Question about an ordinary-looking Rauenzahn cue

DangleShot

New member
Hello!

Over 25 years ago I worked in a restaurant and one of the patrons left a cue case in the bar. It sat in their lost-and-found for several years and nobody claimed it. When the bar was changing hands, the bartender was getting rid of everything, knew I played pool, and gave me the pool stick that had been left behind.

At the time, even though I was pretty good at the game, I hated two-piece cues, anything other than a one-piece always felt like two mismatched unlinked pieces of wood, the taper too narrow and the vibration and solidity compromised at the joint. Granted, I never really held an expensive cue more than two seconds. So I took a look at the cue for a few minutes, didn't recognize any distinguishing brand names or trademarks. I could tell it wasn't a department store cue but it wasn't very ornate or much unlike some of the two-piece cues I saw other novices using. It had a good tip on it and there's no warp to it. I tried it a few shots, hastily dismissed it because I was used to heavy, 21 oz maple one-piece Dufferin cues.

After years of playing on my basement table which required shorter cues to navigate between the walls, and never one to play tournaments or in the messy bar scene, the proprietor of one of the bowling centers I bowl at is a good player and a few years ago he challenged me to a game, and I was using the house cue, which was better than average as far as bar cues go, and was playing pretty well, so he asked me, do you have your own stick? To which I said, no, which blew his mind. Then I remembered the stick the old bartender gave me 20 years before. I said, "well, I have one, but I never use it."

I started playing pool with him at some of the neighborhood pool halls, and in my experience, house cues were getting scarcer and in worse condition over the years. So one day I brought what I thought was the pretty underwhelming pool stick to play, and my buddy saw the butt-end of the cue, saw the -R- on it and said, "What are you talking about, this is not a crappy stick, this is a Rauenzahn!" I had never heard of Jerry or that brand, I had only heard of Meucci and Mali and Cuetec and McDermott...so I was like, "Is that good?" and he was like, "Oh, shit yeah! Only like the 2nd best cuemaker ever!" I said, "Do you want it?", and he was like, "No, you use it, you'll be even better than you are."

I'm used to it now, and I shoot fine with it. So it got me to researching about the maker and his works, and amazingly, in this information age, very little seems to be available about him. I've been reading posts on this forum and have created a patchwork of a background about him and his craftsmanship. But one thing seems funny about all this - every single cue I see that Rauenzahn has made has custom ornate inlays and multi-bordered arrows on the butt end, whereas my cue does not have any of those, it is a solid greenish-gray translucently stained veneer and a linen wrap. Which is why I thought it was commercially-made and cheap.

The cue is at least 30 years old and I am reasonably sure it's not a knock-off or imitation. I saw posts on here about conversion cues, maybe somehow this cue got work done by him and Jerry was ok with putting his name on it? I thought I remember seeing an article a couple years back about Rauenzahn expanding or licensing his name for commercially-made cues for a short while, being dissatisfied with the partnership, and aborting it..? Has anyone out there ever seen a Rauenzahn stick without arrows or inlays?

I am somewhat indifferent about the cue, whether it has value or not is really not that important. I doubt the stick is worth all that much, but if anyone could lend me some insight about it, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you for reading this far.
Bill
Buffalo, NY
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Hello!

Over 25 years ago I worked in a restaurant and one of the patrons left a cue case in the bar. It sat in their lost-and-found for several years and nobody claimed it. When the bar was changing hands, the bartender was getting rid of everything, knew I played pool, and gave me the pool stick that had been left behind.

At the time, even though I was pretty good at the game, I hated two-piece cues, anything other than a one-piece always felt like two mismatched unlinked pieces of wood, the taper too narrow and the vibration and solidity compromised at the joint. Granted, I never really held an expensive cue more than two seconds. So I took a look at the cue for a few minutes, didn't recognize any distinguishing brand names or trademarks. I could tell it wasn't a department store cue but it wasn't very ornate or much unlike some of the two-piece cues I saw other novices using. It had a good tip on it and there's no warp to it. I tried it a few shots, hastily dismissed it because I was used to heavy, 21 oz maple one-piece Dufferin cues.

After years of playing on my basement table which required shorter cues to navigate between the walls, and never one to play tournaments or in the messy bar scene, the proprietor of one of the bowling centers I bowl at is a good player and a few years ago he challenged me to a game, and I was using the house cue, which was better than average as far as bar cues go, and was playing pretty well, so he asked me, do you have your own stick? To which I said, no, which blew his mind. Then I remembered the stick the old bartender gave me 20 years before. I said, "well, I have one, but I never use it."

I started playing pool with him at some of the neighborhood pool halls, and in my experience, house cues were getting scarcer and in worse condition over the years. So one day I brought what I thought was the pretty underwhelming pool stick to play, and my buddy saw the butt-end of the cue, saw the -R- on it and said, "What are you talking about, this is not a crappy stick, this is a Rauenzahn!" I had never heard of Jerry or that brand, I had only heard of Meucci and Mali and Cuetec and McDermott...so I was like, "Is that good?" and he was like, "Oh, shit yeah! Only like the 2nd best cuemaker ever!" I said, "Do you want it?", and he was like, "No, you use it, you'll be even better than you are."

I'm used to it now, and I shoot fine with it. So it got me to researching about the maker and his works, and amazingly, in this information age, very little seems to be available about him. I've been reading posts on this forum and have created a patchwork of a background about him and his craftsmanship. But one thing seems funny about all this - every single cue I see that Rauenzahn has made has custom ornate inlays and multi-bordered arrows on the butt end, whereas my cue does not have any of those, it is a solid greenish-gray translucently stained veneer and a linen wrap. Which is why I thought it was commercially-made and cheap.

The cue is at least 30 years old and I am reasonably sure it's not a knock-off or imitation. I saw posts on here about conversion cues, maybe somehow this cue got work done by him and Jerry was ok with putting his name on it? I thought I remember seeing an article a couple years back about Rauenzahn expanding or licensing his name for commercially-made cues for a short while, being dissatisfied with the partnership, and aborting it..? Has anyone out there ever seen a Rauenzahn stick without arrows or inlays?

I am somewhat indifferent about the cue, whether it has value or not is really not that important. I doubt the stick is worth all that much, but if anyone could lend me some insight about it, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you for reading this far.
Bill
Buffalo, NY
What you have is called a merry-widow style or sometimes referred to as a 'plain jane' model. Jerry made plenty of those. Great playing cues. Keep it and enjoy it. Post some pics if possible.
 
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DangleShot

New member
Jerry made pool cues not sticks.
Understood. :) At one of the pool halls I play at, if I call a cue a stick, I'll get sideways eyes. Other places I play, if I call only call it a 'cue', I'll be branded a geek or a nerd, even though I kinda am one, and be told to relax and enjoy myself. ;-) I know Jerry is revered and legendary, which is why I was trying to contrast the plainness and generic look with generic terms. Sorry, I didn't intend to diminish his work, I feel honored to have a tiny piece of history, however small. :)

Bill
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Understood. :) At one of the pool halls I play at, if I call a cue a stick, I'll get sideways eyes. Other places I play, if I call only call it a 'cue', I'll be branded a geek or a nerd, even though I kinda am one. ;-) I know Jerry is revered and legendary, which is why I was trying to contrast the plainness and generic look with generic terms. Sorry, I didn't intend to diminish his work, I feel honored to have a tiny piece of history, however small. :)

Bill
People call them 'sticks' all the time. Don't sweat it. Just don't ever call cloth 'felt'. ;)
 

DangleShot

New member
Here you go. I'm not new to the game but I've never heard of 'merry widow' cues until today. :)
And pardon me, I'm partially color blind, just guessing what color the butt end is. :)
Bill
 

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Cornerman

Cue Author...Sometimes
Gold Member
Silver Member
So one day I brought what I thought was the pretty underwhelming pool stick to play, and my buddy saw the butt-end of the cue, saw the -R- on it and said, "What are you talking about, this is not a crappy stick, this is a Rauenzahn!" I had never heard of Jerry or that brand, I had only heard of Meucci and Mali and Cuetec and McDermott...so I was like, "Is that good?" and he was like, "Oh, shit yeah! Only like the 2nd best cuemaker ever!" I said, "Do you want it?", and he was like, "No, you use it, you'll be even better than you are."
I love the story, and you should just hang on to the cue and love it, but... with all due respect to Jerry (and I own one of his 360 cues), he's not the 2nd best cuemaker ever. Everyone has their own opinion of course, but I don't know anyone that would list Jerry that high.

Freddie
 

DangleShot

New member
I love the story, and you should just hang on to the cue and love it, but... with all due respect to Jerry (and I own one of his 360 cues), he's not the 2nd best cuemaker ever. Everyone has their own opinion of course, but I don't know anyone that would list Jerry that high.

Freddie
Yeah, my buddy might've embellished a little. I think he was talking about the little guys instead of commercial corporations, too. But then again, I'm sure he doesn't know all the custom cuemakers past and present like everyone here. Like I said, the cue seems kinda ordinary to me, sorta like the economy model of a good brand rather then the top of the line from a lesser brand. I've never been the one to want the newest fad or gadget or possession anyway. I'm sure I could pick up any of the $800-$3500 cues from the pool hall around the corner and have mixed reviews, many would probably feel better and suit my game more than this one. Hell, a big fat 21 ounce one-piece cue usually feels better. ;-) But I've only miscued a handful of times in three years using it, there must be something pretty decent about it. ;-)

Bill
 

garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Yeah, my buddy might've embellished a little. I think he was talking about the little guys instead of commercial corporations, too. But then again, I'm sure he doesn't know all the custom cuemakers past and present like everyone here. Like I said, the cue seems kinda ordinary to me, sorta like the economy model of a good brand rather then the top of the line from a lesser brand. I've never been the one to want the newest fad or gadget or possession anyway. I'm sure I could pick up any of the $800-$3500 cues from the pool hall around the corner and have mixed reviews, many would probably feel better and suit my game more than this one. Hell, a big fat 21 ounce one-piece cue usually feels better. ;-) But I've only miscued a handful of times in three years using it, there must be something pretty decent about it. ;-)

Bill
A cue doesn't mis-cue, you do. If that cue is too heavy its easy to lighten one. Just change weight bolt.
 
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DangleShot

New member
A cue doesn't mis-cue, you do.
Yes. A poor craftsman blames his tools. My game is full of flaws. I have a feeling though this cue is probably more forgiving than some of the house cues I used. Nevertheless, I definitely can't blame the tip or the cloth or the cue when I can't deep screw it back like the professionals, that's for sure. And my buddy got me lower to the table so my stroke is a little more compact. I used to stand almost straight up and follow through more like an orchestra conductor than a billiard player ;-)

Bill
 

DangleShot

New member
If that cue is too heavy its easy to lighten one. Just change weight bolt.
Out of curiosity, I went and weighed the stick on a two good kitchen scales and it is a hair over 20oz. It's heavier than I thought it was. I have no idea what weight is right for my game. As you can tell from my comments, I'm a recreational player and never got lessons or any feedback from someone qualified to make an assessment. I don't play in tournaments or leagues. I enjoy the game more for what I call the 'Rain Man' aspect of it, the physical geometry of it, the nostalgia and nuances, the sounds the table makes and the pocket angles... Most people play pool for competition, to get out, have a few beers, get social, be the best they can be, win. I do none of those things. :) I almost always enjoy playing by myself more than against someone else. And as you can tell, I enjoy talking about billiards about as much as playing. Thanks.

Bill
 

hang-the-9

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Out of curiosity, I went and weighed the stick on a two good kitchen scales and it is a hair over 20oz. It's heavier than I thought it was. I have no idea what weight is right for my game. As you can tell from my comments, I'm a recreational player and never got lessons or any feedback from someone qualified to make an assessment. I don't play in tournaments or leagues. I enjoy the game more for what I call the 'Rain Man' aspect of it, the physical geometry of it, the nostalgia and nuances, the sounds the table makes and the pocket angles... Most people play pool for competition, to get out, have a few beers, get social, be the best they can be, win. I do none of those things. :) I almost always enjoy playing by myself more than against someone else. And as you can tell, I enjoy talking about billiards about as much as playing. Thanks.

Bill

Then you definitely need to play players that know what they are doing or take lessons in order to understand the equipment and the game more. I've never know anything that benefited from knowing less about it or being worse at it LOL

Without lessons or at least some advice or guidance from better players you are just guessing as to what you are doing is correct. Almost all the players I see struggle with playing have started with poor mechanics and lack of knowledge and just went on with banging away at the game on their own, things that could be fixed with 10 minutes talking to someone that can teach a bit.

I'm actually going to be in NY on business, but I looked up where Buffalo was from where I will be and it's 5.5 hours LOL, stupid large states. In MA nothing is too far from anything else.
 
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