How to measure cue straightness?

Inferno

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
When buying a cue, straightness is one of the most important factors.
Sellers will often say a cue is straight based on whatever their criteria might be. I was taught only ONE method of checking cue straightness that, so far, hasn't let me down.

Going to a table in a bar, I see guys sitting a cue on the table and rolling it. They pick one they think is straight. Rolling a cue is the easiest, but hardly effective measure of straightness.

If you take that same "straight" cue and press the butt to the table and roll it, you can end up with quite a bit of tip movement. Rolling the butt, so to speak, is the purest test I've found of cue straightness. You can observe the entire cue movement from the butt on. Any deviation between the flat surface and the cue is easily measured but, using your eyes only, you can usually tell.

Some already know what I'm talking about. For others, take your favorite cues and give it a shot.

And never trust a guy asking hundreds of dollars for a cue that "rolls straight".
 

Greg M

Active member
The best test is to sight it like a rifle and slowly rotate it while looking down the full length of the cue.

Admittedly, I've done the whole roll-it-on-a-table thing before, and since it was a snooker cue with a conical taper, it just gave me a false positive that the thing was warped. I've never used an American pool cue before, but since it has a consistent shaft diameter, I'd say rolling it would fare better than a snooker or English pool cue.
 

7stud

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The best test is to sight it like a rifle and slowly rotate it while looking down the full length of the cue.

That doesn't work for me. I have no idea if a cue is straight while doing that because the tip is moving too much while I try to hold the cue steady with one hand and spin the cue with the other hand.

I've also tried this method:


One again, there is just too much movement of the cue to tell if the cue is straight or not. I suppose if there is a significant problem, then that method would work.

For me, carefully rolling the cue on a pool table and closely examining the tip and the shaft is the easiest way to spot small imperfections.

press the butt to the table and roll it, you can end up with quite a bit of tip movement. Rolling the butt, so to speak, is the purest test I've found of cue straightness.

I'll give it a try. Thanks!
 
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Inferno

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The best test is to sight it like a rifle and slowly rotate it while looking down the full length of the cue.

Admittedly, I've done the whole roll-it-on-a-table thing before, and since it was a snooker cue with a conical taper, it just gave me a false positive that the thing was warped. I've never used an American pool cue before, but since it has a consistent shaft diameter, I'd say rolling it would fare better than a snooker or English pool cue.
YMMV
Rifle sighting is OK if you don't wear glasses. With glasses, a laser beam looks curved. I hate having to wear glasses.
 
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Pool Hand Luke

Active member
I've done the sight down the shaft method but was fooled because the butt end I was holding was "bent".
Rolling on the table isn't always accurate either as the cloth can soften the roll, if that makes sense. Sometimes I roll one end on the rail as mentioned above, but lately I roll on as flat a surface as I can find looking for light leaks along the bottom edge where the cue meets the surface.

I've been using the bent butt sticks lately with small tape lines on the collar to indicate the straightest option when turning the cue to avoid the bend. Ran 15 so they're playable but knowing they're not "straight" sticks in my mind aesthetically. Cheapos I bought on an auction site and I guess I got what I paid for. Good enough for break cues, so I'll hang on to them for a while.
 

Thecoats

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I would be curious if it really makes much of a difference. I think if a cue is relatively straight it wouldn't make a difference regarding play. i mean within a credit card of role on a table.
 

HawaiianEye

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I would be curious if it really makes much of a difference. I think if a cue is relatively straight it wouldn't make a difference regarding play. i mean within a credit card of role on a table.
Unless the cue is bent into a bow shape, it will not affect the play.

The problem, if any, would be in the player’s head.
 
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