on them for something new and different. Get them out of their comfort zone.They WILL respond with something special!

Sincerely,

Bill Stroud

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this post because it is all based off the notion that cuemaking is "a combination of art and craft". While for some cuemakers/cue lovers this is true, its important to note that this sentiment is just an opinion. The first sentence of the post above needs to be revised to read that cuemaking CAN BE a combination of art and craft. But the two are not necessarily married by definition.

For some, cuemaking and art go hand in hand. For others, the artistic side is either a bonus or a non-factor all together. And frankly, that's as it should be. For many, it is important to note that cuemaking should be a mariage between FUNCTION and craft. If there are those who wish to add art into the mix, so be it. But to imply that art is a necessary element of a cue is, in my opinion, nothing more than personal preference.

bobalouiecda
09-28-2010, 10:43 AM
Bill, Thanks for your response and for your support of those trying to be unique and create new designs. As my Glass career winds down I have been preparing to design and build pool cues. I have most of the equipment and plenty of well seasoned materials to experiment both with construction techniques, but especially looking forward to the design aspect. Seeing the well known artists such as yourself has humbled me and has made me realize I will never be better technically but may possibly some day create a new and unique look. My advantage is that I do not need to sell cues but would like to create a following. One thing for certain is that no matter how creative my designs become, quality and playability will not be forsaken.

I am looking forward to posting pics when I am proud enough to show my work. I will never design for a client again. Weight and shaft size may be the only aspect that I will allow to be requested. If I stop enjoying cue construction I have plenty to do. Always wanted to be a professional gambler. Hope some day the name Bob Healey will mean something to a few of you collectors. Would not be bad if some of the great cue builders some day recognize my work. Thanks again Bill for the inspiration and for your incredible career.

Zbotiman
09-28-2010, 10:56 AM
Bill: I have been struggling with the same problem since the middle seventies. I have designed, fabricated, and installed many thousands of Stained Glass panels in the last 33 years. Although the mix of art and fabrication are twofold, the ultimate goal was to enjoy the process and create new and different art pieces. It took less than two years to fully understand that what the public wants to buy and what I prefer to create are totally different. Most buyers are extremely conservative. Consequently, the majority of my work has been unfulfilling and boring, but has afforded me a decent living. The only Stained Glass artists who can think outside the box and make money are the very few famous artists who rarely do their own fabricating. Bob H
Bill,
I really like what your saying here. The only problem is, I've run into the same problem as this gentleman quoted above. So the problem I have with this type of thinking, is patronage! Where does one find, the "people of means," to support such an enterprise? Initially, the customer base for Artistic cues, is limited to spending their money with the high profile names like yours. Names they "KNOW AND FEEL COMFORTABLE SPENDING THAT KIND OF MONEY WITH!" Even if your product is an innovation and extends the playing possibilities within this medium, you still have to be recognized as such. Better than just about anybody, I know, you know what that means! And your one of the very best entrepreneurs in the business, an innovator from the word go!

When I got into cue making in 98 I went back to the "classics" and learned construction form that standpoint. That's what I believe is the place to start in any new endeavor, get a strong foundation in the fundamentals. But really, "that's only the beginning of the box your put in with cue building, as pure Art. "Art is something that only comes when your able to ignore whether you sell or not." Unless of course your willing to give it away for years, and that requires supplemental income, too.

In the last few years I've been working on a shaft that is extremely low deflection with a Butt, balanced to accentuate those playing characteristics, with very good player reviews and results. However, the ability to make money with something that revolutionary is very limited in this economy. That "cash cow engine" is what I hoped would free up my ability to create more artistic cues with my cue-building. In other words, I could stop doing what pays the bills and build what I wanted to!

In my opinion, "like in every other Art form, you need the Medici family as patrons!"
Billy Gibbs
P.S. If you see a way out of this money box, I for one, "would sure love to hear it!"

bobalouiecda
09-28-2010, 11:01 AM
For 33 years of design work for Etched glass, Stained Glass, Bevelled Glass,
and blown glass, we still have those in the art community that only recognize glass artists as craftsmen. This will doubtfully change as it is slowly going out of style.

To say that Art is not an integral part of even the most basic cue in my opinion is ridiculous. The combination of beautiful wood and even the correct ringwork is an art. I doubt any decent cue builder would not consider his or her work a marriage of art and construction. Not all cue builders are exceptional artists but still are artistic the minute the design process starts. Cues parts are not thrown together randomly.
Is ugly Art not ART. Who is to say.

bstroud
09-28-2010, 11:02 AM
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this post because it is all based off the notion that cuemaking is "a combination of art and craft". While for some cuemakers/cue lovers this is true, its important to note that this sentiment is just an opinion. The first sentence of the post above needs to be revised to read that cuemaking CAN BE a combination of art and craft. But the two are not necessarily married by definition.

For some, cuemaking and art go hand in hand. For others, the artistic side is either a bonus or a non-factor all together. And frankly, that's as it should be. For many, it is important to note that cuemaking should be a mariage between FUNCTION and craft. If there are those who wish to add art into the mix, so be it. But to imply that art is a necessary element of a cue is, in my opinion, nothing more than personal preference.

You have a very interesting opinion but your argument seems to fail when placed in the context of history. From prehistoric times mankind has seen fit to decorate their tools of war, of construction and even celebration and death. It is part of what we are as a species. Many of these objects are considered fine art today.To separate pool cues from the rest of Mankind's tools requires a tremendous leap of faith that I for one am not prepared to make.

If I was relegated to make the very best playing cues without the chance to embellish them with something that conveys by fingerprints, I would have stopped making cues many years ago.

Bill Stroud

Koop
09-28-2010, 11:09 AM
It saddens me to see so many cuemakers with obvious talent succumb to cliches like "I like traditional cues". What they are really saying is either "I am afraid to try something new" or I'm doing just fine making what I am".

Either way it is a cop out.

Sincerely,

Bill Stroud

Not sure I understand why it's a cop out?
If someone makes traditional cues and has a steady stream of business why would they care about adding art into their cues? What if some cuemakers don't have a customer base that cares about art in their cues at all? They just love the way that makers cues play.
Not to mention, when you start introducing "art" into cues, what does that do to price? I would imagine it puts it out of reach for most people.

Not sure why but the quote above just irritated me. I'm not a cuemaker but it just comes across as demeaning when, in fact, there are probably gobs of makers out there that just have zero interest in what you're talking about. Why is it a cop out or laziness when it could just be that some are completely content with what they are doing now?

LOVE your Universal shaft btw

Koop

macguy
09-28-2010, 11:21 AM
Cuemaking is a hybrid of sorts. It is a combination of art and craft.

The craft side has evolved to the point that perfection in construction and execution is possible.

The art side seems to be stuck in the past. How many more cues with points or boxes and inlayed with diamonds and dots will be made. Sure there is a place for cues like this. It's called a MUSEUM.

Why don't more cuemakers try something new and different? The apparent reason is that most, if not all, lack any formal art training.

I am approached frequently by people wanting to become cuemakers. They want to know about machines and software. I tell them all the same thing. Go to art school. Learn to design properly. Then become a cuemaker. That is what the industry needs.

I know that I along with a few other cuemakers have struggled long and hard to become better designers. It's not easy. I takes lots of time. The results are worth it.

It saddens me to see so many cuemakers with obvious talent succumb to cliches like "I like traditional cues". What they are really saying is either "I am afraid to try something new" or I'm doing just fine making what I am".

Either way it is a cop out.

Can the situation be changed for the better? Perhaps. The collectors' show that I started is one way and it is having a positive effect. More artistic cues are created every day just for that show.

The main way however is for you ( the buying public) to demand more of your cuemaker. Push on them for something new and different. Get them out of their comfort zone.They WILL respond with something special!

Sincerely,

Bill Stroud

It has more to do with the market then the lack of imagination of the cuemaker. For example why do almost all cue makers make 1' ferrules? Why are most wrap sections the dimensions they are? Why the 5/16 x 14 screws? Why do most all cue makers use the same materials? Why all the BIM? The reason is, from the influence of the top cue makers the buying public have been taught that only if a name cue makers says it is alright nothing changes. All the others copy scared to death to be different, even if they believe their ideas are better. I remember when the SW cues came out. They were different. You could not get a steel joint even if you asked. They built a cue based on their own philosophy. It was different but it was not long before others began to copy them.

Every cue maker makes a 6 point H/L with a phenolic joint. They even use the same style of screw. SW was maybe the only cue makers who actually did something different because they thought it was the right thing to do, for them anyway. I don't want to over elaborate the point but you know what I am talking about. Look at what happened with the Radial screw. Point is, cue makers want to sell cues and are afraid to be different. I personally like scrimshaw. Simple diamonds, dots or windows can be taken to any level of art through scrimshaw. I don't get excited about the ability for one to program a computer then call themselves artists.

Scott Lee
09-28-2010, 11:22 AM
Bill...I agree with you to a point. Art is in the eye of the beholder, not a particular concept that is held up as an example by someone with a famous name, or perhaps an abstract application. When I first came into your shop, soon after you had moved to Aspen, I was just a kid going to school in Gunnison...a new poolplayer with a head filled with dreams (I didn't start playing pool until college). My buddy and I drove over just to "see" a cuemaker's shop, knowing nothing about design or construction...just a couple of curious kids. Driving up in my friend's VW bug, the first thing we saw was your Ferrari Daytona parked outside. Your shop was underneath your house on the hill (remember those days?). You invited us in and showed us around, and we were like kids in a candy store...albeit with NO $$$ (LOL).

Without any "art" training, and no prior knowledge of even what a "box cue" was, I had 'designed' (for lack of a better word) a box cue I wanted you to make for me, on a sheet of notebook paper (still have it). It incorporated red, orange and yellow veneers, along with MOP, ivory, and ebony, into a birdseye butt. You took one look at the 'color scheme' and said, "That would look terrible!" LOL However, you were nice and told me you'd build it for $1000 (quite a bit more than the fanciest cue in your first 'catalogs'... which I still have, btw). Well, it might as well have been a $1,000,000, as I was just a poor college kid.

About three years later I did have you make me a plain 4-point cue (red/blue veneers and ebony points and butt sleeve). I remember that cue well, as I took delivery from you at the World 9ball Tournament that Incardona had in Burlington, IA. It was Oct. '75. I didn't miss a ball for three days, and actually got lucky and beat Keith out of $1800 in about 15 minutes!

Skip ahead 8 years, and now I was ready to have my design made regardless of the cost. It was my 30th BD present to myself, and you charged me $1500! It was also your very first cue after you got your CNC setup (by now you had moved around to TX and back to Colo. Spgs). You still werent' sure about my veneer colors, but you made the cue to my exact specifications. It turned out GREAT, and to this day it is still one of the most beautiful cues I've seen (with the exception of the super fancy stuff that you and others have done in the past 20+ years). In 1992 I wanted to buy an APA franchise, and had to sell a cue to get the $$$ I needed. My two most valuable cues were my Balabushka and my custom JW. Even though I had the Balabushka far longer, I decided to part with it, rather than give up my own design that you had made for me. I ended up selling it to the girl that started Atlas Billiard Supply for $4000. Since then you would always refer to me (when I'd see you at the trade show or somewhere) as "the guy who sold a Balabushka, to keep a JossWest!"

So what's point of this post (other than to rehash some good old memories)? It's the first thing I said...art is in the eye of the beholder, whether they are trained artists...or not. Thanks for being a huge part of my 'cue life', and I wish you the best in whatever you choose to pursue!

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

I too started with a single metal lathe, a wood lathe and a drill press. Like you I experimented with materials and construction methods until I found one the worked. But at the same time I was asking myself how to do the things that I saw in my mind.

It took many years before the technology caught up to my ideas. That was the main reason I started CNC in cuemaking. The other methods were just too limiting.

I am still experimenting, still try new ideas. All because perfection in design and execution is always a moving target. Each time I feel I have reached it, it just moves further away.

I hope you find the construction method you are seeking but don't forget to dream about all the other things that make cuemaking so interesting and so much fun.

Bill Stroud

macguy
09-28-2010, 11:37 AM
Bill...I agree with you to a point. Art is in the eye of the beholder, not a particular concept that is held up as an example by someone with a famous name, or perhaps an abstract application. When I first came into your shop, soon after you had moved to Aspen, I was just a kid going to school in Gunnison...a new poolplayer with a head filled with dreams (I didn't start playing pool until college). My buddy and I drove over just to "see" a cuemaker's shop, knowing nothing about design or construction...just a couple of curious kids. Driving up in my friend's VW bug, the first thing we saw was your Ferrari Daytona parked outside. Your shop was underneath your house on the hill (remember those days?). You invited us in and showed us around, and we were like kids in a candy store...albeit with NO $$$ (LOL).

Without any "art" training, and no prior knowledge of even what a "box cue" was, I had 'designed' (for lack of a better word) a box cue I wanted you to make for me, on a sheet of notebook paper (still have it). It incorporated red, orange and yellow veneers, along with MOP, ivory, and ebony, into a birdseye butt. You took one look at the 'color scheme' and said, "That would look terrible!" LOL However, you were nice and told me you'd build it for $1000 (quite a bit more than the fanciest cue in your first 'catalogs'... which I still have, btw). Well, it might as well have been a $1,000,000, as I was just a poor college kid.

About three years later I did have you make me a plain 4-point cue (red/blue veneers and ebony points and butt sleeve). I remember that cue well, as I took delivery from you at the World 9ball Tournament that Incardona had in Burlington, IA. It was Oct. '75. I didn't miss a ball for three days, and actually got lucky and beat Keith out of $1800 in about 15 minutes!

Skip ahead 8 years, and now I was ready to have my design made regardless of the cost. It was my 30th BD present to myself, and you charged me $1500! It was also your very first cue after you got your CNC setup (by now you had moved around to TX and back to Colo. Spgs). You still werent' sure about my veneer colors, but you made the cue to my exact specifications. It turned out GREAT, and to this day it is still one of the most beautiful cues I've seen (with the exception of the super fancy stuff that you and others have done in the past 20+ years). In 1992 I wanted to buy an APA franchise, and had to sell a cue to get the $$$ I needed. My two most valuable cues were my Balabushka and my custom JW. Even though I had the Balabushka far longer, I decided to part with it, rather than give up my own design that you had made for me. I ended up selling it to the girl that started Atlas Billiard Supply for $4000. Since then you would always refer to me (when I'd see you at the trade show or somewhere) as "the guy who sold a Balabushka, to keep a JossWest!"

So what's point of this post (other than to rehash some good old memories)? It's the first thing I said...art is in the eye of the beholder, whether they are trained artists...or not. Thanks for being a huge part of my 'cue life', and I wish you the best in whatever you choose to pursue!

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

Artistic abilities can't be taught. One can learn to recognize and appreciate the nuances of art but the creation of it may still elude them. Just a simple sketch any artist can create in a few minutes would be almost imposable for the untalented to produce. Much like the game of pool. Some make it look easy while others can't do it to any real high level in a lifetime. I could play pool the first time I picked up a cue, no kidding. I go years without playing and can just pick it up again like I never quit.

The point is, if it was easy to create art, in this case with cues, it would have no value. As with anything here has to be different levels of skill. It makes little sense for a talented artist to look at the less talented artist and ask, "whats up, why can't you do it"?
The answer is because they can't and that is as it should be.

cheapcues.com
09-28-2010, 11:43 AM
With all the technological advances in golf clubs, practically everyone is driving the ball 300 yards now - just swing the club, it does the rest of the work. With all the technological advances in bowling balls, practically everyone is averaging over 200 now - just roll the ball, it does the rest of the work. I would hate to see pool become that way.

LOL Clearly you're not a golfer or a bowler!

I promise you there is absolutely no risk of someone developing a cue that will pocket balls on its own.

desi2960
09-28-2010, 11:44 AM
Mr stroud i have your dominio pattern cue that i think was made around 1980. It is the best feeling cue i have ever had in my hand. that is one of the reasons i started building cues, the way it plays.
I own a jewelry store and have designed one of one pieces of jewelry for 40 years. I have tryed to build many of my cues with the same frame of mind.
BUT, a perfect example of me trying something new to me, putting a wood pin in the butt of a cue, and having other builders say it cannot be done. There so many builders saying " if you do not do it just like me its wrong " many do not want changes
I have boxes and boxes of pieces of experiments that have gone wrong, and regardless of what other builders say i am going to keep reaching for the holy grail and find that great playing cue with a unique design.
thank you very much for your contribution to azb



chuck starkey

Roger Long
09-28-2010, 11:45 AM
Bill,

This is a great subject.

I, too, am one who has grown bored with what the "traditional" look has now become. It seems that the values placed on today's cues are determined only by what will sell; and buyers of these cues base their decisions on only a few things: Does the cue have veneered points? Are they perfectly even? Are the glue lines visible? Does it have ring work? Do the rings line up? And, is the finish thick, glossy, and flawless?

There's nothing wrong with any of that, except that it lumps everybody into one category. What I mean by that is; how does your cue LOOK? With the exception of one cue builder (which shall remain nameless), no one orders a cue strictly by how it plays, anymore. But back in the day when the "traditional" cues first started, they were ordered from one cue maker or the other because of how they played.

My cue building has always been very simplistic because my budget has been very limited. I simply have not been able to afford expensive CNC machinery, and it's that type of machinery that one must have in order to enter the "me too" cue building market. So for me, I focused on building simple looking, but good hitting cues. And for years, I chased one hit in particular. Not too long ago, I finally found it! But I decided that such a great hitting cue deserved better than a simple look, so I took it to an associate of mine who is a master wood worker, and does great wood carvings. I asked him to put a few simple carvings into my cue, just to make it look "different." What I got back was an intricately carved work of art. (You can see a picture of the butt end of it in my avatar.)

Now we've decided to do more hand carved cues. We currently have four more designs in the works, but each one is being built to play as great as that first one. And here's the good part: we don't care if we never sell any of them! As a matter of fact, the first cues of any design are not for sale at all. People can order a duplicate of any design we have (if they choose to do so); but we aren't going to push our cues on anybody, and we definitely want to keep the first cues for ourselves. We appreciate our hand built, hand carved, great playing cues; and we're not going to concern ourselves with whether or not anyone else shares that same appreciation.

Now tell me if my thinking is "out of the box," or if I'm just out of my mind. :grin-square:

Roger

mia
09-28-2010, 11:52 AM
You have a very interesting opinion but your argument seems to fail when placed in the context of history. From prehistoric times mankind has seen fit to decorate their tools of war, of construction and even celebration and death. It is part of what we are as a species. Many of these objects are considered fine art today.To separate pool cues from the rest of Mankind's tools requires a tremendous leap of faith that I for one am not prepared to make.

If I was relegated to make the very best playing cues without the chance to embellish them with something that conveys by fingerprints, I would have stopped making cues many years ago.

Bill Stroud

Interesting point. Still, one has to keep in mind that while mankind has seen fit to decorate their tools of war, it was not done out of necessity, nor was it a requirement. Man CHOSE to do this to suit his own needs. Other men chose to simply make something that kills... no frills added. It all boils down to who is making the weapon. The choice to decorate it is up to that man. Even then, if he chooses to decorate it in a manner that has been done many times over, he has every right to do so. There is no pre-requisite that says every craftsman must be an artist as well. There never has been nor should there be.

While many of these historic weapons/tools/objects very well may be considered fine art, you once again delve into the realm of personal preference. When it comes to art, it is 100% subjective. Show me the man who thinks Jackson Pollack was a true artistic genious and I'll show you just as many who saw splatter and chaos with little to no 'art' behind it. What makes one man's opinion right and the other man's wrong? Nothing. Its all personal preference.

Because you choose to add your artistic flair/intepretations into each cue you crafted doesn't mean that all cuemakers are obligated to do the same. It was a choice you made. It was something you felt YOU needed to do. Others see sheer beautfy in a nod to the classic, traditional look. Others still choose to showcase the beauty of the natural elements of the cue, like wood choice.

I think the real issue here is the way in which people view cuemaking. You view it (as do others) as an art form. Others view it as a craft through which they can express themselves artistically if they so desire.

qbilder
09-28-2010, 11:56 AM
Artistic abilities can't be taught. One can learn to recognize and appreciate the nuances of art but the creation of it may still elude them. Just a simple sketch any artist can create in a few minutes would be almost imposable for the untalented to produce. Much like the game of pool. Some make it look easy while others can't do it to any real high level in a lifetime. I could play pool the first time I picked up a cue, no kidding. I go years without playing and can just pick it up again like I never quit.

The point is, if it was easy to create art, in this case with cues, it would have no value. As with anything here has to be different levels of skill. It makes little sense for a talented artist to look at the less talented artist and ask, "whats up, why can't you do it"?
The answer is because they can't and that is as it should be.

My thoughts as well. A very talented cuemaker may be artistically challenged while a superb artist may have difficulties building a cue that players can relate to & enjoy. We see it all across the board.

Art is timeless, not new nor old. As mentioned, human kind has been doing it since before history. Only the finest art is appreciated by the masses. Even the greatest artists often fail. They build their reputations on a fraction of their pieces. Those few pieces grab the attention & intrigue of people & provoke emotions from deep inside them. That's why they are appreciated. Not everybody can create that, and even the best of those who can most often fail. Cue building is in it's golden years right now. We are appreciating cues for more than just a tool to play a game and people are being inspired to try their hand at this functional canvas to express themselves. Most fail. Few succeed. It's not unlike musicians. Every human has the emotions & the drive to express them, but only a tiny percentage have the capability & God given talent to forcefully grab the attention of others & strike a cord with their emotions, too. While I agree with the subject of this thread, I am realistic enough to see it's a pipe dream. Yes, a few are capable of such changes. But most are not.

classiccues
09-28-2010, 11:58 AM
A church gets built..

They still use stained glass windows... they COULD have holograms of Jesus, Paul, John, Mary etc.. seemingly coming off the walls.

Jesus still hangs on the cross.... James Cameron could make Jesus talk to you, interact with you and even give you 3-D glasses so it'll feel like you just took communion from Jesus....

You have a confesional area.. you could just tweet your confession to Father Jack...

They still use an organ... you could have surround sound

They still use a paper bible... you could have an Iphone app that takes you to where the lesson is today... you know an I-sermon..

Fact is there are still places where technology does not necessarily make things better.

Some will like tradition, some will like the newer art cues.... to each his own.

Never forget where you came from.

JV

Spimp13
09-28-2010, 12:01 PM
My thoughts as well. A very talented cuemaker may be artistically challenged while a superb artist may have difficulties building a cue that players can relate to & enjoy. We see it all across the board.

Art is timeless, not new nor old. As mentioned, human kind has been doing it since before history. Only the finest art is appreciated by the masses. Even the greatest artists often fail. They build their reputations on a fraction of their pieces. Those few pieces grab the attention & intrigue of people & provoke emotions from deep inside them. That's why they are appreciated. Not everybody can create that, and even the best of those who can most often fail. Cue building is in it's golden years right now. We are appreciating cues for more than just a tool to play a game and people are being inspired to try their hand at this functional canvas to express themselves. Most fail. Few succeed. It's not unlike musicians. Every human has the emotions & the drive to express them, but only a tiny percentage have the capability & God given talent to forcefully grab the attention of others & strike a cord with their emotions, too. While I agree with the subject of this thread, I am realistic enough to see it's a pipe dream. Yes, a few are capable of such changes. But most are not.

Have cuemakers ever thought of doing a joint effort on a cue with what you are saying? If one does really well on the artistic side, but is soso on the cuemaking aspect of it, and the other does really well on the cue making but isn't very creative from an artistic standpoint?? Or is that a bad idea? Do egos get in the way of wanting to be in control of the whole build/design process, or are there problems deciding on how to split the money etc?

Koop
09-28-2010, 12:14 PM
I guess I just don't get why it's not a, "to each your own", and it has to looked at negatively?
You choose to incorporate art into your cues, very well I might add, and others choose to put all their time and effort into other things. Not good or bad, right or wrong, just different, IMO.

bstroud
09-28-2010, 12:19 PM
Have cuemakers ever thought of doing a joint effort on a cue with what you are saying? If one is does really well on the artistic side, but is soso on the cuemaking aspect of it, and the other does really well on the cue making but isn't very creative from an artistic standpoint?? Or is that a bad idea? Do egos get in the way of wanting to be in control of the whole build/design process, or are there problems deciding on how to split the money etc?

Paul,

You have brought up an interesting subject. I have tried many times to get other cuemakers to do a joint effort cue. Never had much luck.

Many cues that are scrimshawed could or perhaps should be considered a joint effort. Who will get the credit for the cue. Who is the cuemaker?
Would the cue be nothing but a blank canvas if it was not scrimshawed?
I never see the manufacturer of the canvas considered the artist?

Had this very discussion with Will Prout last knight.

Interesting question.

Bill Stroud

KD Cues
09-28-2010, 12:23 PM
Sometimes it helps to look at what is not missing. Let's take a second to give credit to those who are thinking outside the box: Mr. Mitchel Thomas (hope I spelled that one right), for one. Nice job taking traditional woodworking skills and putting them into cues! This gentleman could give most woodworkers the 6 out! How about Mr. Paul Drexler for about 1,000 years (sorry Paul)! Take a look at his "Lord of the Rings" cue. Where are acolytes for that cue? I feel much better applauding what is there, rather than what is not. I feel lucky to have received words of encouragement from many well known cue makers and they have all driven me to press the envelope of my skill and ability. I will continue to do so until I meet my maker! A special thanks to you, Scott, for your words of encouragement (photo for you)! All my best to the cue fanatics of this world, Kent.

bstroud
09-28-2010, 12:32 PM
Bill,

This is a great subject.

I, too, am one who has grown bored with what the "traditional" look has now become. It seems that the values placed on today's cues are determined only by what will sell; and buyers of these cues base their decisions on only a few things: Does the cue have veneered points? Are they perfectly even? Are the glue lines visible? Does it have ring work? Do the rings line up? And, is the finish thick, glossy, and flawless?

There's nothing wrong with any of that, except that it lumps everybody into one category. What I mean by that is; how does your cue LOOK? With the exception of one cue builder (which shall remain nameless), no one orders a cue strictly by how it plays, anymore. But back in the day when the "traditional" cues first started, they were ordered from one cue maker or the other because of how they played.

My cue building has always been very simplistic because my budget has been very limited. I simply have not been able to afford expensive CNC machinery, and it's that type of machinery that one must have in order to enter the "me too" cue building market. So for me, I focused on building simple looking, but good hitting cues. And for years, I chased one hit in particular. Not too long ago, I finally found it! But I decided that such a great hitting cue deserved better than a simple look, so I took it to an associate of mine who is a master wood worker, and does great wood carvings. I asked him to put a few simple carvings into my cue, just to make it look "different." What I got back was an intricately carved work of art. (You can see a picture of the butt end of it in my avatar.)

Now we've decided to do more hand carved cues. We currently have four more designs in the works, but each one is being built to play as great as that first one. And here's the good part: we don't care if we never sell any of them! As a matter of fact, the first cues of any design are not for sale at all. People can order a duplicate of any design we have (if they choose to do so); but we aren't going to push our cues on anybody, and we definitely want to keep the first cues for ourselves. We appreciate our hand built, hand carved, great playing cues; and we're not going to concern ourselves with whether or not anyone else shares that same appreciation.

Now tell me if my thinking is "out of the box," or if I'm just out of my mind. :grin-square:

Roger

Roger,

I personally think you are on the right track. What you are doing is attractive, unique, and original. I can only wish that other cuemakers had the courage to try something this different.

The well known cuemakers do not make the rules on what is acceptable or what is art. The may be commercially successful but that is not all there is to it. A lot of it is how you sleep at night. Are you doing your best work? Could I have done better? Am I really reaching my potential? What do I do next?

These are questions that I struggle with every day. I only hope that many of the other cuemakers are haunted by the same thoughts. It may keep me up at night but it keeps me going.

Bill Stroud

Spimp13
09-28-2010, 12:38 PM
Paul,

You have brought up an interesting subject. I have tried many times to get other cuemakers to do a joint effort cue. Never had much luck.

Many cues that are scrimshawed could or perhaps should be considered a joint effort. Who will get the credit for the cue. Who is the cuemaker?
Would the cue be nothing but a blank canvas if it was not scrimshawed?
I never see the manufacturer of the canvas considered the artist?

Had this very discussion with Will Prout last knight.

Interesting question.

Bill Stroud

If two people are willing to split the money received accordingly (which could be tough to determine and even harder to agree on), both be considered the cuemaker (either include both signatures or a logo that incorporates both people), then it might possibly work. From a $ viewpoint that might be the toughest obstacle outside of the willingness to do it to overcome. I think it might be a big challenge that very few cuemakers want to do which is understandable....possibly two really good friends that do it as a hobby, and not to support a family might be candidates.

bstroud
09-28-2010, 12:57 PM
Interesting point. Still, one has to keep in mind that while mankind has seen fit to decorate their tools of war, it was not done out of necessity, nor was it a requirement. Man CHOSE to do this to suit his own needs. Other men chose to simply make something that kills... no frills added. It all boils down to who is making the weapon. The choice to decorate it is up to that man. Even then, if he chooses to decorate it in a manner that has been done many times over, he has every right to do so. There is no pre-requisite that says every craftsman must be an artist as well. There never has been nor should there be.

While many of these historic weapons/tools/objects very well may be considered fine art, you once again delve into the realm of personal preference. When it comes to art, it is 100% subjective. Show me the man who thinks Jackson Pollack was a true artistic genious and I'll show you just as many who saw splatter and chaos with little to no 'art' behind it. What makes one man's opinion right and the other man's wrong? Nothing. Its all personal preference.

Because you choose to add your artistic flair/intepretations into each cue you crafted doesn't mean that all cuemakers are obligated to do the same. It was a choice you made. It was something you felt YOU needed to do. Others see sheer beautfy in a nod to the classic, traditional look. Others still choose to showcase the beauty of the natural elements of the cue, like wood choice.

I think the real issue here is the way in which people view cuemaking. You view it (as do others) as an art form. Others view it as a craft through which they can express themselves artistically if they so desire.

Mia,

You present powerful arguments, no question.

I view cuemaking as both an art form and a craft. If all one wanted is function there are many cheap imported cues to choose from. Buying a custom cue is a more personal experience than that for most people. I often have long conversations with my customers to determine what it is they really want. If it is only function, I ask them to go elsewhere because I do not represent good value for their money.

I personally think custom cuemaking is more than just function. It is an attempt on the cuemakers part to assist and fulfill the customers expectations on a higher level. To me a good playing functional cue is a given. I could build that in my sleep. The real challenge is to produce a combination of function/craft/art that exceeds the customers expectation.
To that end I spend hours of design time trying to find the perfect balance between materials, design and price. Many times the price simply doesn't matter. I would rather complete the cue at the agreed on price than compromise the design. I know this is a luxury that I have and others do not.

What I am trying to accomplish with this thread is to wake up some of the cuemakers and let them realize that they can do more. The public will respond positively. Give them a chance. Try something new. If it fails, try something else.

Cuemakers can not just sit on their hands thinking that what they are currently doing is enough. It's time to move beyond the relative safety of "traditional" and think "what's next".

Bill Stroud

Scott Lee
09-28-2010, 01:05 PM
Bill...Kent Davis has done something along the lines of what you're talking about...pushing the envelope...although it's more in construction than design perse. The way his cues are constructed is unique, and I haven't seen ANY other cuemakers attempting to copy it (maybe they don't know about it...maybe it's difficult).

Thanks Kent! My cue is looking GOOD! I'll be in touch this week!

Scott Lee
www.poolknowledge.com

Sometimes it helps to look at what is not missing. Let's take a second to give credit to those who are thinking outside the box: Mr. Mitchel Thomas (hope I spelled that one right), for one. Nice job taking traditional woodworking skills and putting them into cues! This gentleman could give most woodworkers the 6 out! How about Mr. Paul Drexler for about 1,000 years (sorry Paul)! Take a look at his "Lord of the Rings" cue. Where are acolytes for that cue? I feel much better applauding what is there, rather than what is not. I feel lucky to have received words of encouragement from many well known cue makers and they have all driven me to press the envelope of my skill and ability. I will continue to do so until I meet my maker! A special thanks to you, Scott, for your words of encouragement (photo for you)! All my best to the cue fanatics of this world, Kent.

Winston846
09-28-2010, 01:08 PM
LOL Clearly you're not a golfer or a bowler!

I promise you there is absolutely no risk of someone developing a cue that will pocket balls on its own.

LOL!!!! FYI, the "846" in my screen name just happens to be my hi 3 game series in bowling (267 - 279 - 300 = 846). I have 17 sanctioned 300 games and 5 sanctioned 800 series.

Also, I have been golfing for 25 years. In my mid 20s, I hit an officially recorded drive of 396 yards (in a long drive contest). Thanks to today's equipment, I can still drive the ball well over 300 yards even in my mid 40s and with a bum left knee.

Edit: And even though I obviously know that no cue will ever pocket balls on it's own, there have been technological advances in shafts to minimize deflection and squirt. That's kind of akin to a larger sweet spot on a golf club because it gives you a greater margin for error.

Worminator
09-28-2010, 01:44 PM
Also, I have been golfing for 25 years. In my mid 20s, I hit an officially recorded drive of 396 yards (in a long drive contest). Thanks to today's equipment, I can still drive the ball well over 300 yards even in my mid 40s and with a bum left knee.


But did it lower your handicap? :wink:

LGSM3
09-28-2010, 01:47 PM
My thoughts as well. A very talented cuemaker may be artistically challenged while a superb artist may have difficulties building a cue that players can relate to & enjoy. We see it all across the board.

Art is timeless, not new nor old. As mentioned, human kind has been doing it since before history. Only the finest art is appreciated by the masses. Even the greatest artists often fail. They build their reputations on a fraction of their pieces. Those few pieces grab the attention & intrigue of people & provoke emotions from deep inside them. That's why they are appreciated. Not everybody can create that, and even the best of those who can most often fail. Cue building is in it's golden years right now. We are appreciating cues for more than just a tool to play a game and people are being inspired to try their hand at this functional canvas to express themselves. Most fail. Few succeed. It's not unlike musicians. Every human has the emotions & the drive to express them, but only a tiny percentage have the capability & God given talent to forcefully grab the attention of others & strike a cord with their emotions, too. While I agree with the subject of this thread, I am realistic enough to see it's a pipe dream. Yes, a few are capable of such changes. But most are not.

To provoke emotion...thats all anything boils down too. end of story.

cheapcues.com
09-28-2010, 01:59 PM
LOL!!!! FYI, the "846" in my screen name just happens to be my hi 3 game series in bowling (267 - 279 - 300 = 846). I have 17 sanctioned 300 games and 5 sanctioned 800 series.

Also, I have been golfing for 25 years. In my mid 20s, I hit an officially recorded drive of 396 yards (in a long drive contest). Thanks to today's equipment, I can still drive the ball well over 300 yards even in my mid 40s and with a bum left knee.

Edit: And even though I obviously know that no cue will ever pocket balls on it's own, there have been technological advances in shafts to minimize deflection and squirt. That's kind of akin to a larger sweet spot on a golf club because it gives you a greater margin for error.

Sounds like you are quite a gifted athlete! There is no doubt technological advancements have helped in golf (I'm not much of a bowler so I'll stay out of that one- although I wonder why if all you have to do is roll the ball down the alley you don't roll a 300 every game?).

However re: golf, yes people can hit the ball farther (about 20 yards on average compared to say the 80's), but you have to hit it straight as well, and then you still have a ton of work to do from there. Despite the advances in technology, average scores on the PGA tour (other than Tiger) haven't really changed.

I don't want to get into a huge debate about it especially since it's off topic, but I just found your hyperbole to be rather comical. None of these games are easy, despite new technologies.

-Mike

Rak9up
09-28-2010, 02:12 PM
I realize there are two kinds of people buying cues.

80% buy a cue for funtionality and a cue to play with.

20% are collectors buying to put it in a case to look at or sale it later for profit.

If you don't think functionality is the most important factor ask yourself why Predator/OB combined have made millions. Players want an edge and will pay to get it.

I for one am very disapointed that so many cuemakers worry about art at all.

When golf came out with titanium drivers golf courses fought and banned them. Because they had to fork out money and redesign their courses
due to the improved Clubs and balls. But golf took its lumps and evolved.

So what happened in pool....cuemakers started developing better jump and break cues using pholics and improving the equipment. What happened they started getting banned because it cost money to improve the felt or pool balls and don't want to fork out the money and I say let our sport evolve also.

I for one would rather see you spend more time sleeping and building better
funtional cues.

My playing cue has a zero taper in the wrap area. It's a diameter I like and no matter where I hold its always the same (muscle memory thingy).
Ask me how many cuemakers turned down unique ideas for cue improvements based strictly on functionality.

I applaud you on wanting out of the box thinking. But it should be for fuctional improvements not art ones.

At the end of the day it comes down to this.....

Stadivarius violins are pretty...but bottom line which is more imortant how it looks or how it plays.

Josswest cues are pretty...but bottom line which is more important how it looks or how it plays.

Saying both is just a cop out :)

RRfireblade
09-28-2010, 02:28 PM
I you are only making cues because "that's what sells" you might try some other line of work before you go crazy.

Bill Stroud


Actually at least a few of my designs were for your show , working on 2 in fact as I type this. (I know , running out of time) BUT , you cannot survive on show cues alone , if you can't stay in business with your bread and butter stuff , you can't afford to try anything "new". ;)

BLACKHEARTCUES
09-28-2010, 02:36 PM
Hi Bill; Thanks for encouraging cuemakers to go out of the box. I agree with your proposal, that cuemaking is both art & craft. I have always taken to heart a few simple statements an art teacher told me. (1) "In all designs, you need something large, medium & small". (2) " Every design should have something light, medium & dark". I have used these in my business as a sign painter, as well as my 24 years of cuemaking. In designing a simple cue I try to incorporate at least 3 colors. Picking a handle wood or wrap is actually part of the artistic design. People don't realize all of the hats a cuemaker wears, just to produce a simple low end cue...JER

brandonspitler
09-28-2010, 02:40 PM
Cuemaking is a hybrid of sorts. It is a combination of art and craft.

The craft side has evolved to the point that perfection in construction and execution is possible.

The art side seems to be stuck in the past. How many more cues with points or boxes and inlayed with diamonds and dots will be made. Sure there is a place for cues like this. It's called a MUSEUM.

Why don't more cuemakers try something new and different? The apparent reason is that most, if not all, lack any formal art training.

I am approached frequently by people wanting to become cuemakers. They want to know about machines and software. I tell them all the same thing. Go to art school. Learn to design properly. Then become a cuemaker. That is what the industry needs.

I know that I along with a few other cuemakers have struggled long and hard to become better designers. It's not easy. I takes lots of time. The results are worth it.

It saddens me to see so many cuemakers with obvious talent succumb to cliches like "I like traditional cues". What they are really saying is either "I am afraid to try something new" or I'm doing just fine making what I am".

Either way it is a cop out.

Can the situation be changed for the better? Perhaps. The collectors' show that I started is one way and it is having a positive effect. More artistic cues are created every day just for that show.

The main way however is for you ( the buying public) to demand more of your cuemaker. Push on them for something new and different. Get them out of their comfort zone.They WILL respond with something special!

Sincerely,

Bill Stroud

I find your statements quite interesting, and I have only the MOST respect in the world for your cuemaking and art. (although ive never been able to afford it lol)
but do you not think that perhaps by using these age-old shapes and designs, that it is easier to make a cue look uniform? i mean, i love classic and traditional cues, but the reason the great ones are great (new or old) is the combination of great artwork, great playability, and some organization of this artwork, so that it doesnt look like a mess.
i mean...id MUCH rather see a uniform looking cue, than a piece of abstract art. just my opinion...and kind of a question i guess?

perhaps...should we as cue-buyers start taking more control by designing and mapping out something different? then asking our favorite cuemakers to bring it to life? but then, arent we already attracted to the cues of certain cuemakers BECAUSE of what we have already seen them make?

hmm.

just some thoughts,
Brandon Lee Spitler.

bstroud
09-28-2010, 02:49 PM
I realize there are two kinds of people buying cues.

80% buy a cue for funtionality and a cue to play with.

20% are collectors buying to put it in a case to look at or sale it later for profit.

If you don't think functionality is the most important factor ask yourself why Predator/OB combined have made millions. Players want an edge and will pay to get it.

I for one am very disapointed that so many cuemakers worry about art at all.

When golf came out with titanium drivers golf courses fought and banned them. Because they had to fork out money and redesign their courses
due to the improved Clubs and balls. But golf took its lumps and evolved.

So what happened in pool....cuemakers started developing better jump and break cues using pholics and improving the equipment. What happened they started getting banned because it cost money to improve the felt or pool balls and don't want to fork out the money and I say let our sport evolve also.

I for one would rather see you spend more time sleeping and building better
funtional cues.

My playing cue has a zero taper in the wrap area. It's a diameter I like and no matter where I hold its always the same (muscle memory thingy).
Ask me how many cuemakers turned down unique ideas for cue improvements based strictly on functionality.

I applaud you on wanting out of the box thinking. But it should be for fuctional improvements not art ones.

At the end of the day it comes down to this.....

Stadivarius violins are pretty...but bottom line which is more imortant how it looks or how it plays.

Josswest cues are pretty...but bottom line which is more important how it looks or how it plays.

Saying both is just a cop out :)

Just in case you don't know.

I spend just as much time thinking about playability as I do about design.

In 1968 Danny and I were the first to core a cue. Coring produces a stronger, straighter more consistent playing cue. It is the standard today and most cuemakers core their cues.

In the early eighties Dan and I were the first cuemakers to use CNC. It may surprise you to know that CNC is used to turn cues and parts of cues to produce a more consistent and better playing cue. It not just for inlays and art work.

I developed the 3/8-10, the Unilok and the Radial pins that are the industry standards. I gave them their names.

I was the first cuemaker to use piezo electric damping to eliminate vibration and produce a better playing cue. I also developed the Smartshaft.

The list of innovation in cuemaking runs to 2 pages so I will not post anymore here.

I work every day to find new engineering techniques to inprove the way cues play. I also play pretty well and can evaluate any cue myself but I personally think cues are more than just how they play.

You are entitled to you opinion but next time try to get your facts straight.

Bill Stroud

Winston846
09-28-2010, 02:58 PM
But did it lower your handicap? :wink:

Never really kept an "official" handicap. At my best, I could shoot in the mid-upper 70s at most of the local courses in my area.

But like most bombers, my short game/putting left a little to be desired.

jgpool
09-28-2010, 04:08 PM
I would just like to thank you for this piece of art. I should have elected to take your design suggestions in to account. :( But I love this cue, the way it plays and looks. :)

TATE
09-28-2010, 04:16 PM
Just in case you don't know.

I spend just as much time thinking about playability as I do about design.

In 1968 Danny and I were the first to core a cue. Coring produces a stronger, straighter more consistent playing cue. It is the standard today and most cuemakers core their cues.

In the early eighties Dan and I were the first cuemakers to use CNC. It may surprise you to know that CNC is used to turn cues and parts of cues to produce a more consistent and better playing cue. It not just for inlays and art work.

I developed the 3/8-10, the Unilok and the Radial pins that are the industry standards. I gave them their names.

I was the first cuemaker to use piezo electric damping to eliminate vibration and produce a better playing cue. I also developed the Smartshaft.

The list of innovation in cuemaking runs to 2 pages so I will not post anymore here.

I work every day to find new engineering techniques to inprove the way cues play. I also play pretty well and can evaluate any cue myself but I personally think cues are more than just how they play.

You are entitled to you opinion but next time try to get your facts straight.

Bill Stroud


I appreciate the quality and durability of your construction too. My JW has an ivory joint, buttcap, and ferrules and there have been a number of times the cue has been dropped or banged where I am appreciative of the techniques you use (which you explained to me) to make the ivory more durable. It has not chipped or cracked where I think other cues would have.

Chris

Hierovision
09-28-2010, 04:26 PM
You are entitled to you opinion but next time try to get your facts straight.

Bill Stroud

Bill, I believe he was saying that both Stradivarius violins and Josswest cues play beautifully, and that is the most important variable. He is saying the fact that they are beautiful pieces of artwork comes second to the function.

I believe you share the same belief there, but you're taking it further and saying that once a cuemaker has mastered the construction and execution, they should focus on innovating the artistic aspect of their cues.

qbilder
09-28-2010, 05:46 PM
Have cuemakers ever thought of doing a joint effort on a cue with what you are saying? If one does really well on the artistic side, but is soso on the cuemaking aspect of it, and the other does really well on the cue making but isn't very creative from an artistic standpoint?? Or is that a bad idea? Do egos get in the way of wanting to be in control of the whole build/design process, or are there problems deciding on how to split the money etc?


I did that with Wes Hunter on a cue. It had nothing to do with who was artistic or who built good playing cues. It was a cooperative effort to utilize the aspects we both felt were our strong points as builders. We were able to do that because we are close friends and there's no ego or competitiveness between us. But in the big scheme of things I think there would be too much competitiveness & pride for cuemakers to work together on things like that. And it would be very tough because a lot of design aspects are part of the structural build. I personally wouldn't be opposed to it. I like the idea of working together to serve a greater purpose.

Fieldhammer
09-28-2010, 10:13 PM
In 2008, I hired an artist to come up with 12 new cue designs that might be made by an excellent cue maker for under $1,500. After showing the designs to many players, I didn't have the heart to move forward and build prototypes because I feared they wouldn't sell.

Here are two examples from the dozen designs.

Name: McQueen
http://i360.photobucket.com/albums/oo44/fieldhammer/c6_mcqueen_r1_RingRemoved.jpg

Name: Tribal
http://i360.photobucket.com/albums/oo44/fieldhammer/c11_tribal_r1_RemoveRing.jpg

HollyWood
09-28-2010, 10:53 PM
I see no reason why the wrap area couldn't be used in an artistic way. Bem front and Butt- with many colors used in the wrap and sealed over. Red ,gold,blue- others. There is a name for this type of painting,where 1 color comes through ,the next layer comes through. While in Paris some painted blk and white only. Others used pastel colors to get points across. And then use your Finnish right over the art work. Using exotic woods in the handle - like how ivory was used to make segmented handles. I see some have incorporated the points well into the handle area. mark

Ratta
09-28-2010, 11:45 PM
Hi there,

i m no cuemaker- but know some guys. And i think i understand what Bill tried to ask and show up in this thread.
But i am very sure that some customers are also not answering seriously (no offense!!)- from my opinion many many customers/players would spend much more money on a cue if they COULD- and so they re makin comprises on their custom cue, like saying then-i don t need such a design etc. , i just want this and that...and so on. If they wouldn t have to have a look at their money imo there would be many customers who would let the cuemaker *just make* and help them with the design.

jmho,

Ingo

book collector
09-29-2010, 01:42 AM
Thanks again Mr. Stroud, I have been thinking about how much I have wanted one of those Marquetry Cues for 15 or 20 years now. I decided to try to do something about it. I am going to work on it myself, I may never figure it out but I think half the fun will be learning how to do it. I did a little research and there is some basic information to get started but I have a feeling it will be mostly trial and error. I am too old to be the next generation of cuemakers but I am having fun just thinking about it.

nksmfamjp
09-29-2010, 04:54 AM
Good post. I'm not sure what the answer is, but it is nice to see someone with an eye for letting the wood speak. I do believe that is someone with an eye for the art design side of it. A true artist knows about concepts of color, lighting, balance, symmetry or asymmetry, and other key points that leave the rest of us saying great cue. I'm not sure there needs to be a cut on the word traditional, but still there is plenty of design room within traditional.

tshughes
09-29-2010, 06:03 AM
Hi there,

i m no cuemaker- but know some guys. And i think i understand what Bill tried to ask and show up in this thread.
But i am very sure that some customers are also not answering seriously (no offense!!)- from my opinion many many customers/players would spend much more money on a cue if they COULD- and so they re makin comprises on their custom cue, like saying then-i don t need such a design etc. , i just want this and that...and so on. If they wouldn t have to have a look at their money imo there would be many customers who would let the cuemaker *just make* and help them with the design.

jmho,

Ingo

I agree, I think that most customers...(the mass) are just average working people who love the game of pool. They will spend money to get a better playing cue, but have other things in life that come before dropping thousands on one. These being bills, kids, etc. So I think that is one reason you do not see customers ask for more elaborate designs.

Kickin' Chicken
09-29-2010, 06:13 AM
Rep to Ratta and tshughes.

At the end of the day, pool, by in large, is a game played by blue collar people making blue collar money. Their cues typically are in the range of hundreds, not thousands of dollars.

And I've been beaten real good by some of them. :wink:

Best,
Brian kc

bstroud
09-29-2010, 06:43 AM
Thanks again Mr. Stroud, I have been thinking about how much I have wanted one of those Marquetry Cues for 15 or 20 years now. I decided to try to do something about it. I am going to work on it myself, I may never figure it out but I think half the fun will be learning how to do it. I did a little research and there is some basic information to get started but I have a feeling it will be mostly trial and error. I am too old to be the next generation of cuemakers but I am having fun just thinking about it.

I have been working on just this technique. It involves cutting from the flat sheet and then wrapping the material into an exact pocket on the cue. The math is more complicated than I would have thought. I can bend ivory and veneer without a problem but doing the design work is taking a lot of time.
I will have it down soon.

Bill Stroud

bstroud
09-29-2010, 06:54 AM
[QUOTE=Fieldhammer;2632715]In 2008, I hired an artist to come up with 12 new cue designs that might be made by an excellent cue maker for under $1,500. After showing the designs to many players, I didn't have the heart to move forward and build prototypes because I feared they wouldn't sell.

Mike,

" If you build it, they will come" pretty good quote for a movie.

The only way to know for sure is to build it.

At the cue show last year in Santa Fe I took all new 4-axis designs that had never been done before. All elaborate and expensive. I had no idea if they would sell but I felt the designs were good and needed to be built. Guess what? The all sold.

I like the designs you posted. Not easy to make but interesting. The lower design could be beautiful with a little more work to the front.

Bill Stroud

ratcues
09-29-2010, 07:00 AM
Bill,

Who do you feel is currently pushing the envelope?

Are there any cues that you have recently been impressed with?

Thanks.
Ryan

bstroud
09-29-2010, 07:28 AM
Bill,

Who do you feel is currently pushing the envelope?

Are there any cues that you have recently been impressed with?

Thanks.
Ryan

Ryan,

I is not so much who as how. What I would like to see in new cue design is more thought in the design process itself.

I was talking with McWorter the other day and he was attempting a new design. Attempting is the correct word because like me, he spends uncounted hours conceiving of and refining a new design.

For every 20 designs ideas you might get one good one if you are lucky.

From the very begining as a cuemaker I have always tried to intergrate the cue design into a coherent whole. When I started cuemaking most cues were a patchwork on no agreeing colors and mismatching rings with a few diamonds and dots. I made a lot of these myself but I always tried to at least have the rear of the cue match the front.

With today's software and CNC the task of designing cues has become much harder, not easier. A paper sketch that would have worked in the old days now has to be moved to the computer and that requires much more time. You can not simply pick up an eraser and change the design. Every change require a tremendous amount of time and effort. That explains why so many designs look incomplete. The designer runs of of patience or gets bored working on the design.

A cuemaker really can not get paid for a good design unless he uses it more than once. I try not to do that. It is a personal choice. I get bored making the same design twice. It is the chase for a great design that inspires me.

You asked about other cuemakers. I think that McWorter, Chudy, Wayne, Drexler and a few others pursue design as a principle element of their cuemaking. I wish there were more. I also think that some of the makers doing some of the complicated butterfly designs fall in the same catagory.

Perhaps on day there will be an artist that understands the difficulties of cumaking but also has formal art training, that can produce some designs that are clearly beautiful and new.

Bill Stroud

Rak9up
09-29-2010, 07:30 AM
Just in case you don't know.

I spend just as much time thinking about playability as I do about design.

The list of innovation in cuemaking runs to 2 pages so I will not post anymore here.

I work every day to find new engineering techniques to inprove the way cues play. I also play pretty well and can evaluate any cue myself but I personally think cues are more than just how they play.

You are entitled to you opinion but next time try to get your facts straight.

Bill Stroud

Bill,

I'm more than aware of your accomplishments. I didn't mean to get you so defensive. As for my respect for you there was a Cuemakers trade show a few years ago here in Florida. Not one day was it ever opened to the public how stupid is that. Just distributors and cuemakers.
I pulled alot of strings to get in...not to get deal on a cue but to meet and speak with YOU and the other cuemakers I respect.

I work on rockets and we get better and better space age materials everyday. I try and share improvements that I see with cuemakers like adding micro beads for a perfect glue bondline.
I don't care if a plumber or school teacher has an idea that improves a cues playability anyone could have something to offer. Its not all on your shoulders.

If you asked a golfer if he would like to golf club companies spend time
adding points and inlays to a three wood or make it hit 10 yards further.
I bet the majority thinks adding art is a waste of time.

It's like Donald Trump's wife getting a job to help out with money...............now we have ten billion and 2 dollars.

It's like Donald Trump's wife going to art school to help out with cue design...............now we have ten billion and 2 cue designs

Art can only different....playability can always be improved

Yes its my opinion....I would like to see cuemakers spending their time trying to make a cue draw 2 more diamonds or adding 10 mph to break speed or improving control cueball control or.....the list is endless.

Finding a way to transfer the Mona Lisa onto a cue seems like its lowest on the list of priorities.

Yes we need out of the box thinking ideas can come form anywhere but concentrate on whats important

Jerry Yost
09-29-2010, 08:01 AM
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with this post because it is all based off the notion that cuemaking is "a combination of art and craft". While for some cuemakers/cue lovers this is true, its important to note that this sentiment is just an opinion. The first sentence of the post above needs to be revised to read that cuemaking CAN BE a combination of art and craft. But the two are not necessarily married by definition.

For some, cuemaking and art go hand in hand. For others, the artistic side is either a bonus or a non-factor all together. And frankly, that's as it should be. For many, it is important to note that cuemaking should be a mariage between FUNCTION and craft. If there are those who wish to add art into the mix, so be it. But to imply that art is a necessary element of a cue is, in my opinion, nothing more than personal preference.

Completely agree...I'm in the same camp!

Bob Jewett
09-29-2010, 08:44 AM
... Never forget where you came from. ...
Well, yes, but if you want to get ahead in the world, don't stay there.

Points? I don't collect fancy cues, but I'd think that for a cue maker who's got a lick of artist in him, points would be like asking a top chef to do mashed potatoes. But if the customer orders pot roast and mashed, what are you going to do? Maybe add a little wasabi to the mashed.

I used to collect stamps, and I got pretty excited about slightly different color variations in the early postage due issues (http://reviews.ebay.com/Early-Postage-Due-Color-Chart-I_W0QQugidZ10000000006090158). I'm not proud of it, and I've gotten over it -- there it is. But points?

Sometimes people ask to see my cue, which has four standard points with veneers and eight mother-of-pearl diamond-shaped inlays. (In the interest of full disclosure, it has two Stroud shafts, regular and masse.) They will remark how beautiful it is. For a cue with points? Perhaps they have never seen really artistic cue work or they're just being polite.

mia
09-29-2010, 09:13 AM
Mia,

You present powerful arguments, no question.

I view cuemaking as both an art form and a craft. If all one wanted is function there are many cheap imported cues to choose from. Buying a custom cue is a more personal experience than that for most people. I often have long conversations with my customers to determine what it is they really want. If it is only function, I ask them to go elsewhere because I do not represent good value for their money.

I personally think custom cuemaking is more than just function. It is an attempt on the cuemakers part to assist and fulfill the customers expectations on a higher level. To me a good playing functional cue is a given. I could build that in my sleep. The real challenge is to produce a combination of function/craft/art that exceeds the customers expectation.
To that end I spend hours of design time trying to find the perfect balance between materials, design and price. Many times the price simply doesn't matter. I would rather complete the cue at the agreed on price than compromise the design. I know this is a luxury that I have and others do not.

What I am trying to accomplish with this thread is to wake up some of the cuemakers and let them realize that they can do more. The public will respond positively. Give them a chance. Try something new. If it fails, try something else.

Cuemakers can not just sit on their hands thinking that what they are currently doing is enough. It's time to move beyond the relative safety of "traditional" and think "what's next".

Bill Stroud

I certainly understand where you're coming from. I guess my only real 'problem' (for lack of a better term) with what you're saying is that your argument is based of the presupposition that most people share your views on cues and the role of art in cuemaking. You say that buying a custom cue is a more personal exeprience for most people and, while I agree that you are right about that, I'm not sure art is something that matters to most cue buyers. I would say that the majority of cue buyers out there are more interested in the play of the cue, the name of the person who made it, and perhaps a few other details as well. I would tend to doubt that artistic expression is a concern of most people buying a custom cue.

Sure there are a slew of people who have pushed the envelope and shown many that cues don't have to be just points and diamonds, yourself being one of them. Thomas Wayne being another. Richard Black, Bob Manzino, Jim Stadum, Joe Hercek (and the list goes on) :grin:. Your contributions to the cue community are unparalleled and have dropped jaws time and time again. Cuemakers like these, who push the envelope of design and marry function and art with craft will (hopefully) always be ever-present in the cue world. And their contributions will continue to astound many. Still, there is a place for 'traditional in the cue world. And, for better or worse, its place is at the forefront of the cue world. Not every cuemaker considers themselves an artist. Not every cuemaker cares to be artistic. And the plain truth is, not every customer cares about artistic expression in the design of their cues. I would guess the majority of them don't.

The presence of art in cues is a truly valuable and wonderful thing. But to expect that MOST cuemakers as well as cuebuyers change their views of the role art plays in their craft is just not reasonable. Sure, there are a TON of cuemakers out there who may default to the notion that 'I do traditional cues because I like the look' when the reality is, they do traditional cues because its all they are capable of. Still, there are numerous cuemakers out there who take traditional and add their own influences/twists to make a style that is 'theirs'. Furthermore, there are scores of people out there who pay these guys to make them 4 pointers, 6 pointers, box cues, notched diamonds, etc. because they have no desire to commision a work of art. And the reality is, if you're looking for function over form, production cues aren't always the best answer.

bstroud
09-29-2010, 09:41 AM
[QUOTE=Rak9up;2633135]Bill,

I'm more than aware of your accomplishments. I didn't mean to get you so defensive. As for my respect for you there was a Cuemakers trade show a few years ago here in Florida. Not one day was it ever opened to the public how stupid is that. Just distributors and cuemakers.

<If you are referring to the collectors show in Palm Beach, it was open to the public on Saturday afternoon.> Sorry you didn't realize it.

I pulled alot of strings to get in...not to get deal on a cue but to meet and speak with YOU and the other cuemakers I respect.

I work on rockets and we get better and better space age materials everyday. I try and share improvements that I see with cuemakers like adding micro beads for a perfect glue bondline.
I don't care if a plumber or school teacher has an idea that improves a cues playability anyone could have something to offer. Its not all on your shoulders.

<Why not just build the same rocket over and over. There's no art in Rocket Science? Right>

If you asked a golfer if he would like to golf club companies spend time
adding points and inlays to a three wood or make it hit 10 yards further.
I bet the majority thinks adding art is a waste of time.

<I guess from your perspective the art of materials and the art of aerodynamics really doesn't matter?>

It's like Donald Trump's wife getting a job to help out with money...............now we have ten billion and 2 dollars.

It's like Donald Trump's wife going to art school to help out with cue design...............now we have ten billion and 2 cue designs

Art can only different....playability can always be improved

<Art is not just different. It affects the mind in a way that function seldom does. When function does approach elegance it can also become art.>

Yes its my opinion....I would like to see cuemakers spending their time trying to make a cue draw 2 more diamonds or adding 10 mph to break speed or improving control cueball control or.....the list is endless.

<Want to play better? Practice, practice, practice is the answer.>

Bill Stroud

Bob Callahan
09-29-2010, 10:04 AM
Sometimes people ask to see my cue, which has four standard points with veneers and eight mother-of-pearl diamond-shaped inlays. (In the interest of full disclosure, it has two Stroud shafts, regular and masse.) They will remark how beautiful it is. For a cue with points? Perhaps they have never seen really artistic cue work or they're just being polite.

What happened to the Balabushka with the skinny little 10.5mm shaft? Am I remembering wrong? :grin-square:

classiccues
09-29-2010, 10:12 AM
Well, yes, but if you want to get ahead in the world, don't stay there.

Points? I don't collect fancy cues, but I'd think that for a cue maker who's got a lick of artist in him, points would be like asking a top chef to do mashed potatoes. But if the customer orders pot roast and mashed, what are you going to do? Maybe add a little wasabi to the mashed.

I used to collect stamps, and I got pretty excited about slightly different color variations in the early postage due issues (http://reviews.ebay.com/Early-Postage-Due-Color-Chart-I_W0QQugidZ10000000006090158). I'm not proud of it, and I've gotten over it -- there it is. But points?

Sometimes people ask to see my cue, which has four standard points with veneers and eight mother-of-pearl diamond-shaped inlays. (In the interest of full disclosure, it has two Stroud shafts, regular and masse.) They will remark how beautiful it is. For a cue with points? Perhaps they have never seen really artistic cue work or they're just being polite.

That's why I said what I said. Do I like artsy cues, once in a while I'll see one I like. But it's not my cup of tea. I like a cue with 4 veneered points, some MOP or Ivory inlays, nothing over the top just a tad of flair, and that's it.

But that's for me, and cuemakers still build them because there are people like me who love that style.

Why do people still ask for them? Because the designs are TIMELESS. (and relatively inexpensive) :wink:

JV

bstroud
09-29-2010, 10:17 AM
I certainly understand where you're coming from. I guess my only real 'problem' (for lack of a better term) with what you're saying is that your argument is based of the presupposition that most people share your views on cues and the role of art in cuemaking. You say that buying a custom cue is a more personal exeprience for most people and, while I agree that you are right about that, I'm not sure art is something that matters to most cue buyers. I would say that the majority of cue buyers out there are more interested in the play of the cue, the name of the person who made it, and perhaps a few other details as well. I would tend to doubt that artistic expression is a concern of most people buying a custom cue.

Sure there are a slew of people who have pushed the envelope and shown many that cues don't have to be just points and diamonds, yourself being one of them. Thomas Wayne being another. Richard Black, Bob Manzino, Jim Stadum, Joe Hercek (and the list goes on) :grin:. Your contributions to the cue community are unparalleled and have dropped jaws time and time again. Cuemakers like these, who push the envelope of design and marry function and art with craft will (hopefully) always be ever-present in the cue world. And their contributions will continue to astound many. Still, there is a place for 'traditional in the cue world. And, for better or worse, its place is at the forefront of the cue world. Not every cuemaker considers themselves an artist. Not every cuemaker cares to be artistic. And the plain truth is, not every customer cares about artistic expression in the design of their cues. I would guess the majority of them don't.

The presence of art in cues is a truly valuable and wonderful thing. But to expect that MOST cuemakers as well as cuebuyers change their views of the role art plays in their craft is just not reasonable. Sure, there are a TON of cuemakers out there who may default to the notion that 'I do traditional cues because I like the look' when the reality is, they do traditional cues because its all they are capable of. Still, there are numerous cuemakers out there who take traditional and add their own influences/twists to make a style that is 'theirs'. Furthermore, there are scores of people out there who pay these guys to make them 4 pointers, 6 pointers, box cues, notched diamonds, etc. because they have no desire to commision a work of art. And the reality is, if you're looking for function over form, production cues aren't always the best answer.

Mia,

Following your argument I guess we would all be wearing the same clothes (circa 1984) all drive the same car (model T) and all live in the same style house with 2 kids and a dog?

I guess we would all have the same pool cue. One piece of wood. No points. No joint. Same wood. Same color.

Fortunately the human species prefers a little diversity that reflects who they are.

You say the majority of cue buyers pick their cue on performance. You are dead wrong on that one. Most buyers buy on appearance or price. Most cue buyers don't give a hoot about performance. Otherwise Sears and Target and all the discount stores wouldn't be selling way more cues than all the custom cuemakers put together. NFL and Harley cues come to mind.

I would say that many of the more informed players on this site do pick their cue based of performance and appearance. Otherwise there would not be such a diversity of designs offered. Can a majority of the cues be considered art? Probably not. But surely some can.

There is nothing wrong with liking traditional designs. What is wrong is for talented cuemakers to hide behind them when they have the potential to do so much more. Cuemaking is not just about making a living. It is equally about expressing yourself and helping others express themselves.

BTW, If your interested, I have a solid black, black joint, no wrap, no buttplate cue for sale. cheap!

Just kidding,

Bill Stroud

Rak9up
09-29-2010, 12:28 PM
Bill,

The trade show was way older than that it was in Orlando.

I had a friend with me that asked if you could build him a Budwiser cue.

You replied very politly "Son my cues start at $1500 I believe the booth your looking for is down by the front door I'm Bill Stroud"

My friend said "I know who you are and I know how much your cues cost...
but can you just imagine the money I could make holding a Bill Stroud that looks like a budwiser stick"

you laughed and smiled and said "I can't condone hustling"
........
........
........




I apoligize if I made you upset

I'm upset with the pool playing public not you..

There's so many features to worry about that effect the playability.

Tip type,diameter,ferrule material ferrule length,shaft type,shaft diameter,shafter taper,joint type,joint material,butt material butt diameter,wrap, no wrap,rubber bumper no rubber bumper,cored uncored,overall stick balance,and total weight.

Changing just one of these feature's effects playability.

I see people on here that have been on a 10 year waiting list for a cue.When their order comes up you know they ask... "anyone know a pretty wood combination"?

Not.... When I play pool I use little or no english...so what features would be important to have or change on the stick that compliments the way I play.
or
I spin the ball alot so I need a stick to be "juiced up" for my style of play.
What features need to be changed to do that?


To me cuemakers should be more like the crew chief in the movie "Days of Thunder" asking is the car loose or tight do I need to add or remove shims.. Then Tom cruise replies I don't know what you just said, I just
drive. (so as he changes the setup and shows him what what the terms mean in relation to how it performs so he can build the car to his needs)

Cuemakers should not be like the guy in the movie "Birdcage" wearing pink socks saying "well ones does want a hint of color"

Oh and

I do Pratice, pratice, pratice, everyday with a smile on my face

With all the cues you've built in your lifetime I can see you getting bored long before us. When I see a design it might be the first time for you it could be the thousandth time over the years.

mia
09-29-2010, 12:34 PM
Bill,

The trade show was way older than that it was in Orlando.

I had a friend with me that asked if you could build him a Budwiser cue.

You replied very politly "Son my cues start at $1500 I believe the booth your looking for is down by the front door I'm Bill Stroud"

My friend said "I know who you are and I know how much your cues cost...
but can you just imagine the money I could make holding a Bill Stroud that looks like a budwiser stick"

you laughed and smiled and said "I can't condone hustling"

I apoligize if I made you upset

I'm upset with the pool playing public not you..

There's so many features to worry about that effect the playability.

Tip type,diameter,ferrule material ferrule length,shaft type,shaft diameter,shafter taper,joint type,joint material,butt material butt diameter,wrap, no wrap,rubber bumper no rubber bumper,cored uncored,overall stick balance,and total weight.

Changing just one of these feature's effects playability.

I see people on here that have been on a 10 year waiting list for a cue.When their order comes up you know they ask... "anyone know a pretty wood combination"?

Not.... When I play pool I use little or no english...so what features would be important to have or change on the stick that compliments the way I play.
or
I spin the ball alot so I need a stick to be "juiced up" for my style of play.
What features need to be changed to do that?


To me cuemakers should be more like the crew chief in the movie "Days of Thunder" asking is the car loose or tight do I need to add or remove shims.. Then Tom cruise replies I don't know what you just said, I just
drive. (so as he changes the setup and shows him what what the terms mean in relation to how it performs so he can build the car to his needs)

Cuemakers should not be like the guy in the movie "Birdcage" wearing pink socks saying "well ones does want a hint of color"

Oh and

I do Pratice, pratice, pratice, everyday with a smile on my face

With all the cues you've built in your lifetime I can see you getting bored long before us. When I see a design it might be the first time for you it could be the thousandth time over the years.

I understand that change is good and that it forces us to evolve. I'm not saying we should all still live life as if this were the 1984. All I am saying is that while I understand your view, that art and cuemaking should go hand in hand and that cuemakers should strive to push the envelope in terms of design, this is simply YOUR view. I'm sure there are a number of people out there who would agree with you. But for everyone that does agree, there are probably 2 or 3 more that do not. Just because you feel this way doesn't necessitate a call to all cuemakers to think about cuemaking from an artistic perspective.

Just because the two CAN be married doesn't mean they NEED to be married by everyone who crafts a cue. Why not? Because not everyone cares about the artistic aspect of cues. There are those that do and then there are those that like 4 pointers, and they far outnumber the group that loves their cues to look like works of art.

I'm not saying you're wrong for assuming that these two ideas (art and craft) can be married. I'm saying that you're wrong for assuming that they SHOULD be married. When talking about 'custom cues' the term alone doesn't imply artistry. It implies crafting a cue to a customer's preference. If the customer prefers 4 points with a cortland wrap to an ebony nose, ivory handled, heavily scrimmed piece of art, well... as they say, the customer is always right. If the customer wants a piece of art, they can turn to you or Joel Hercek, Bob Manzino, Paul Drexler, etc., etc.. But if they want a 4 or 6 point cue, or even a merry widow (and there are millions out there who want that very thing), there needs to be cuemakers out there who do work along those lines. Right?

In your original post in this thread, you say that the cuemaking industry needs more cuemakers who have a degree of formal art training. What I'm saying is that this is not something the industry NEEDS. Is it a plus? Sure. But there are cuemakers out there right now who push the envelope of design. Could the industry benefit from more of these kind of guys? Sure. Is it necessary? No. Because those cuemakers who you see as guys who are "afraid to try something new" and "are doing just fine" making what they are, could very well people guys who LIKE traditional. And even if they are not, these are guys who are giving customers what they want. That's the very nature of this industry... its a business. So the guy who makes what the customer wants, be it a merry widow or a 4 pointer, is satisfying a want and a need. To say that he should strive for more is not realistic. He should strive to do what HE chooses to do. And if HE chooses to do what a customer asks for, so be it.

SK Custom Cues
09-29-2010, 02:04 PM
I am taking the time to personally thank Mr. Stroud for helping us to understand cue making in the perspective of Josswest Cues. I would like to add that, to me, Mr. Stroud is one of the most influential artist's in this industry, and currently, his work is among the most highly sought after be it new or old. I don't think I need to go into much more, as most of us who know about his work already know this. I would like to add to this thread, my opinion of what I think Mr. Stroud is trying to convey, but in my own words.

We live our lives according to our beliefs. What makes life worth more to live depends on how you perceive the world and the actions that you take to live a meaningful life. What it takes to live a meaningful life is enhanced by art. Art is very important. All the buildings, houses and architecture that have ever been constructed on this earth derived from artistic ability. The earth appears the way it does because of the dreams of man, and this is all possible through art. The quantum physics of these actions depended on one person, or a group of people who dreamed a dream and manifested it into reality. Take Donald Trump for instance. He is a real estate developer who has created some very delectable golf courses, casinos, and various living spaces in our lifetime. When you think of Trump National Golf Course, or the Trump International Hotel and Tower, or the Trump Taj Mahal, one can only begin to wonder how all that came to be. It is because he was inspired by art. Often times on the show, "The Apprentice" we hear the words, 'appeal to the consumer'. The commercials, the models it takes to star in those commercials, and the people behind the camera all have creativity flowing in their veins to make that happen, and it is done in an artful way to, 'appeal to the consumer'.

Today, construction is manifested in many different ways. Some like to work with metal or wood. Some like to build their talent in music. Others like to build skill in martial arts combining their mental discipline with their devotion to the perfection of technique and application. Over the course of a person's life, one can attain mastery in his own craft or art. Once mastery is attained in one thing, most everything else in life is comes very natural. The ones who dedicate themselves to a true path are the ones who eventually end up blossoming within the mastery of their art changing not only themselves, but the world along with it, enhancing the world with beauty.

Think of the effect Bruce Lee had on the world. All of the people who watched his movies were mostly inspired in a positive way. People wanted to feel powerful, capable, and strong for themselves. This is magic of inspiration through art. Art has wonder and mystery. When you look at a piece of art that is beautiful, you often stare at it in wonder asking yourself, "Wow. That is amazing. How did he do that?" Just by looking at that piece of art, that person can be affected in a certain way, and if the impression is big enough, that person can be inspired to follow a path based on that piece of art.

Some people never realize the importance of art in relation to life. This is why people can be ugly at times. When a person fails to understand his own life, that person becomes a source of pain for those surrounding him. Those who seek perfection in their life through their art grow to become respected by others as Mr. Stroud has done in his lifetime. The creation of this thread in my opinion is simply to promote art and the positive influences it brings not only to cues, but to the world as a whole.

JBailey
09-29-2010, 03:18 PM
BTW, If your interested, I have a solid black, black joint, no wrap, no buttplate cue for sale. cheap!

Just kidding,

Bill Stroud[/QUOTE]


I would buy a cue like that. I like my playing cue to be plain.

I agree that it would be nice to see more art in cuemaking. Every time I look in the cue books at the local poolhall all I see are the same old designs with some slight variations. We only have one cuemaker in my area and he doesn't do any 'artsy' cues at all. It would probably cost me an outrageous amount of money to have someone make any of the designs I have in my head. Bear in mind that I don't make a whole lot of money so anything over $500 seems outrageous to me.

Magik Wandzzzzz
09-29-2010, 04:26 PM
Winston,

You are the exact type of person I was trying to attract with this post.

There is nothing wrong with liking "traditional" cue designs but I would imagine that you are no long using "rabbit ears" to watch TV.

The point I'm trying to make here is that cuemakers just need to move on.
They need to try new things and it is people like you that can push them to do so. Give it a try next time. Perhaps you can find a bridge between a modern and a traditional design the you would like even more.

Thanks for your reply,

Bill Stroud

Deek-a-mom<------- HI BILL....what about me..:o...you attracted me me.....years ago and it had nothing to do with cues..:sorry:.tell me GOD, am I a traditionalist or just plain wacko...:eek:..I still want to post up with you in golf and backgammom, maybe even chess...:grinning-moose:..but not in the world of billiards...:yikes:....glad to hear you are still alive.....out there in the desert someplace?????? Call me for a chit chat sometime.....cheers:groucho:

Magik Wandzzzzz
09-29-2010, 04:39 PM
Well, yes, but if you want to get ahead in the world, don't stay there.

Points? I don't collect fancy cues, but I'd think that for a cue maker who's got a lick of artist in him, points would be like asking a top chef to do mashed potatoes. But if the customer orders pot roast and mashed, what are you going to do? Maybe add a little wasabi to the mashed.

I used to collect stamps, and I got pretty excited about slightly different color variations in the early postage due issues (http://reviews.ebay.com/Early-Postage-Due-Color-Chart-I_W0QQugidZ10000000006090158). I'm not proud of it, and I've gotten over it -- there it is. But points?

Sometimes people ask to see my cue, which has four standard points with veneers and eight mother-of-pearl diamond-shaped inlays. (In the interest of full disclosure, it has two Stroud shafts, regular and masse.) They will remark how beautiful it is. For a cue with points? Perhaps they have never seen really artistic cue work or they're just being polite.

Deek-a-mom<----- DO U STIL HAV THS QQQQ ???? :eek: Unfortunately the cat, has since died, but peacefully in old age and not due to your cue..... trust all is well..............SEE U AT HOPKINS ???????? :rolleyes:

bstroud
09-29-2010, 06:14 PM
BTW, If your interested, I have a solid black, black joint, no wrap, no buttplate cue for sale. cheap!

Just kidding,

Bill Stroud


<I would buy a cue like that. I like my playing cue to be plain.

<I agree that it would be nice to see more art in cuemaking. Every time I look in the cue books at the local poolhall all I see are the same old designs with some slight variations. We only <have <one cuemaker in my area and he doesn't do any 'artsy' cues at all. It would probably cost me an outrageous amount of money to have someone make any of the designs I have in my <head. Bear <in mind that I don't make a whole lot of money so anything over $500 seems outrageous to me.[/QUOTE]

I hope I have made it clear that it is not just about the money. It is the inspiration and creativity that the cuemaker/artist/craftperson is willing to put into his/her work and then share it with the world. Good or bad. Win or lose. Success or failure. If they don't take the chance they will never know.

I wish to thank all of you that have taken the time to read and to post about a topic that I think is central to the future of cuemaking. It has been my life and passion for over 44 years and I sincerely hope that through my work and the cue shows that I have produced, I have made some positive changes to cuemaking in America.

Bill Stroud

ibuycues
09-29-2010, 09:19 PM
<I would buy a cue like that. I like my playing cue to be plain.

<I agree that it would be nice to see more art in cuemaking. Every time I look in the cue books at the local poolhall all I see are the same old designs with some slight variations. We only <have <one cuemaker in my area and he doesn't do any 'artsy' cues at all. It would probably cost me an outrageous amount of money to have someone make any of the designs I have in my <head. Bear <in mind that I don't make a whole lot of money so anything over $500 seems outrageous to me.

I hope I have made it clear that it is not just about the money. It is the inspiration and creativity that the cuemaker/artist/craftperson is willing to put into his/her work and then share it with the world. Good or bad. Win or lose. Success or failure. If they don't take the chance they will never know.

I wish to thank all of you that have taken the time to read and to post about a topic that I think is central to the future of cuemaking. It has been my life and passion for over 44 years and I sincerely hope that through my work and the cue shows that I have produced, I have made some positive changes to cuemaking in America.

Bill Stroud[/QUOTE]

Bill,

I have thoroughly enjoyed this entire thread, and obviously have read every comment carefully. You and I have had this very discussion many times, and I know more than most how very much from the heart you started this thread, and how diligently you strive to live by the very comments you have made throughout this thread.

I like the fact that a lot of people have been able to get a glimpse into the thought process you have brought to your craft over these many years, and your passion for cuemaking which has never stood still, always changing and improving.

Your innovations are legendary, but your attention to detail, your love of all art, and your pursuit of perfection have allowed several thousand players to enjoys the fruits of your labors, great playing cues. BTW, also great looking cues, a pleasure to hold as well as play with.

I also am very much aware of all the time you have personally offered to cuemakers of all pay grades throughout the years, and how they have benefitted. Many AZers might be shocked if they ever saw a partial list of people with whom you have collaborated and given cuemaking advice. For the benefit and forward movement of the craft.

Thanks again for your comments.

See you soon,

Will Prout

cueman
09-29-2010, 09:38 PM
I also got bored with the v-groove and traditional style cues and slacked off of building them for many years. Then people started coming asking me to build cues with slotted diamonds and such and I built some more in recent years. I wanted my cues to have some indentifyable aspects so I standardized the joint ring and butt ring pattern to 12 sterling silver slots on most of my cues. Then I said the rest of the cue is up for grabs on how it will be built. So you will see that I have cues with Native American bead work in the handles and some more traditional looking cues and Ivory handles with gemstones and such. After scores of cues no two have been identical.
But pushing the envelope art wise could get most cuemakers a large unwanted inventory of their own cues because the market is down on high end cues, especially from less known cuemakers. At least that was the concensus among cuemakers in a forum I manage. It reminds me of the old saying, "Starving Artist." I will build cues that are not sold just because I enjoy doing it and want to be creative. But I will also build some simple cues with minimal inlay work because the customer wants it. I have refused to build cues that I thought would be ugly or too plain for me to want to sign it.
I think just about every cuemaker should build what they consider to be their current master piece, and keep it until it sells or play with it themself like Nat Green did with one of his master pieces. I noticed when I built cues loaded with inlays, sometimes I might have that cue for months before it sells, but it seemed to help sell my lower end cues as people could see more of what I was capable of. If you only show simple work, people will think you can only do simple work.

Ratta
09-29-2010, 09:41 PM
Hi Bill,

in the 80/s90s Dan Prather and his son visited germany to deal with a friend who started his cuemaker buisness here in my hometown-further he taught him some things- I can remember, that he was talking about *'Bill Stroud* , Tim Scruggs and Tony (early BlackBoars went out then) and how well your work was-and how much knowledge you have :)
He got sooooo many custom cues with him- sure there were many Prather Cues but also some Cues from different famous cuemakers. I was really upset
when i saw these cues and tested with em all day^^ and was impressed how big the difference was to the *known* cues (at that time Meucci, Huebler, Adam). Think that was also a reason that i got *infected* with the *wood-virus*.
The Stroud and the BlackBoar were SO DIFFERENT in craftmanship and play-ability .......was impressing to me.
Also i m still wondering about some guys when they still discussing about the *hit*. Yours and tony s were both cues with Stainless Steel Joint (piloted if i remember correctly) and they both played so unbelievable different- til now i can t remember that i ever had a cue with a stainless steel joint which played that way like yours and tony s did. So in my opinion grew, that the craftmanship is the most important for a cuemaker-not just the materials. A good cuemaker build perfect cues-also in a bit lower price-level (not cheap, just not high end i mean^^)

You made me know remembering these good old days- still said that the guy ended with cuemaking :-(, he was too early on the buisness imo. He was one of the best i met. Think 10 years later and he would have been a big one....

Just how you (the old cuemakers from the last decades) gave impressions and innovations to the *new generations* of cuemaker causes me to say hats off.

lg
Ingo

3kushn
09-30-2010, 04:33 AM
Bill,

The one that comes to my mind is Dave Barenbrugge. I truly think Dave could have been a world class artist in Montmarte, with canvas and palette, or a marble sculptor in Italy, or a car designer for Pinan Farina. I look at his stuff and I just get blown away. I don't even know if Dave can do an inlay! Maybe he was just born with a sense of balance and color. Maybe they can be made - I don't know. Maybe the trick is to turn artists into cue makers, not the other way around!

By the way, I doubt anybody has done more than Mr. Stroud to promote the art of cue making.

Chris ---> my playing cue is a JossWest too, and I ain't changing it!
Here's what Dieckman says about http://www.cuemaker.com/davidpage01.htm

I gave Dennis an idea that became a reality. Very simple. A cue that if you're standing 10 feet away it looks like a stick of maple. Put it in your hands and take a closer look you'll see something completely different. Both butterfly and sharp points. No veneers. Just BE on Curly.

Steve Logan
09-30-2010, 05:26 AM
New designs, or "out of the box" ideas are not always received with open arms. The old saying about people not wanting change seems to be accurate. I had a pretty radical cue design several years ago. It was similar to the Viking twist on a sneaky pete that came out years ago, and was successful, but this one had things going in different directions (without giving the idea away).
Anyway, I approached many cuemakers that were personal friends and they were not interested in it at all. It didn't fit their style. I completely understand.
Each one would point me to another - same response. Bill Stroud saw this design also, and although he did seem to like the idea, no one wanted to make it.
I also contacted Viking and they viewed it but chose to pass as we could not reach a deal. If you PM me i will tell you the deal breaker which will make you laugh.
Long story short - I have a pretty slick design that will only be seen on a piece of paper.

ScottR
09-30-2010, 06:20 AM
I hope I have made it clear that it is not just about the money. It is the inspiration and creativity that the cuemaker/artist/craftperson is willing to put into his/her work and then share it with the world. Good or bad. Win or lose. Success or failure. If they don't take the chance they will never know.

I wish to thank all of you that have taken the time to read and to post about a topic that I think is central to the future of cuemaking. It has been my life and passion for over 44 years and I sincerely hope that through my work and the cue shows that I have produced, I have made some positive changes to cuemaking in America.

Bill Stroud

You have, Bill. You have.

Scott Roberson

bstroud
09-30-2010, 07:21 AM
[QUOTE=Steve Logan;2634542]New designs, or "out of the box" ideas are not always received with open arms. The old saying about people not wanting change seems to be accurate.

Steve,

You are right about that. Consider the Impressionist painters. They were scorned by the Traditional painters of their times. Now they are held in the highest esteem.

It will be like that with cues also. As I said before Traditional cues will end up in collections and museums. Times change and people's opinions of what is desirable change also. I am just impatient to see cuemakers make a break from the old to the new.

Traditional cue designs are reaching a point of critical mass. Most if not all the designs have been done many times before. Quality of execution has reached the highest level. Exceptional materials are available to everyone.

What can the Traditional cuemaker do next to set them apart from the rest. More unrelated inlay. The limit has been reached. It is time to move on.

The technology to produce new types of designs is out there. The cuemakers just need to take the time to study art and design and take a chance. If only there were a school where cuemakers could go to study the Art of Cuemaking and perfect their craft, what a wonderful thing that would be. I have thought about it often. Someday perhaps.

Bill Stroud

Lazerrus
09-30-2010, 07:34 AM
I think in a way this can be related to tattooing. There are the traditionals such as skulls, mermaids, pin up girls, tribals, etc. Then you have some really off the wall custom work that you have never seen before. Traditional style cues will always be there I think. Even the most basic four point cue has remained the same for well over a hundred years. There is one man that comes to mind that took the cue and turned it into an art form. By this I mean using the cue as a pallet for art. Richard Black......
Many new makers are taking the traditional designs and putting new twists on them. Pete Tonkin comes to mind. But I think it's going to be hard to get away from the traditional style cue because in a way that is what a cue is I think. Not in just it's functionality but also it's appearance. Just my two cents.

Magik Wandzzzzz
09-30-2010, 11:27 AM
Here's what Dieckman says about http://www.cuemaker.com/davidpage01.htm

I gave Dennis an idea that became a reality. Very simple. A cue that if you're standing 10 feet away it looks like a stick of maple. Put it in your hands and take a closer look you'll see something completely different. Both butterfly and sharp points. No veneers. Just BE on Curly.

Dieckman<---are u sur it wdnt CURL on the BYRD ????:sorry:

bstroud
09-30-2010, 12:34 PM
I would again like to thank all of you that have followed this thread and especially those that have posted.

I have decided to carry my argument about cue design one step further.
In a sense I am going to put my money where my mouth is.

I am starting a new thread call Design Your Dream. I am offering the opportunity for anyone, player, cuemaker, collector, interested party to design the cue of their dreams. I will make it free of charge no matter what the price.

The rules are simple:

Present your design online on the AZ Billiards Main forum or the Cue and Case Gallery forum.

No gold, diamonds or other precious stones.

The design must consist of the usual cue materials. wood, ivory, silver, etc.

It can be as plain or as fancy as you like.

After a certain period, I will pick the 5 top designs.

Anyone that submitted a design can then vote for the design they like best.

I will make that design and present it to the winner at no charge.

Bill Stroud

PunchOut
09-30-2010, 12:41 PM
[QUOTE=Steve Logan;2634542]New designs, or "out of the box" ideas are not always received with open arms. The old saying about people not wanting change seems to be accurate.

Steve,

You are right about that. Consider the Impressionist painters. They were scorned by the Traditional painters of their times. Now they are held in the highest esteem.

It will be like that with cues also. As I said before Traditional cues will end up in collections and museums. Times change and people's opinions of what is desirable change also. I am just impatient to see cuemakers make a break from the old to the new.

Traditional cue designs are reaching a point of critical mass. Most if not all the designs have been done many times before. Quality of execution has reached the highest level. Exceptional materials are available to everyone.

What can the Traditional cuemaker do next to set them apart from the rest. More unrelated inlay. The limit has been reached. It is time to move on.

The technology to produce new types of designs is out there. The cuemakers just need to take the time to study art and design and take a chance. If only there were a school where cuemakers could go to study the Art of Cuemaking and perfect their craft, what a wonderful thing that would be. I have thought about it often. Someday perhaps.

Bill Stroud

amazing post.. i have only been collecting cues for 4-5 years and i am already growing tired of the standard 4/6/8 pointed cues with the same inlay styles. A couple years ago i got excited to see Eric Crisp thinking out of the box with his bizarre and beautiful wood combo's. Drexler seems to have some great inspiration, but i think he might be ahead of his time.

Magik Wandzzzzz
09-30-2010, 01:50 PM
[QUOTE=Steve Logan;2634542]New designs, or "out of the box" ideas are not always received with open arms. The old saying about people not wanting change seems to be accurate.

Steve,

You are right about that. Consider the Impressionist painters. They were scorned by the Traditional painters of their times. Now they are held in the highest esteem.

It will be like that with cues also. As I said before Traditional cues will end up in collections and museums. Times change and people's opinions of what is desirable change also. I am just impatient to see cuemakers make a break from the old to the new.

Traditional cue designs are reaching a point of critical mass. Most if not all the designs have been done many times before. Quality of execution has reached the highest level. Exceptional materials are available to everyone.

What can the Traditional cuemaker do next to set them apart from the rest. More unrelated inlay. The limit has been reached. It is time to move on.

The technology to produce new types of designs is out there. The cuemakers just need to take the time to study art and design and take a chance. If only there were a school where cuemakers could go to study the Art of Cuemaking and perfect their craft, what a wonderful thing that would be. I have thought about it often. Someday perhaps.

Bill Stroud

Bill:
With all due respect it exists already....it is call The Cueniversity....now, when are we going to play some golf and where :thumbup: ??????
Dieckman

3kushn
09-30-2010, 02:50 PM
Dieckman<---are u sur it wdnt CURL on the BYRD ????:sorry:

I'm always wrong around the house, so why not here.
My mistake.

Time to get out of here and the house. The only place I can be right.

Meezer Girl
09-30-2010, 03:52 PM
I would again like to thank all of you that have followed this thread and especially those that have posted.

I have decided to carry my argument about cue design one step further.
In a sense I am going to put my money where my mouth is.

I am starting a new thread call Design Your Dream. I am offering the opportunity for anyone, player, cuemaker, collector, interested party to design the cue of their dreams. I will make it free of charge no matter what the price.

The rules are simple:

Present your design online on the AZ Billiards Main forum or the Cue and Case Gallery forum.

No gold, diamonds or other precious stones.

The design must consist of the usual cue materials. wood, ivory, silver, etc.

It can be as plain or as fancy as you like.

After a certain period, I will pick the 5 top designs.

Anyone that submitted a design can then vote for the design they like best.

I will make that design and present it to the winner at no charge.

Bill Stroud

Great thread Bill - thank you for sharing your passion for always looking forward while still maintaining a top quality playing cue.

I cannot draw a lick but I do have an idea for your Design Your Dream thread :)

We played phone tag a couple of weeks ago - I will try to get you on Saturday about my 69-72 era Joss, the butt has some cracks in the finish.

Fran

Mr. Wiggles
10-11-2010, 05:47 PM
I'm new to AZ and really enjoying it. Its awesome that a legend like yourself is trying to give something back to this great game. I finally saw a Bill Renis cue not long ago, and I have to think this is what you are talking about. Nobody making cues like that and I bet he gets more reaction from this somewhat low end cue than some folks get from a $3000 cue. Different is good, well to a point. I do like trad. cues, don't really care for wolves and lions or naked girls. Don't want a cue to look like a tattoo. Have you seen the cheapos that have the butt that lights up like a lava light, way cool, dumb but cool. Having my first true custom cue made and even though I like trad. cues, it won't be. Solid wood, no points, no wrap, some ivory but arrowheads and teardrops instead of the usual. Not really planejane but there will be no other like it. Have had some so called (custom) production cues and thats fine, I just want something unique. Now I know your the man and wouldn't do this and I'm surprised no one has. Maybe I should get a patent before I spill the beans on my fantasy cue. Hydraulic/electric mechanical tip with a trigger, just put it close to the cue and squeeze. Adjustable of course. A little light show going on somewhere and of course some sounds. Maybe a computer in it to keep track of wins and losses. It would be sort of like the guy that played with a mop. Hell he was about a 6 speed. Thanks for chatting with us regular folks.

grindz
10-11-2010, 10:29 PM
Bill,

I can see the walls you are trying to get past in myself. If I try to think out of the box, my love of clean simple lines always calls me back. I do have a couple of questions for you if I may, that I need to know if the
answers will change my ideas of design.

The worst thing in my mind would be to have that 'perfect' cue made and then have the handle and/or matching shafts warp, how important is the splice (short or full) to keep the butt from warping, and do we have the
technology to have a shaft that doesn't warp?? Is there anything that needs to be allowed for to get both the hit of a spliced cue, and the feel?
I ask this w/out knowing the difference very well as I've for the most part played only with one of yours for almost 30 years. Also, are the proportions of the butt (length)... butt, handle, and forearm... in some way integral to the above questions and/or can they be adjusted in any major way to incorporate design? Sorry, if these are simplistic questions as I'm NO expert in cues... I just know when I like, what I like, and if I like how something feels.

If you would answer, it would be appreciated... and then I can get further on my design for your contest. ;)

Thanks in advance.

td

bstroud
10-12-2010, 06:06 AM
Bill,

I can see the walls you are trying to get past in myself. If I try to think out of the box, my love of clean simple lines always calls me back. I do have a couple of questions for you if I may, that I need to know if the
answers will change my ideas of design.

The worst thing in my mind would be to have that 'perfect' cue made and then have the handle and/or matching shafts warp, how important is the splice (short or full) to keep the butt from warping, and do we have the
technology to have a shaft that doesn't warp?? Is there anything that needs to be allowed for to get both the hit of a spliced cue, and the feel?
I ask this w/out knowing the difference very well as I've for the most part played only with one of yours for almost 30 years. Also, are the proportions of the butt (length)... butt, handle, and forearm... in some way integral to the above questions and/or can they be adjusted in any major way to incorporate design? Sorry, if these are simplistic questions as I'm NO expert in cues... I just know when I like, what I like, and if I like how something feels.

If you would answer, it would be appreciated... and then I can get further on my design for your contest. ;)

Thanks in advance.

td

TD,

The modern cored cues play as well or better than spliced cues. They are also more consistent in the way they play as they are rotated in the hand. This rotation is something you see in the very best players. They are looking for the center of gravity before they shoot.

The cored cues also seem to remain straight better that spliced cues.

The proportions of the butt are mostly for appearance.

Bill Stroud

grindz
10-12-2010, 08:09 AM
TD,

The modern cored cues play as well or better than spliced cues. They are also more consistent in the way they play as they are rotated in the hand. This rotation is something you see in the very best players. They are looking for the center of gravity before they shoot.

The cored cues also seem to remain straight better that spliced cues.

The proportions of the butt are mostly for appearance.

Bill Stroud

Thanks Bill for your response. Now I'll put my thinking cap back on and try to come up with something good. :wink:

Tim DeMaagd