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Dieckman THE PATH I TOOK TO BECOME A CUE BUILDER
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Dieckman THE PATH I TOOK TO BECOME A CUE BUILDER - 07-30-2018, 09:25 AM

THE WRITTEN WORD

THE PATH I TOOK TO BECOME A CUE BUILDER
1970-75: Back from 33 months in Viet Nam I was enrolled under the GI Bill at the University of Michigan. I spent more time on the golf course there and the Michigan Union Billiard Room than in the library. Ended up being the guy who re-tipped their house cues using a Tweeten’s Wheel, a block of wood, and a razor blade, a little spit and muscle. Also did private two piece cues on the side which is where I really made the big bucks !! Could not do ferrules yet. During this time I went to Chicago a few times to talk to Eddie Laube about building cues. I would have bought his metal lathe except Frank “Sailor” Stellman beat me to it. Last I heard he was still alive and kicking and still working on it. Bought my first wood at this time on my trips to the windy city.
Joined the American Billiards Association after meeting Carl Conlon and discovering the game. Played in three of four 3-C tournaments a year, mostly just locals events in Michigan but I was hooked. Got to Chicago a few times with Carl for billiards. Every time [2-3 x ??] I visited Laube I went with my bro BONES who would spend a few days with a cuz of his negotiating how much money cuz would pay for the 10 pounds BONES would bring. I just hung out.

1975-77: my first wife got her Ph.D. in theater and got her first teaching job at an obscure college in Rockbridge County, VA. Must have like the place because that is where I am now living again after many years of absence. The heart of the Confederacy, almost. But back then I met a guy with a big lathe and bought a gross of house cues from Dufferin and turned them into sneaky petes. I sold them in flea markets and in local pool halls. Just cut the *****es in half, slammed in a 5/16" x 18 TPI x 3 ½" piece of galvanized. hardware rod up the hole, PRESS FIT, and then in the shaft just went in with a standard 3-flute tap and cut 18 threads to the inch with it into the wood, no brass insert mind you. Hell, didn’t care how long they would last nor did the hillbillies we sold them to. I paid for the Dufferins after selling about 50 of these beasts and after that it was pure profit on the remaining ones. Of course a couple dozen did end up as nothing but fancy tomato stakes.

1977-79: moved to Omaha, Nebraska following my first wife when she got a better teaching job there. Still had a couple of dozen cues left and sold all like hot cakes. Just played and sold cues. No tip repair, no nothing, except for my own shafts. Tended bar at a private club and got to know the members. Ever heard of Warren Buffet? He might even still remember me; I remember him.

1979-1986: fall of 1979 I dropped out of Creighton University’s Law School after my third day, left first wife [we are still good friends to this day] and moved back to Ann Arbor with my car [Olvo The Volvo] the clothes on my back and $1000 in my pocket. I went back to manage a private gaming club in Ann Arbor called Boards and Billiards. I was once again in “The Pool and Billiards Industry”. First thing I did was make it public and invite all my friends. Got the place up and running and in the spring the owners, as per our agreement, hired a real manager, a young lady that I had trained as my replacement. As part of the deal I got my first lathe, I still have that beast, that had the accuracy needed to build cues. A Model 1957B LOGAN, a fine machine. Also worked for The University of Michigan Athletic Department helping Tommy Simon run the McKenzie designed golf course that it owned. Tommy was the head pro and also Men’s and Women’s golf coach, a combat veteran, 2d DIV KOREA, and I am a combat veteran Vietnam so we hit it off. He taught me how to teach and how to hustle. We talked till he died a few years ago. Come to think of it, we still talk at times. Loved the man, he taught me so much. I built my first butterfly butts back then, as well as custom backgammon and chess tables, inlayed boxes, I made sawdust and money in the back of a friends business and he did not even charge me any rent!! I was working 20-30 hours at the golf course and 40 hours in the sawdust business. By the time I left Ann Arbor in 1986, Tommy had made me second in command at the golf course. Now keep in mind all this time I was MAKING cues as fast as I could in my spare time off of hustling the suckers on the golf course and then in the winter I would trek down to Florida and live off the fat of the land. My parents had retired down there, and all I did was play pool and billiard, hustle golf and sell cues. I used to stop off in Leesburg at Frank Ramsey’s place [one of my first cue building students] which is where is first met MURRAY ‘SLOWER THAN SEARING’ TUCKER when he was still 16. I know he bought a cue from me; can’t remember whether it was off the rack or a custom order Look at him now. Good job kid !! [Do you still have that cue ??] I THERE AT THE CREATION when the truck pulled up in Dennis Searing’s drive way with his first lathe. Dennis said: “Could you put it here?” And the trucker replied: “I only deliver, you have to off load...” OOPS.....he finally got it boots on the ground two days later.....I know I was still there then also. That was in the spring and that next fall I was back visiting with him and he had his firs 3/4/5? cues to show me. He asked me what I thought of his work and I said to him: ‘YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN KID....I GOT NOTHING I CAN TEACH YOU....JUST DON’T QUITE YOUR REAL JOB FOR TEN YEARS.” About 7 seven years later he called me up and in a hushed voice said:
“Dieckman.....I QUIT MY REAL JOB....”
And he is now what he is. Good job, kid !! BUT this was in the 90's not during this time period. This is the first time I met BILL MALONEY, and that ride last over 30 years and THAT STORY WILL BE TOLD.
1986-90: Golf took precedence over cues and billiards. In this period I actually became a Class A Memeber of The PGA of America and was a rising star. I could play but I could teach even better. In the early 1980's I was going after an MA in Kinesiology at the U of M where I learned the virtues of film as it relates to the learning of muscle memory and sports. I was one of the pioneers using video to teach the golf swing. I moved to Toledo Ohio in June of 1986 to work for another combat veteran of Korea, Roy Beattie, as his head assistant and teaching pro at a very inclusive private club by the name of Sylvania CC. The Inverness Club is the most well known club in Toledo, but they seem to think their shit don’t stink....USGA pukes, NO gamling, look down their nose at you types. Sylvania CC they let any body in: crooked bankers, Koreans, roofers, Jews, tort lawyers, Hispanics, trash haulers, even blacks, you name it, as long as you liked to gamble on the course and at cards in the 19th Hole, as it was called you were welcome as a member. And then after three years Roy got terminated and they wanted me to replace him. Out of a stupid sense of loyalty I declined the offer and went east instead of west, but still in the golf business. These were years in the cue building wilderness down in Toledo even tho my shop was just an hour north. The three years down in Toledo I started 15 APR and work for ROY every ****ing day until 1 NOV when he would lay me off and stop paying me until next season. NOV was spent building butts for next year and turning down last years efforts, matching shafts for them so I could hat up, find my horse and head out.......TO THE LAND OF MILK AND HONEY.....that is down to Florida with stops at points in between [HELLO Lexington KY-jelly, Chattanoooooga and the Windy Phil. I usually end up selling to room owners, not players but did get to know a lot of people during those years.....slept on a lot of couches as well as guest rooms in mansions. JUST AS AN ASIDE, sometime in the early summer 1986 [I had only had the job at Sylvania CC for three months or so and given up on ****ing cue building, at least in my mind at the time] Ray Schuler [an old buddy in the biz] called me up and wanted not to hire me but to partner up. I told him thanks but no thanks, my future was in golf **** billiards. When I turned him down he still needed help so he hired a kid named IVAN LEE as his production manager and I think you all know what IVAN has done since then.....good job kid !! AT ANY RATE I gotta lot more stories I could relate but that will be for the future.....but I wanna drop few more names having already done so. Never met him but a golfer by name of Byron Nelson [IRON BYRON begot IRON WILLIE] was at one time THE HEAD PROFESSIONAL at THE INVERNESS CLUB and at one point won 11 PGA TOUR events in a row, or something like that, which is still the record, I believe. AT ANY RATE when he needed some serious practice he snuck off to SYLVANIA CC for a pratice round and the gambling, thought it to be the more challenging venue. That was during WAR TWO I think.... ONE of our members at SCC was a MEL “CALL ME UNCLE MEL” HARBAUGH and I think you know that name if you follow AMERICAN RULES FOOTBALL, or at least the name of some of his nephews....the HEAD PRO at INVERNESS had a son, who incidentely is still playing pro golf but at the senior level [just a “B” player but solid]. Tom had given up on trying to teach his son anything, so he sent him to me, the magic man with the magic cam and the magic mind. AT ONE POINT IN DISGUST I said to the son: “Best thing you can do is toss your clubs in the trunk of your car AND SELL THE ****ING CAR !!” That is when TOM PERNICE, Jr started really paying attention to me.

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07-30-2018, 09:29 AM

NOV 1990-present:
Said to myself: “**** GOLF......I am going to BUILD cues not make them....AND make cue building video’s and sell them and become a world famous millionaire.” And so I left Northampton Country Club [Bob Toski was once the head pro there] and a wonderful woman and a three legged cat, except this time I had a FORD, the clothes on my back and only $100. Back to Ann Arbor and my machines and my 80 year old aunty’s apartment [thank god she was in Florida for the winter AT ANY RATE, that is the road I have traveled since then. Was homeless for 2 years sleeping at aunty’s couches of others, even in my car at times. BUT my machinery was up and running thanks to a very dear friend of mine STEVE TITUS of Predator 314 fame. During this time I learned how to build pool cues as before I had specialized in just cues for 3 cushion billiards. Crude ring work was attempted. The wood screw joint began evolving. I made the first of three video sets on cue building. And then I found a place in Michigan for The CUENIVERSITY and spent 20 years doing nothing but building cues AND TEACHING OTHER HOW NOT TO DO IT !!! During this time I was still teaching the golf swing and mind, but only to a few select few students who had taken certain vows.....some of then still send me videos of their swing for my analysis, usually around my birthday.....became the captain of a gang of five that played in various charity scrambles around Ann Arbor a few times a year.....our only goal was to make ALL TWOs on the THREEs and ALL THREEs on the FIVEs. We figured the FOURs would take care of themselves, we once shot a 56. I still cherish over two dozen paperweights from those days. GOOGLE THIS ONE......one of my golf students [I got to work with his son also] just became the FIRST BLACK PERSON in the whole wide world to own a ROLLER dealership. Good job, TM. His older brother, who is really in control of the family money, is an ELI and sometime OBAMA golfing buddie because he concedes him 4 foot putts....and his daddy started jumping out of planes in his ****ing eighties.....and I made cuws for all of of them, my friends, back in the day when I really needed it. They were patrons of my art...we still be in touch. Went back to Viet Nam for a month in 2005 and came back revitalized and really started trying to do some crazy designs, ALL WITH A BUNCH OF SAWS, NO CNC. Sometime later, maybe 2012/13 winter and went down to the shop to play one morning and discovered it had become WORK, no longer fun. That is when I quit, even though I have been telling people for years I was going to die in harness working on my lathe. I prefer to live the life of a hermit and now I am a guru on a mountain top on the western slope of The Blue Ridge Mountains, tending to my garden and to my katzzzzzzzzzzzzz and my writing. I still have knowledge to pass on and intend to do so if anyone will listen. When people came to Michigan and The Cueniversity they came on a mission, not for the ambiance and many came. One guy came for two weeks and left in under 22 hours and $2000 poorer but I finally built him a cue that he plays with to this day. A guy from the orient spent 45 days once smoking my ganja and doing some neat work, I think he is even coming back soon after all these years. I believe I have influenced cue building in Australia, Russia, The Netherlands, The Orient to say nothing of The Americas.
FLASH FORWARD TO THE FUTURE:
AT ANY RATE I have retired to this mountain top in a small place where I once lived long, long ago and am hoping for visitors. If you would like to improve your pool game vis-a-vs rail first shots, not just stopping at one rail, I AM DA MAN. Please call for reservations as I have a pool player’s BED AND BREAKFAST with a perfect DIAMOND bar box set up by YURA RA to die for. I have perhaps 69 butts oversize from my building days that are available for sale. Even if you are not a cue builder yourself you could still take one of these home and have your local go to guy finish it off, under my phone guidance, of course. 20 year old ++ shaft wood available also for your inspection. I have accommodations for as many as four including jacuzzi.

CUE BUILDERS: want one of my butt blanks to finish off get in touch with me. Pictures will be coming soon.

Side Note: Dieckman work and live with Danny Stout (Stout Cues) North Carolina from 1991-1992
http://www.cuemaker.com/pathtocuebuild.htm


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Last edited by billiardshot; 07-30-2018 at 09:42 AM.
  
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07-30-2018, 10:55 AM

Gold.

Some formatting would be nice (but no complaints).


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07-30-2018, 02:43 PM

Really enjoyed that. Typically it would be beyond my attention span. But thank you for sharing pal.


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07-30-2018, 03:13 PM

I always had great respect for Dennis’s military service. Until reading this I had no clue he loved golf so much.
  
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07-30-2018, 04:14 PM

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Originally Posted by jazznpool View Post
I always had great respect for Dennis’s military service. Until reading this I had no clue he loved golf so much.
That skinny dude could rip the cover off a golf ball. He would set up 2 tees with golf balls in his front yard and we would hit the balls across the road out into the open field to see who would have to go in the house and fetch the next beer after we got done in the shop. I say "we"...but I always told him to go first and most of the time after he hit his ball I would just turn around and go fetch the beers without even taking a stroke!
  
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07-30-2018, 04:22 PM

While it's still up and running here's some more reading material from Dennis.

http://www.cuemaker.com/
  
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07-31-2018, 07:05 AM

I was more like 20 when we first met but I did buy my first custom cue from him. It was partially finished when he came through Leesburg and we worked out the details and he finished it up when he got back to his shop. I turn 50 this year so I guess I knew Dennis for close to 30 years even though we did not talk often it was always great to see or hear from him.

Frank had bought his videos in hopes of making cues one day but after his fathers passing he remodeled the pool room and had no time. When I got the urge to try and make a cue he gave me the tapes to watch.


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07-31-2018, 04:38 PM

Name:  IMG_0014.jpg
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Size:  200.3 KB a couple of Dennis's cards
  
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07-31-2018, 09:02 PM

Good stuff, keep it coming!
  
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08-01-2018, 08:34 AM

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Attachment 497113 a couple of Dennis's cards
Cool.. in my files of photos I have a few pictures of DD as a golf pro


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Smile Thank you- - 08-06-2018, 07:30 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by billiardshot View Post
NOV 1990-present:
Said to myself: “**** GOLF......I am going to BUILD cues not make them....AND make cue building video’s and sell them and become a world famous millionaire.” And so I left Northampton Country Club [Bob Toski was once the head pro there] and a wonderful woman and a three legged cat, except this time I had a FORD, the clothes on my back and only $100. Back to Ann Arbor and my machines and my 80 year old aunty’s apartment [thank god she was in Florida for the winter AT ANY RATE, that is the road I have traveled since then. Was homeless for 2 years sleeping at aunty’s couches of others, even in my car at times. BUT my machinery was up and running thanks to a very dear friend of mine STEVE TITUS of Predator 314 fame. During this time I learned how to build pool cues as before I had specialized in just cues for 3 cushion billiards. Crude ring work was attempted. The wood screw joint began evolving. I made the first of three video sets on cue building. And then I found a place in Michigan for The CUENIVERSITY and spent 20 years doing nothing but building cues AND TEACHING OTHER HOW NOT TO DO IT !!! During this time I was still teaching the golf swing and mind, but only to a few select few students who had taken certain vows.....some of then still send me videos of their swing for my analysis, usually around my birthday.....became the captain of a gang of five that played in various charity scrambles around Ann Arbor a few times a year.....our only goal was to make ALL TWOs on the THREEs and ALL THREEs on the FIVEs. We figured the FOURs would take care of themselves, we once shot a 56. I still cherish over two dozen paperweights from those days. GOOGLE THIS ONE......one of my golf students [I got to work with his son also] just became the FIRST BLACK PERSON in the whole wide world to own a ROLLER dealership. Good job, TM. His older brother, who is really in control of the family money, is an ELI and sometime OBAMA golfing buddie because he concedes him 4 foot putts....and his daddy started jumping out of planes in his ****ing eighties.....and I made cuws for all of of them, my friends, back in the day when I really needed it. They were patrons of my art...we still be in touch. Went back to Viet Nam for a month in 2005 and came back revitalized and really started trying to do some crazy designs, ALL WITH A BUNCH OF SAWS, NO CNC. Sometime later, maybe 2012/13 winter and went down to the shop to play one morning and discovered it had become WORK, no longer fun. That is when I quit, even though I have been telling people for years I was going to die in harness working on my lathe. I prefer to live the life of a hermit and now I am a guru on a mountain top on the western slope of The Blue Ridge Mountains, tending to my garden and to my katzzzzzzzzzzzzz and my writing. I still have knowledge to pass on and intend to do so if anyone will listen. When people came to Michigan and The Cueniversity they came on a mission, not for the ambiance and many came. One guy came for two weeks and left in under 22 hours and $2000 poorer but I finally built him a cue that he plays with to this day. A guy from the orient spent 45 days once smoking my ganja and doing some neat work, I think he is even coming back soon after all these years. I believe I have influenced cue building in Australia, Russia, The Netherlands, The Orient to say nothing of The Americas.
FLASH FORWARD TO THE FUTURE:
AT ANY RATE I have retired to this mountain top in a small place where I once lived long, long ago and am hoping for visitors. If you would like to improve your pool game vis-a-vs rail first shots, not just stopping at one rail, I AM DA MAN. Please call for reservations as I have a pool player’s BED AND BREAKFAST with a perfect DIAMOND bar box set up by YURA RA to die for. I have perhaps 69 butts oversize from my building days that are available for sale. Even if you are not a cue builder yourself you could still take one of these home and have your local go to guy finish it off, under my phone guidance, of course. 20 year old ++ shaft wood available also for your inspection. I have accommodations for as many as four including jacuzzi.

CUE BUILDERS: want one of my butt blanks to finish off get in touch with me. Pictures will be coming soon.

Side Note: Dieckman work and live with Danny Stout (Stout Cues) North Carolina from 1991-1992
http://www.cuemaker.com/pathtocuebuild.htm
Thank you Bob!


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