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ThinSlice
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06-07-2019, 01:08 PM

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Originally Posted by JC View Post
Maybe he means sugar? I've seen some awfully nice shafts with a sugar mark or two.



JC


ĎĎTis is what I was referring to. I donít know what loggers call it.


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06-07-2019, 01:31 PM

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Originally Posted by CuesDirectly View Post
Perhaps you could elaborate on that?

I have worked with wood in many ways, the word clear is a word that is standard thru out all industries that use wood.

From the logger, log truck driver, sawyer, grader, seller, engineer and end user, the word clear is a standardized word to all of these people.

Again, maybe the word means something different to you, enlighten us, Thanks.
I tried to find the definition of clear wood, just found this... Pretty cool though, wonder if anyone ever did a cue like this or if it wouldn't work.

https://www.businessinsider.com/clea...d-video-2016-5 <-----"Engineers have made clear wood that's stronger than plain wood"

Anyways, what is clear wood?


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06-07-2019, 04:36 PM

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Originally Posted by Snooker Theory View Post
I tried to find the definition of clear wood, just found this... Pretty cool though, wonder if anyone ever did a cue like this or if it wouldn't work.

https://www.businessinsider.com/clea...d-video-2016-5 <-----"Engineers have made clear wood that's stronger than plain wood"

Anyways, what is clear wood?


Cool! May want to watch the interview with Ernie from Gina Cue. He talks about the bleaching of the wood and how it burns the layers. Obviously he isnít putting resin in the shafts. Wonder what it does to the weight.


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06-09-2019, 01:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThinSlice View Post
Cool! May want to watch the interview with Ernie from Gina Cue. He talks about the bleaching of the wood and how it burns the layers. Obviously he isnít putting resin in the shafts. Wonder what it does to the weight.


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Ernie himself said the best shafts are off-white and might have sugars.
Because his cues are show cues, his customers expect clean white shafts.

One infamous ( now ) maker started this white shafts thingie. He claimed he had the whitest shafts. Turns out they were bleached.


  
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06-10-2019, 05:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snooker Theory View Post
I tried to find the definition of clear wood, just found this... Pretty cool though, wonder if anyone ever did a cue like this or if it wouldn't work.

https://www.businessinsider.com/clea...d-video-2016-5 <-----"Engineers have made clear wood that's stronger than plain wood"

Anyways, what is clear wood?


Very glad you asked, if you did not ask, you could go thru life believing that I am talking about wood that you can see thru, not the case at all.

It simply means CLEAR of defects.

When a log is cut, the cut pieces pass by the lumber grader, he has to quickly determine the value of the wood based upon it's quality. A piece with many knots and grain that runs off the piece would be about a number 4. If it only has one knot but the knot of over 1/3 the width of the board, it's a 3 or 4. IF it has two knots on opposite sides of the board, both knots are less then one third the width BUT a straight line drawn up the board cannot stretch between the knots without touching them, it's a 3 or 4. If those two knots are small enough that a straight line can travel up the board and still leave 1/3 width without touching the other two knots, it may qualify for a 2.

If a piece has zero knots and the grain stays on the board for more than 2/3 of the board, it may qualify as a number one. When grain runs off within `1/3 of the board, it's about a 3 at best.

When a board has straight enough grain that one grain can run end to end, the same board has zero knots or holes, it's most likely sold as CLEAR.

Clear is the top quality of wood. When a Sawyer has a clear log, he may decide to quarter or rift saw the material for best quality cuts, that's a different lecture.

When all is clear, a Cuemakers job now begins.

A light amount of sugar marks will not kill a grade at this point, A Cuemaker may weed them out if too many streaks are showing.

Many end uses make their own grading system beyond this as clear and clear select (when a person hand selects the board) are the top prices coming out of the lumber yard

Clear can mean what I see on many shafts, about 5 straight grains per inch but guess what? A good cuemaker will throw out the 5 grains per inch, my guarantee is a minimum of 15 grains per inch.


Bleaching is not allowed on my shafts.

Many good comments on this thread, great job to all who participated.


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06-10-2019, 12:11 PM

Are you referencing softwood rules? Seems to be a mix of rules for various products?

Relating to cue wood, I think the main thing you noted that is true is
Quote:
"Many end uses make their own grading system beyond this"
As often seen on this site.

NHLA rules (hardwood grades) consider FAS (Firsts & Seconds) as the top grade, F1F (clear one face) second, SEL/ selects third down, then No1 Common, No2C, No3C. In sound cuttings with poor faces say for structural uses & palettes, the grades continue down 2B Common, No3BC & that's it except for oddball categories like "WHND" (wormholes no defect) etc

Firsts (not No1 C) means cut from virgin timber source, essentially. That almost does not exist in the US so it is lumped with "seconds" which are practically Firsts quality, but not cut in forests which have never been logged.

For exceptional timbers cut from random sources, there is FEQ = "Firsts equivalent" but it is rarely incited. These would be uniformly near clear high grade lumber of exceptional width & length for the current typical cuttings of a species; & probably include things like "tight grain" though that would have to be directly specified.

For hard maple specifically, Grades specified can include unselected, which will have a mix of boards with heart & sapwood, all to meet the stated grade, FAS down to #3B common. Or it can be specified "all sap HM" or "Sap one face" in grades from FAS down to 2Acommon.

It can also be specified in either #1 white, or #2 white, from FAS thru #2Acommon; but this would be pretty rare. #2white can still include almost 50% heartwood, but usually has less. #1 white is supposed to be all white sapwood.

If you are a regular lumber buyer, it is sometimes possible to get quotes for a given grain count in Quartersawn lumber, say "not to be less than 15 annual rings/inch width (or higher). Does not mean anyone will quote, but some might. I used to have to do that for QS white oak for replication of fancy floors in government offices that were originally installed shortly after the civil war. Presumably a shaft maker could if they were ordering enough. Might not want to based on cost, though.

Maple turning squares have rules for grain run-out and color somewhat as you have described. To long to quote here; some refers to dimension which cannont be either over or under by specified amounts, etc. The rules for a turning square would not guarantee it was adequate for a cue shaft, though. More geared for things like stair balusters.

Maple also has a clear spec for piano action wood (no, not high stakes gambling with piano duets ) But i doubt it is much available anymore unless ordered special by the trailerload.

Because cue & shaft parts are small, you can probably find cue wood even in #1C material. Just have to cut between the defects. The biggest problem with commercial hardwood lumber is that it has been kiln dried, which adds assymetircal stress to it. It can be balanced over time by strategic cutting. But it is a big factor. This is the reason for a lot of the almost supersticious practices which cue-makers bring to managing lumber - few know where it came from or how it was treated before it arrived in the shop, so all has to be managed based on expectations of worst case scenarios.

PS: I am definitely not saying maple should not be KD - Done properly after suitable correct AD it is the first defense about preventing stain and killing all the creepy crawlies. I started working wood in the early 1970's in MD. I would save out any BE or curly hard maple planks that came in a load of maple. In the "old days" it was pretty common to get pretty nice highly figured boards mixed right in. I accumulated it up on a rack in a small barn. (Dry, but no humidity control). When i moved shop to upstate NY in the early 90's, i went to move it, and it had all gone wormy. Just with that small MC differential in the mid-Atlantic states. If you have good maple, store it where the MC levels will always be way down.

smt

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06-12-2019, 05:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post
I would like to here what the cue makers think about using OLD house cues cutting them in half and just saving the front half assuming the shaft is dead straight. Would that make a good shaft if reworked compared to New hard rock maple OR is the old wood maybe not as good as new wood. I figure since the wood is so old and straight it is very stable thus now worries about it warping. Also how would you know a good prospect from a not so good prospect assuming any one piece cue has usable wood?
Decades past I've this both ways and worked out just fine. Tho most of my work is of the reasonably new wood.
I'm a player and near 100% I care about how the cue performs. It could almost look like a RAT CUE, so what, it works.

NEW WOOD...
Most blanks I used were Dufferin's from discount stores since back then Duff's "were" reasonably cared about grain quality, unknown to me today.
Duff's in stores have sat a while(?) and any warp would have begun sitting in those horrendous racks.
As a player I'll test each one for "MY" type of hit, but shaft grain is always #1.
OLD WOOD...
I've only done a handful, but using common sense, I can tell if a shaft wants to be re-cut or not. It's ALL in the hit, performance.
ANYways, old shafts that are still straight I tend to leave well enough alone and just clean it up. No need to change it, besides being a bit dried out, in a way it's set in it's ways. The OEM mfg chose it specifically for 'X' type of cut and changing that you REALLY must know what you're doing.
Honor those old wood are survivors, they have character and patina. Leave them be, there are very few of them around.

No matter what, the shaft and butt work in harmony. You must adjust to it not vise-versa.
Any shaft on any butt you 'absolutely will not' get the whole cues original performance.
If it's for show, who cares.

my $0.002
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06-13-2019, 11:59 AM

Well, I can say that the old wood shafts are likely to be darker than the new wood shafts, and that's about the only thing that can be reliably predicted (in aggregate).

I agree that sugar marks don't hurt playing characteristic of shaft. Like color, it's a matter of cosmetic preference, although I've heard arguments that the better playing characteristics tend to fall in line with darker wood with more deposits. I don't think I've got enough experience to form an independent opinion here.

Any time you cut into wood (or it expands or contracts through moisture content changes), internal stresses may be relieved causing movement. The fact that a house cue (or any other piece) has been dead straight for years does not mean it will not move when you cut into it.

If you can hand-pick em or can get a lot of them for free/cheap, there's no real problem with using them for shaft wood, but at the same time I don't see any particular reason they would be better than wood of similar quality (freshly cut or otherwise), and starting from oversized square or dowel does give you more flexibility to pick better centers (and which end for joint/tip) if you know how.
  
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06-15-2019, 09:42 AM

FWIW I have not seen any significant relationship between lumber grading and shaft grading. Totally different approaches & criteria. The closest lumber grade to what we prefer for shafts is veneer, and even then it is barely in the ballpark. Tangential grain is almost never considered in lumber nor veneer, but is arguably the most critical aspect of shaft wood. Regardless if the growth ring lines appear to run straight from end to end, if the tangential grain is offset even slightly then you'll never be able to keep that shaft straight. For me, creating a shaft that I have confidence will stay straight indefinitely is enormously more important than whether it has visible grain wiggle, run off, sugar lines, color, or wide grain lines. That pretty white shaft with it's tight, visibly straight grain is worthless if it's shaped like a boomerang.


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06-16-2019, 06:54 AM

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Originally Posted by qbilder View Post
FWIW I have not seen any significant relationship between lumber grading and shaft grading. Totally different approaches & criteria. The closest lumber grade to what we prefer for shafts is veneer, and even then it is barely in the ballpark. Tangential grain is almost never considered in lumber nor veneer, but is arguably the most critical aspect of shaft wood. Regardless if the growth ring lines appear to run straight from end to end, if the tangential grain is offset even slightly then you'll never be able to keep that shaft straight. For me, creating a shaft that I have confidence will stay straight indefinitely is enormously more important than whether it has visible grain wiggle, run off, sugar lines, color, or wide grain lines. That pretty white shaft with it's tight, visibly straight grain is worthless if it's shaped like a boomerang.

I do agree with you for the most part.

Lumber has already been graded long before we see it, it gets graded as it comes off the line. Further grading is up to the specific industry.

Shaft grading? Again, up to the individual cue maker.

The nicer the grade of shaft blank, the more money it is.

For those who care less about shaft grades, blanks are available for $6 each.

Get into some decent standards and you may pay around $10 each.

Graded shafts? Knowing good and well you will get nearly 100% usage from?

Top quality runs $26-$27 each and that is where my standards are.

What bothers me and it may bother you as well, people who spend thousands on a cue and it's obvious they got a cheap shaft.


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what works - 06-16-2019, 08:55 AM

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06-16-2019, 04:34 PM

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Originally Posted by ThinSlice View Post
Best shafts are not always clear.


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For me they are. Best for me also includes good to great tone. I have several hundred aged blanks or partials to choose from in my own stash.
  
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06-16-2019, 04:36 PM

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Originally Posted by JC View Post
Maybe he means sugar? I've seen some awfully nice shafts with a sugar mark or two.

JC
A sugar streak or two on the back half of the shaft is usually not a problem.
  
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06-16-2019, 04:37 PM

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ĎĎTis is what I was referring to. I donít know what loggers call it.


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06-16-2019, 04:43 PM

What grade does Kiln dried receive?


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