if you need to scuff, tap, or pick your tip.......... get another because that one is not doing the job............ the great layered tips are SIB, G2, and precision.......... they all play great............ soft always mushroom, medium sometimes............... just wipe with a little 220 sand paper once in a while.............. they never glaze or delaminate.......... they all do gradually get harder from pounding the cue ball................ I play with a SIB cool blue medium and change it every month or so..............................
I respectfully disagree. If someone doesn't know how to properly scuff, tap, pick, or "set the chalk" on the tip, they're not experiencing ANY tip properly. Sometimes you might have to do all of these, other times only one or a few. A side note, I personally find tappers and picks worthless. This is what I do and my "must have" tools for the job:
If your tip isn't retaining chalk as it should, scuff the tip until it's scuffed. You want no shiny or hard spots. You want a consistent leather base to work with. It doesn't have to be devoid of chalk at this point, but no hard or shiny spots. You're not trying to get to "new bare leather." Use sandpaper, Brad Scuffer (my favorite just don't get aggressive), or whatever. Brad Scuffer is perfect as it is flat enough to let you touch the exact spot you want. A small rasp might work too. I don't like Willard as it is rounded, think drilling the chalk as opposed to painting it. By the time you're scuffed with Willard, you've removed a lot of tip material.
Chalk the piss out of the tip. Joe Porper Prikstik is a wonderful tool. Roll the Prikstik into the chalked tip, press it into the leather. You're pressing the chalk into the indentations with a rolling motion, radially from edge to center, rotate stick and continue until you've made your way around. You're not trying to stab the tip but fill it with consistent indentations. After this is done, re chalk the cue and go to work.
Sure, you don't have to do any of these things, but if you don't know how to nitpick the hell out of ANY tip, you're not getting the most out of it. Leather isn't naturally made to be embedded with chalk, it's up to the tip's owner to know how to do so if they want the best experience. If you're really changing tips every month, either you don't know proper maintenance or you are using garbage tips. I'm not trying to be a dick here, just saying what I believe to be true.
I'm not saying to do this stuff all the time, but once you are starting to notice your tip isn't holding chalk as well, it's time to nitpick it a bit. Usually once you scruff a tip and properly set the chalk, you don't have to touch it for around 20 hours of play, even when using plain Jane chalk.
I use DIY medium-hard to hard pressed Elkmaster milkduds. I break and play with the same tip. With this method they don't require any other maintenance and will last for a year or two with heavy playtime. When you "dress" your tip, you're not removing material, just scuffing it and raising the outer compacted leather. If you break with the tip, it will naturally flatten a bit from a dime radius into a quarter radius. This isn't a bad thing, but is actually an ideal tip. On spin shots you hit with the edge of your tip anyway, I would personally rather have a larger radius rather than trying to hit off a small radius. If you like dime shape, then get a dedicated break stick because you won't keep a dime shape if you break with it. Tip shape is personal preference, but if you've never tried a quarter radius don't knock it!
When installing a milkdud, I burnish the piss out of the sides and never have mushrooming. If you burnish the sides of a layered tip as aggressively, you will risk de-lamination from the heat. Trust me, it's not pretty. An aggressive burnishing hardens the leather and it won't move. I usually follow the regular spit/water (or sharpie) burnishing with some renaissance wax to get a beautiful deep shine on the sides. R. wax also keeps the ferrule and shaft beautifully smooth and clean.