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View Full Version : I'm celebrating completion of my 100th cue!! (long winded, as usual)


HittMan
10-15-2007, 11:22 AM
Hello All,

I?m celebrating the completion of my 100th cue. That?s the reason I?ve taken off a couple of days?it?s a big deal to me.

A couple years ago, a client and friend posted a gushing review of a pretty nice cue of mine - numbered in the 30?s (proving even blind hogs find an acorn occasionally). The AZ community flashed with angry responses at his audacity. At that time, I agreed not to share my work in this venue. However, lately I think this has changed?maybe I?m nicer now?anyway?I?ll chance it once again.

Skip on down to ?The Cue? if you are not interested in my (somewhat sappy) description of my learning curve?I?ll try to keep it brief.

It has been quite a ride from 2004 when I decided to pull the trigger on my cue shop. I had spent about 10 years in preparation trading equipment and finally bought a huge (for me) shop to begin in. We began in 2004 on April Fool?s day by turning 20 shaft blanks (wrong of course). I have burned a lot of cues since then (couldn?t sell ?em - couldn?t stand to look at ?em).

For those of you that don?t know me, I am a third generation woodworker having cut my teeth in my early teens building room additions and cribs (for corn and babies) for members of our church. I apprenticed my Grandfather as a violin/cabinet maker and piano rebuilder/tuner ?til I went to LSU where I earned my living doing home repair, building cabinets and contracting (among other things) finally taking a degree in Landscape Architecture. I had to wait to fall in love with pool until I got to LSU in 1970 (I competed on LSU?s NCAA team in 1974 and 75) because I wasn?t allowed in the pool room at home (Consequently, I couldn?t wait to get there). I grew up in Greenway Billiards in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (for those of you who can appreciate that) from the time when Claude Penn owned the room til I moved away in the late 80?s. When I relocated, I was building custom homes and medical offices, owned a millworks shop, ran a sawmill, brokered lumber in the off season, and manufactured hardwood flooring (all in between playing pool every day). I got injured in my shop (ruined my left hand and lost the better part of my hearing) and decided to change my line of work. I went back to school, became a CPA, and reduced my love of woodworking to hobby status for the next 15 years, ?til I effectively retired.

SO???I figured??..I can build a pool cue. I miss the work and was always fascinated with the tool aspect of pool cues. Damn sure couldn?t play anymore. I had spent some time around Mike Johnson of Jensen cues, Jerry Brock, formerly of Meucci, and had exacted several long technical conversations from both Billy Shick and Bill Stroud on the subject (while buying cues from them in the 70?s and early ?80s ?at the time I believe they both still considered themselves students of the craft and were still willing to share). Besides, I had built everything a fella could build out of wood?parabolic entrance pieces, sailboat components, spiral staircases, musical instruments, furniture, millwork of every kind for God?s sake!!! I had spent the last twenty-five years thinking about it. I knew how I wanted to do it?my way?build every component from raw material.

But I was unprepared. Our first 20 cues were a joke, so I got serious. The next 20 were better (but not enough better), so I called Mike Johnson and told him I wanted to see his shop. He invited me to come and spend a week, put me up in his house, fed me, treated me like a member of his family and opened my eyes. 20 cues later, Andy Gilbert felt sorry for me (I think) and took me on as his favorite charity (I guess) and things began to look up but I was still going backwards. The next 20 convinced me it might turn out to be worth it. I learned how to build the hit my customer requested and realized that my way had to include my customer. Now I am at the end of the next 20 (number 100) and I have finally produced a few cues I am genuinely proud of?never perfect, but no excuses. Billy Shick told me that I would have to ?build a few? before I would get the hang of it and Andy Gilbert said he would occasionally run across a few of his early cues and would be amazed at his progression. I understand these comments now.

Ultimately, I want to thank all the people who have supported me and advised me through the early phase of my favorite folly (not that I think all troubles have passed). I am simply renewed and grateful to present this milepost, my 100th cue, to the AZ community.

The Cue

The half splice, 13? forearm frame is curly bubinga with 4 ebony points recut with dogwood and recut again back to ebony. The track rings are annealed copper inlaid in double black linen phenolic in the A, B, C, D, & E positions growing slightly wider from the shaft to the final butt ring. The buttpiece is a repeat of the forearm with 4 additional ebony short points. The butt joint is a double black linen phenolic receiver with a 3/8 ? 10 stainless pin (the only piece of this cue purchased commercially). The shaft joint has a short wood alignment tenon and tight, hand cut, waxed threads (I make my own taps to assure fit for longevity). The ferrules are threaded, piloted and flat capped 1? Ivorine III and the butt cap is double black linen phenolic. I?d like to add that every component is mechanically attached as I have learned over time that glue fails every time.

The cue is 59? with two 12.75mm shafts of vacuum dried, white maple having 13.5? professional tapers. The weight is 19.5 ozs with one shaft and 19.25 oz with the other. The balance is somewhat front loaded (by design) as there is no weight pin needed in the butt (by design). The tips are medium Hercules yielding a crisp hit, a soft, solid sound to your ears and a soft, solid report to your hands. The shafts would be considered medium stiff. The wrap is hard (mechanically wound) black-over-white Irish linen that is starched and pressed flat. The finish is fine sanded hot oil and beeswax. My customer decided to postpone the clear coat to enjoy the feel of the wood (at my suggestion).

I am satisfied (unfortunately my photographic skills are lacking), but as usual?

Just my opinion?you be the judge.

Hittman,
(Andy Bruce)

bigskyjake
10-15-2007, 11:24 AM
that cue is one sharp mother father

Avenger
10-15-2007, 02:40 PM
Very nice work. That is a definitive piece of bubinga wood. Congratulations on your 100th cue.

Dead Money
10-15-2007, 07:26 PM
Nice cue man:)

kaznj
10-16-2007, 07:36 AM
You've done a great job.

Snapshot9
10-16-2007, 09:26 AM
Nice overall look to it.