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2013 Joss "Handmade" Cue - Not Exactly What They "Used To Make"
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JoshStodola
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2013 Joss "Handmade" Cue - Not Exactly What They "Used To Make" - 12-16-2013, 01:10 PM

*******************UPDATE*******************
Thanks to Will Prout for speaking with Dan Janes about this
Cue returned to Joss on December 28, 2013
New cue received on August 8, 2014 pics here
********************************************

I got this cue over six months ago. I am writing this thread now because someone remarked on here in another post that Joss will still make a handmade cue with razor sharp points if you ask them. The phrase "like they used to make" was thrown around and I have to say I had a very different outcome. They definitely DO NOT make them like they used to. Let me share my experience with you.

I contacted Dan Janes at Joss cues in October 2012 and asked if they would make me a sharp-pointed cue. I was expecting him to say "Nope, all we do is CNC these days" but to my delight he said they still do roughly a dozen or so "handmade" cues a year in the old school style with razor sharp points. I was excited so I explained my design in an email. Five ebony points with four veneers (black, blue, orange, yellow), irish linen wrap, ebony butt sleeve, and classic bushka style slotted diamonds (in ivory) and dots (in abalone) in the points and the butt. He really liked the design, we talked about it on the phone a couple times, and he eventually quoted me a price of $1,800 total with a ~4 month turnaround. I made a $500 deposit, and they got started on the cue. I did not get any pictures during the build, which was fine, but I did call Dan on occasion to inquire on the progress of the cue and Dan was always gracious enough to talk about it. I satisfied the remaining balance before the cue was completed. I received the cue May 1, 2013.



The first thing that I was disappointed with was ivory notched diamonds. The "notches" were huge, and I specifically asked for the tiny slots because I had seen Joss cues with this shape before and I thought it looked cheap. I even sent a picture of the exact diamonds I wanted (from a Scruggs cue that I own), and Dan acknowledged it and said it is a standard guitar inlay and "no problem" for him to replicate in ivory. The diamonds in the butt ended up being a completely different shape, and much larger than I anticipated. I also couldn't help but notice that some of the diamonds had what appeared to be "filler" around the edges. The abalone dots looked great and had lots of depth, but unfortunately a lot of them were not lined up with the diamonds like they were supposed to be.



The color of the veneers was vibrant and exactly what I was going for, but unfortunately there is all sorts of odd little hairlines on the edges. There is tons of glue where the points come together, I do not know how to make cues but I don't think any cue maker would deem this as high quality work. Additionally, the outside black veneer appears to be two to three times as thick as the others, which I do not understand at all because I never asked for it. Overall it was just a super messy veneer job that did not resemble anything of the classic Joss cues. In my opinion this work is subpar, it definitely was not what I expected for nearly two grand.



Initially, I really was not overly pissed off with the result. The cue still was decent, and I was ultimately concerned about the playability, so I refrained from contacting Dan until I had a chance to put some hours onto the cue. I took it to a pool table that evening and played for three hours straight. It played lights out. I believe I ran my first three racks with the cue. It has nice balance and a provides a crisp hit. But obviously I wanted to have the best of both worlds, a cue that plays great and has my design.

The following morning I wrote Dan an email. I described what I really liked about the cue (feel of the wrap, balance, figure of the curly maple forearm, talking me out of ivory ferrules and choosing juma instead) and then I explained what I did not like about the cue (messy veneers, wrong diamond inlay shape, dot misalignment). After going a few days without a reply, I was somewhat puzzled so I called him up. He was real grouchy and it sounded like he did not want to talk to me. I told him the diamonds weren't like the picture I sent and he replied "I make the inlays how I want to make them". Already baffled by this statement, I asked about all the messy glue lines on the veneers, and he pretty much said the cue was perfect when it left his shop and hung up on me. I was flabbergasted. I actually laughed out loud for a bit, then I brushed it off and went back to work.

In the end, do I feel I got ripped off? Not exactly. But I do not think this cue is worth $1,800, maybe half of that. And if I had been making cues for that long, I would probably do a little more to uphold my reputation, especially when it comes to serious buyers who want fancier "top shelf" cues. I am not going to say anything bad about Dan, the communication was fantastic up until the point he was met with constructive criticism. But I would never recommend one of these "handmade" Joss cues to anyone who has a keen eye for detail and craftmanship.

What do you guys think about all this? Would you be satisfied with this cue? For the record, these pics were taken with a cell phone.


Josh Stodola

Last edited by JoshStodola; 08-08-2014 at 09:43 AM.
  
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Bob Farr
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12-16-2013, 01:31 PM

What do I think? I Think you got SCREWED and no Kiss! Seriously, their production cues are done better than that. Sorry it happened to you but, thanks for the warning.
  
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ddadams
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12-16-2013, 01:42 PM

Wow man... I don't think many people would let that out of their shop,

That's pretty bad of Joss to treat you that way too. Their production cues look way better than that...





Looking for this CA$H cue. PM me with any information!
http://www.pccues.com/ProductDetails.aspx?productID=742

Looking to buy an old TAR Sugartree shirt. Several if possible.

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Oh boy
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Oh boy - 12-16-2013, 02:06 PM

I never get in anybodys business on these forums. Why today I don't know.

There are 3 sides to every side.
You sound like a reasonable gentlemen. From reading your story and seeing pics, I am a believer, but always have room to hear the other side.
If all is true in what you say I would copy and paste this story everyday, anyplace I could on the internet or anywhere it can be seen or heard.
I would torture him with bad publicity.
It's hard to believe that cue left the shop like that.
I have always been a fan of Joss, after seeing that and hearing your story I would not order one.
  
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measureman
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12-16-2013, 02:07 PM

Not good. You should have had Lucasi make it. Those kids in China do better work.
But on a serious note I read on their site that Dan or his son inspect every cue before it leaves their shop. I found a brand new Joss in a store here in Denver and the shaft was not round but oval. I guess Dan and his son were not there that day to inspect it. So I bought a quality Chinese made Lucasi.


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Triangles tips and Masters chalk are good enough.




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The above quote by Softshot

Last edited by measureman; 12-16-2013 at 02:11 PM.
  
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12-16-2013, 02:36 PM

I would box that baby up and return it to the builder. For 2K, it had better be done right and to your expectations. I don't see how this cue was "perfect" when it left the shop.

I would ask whose hands built the cue.
  
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12-16-2013, 02:48 PM

I've got one of those not round shafts ... Bought an AV03 last year from workthenight (good seller) to try a Joss with a phenolic joint rather than SS... It shot ok, didn't cost me a ton... Honestly just thought it was a bad tip (shot better with an aftermarket shaft although I usually shoot with classic maple). A Month ago (or so) I had a friend put a new tip on it... When he got it back to me, he mentioned it was out of round (oval ) and he had worked on it a bit... Go figure. Probably the last joss I buy.

Anyone want a test hit av03... Lemme know...

Joe


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12-16-2013, 03:23 PM

I know we wouldn't treat you that way, and there is no way in HELL, that kind of work would leave Keith's Shop. I've seen him band saw, and burn better work than that. I always though way better of Dan, and Joss in general. This is really sad to read. I hope you have better luck in the future.

I would try to return it, and give Dan one last chance to make it right. Whether returning money or a properly built cue, either would make me happy.

All the best,


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They are truly "old school" made with no CNC, no pantographs, no veneers and about 55 gallons of coffee. ~ Keith Hanssen
www.keithkues.com


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Sad - 12-16-2013, 06:06 PM

First of all - sorry that they sent you that cue.

Did you have the opportunity to contact Dan or Joss and explain your concerns? I only ask because I wonder if Dan or his son actually saw and inspected the cue. Hopefully they do the right thing and replace the cue with something they would be proud to hold and call a Joss "handmade" cue. They have been doing this for so long that it troubles me that they would do this for a quick buck.

With all the cue makers out there they should fight harder to keep their name amongst the elite. The old JOSS from the 70s and early 80s were something special. I remember it meant something when you pulled out a Joss from your case.

Sanjay


  
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12-16-2013, 06:35 PM

I am pretty sure if you call Dan and talk to him he will do what it takes to make you happy.. Dan is a legend in the pool industry and I would give him a chance to correct this.. Somewhere something got lost in translation if you ask me..
  
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Thanks guys - 12-16-2013, 08:10 PM

Thank you all for commenting. As I mentioned in the original post, I did contact Dan the day after I received the cue. I don't know if I caught him on a bad day, but he said he didn't know what to make of the email. When I expressed my dissatisfaction with the numerous imperfections, I did not get offered anything. I got hung up on. No I did not attempt to contact him after that. And I won't attempt to contact him again. This was over six months ago. I am not seeking compensation and I don't want a replacement cue. The funny thing is toward the end he called me and said he needed to make me a new cue because the abalone "looked like crap". I said ok but then the next day he emailed me again and said it looked bad because it just hadn't been polished yet. Apparently the communication within the company is not so good. He even admitted this and I have plenty of emails to back up everything I have said.

And yes I do sincerely try to be a gentleman when it comes to doing legitimate business. It took me 6 months to work up the guts to post this. I do not want to ruin anybody's reputation. That's the last thing I want to do. But I went into this deal expecting a cue of a lifetime. I didn't get it but I can't make a big deal out of that. There are more important things in life. Cheers to you all


Josh Stodola
  
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12-16-2013, 09:36 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshStodola View Post
Thank you all for commenting. As I mentioned in the original post, I did contact Dan the day after I received the cue. I don't know if I caught him on a bad day, but he said he didn't know what to make of the email. When I expressed my dissatisfaction with the numerous imperfections, I did not get offered anything. I got hung up on. No I did not attempt to contact him after that. And I won't attempt to contact him again. This was over six months ago. I am not seeking compensation and I don't want a replacement cue. The funny thing is toward the end he called me and said he needed to make me a new cue because the abalone "looked like crap". I said ok but then the next day he emailed me again and said it looked bad because it just hadn't been polished yet. Apparently the communication within the company is not so good. He even admitted this and I have plenty of emails to back up everything I have said.

And yes I do sincerely try to be a gentleman when it comes to doing legitimate business. It took me 6 months to work up the guts to post this. I do not want to ruin anybody's reputation. That's the last thing I want to do. But I went into this deal expecting a cue of a lifetime. I didn't get it but I can't make a big deal out of that. There are more important things in life. Cheers to you all
Handled like a true gentleman. To be honest, it may not have been Dan's hand personally that made the various flaws (I doubt it was, he's been at this too long and is in the HOF for a reason), but in my opinion he should at least be able to see them and try to view it from your perspective. I give you huge props for handling it the way you did. We hear so many horror stories about cuemakers screwing over those that have ordered cues from them, but in turn the customer reacted like a moron and likely only made it worse. Is it right that a customer gets screwed in the first place? No. But being an ass to an ass is only going to make the guy more of an unhelpful ass.

My advice - get an old block letter Joss. Those were ALL hand-made by Dan, and if other hands touched them, they were likely Stroud if it's an early cue, Bob Frey, or Tim Scruggs. Not a bad bunch of guys to likely have had a hand in making your cue

Again, best of luck on your search for a lifetime cue. Most of us are still looking for 'the one.' I wouldn't doubt you'll find it if you pick up an old block letter Joss. The reputation that Joss enjoys today was built on those cues. Cheers, Brett.

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12-16-2013, 09:53 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToomnyQs View Post
I am pretty sure if you call Dan and talk to him he will do what it takes to make you happy.. Dan is a legend in the pool industry and I would give him a chance to correct this.. Somewhere something got lost in translation if you ask me..
I agree dan is a legend I got a hand made cue it was perfect try him again


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12-17-2013, 06:09 AM

I am going to send Dan a link to this post.. If he has not seen it he probably should.. I have about 20 of his old Block letter cues and they all far exceed the workmanship in this cue.. I can't imagine he will turn his back on you.. Hope this works out for both of you in the end.. Dan S
  
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12-17-2013, 09:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToomnyQs View Post
....I can't imagine he will turn his back on you.
I agree. Workmanship in those veneers and inlays is subpar for an $1800 cue. They appear to have missed the mark on this "special run" cue.


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