Ash grain type
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Zieglermt
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Ash grain type - 06-07-2018, 01:35 PM

Hey guys,
Iím looking to buy a new cue and Iíve been looking at Maximus cues
And I was wondering if anyone has noticed a difference
In ash chevron grain. Do you guy think if the grain is further apart
Does this mean the wood is less dense meaning the cue would be a lower
Deflecting cue? And relatively would a thicker close -together grain
Would result in a more sold hitting cue? I donít necessarily want a super solid cue
I am searching for a lower deflecting cue. So let me know what you
Guys think

Thanks,
Mark
  
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Ssonerai
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06-11-2018, 01:43 PM

Since no one else jumped in...

Never built an ash shaft, though have considered it, nor a snooker cue, so take this with a grain of salt.

I have made a few pool cues off and on starting in late 80's, and as a pro woodwhacker, have handled tens, if not hundreds of thousands of feet of lumber by now.

My take on your Q is that fast growth hardwoods that have widely spaced rings tend to have denser, ("heavier") somewhat livelier, and less stable characteristics. Often stronger, as well. Old slow growth hardwoods with lots of growth ring/inch tend to be a bit less dense (more grain/capillary lines = less lignin); maybe a bit less lively, but stable & more predictable (performance will change less over seasons or years).

Most people select OG, straight, parallel grain material for things like cue shafts largely due to stability and predictability. They "engineer" (craft?) in the desired performance profile by managing tapers, diameter & such.

I have the sense that things like ball bats go the other way - young fast growth with lots of lignin for a lively stronger sports "tool".

Maybe having registered my guess, a real English snooker cue maker will chime in to tell me how wrong this is. :

(I'm not wrong on the described attributes, but I don't know which ones a snooker cue maker prefers)

smt
  
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06-23-2018, 11:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ssonerai View Post
Since no one else jumped in...

My take on your Q is that fast growth hardwoods that have widely spaced rings tend to have denser, ("heavier") somewhat livelier, and less stable characteristics. Often stronger, as well. Old slow growth hardwoods with lots of growth ring/inch tend to be a bit less dense (more grain/capillary lines = less lignin); maybe a bit less lively, but stable & more predictable (performance will change less over seasons or years).

smt
So are you saying that wood with more grain is less dense and therefore perhaps more flexible? And thank you for your thoughtful reply.
  
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06-26-2018, 07:39 AM

Generally wood with less grain (younger faster growing) is tougher, can be bent a bit further without breaking; and is a tiny bit heavier. Wood with more grain is usually from just outside the center of an older slow growing tree. It tends to be more stable, a bit lighter, and can break when bent as far as the younger wood. In ash it will still be plenty flexible unless the tree died on the stump.

But this is very, very general. Wood is not a uniform material. It also depends where on the tree the wood is from. If the tree was leaning, wood on the top or bottom side will be modified by the tree to support itself (compression and tension wood) and compression wood from the bottom of a bow or bottom of a large limb will have wide rings and yet can be very brittle.

Tension wood from the top side of a large limb or heavily leaning tree will have narrow rings, but it will be very un-stable, and it will be flexible and whippy.

Are you confused yet?

The good news is i am confident any person making Ash snooker cues can read lumber, and is choosing straight grain wood from large trunks (not large limbs). Those guys have to choose very straight grain from longish blanks, just in order to get the chevrons. What this really says, is that even if you can't read lumber that well (don't have 10's of thousands of bd ft experience in critical apps) picking lumber that gives perfect chevrons, perfectly graduated along the shaft, will eliminate most of the bad stuff. After than, if the blank keeps warping significantly as it is worked, a cue maker will stop wasting time on it and put it in the burn pile, so it becomes self selecting for an acceptable material.

Back to your Q as to which is better, young whippy wood or older slightly more stable wood, i don't know for snooker cues. For pool cues, i like the tight grain stuff, but that is an old wood-workers built in bias toward stability. I think slightly wider grain probably plays better. The fashion is currently for older really tight grain maple and there's nothing wrong with that. It at least starts to open up the possibility that perfect white wood is not the only option. (since the fine grain tends to be from older trees, and closer to the heart, it tends to be darker)

At the end of the day, it's down to what the cue-maker does with it.

smt
  
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06-28-2018, 08:12 AM

Looking at your original Q, maybe i should try to summarize.

the long winded explanations were to try to explain that as your surmise there is a difference in wood; however, it is so close that the cue-makers influence is greater. Basically the taper and how thin or thick (in very small increments) he makes it.

Also, the chevrons are a tattle-tale: It is not possible to have perfect chevrons spaced uniformly on both sides of a straight cue if the blank was bowed when the cue was started, or even if it bowed (from stress or stress-relief) when it was being made. Wood being wood, that still does not mean it is/was perfect, but close enough. If the chevrons obviously look "off" it may still be a great playing cue due to cue-maker talent, but it probably did not start with the best piece of material. That is why snooker players who don't really know the background details, can obsess on the grain/chevron pattern.

The taper will affect the spacing. The cuemaker finesses the taper to gain the performance he deems ideal; or ideal for a known customer.

IMO, with a metal ferule, the difference between wide grain and close grain on a snooker cue as far as LD is going to be practically non existent. Either one can be made slightly more LD than the other by a few grams change in the end mass, or by a slightly different taper. Snooker cues are so small dia. that there is not a lot to work with there, either.

If you go to the extremes possible within "good" blanks of ash, the tight grain vs wide grain may well feel different to some players (whether a cue robot would find them different or not). Feel is a big part of how a player gets confidence and comfort in using his stick, so it may be a subjective factor. If you can actually find a couple, or better yet, sets of maybe 3 of each, and try them, you may prefer a difference. This is because the shock wave propagation ("feedback") will probably be different. However, most of the feed back occurs long after the tip has influenced the ball; from a technical standpoint.

In an ideal world, someone would paint a bunch of cues black (with massless, perfectly non-influencing paint, of course). You would play with them until a clear favorite emerged, and then the paint would be rubbed off and you would see what the grain looked like.

smt
  
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07-31-2018, 10:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ssonerai View Post
Looking at your original Q, maybe i should try to summarize.

smt
This right here is why I love our online community. Your long-winded responses have been amazing. I respect the fact you're a cuemaker. I respect the fact you're humble enough to take the time out of your day and type out a response to me and I respect that you know what you're talking about. Thank you very much for explaining all that I could not have hoped for a better person qualified to answer me, and one who would have done so and so for that I am just glad we have azbilliards here for all the awesome people out there that love pool/snooker/cuesports enough to come on here and talk logistics and details and geek out about things like this
  
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08-01-2018, 08:03 AM

Zieglermt-

Thanks, that's generous!
I'm a hobbyist cuemaker who has studied the subject on and off for about 30 years, starting back when i first made a few shafts for butts people gave me. I now make a few full splice sneaky's every now and then. Don't ask me how to make a fancy cue though i do have a Gorton 3D used in regular work and for metal.

I have been a pro woodworker including projects in some high end, recognizable addresses and public buildings, and have studied wood for over 45 years professionally. Making doors and occasionally fancy replica windows for historic projects as well as curved church pews & such gives a person a lot of opportunity to learn the hard way (often too late when first starting out ) how wood moves. Doors, especially, are subject to all sorts of climate changes and for exterior doors it's different on each side. A person really gets the grain configuration x movement/warping thing drubbed in or they get a lot of call backs. I still make plenty of mistakes. Wood is wood, lol.

Again, thanks for your generous note.

smt
  
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