DZ Bob Dzuricky made my first true custom. Stated build time would be 26-27 weeks. Build time was like 26. 5 weeks. Stopped counting e- mails at about sixty. Total communication and updates. A pro photographer, I was sent pics of every piece of build. My wrap less is on his completed page. Easy to find, it's the most unusual cue there. Originally the eight maple veneers in the handle were just un adorned. He said he thought ivory dots would look nice so I said how much more. He said it was not discussed so he threw them in!!! Flawless finish. Ask about his secret special shaft which he doesn't speak of in his website! Think he puts Kryptonite in it somehow. Went with the cue ball joint just because it's different. His website is an absolute education on cues. Check it out even if you don't use him.
I think the question is not so much, who makes a good cue within your budget, but how long their lead time is.
DZ cues states 1 year on his web page.
Leon Sly needed 3 months for my player, i guess longer for a 8 pointer.
As far as i know Jim Baxter does not do 8 pointers.
The Esoteric cues look sweet, but i have no idea of his lead time.
Kent Davis in CA. IMO maybe the best I've hit with.
Jack Madden in Montana.
IMO Davis cues have a little less deflection & Madden has a little longer taper.
But try contacting these makers yourself. Less mark up aka better bang for your buck.
Good luck on your journey
I don't know if he's taking orders or not, but Kenny Murrell makes awesome cues. His pointwork is right up there with the best of em. He's also a great guy. He might not be taking orders, but if he is, he should at least be an option.
Wow that`s not bad. I think i need to add Rick to my list of cue makers i "need" a cue from...I talked to Rick last week and asked him to start on a cue for me. With points, veneers, and inlays, he said it would be ready by April 1, so looks like about 3 months.
I have a fullsplice ebony/maple bumperless hoppe cue from Leon Sly. Great cue, it`s so nice i ordered a "twin" purple heart/maple bumperless hoppe cue from him a week after i got the first one...I second Leon sly not only quick great quality. One really nice guy to deal with.
I would suggest Troy Downey. He is an established yet underrated cue maker, and builds a nice playing cue. Gabe Owen was playing with a Downey when he won the U.S. Open, if that tells you anything.