This is how a cue should be bought and sold - My custom spectacular Fanelli Butterfly

watchez

What time is it?
Silver Member
First let me apologize for this being so long - if you don't want to read it all, just skip to the pics.

Anyways......
Over the years, there have been plenty of negative threads about some cuemakers and the dealings that customers have had with them. It made me leary to order my first custom cue (well actually my second - Gulyassy made me a player back in 2001). I had also read and heard about people waiting 5 or 7 years or more for a custom cue. I lack that kind of patience and told myself I needed to find a cuemaker that had a maximum 1 year turnaround. I was in Olathe for the 10 ball ring game and they had several cuemakers there. One cuemaker had these butterfly sneakypete cues - Pat Diveney - that I really liked. I pulled aside a friend of mine (Mr. XXXXX in the emails below - if he wants to give his name, he can) that is more knowledgable in cues than I ever will be so I asked him if I wanted to order a nice butterfly cue from someone, who should I contact. He said, without a doubt, Paul Fanelli. Others might have a different opinion but I respect his and that was good enough for me. He put me in touch with Paul - we spoke by phone and then corresponded mainly by email.

Paul far exceeded my expectations with both the cue and his customer service that he provided. He listened to my wants, told me his opinions as a cuemaker, and kept me regularly updated with emails and pics along the way. Paul initiated most of this email correspondence along the way. He is a very intelligent man and gives careful explanation of his thoughts. Mr. XXXXX told me that Fanelli gave all the other butterfly cuemakers the 7 and the break in craftsmanship - well he must give 98% of all other cuemakers the 5 and the break when it comes to customer service.

Thanks to Paul Fanelli, Mr. XXXXX and another friend of mine who I got opinions from thru out for making me a happy customer.

Again, this is long but here are the emails and pics below.

December 11, 2008 Email sent to Paul Fanelli

Good Morning Paul-

I searched the internet and also spoke again with Mr. XXXXX to get some ideas.

I particularly like ebony with either snakewood or a medium to dark amboyna or stained tiger maple. Least of which the stained tiger maple. Cocobola is nice too. Again, I like a dark looking cue with the contrast to the ebony.

On the butterflies, I would like them to pop out of the cue but not be gaudy. I like the blue, teal, white veneers and also the dark red, white, blue, red combo that you see in one of the pics titled 'cue butt- 2nd from left'. That is a particularly nice combo. Or if you want to make something up with the 5 woods I like - snakewood, amboyna, tiger maple, cocobola, purple heart. I think that would look real good if the darker woods were all different shades and then a lighter wood or white in between to give it the contrast.

I would want the joint and butt cap ivory.

Shaft - just a standard taper. 13mm. I like the butterfly on the shaft as well, as shown in one of your pics. Medium tip - moori if you have them. I don't want ivory ferrules.

Rings - surprise me. If it would look good, then some kind of purple heart maybe with inlays in the rings like the pic I also have attached. I didn't see any of your cue pics with inlays in the rings so not sure if you do that or if that would look OK with the butterflies.

For the joint protectors, I have seen some cuemakers put a custom logo on the top. My nickname is 'watchez' so if you could come up with some kind of a clock face design to put on them, that would be awesome. Not sure if that is do-able.

I truly trust your artistic judgment. I hope I have not offended you by attaching pics of other cue makers but pics of your cues seem hard to find.

Please call me when you have come up with the complete idea. 6-8 months is great.


Here are some of the pics I showed Paul to let him know what I was thinking. Some weren't even his cues but just to get some ideas.


Second butt from left









December 23, 2008 Paul’s Reply
Hi Steve

The holidays have been keeping me busy, but not in the shop. I have been thinking about a cue for you. I think I can incorporate most of your woods into a cue. If we are considering what I would call my symmetrical wrapless design (4 points front, 4 points rear, 2 pairs of criss cross bf splices in the middle), I've been thinking of the following: front and back ends of ebony, middle "handle" section of cocobolo (this would extend to be the two upper and two lower inner points). Not sure of the veneer colors, yet, but would propose sandwiching a thicker element of purpleheart between identical veneer stacks. So the total veneer stack forms a series of butterfly patterns towards the middle of the cue, while the other end of the veneers is mitered against those of the opposite side to form the points. The same veneers could be used for the points between the points, making the 4 points uniform and symmetrical, but the inner point wood can be other than cocobolo. Snakewood would fit in nicely with the coco colors here. I could use a small piece of amboyna burl at the butt sleeve. So thats all the woods you like, which I like too. The ebony and coco are heavy woods, so the weight needs to be adjusted by the use of the lighter dyed veneers and purpleheart in the veneer stacks. When the time comes, I'll send you pix of the woods and veneers I'm planning to use.
For reference to the above, suggest the classiccues website. You'll see a few variations of veneers in the pix..note that the lower pic has all veneers with no thick element between.
I will agree to an ivory butt cap provided you are aware that it is not the best material for a butt. Care must be taken as ivory is not as strong as phenolic plastics, but it is much prettier. As for engraved jp's, not sure about that yet, I would have to make a fixture to do it. I would cap the jp's with ivory and engrave the tops.
With the holiday mess cleared up, I would expect to start assembling blanks in Jan.

Have a great holiday.
Paul


December 23, 2008 My reply to Paul
Paul-

Sounds perfect. I appreciate your info on the ivory butt cap and still wish to go with that.

I just think the JP along with your design and my half-thoughts will make this cue truly mine.

By the way, I talked to my 'advisor' XXXXX. and he loved the ideas and sends his best holiday wishes to you, as do I.

Talk to you next year.
Steve

January 6, 2009 Update from Paul F.

Hi Steve
Just saying Hello and Happy New Year. I just shipped out a cue, so now I'm thinking about your cue. I"m not decided on veneer colors, or configuration, but I'll work on some combinations and send you pix to see if there is a preference you like best. I also found a fixture that I had made for indexing, and it is 24 position, so with an additional holder for the joint caps, I think I can pantograph engrave your handle in a clockface manner. Looking back at your email with the pix of cues, I realized an area of possible confusion, which I wish to avoid. I had forgotten your mention of possible butterfly splices on the shafts, and that was not considered in the price we discussed. I've only done a few of them, and consider it to be for show only. Whereas the multiple splices in the butt contribute to the structural integrity of the assembly, besides being pretty, they do nothing for the shaft. I haven't done any for the wrapless cues, and with no bf splices below the joint end of the butt, I'm not sure how the transition would look. In any case, making a shaft that way is more involved than making a typical point or bf blank, and I must start with an oversized shaft blank, which means more time. If you really want one, let me know, and when we decide on the veneer configuration of the butt, I can figure out how to do the shaft, and let you know how much it will cost.
Feel free to get back to me with any questions, and again, have a great new year.

Paul

January 6, 2009 My Reply
Thanks Paul and Happy New Year as well -

On the shafts - I am just wanting the 'plain' shafts so no need to do the butterflies. After looking at it, I think that it is actually a bit too much. Thanks for being so thorough in your response.

Looking forward to your pix. Again, I completely trust your judgment.


Steve

January 27, 2009
Hi Steve

Here are some pix of a cue to be, maybe. Front and back ends are ebony, middle section cocobolo, and I've laid out the veneers in sequence...thin white, dark red, thick purpleheart, teal, thin white. I have the lighter red that you referred to, but I don't like it that much, too bright, the teal and dark red (bordeau) being more subdued, but colorful. Will also work in some snakewood in the shorter points, and some burl in the butt. Let me know what you think. Making cues is a matter of many decisions. When I make a cue on spec, I try not to agonize over what to use, how to arrange it...it's not my last cue, so I could always make another. When I make a cue to order, or at least with some input from the customer, I have just one shot to get it right, so to speak, so I take my best guess as to what will please us both. Feel free to alter any of the above at this phase. Once I know what to do, I can start cutting and gluing.

Paul






January 27, 2009 My Reply
I think this cue is really going to pop with those woods you chose. I think the
way the purple heart fits into the mix.
Are you going to be able to do some ring work on the cue as well?
Maybe rings in the color pattern the same as the veneers.
Keep the updates coming, I really appreciate it.
Steve


January 27, 2009 From Paul

Hi Steve

Should be able to do some ringwork using the same veneer pack. Will send some pix of progress.

Paul


January 27, 2009 My Reply

Perfect. Bordered by silver and they should pop out nicely.
Take care-
Steve


January 27, 2009 From Paul

Hi Steve

Sorry, no metal rings in my cues...too great an expansion differential with the woods, don't glue well, will break thru the finish and eventually make noise. Love the way they look, but they detract from structural integrity. The white maple will set off the transitions at the ends of the ringwork, i think. Still plenty of time to decide.

Paul
 

watchez

What time is it?
Silver Member
February 2, 2009 Question to Paul

Your replies always make sense to me. Sounds good.

Two more questions: Do you sign your cues or have a logo?'

You mentioned that you recently completed a cue and shipped it out. Do you have any pic that you care to share of the completed cue?

Thanks,
Steve

February 2, 2009 Reply from Paul

Hi Steve

I started signing my cues several years ago, hadn't done it previously. I had always stamped a letter "F" on the end of the joint pin. A few years ago I went with a custom pin made by a friend who supplies the major billiard parts distributors, and many individual cuemakers. His metal parts are excellent and done with a precision far surpassing the needs of cuemaking. I couldn't stamp a letter on these pins because they had a centering hole in the end. What I did was inlay a round dot of material (ivory, mop, abalone, etc) and engrave a letter "F" on that...much neater. Most people that know my cues look for the F on the pin.
Attached some pix of the last cue I sent out...style similar to yours. The extra veneer points at the butt end were the result of finding a way to increase the size of a slightly undersized blank so that I could adapt it to the construction methods necessary to build the wrapless style cue. Your cue is in the assembly stage, and I like the way it looks, so far. I'll send some pix soon...you'll wonder how such a monstrosity can ever be made to look like a cue.

Paul





February 5, 2009
Hi Steve

Moving right along. The glued up square blank has to be taper turned and left oversize for some time. Then I'll start working on the ringwork and other details. I like the colors so far.

Paul






February 9, 2009
Hi Steve

So far, so good! I like the way the colors came out, and everything will be brighter after finishing. Still have to decide on ringwork, and butt sleeve (burlwood). Will probably keep the ringwork simple, so as not to distract from the lines of the cue.
Hope you like it so far.
Feel free to comment one way or another.

Paul


Paul called this the 'embryonic cue' when he titled the pic. I really liked that term.



March 30, 2009 Status Question for Paul
Hello Paul-
Just wondering if there has been any more progress as I am not really
Sure what the overall process is. I hear my blank was @ Valley
Forge and a big hit. :)

Thanks,
Steve


March 30, 2009 Reply from Paul
Hi Steve

The blank is ready for the next phase, it has rested long enough now. It will get another turn down to near finish size, ringwork and sleeve and ivory butt cap will be installed, ringwork and joint, shafts and jp's. I have your cue and XXXXX's to finish, and I will complete both before I start anything new. Shouldn't be too long now, about 2 more months.
I know XXXXX was at vf, but I missed seeing him. I was just getting over a case of the flu, so I was walking around in a fog, and I missed a lot.
Will update you as more progress is made.

Paul


May 2, 2009 From Paul

Hi Steve
Sending a pic of the butt sleeve and rings. That's where I worked in the burlwood.
My apologies for the delay, but I got one of those ideas that wouldn't let me rest until I followed through. I always seem to stumble on the aesthetics of ringwork, of course I agonize over color mixes and veneers for the main cue, but I seem to stall at choosing ringwork. I wanted to get a non linear (curvy) element into ringwork to accent the natural curves of b.f. splices. I figured out a way to do it that required turning the cue shop into a machine shop (one and the same, just different setups). I built a machine to accomplish the task, and it looks like it will work and open up a whole new area for me to play with. It shouldn't be too long now, and it will be done and I will complete your cue.
Thanks for your patience.
Best of luck in Vegas, and you shouldn't gamble....stick to poker.

Paul




June 5, 2009 From Paul

Hi Steve

The butt is together, shafts are started. I test hit the butt with a spare shaft...It works and hits as I expected. The dimensions are .845 at joint and 1.25 at butt. This used to be considered "skinny", but it is in the range of what is "standard" at this time. Cues measuring 1.2 or less are now considered thin. The reason I am explaining this is because the cue as it is will finish up a bit over 19.5 oz. All heavy woods were used in this, and I employed partial coring and titanium joint pin to keep weight down and maintain balance. However, I could retaper the butt to skinnier dimensions to bring the weight down more, not changing the joint diam. Probably a few more months for all the steps of final finishing.
-Paul




June 5, 2009 To Paul
Thanks for the update and the new pic.
The cue truly is a masterpiece and I love the way it all came together.
I think the ivory joint and butt cap really make your eyes focus on
the work in between.
The dimensions are great. I see no need to taper down the butt anymore. 19-19.5 is what I was looking for. What I do know about woods is the ones we talked about are
heavier so I assumed that would might be an issue.

Again, I think you have done an excellent job in matching this cue to me. I appreciate your time and responses that you have given me.
-Steve


July 22, 2009 From Paul


Hi Steve
The steady rainy days for a month and a half have limited my spraying time, but I just shot the last coat on your cue. I had it all rubbed out and shiny, but saw a few small blems, so scuff and the last coat is now drying. I will rub it out this weekend, and should be ready to ship next week. I really like the combination of woods you selected, there is a lot to look at in the cue, and though it is 19.5 oz, it does not feel at all heavy to me. I whacked some balls with it before I applied the finish, and it hits (whatever that means!) the way I like. I like to hear the solid thunk of the leather hitting the cueball, with no extraneous vibrations or other noises. If you like a cue that "clicks", you're out of luck. The medium Mooris are a bit harder than the Triangles I usually use, but since you requested Moori tips, you should know how they play.

I'm going to take your cue out of the spray booth now, and it will sit until I give it the final rub. I hope you like it as much as I liked making it.

Paul

July 24, 2009 From Paul

I will ship the cue first thing Monday, and will email you with tracking no.
Paul



July 27, 2009 From Paul

Hi Steve

Just sent out your cue...now I'll be nervous until you have received it, so please let me know when it arrives. Should reach you by noon, Tues.
Tracking no. US.
So thanks again, I am hoping you are satisfied with the cue and enjoy using it.

Paul


....shocking yes - a cuemaker shipped a cue on the day that he said it was going to go out. It came next day and I got it by 11AM. Shocking that he replied almost the same day each time. I told a friend I was like a kid on Christmas along with being a surgeon as I carefully unboxed it, first looking at the shafts and then pulling out the entire cue one small section at a time.

I told Paul that I was going to put a few pics and emails on the site. I hope he doesnt mind the detail I went into and given him such a standard to live up to. I believe he probably lurks here. I will definitely be ordering from him again once another idea comes into my head. For now, I have an Andy Gilbert on order for a cue that we worked out while I was in KC a few weeks back. Something new to look forward to.
 

watchez

What time is it?
Silver Member
Here are some pics I took tonight of the completed cue. I am no photographer but do plan to have a friend that is one take some better pics.

Sorry for so many pics but the look of the cue changes as you view all the angles.




















 

JCIN

TheActionReport.com
Gold Member
Awesome cue man. I am not a fan of butterfly's but that thing is just sick. I love it. The colors are perfect and the execution looks outstanding.

Your write up is the best I have ever seen on this site about a cue. I think you have set a new standard and would love to see other collectors employ your format to tell the story of a special cues construction.

<----thinks watchez may have just found himself a new addiction
 

Bandanna Joe

Watchez Supporter
Silver Member
Congratulations again! Thanks for sharing the build pics over the past months.

It's modern art with a traditional butterfly twist, and Steve is going to play with this beauty!

How about the joint protectors also? What a way to personalize/ice the cake.
 

chin0

"Chino Miss-A-Lot"
Silver Member
Watchez, congrats on the beautiful cue! Nothing looks better than a nice butterly! To me at least, oh yea, also, it was great meeting you at Shooters man. Take care of this beauty!

Chino
 

BlowFish

Pinoy D-Player
Silver Member
Nice story, awesome looking cue. Post us a review when you start playing with it.

Thanx for sharing.
 

J Layer

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Great cue and story as well thank you for sharing!Seems like it couldn't have worked out better!:thumbup::thumbup:
 

ibuycues

I Love Box Cues
Gold Member
Silver Member
Wow, the cue came out great, and I am sure it fully lived up to and exceeded expectations. Not to mention the customer service. Again, WOW!

Your recap here of the correspondence throughout is a real testament to both you and Paul. With collaboration like you both had, it makes delivery day for the cue all the more fun and anticipated. The correspondence also makes it more fun for a customer-oriented cuemaker.

I am glad you like the cue. And the experience. As I said, you would find Paul easy to work with, and very hard to beat. His latest wrapless butterfly cues are so complicated, most cuemakers couldn`t even figure out how he does it. Let alone do it even if they know.

On to the next one. Andy Gilbert is world class too!

Will Prout (Mr. XXXXX)
 

sneak_peter

"the tulip way of life"
Silver Member
thanks for sharing the email conversation with paul fanelli and the pics!
seems to be a very nice guy to work with!
and you have a very nice cue! :thumbup:
 

cueaddicts

AzB Gold Member
Silver Member
Spectacular post.....rep to you. What an excellent write up and story. Not to mention what a fantastic cue Paul was able to create for you. Having this write up here should help new cue enthusiasts navigate the flow of how a collaborative cue order should work. :thumbup:
 

63Kcode

AKA Larry Vigus
Silver Member
Thanks for taking the time to post this. Yes, it was long but worth the read. Oh, nice cue!

Larry
 

JimS

Grandpa & his grand boys.
Silver Member
What time is it? It's Fanelli and Watchez time! Clearly!! Great cue. Great jp's. Great transaction. Great thread. Thank you.

That absolutely IS the way a cue transaction should be done. :groucho:

I hope to meet you in Des Moines Friday.
 
Last edited:

Thecoats

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
Great write up Steve, that is one hell of a cool looking cue that I am sure plays as well as it looks. I love those joint protectors and thanks for sending me the in process pictures over the last several months it was cool to see the entire project come together.

Thanks for sharing.

-don
 

mdavis228

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
I enjoyed every word, and the cue is just as spectacular as we've come to expect from Fanelli. What an impressive piece of work. Paul is right, you wonder from the early pics how a cue can come out of that conglomeration. Imagine being able to visualize that from start to finish with a clear & defined intent! Amazing.
Awesome write up about a perfect interactive process.
Enjoy!
 

watchez

What time is it?
Silver Member
Thanks for everyone's words - I was hesitant to put such a long post on here but I figure there are lots of useless words on this forum. I wasn't sure if I should post it in this sub forum or the main forum but I hope a lot of people get to read it. I thought about posting it in both forums but didn't know the forum rules on that.

Will/Don - thanks for your insight before & during the process. I am looking forward to Andy Gilbert creating my next cue. His personality is obviously different than Paul Fanelli's, so it should be a whole new experience.

I am going to have to figure out or have a display case built if I eventually get enough cues. I spoke to Will about this a few weeks ago in KC and he mentioned that many a cue collector end their dive into this endeavor as their cues just wind up in a closet or in a case for no one to see.

JimS - Be sure to come and introduce yourself in Des Moines. If you let me buy you a beer then I will even let you hit a few balls with this cue.

Will/Don - Hope you can schedule a trip to Des Moines as well.
 

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Thanks for everyone's words - I was hesitant to put such a long post on here but I figure there are lots of useless words on this forum. I wasn't sure if I should post it in this sub forum or the main forum but I hope a lot of people get to read it. I thought about posting it in both forums but didn't know the forum rules on that.

Will/Don - thanks for your insight before & during the process. I am looking forward to Andy Gilbert creating my next cue. His personality is obviously different than Paul Fanelli's, so it should be a whole new experience.

I am going to have to figure out or have a display case built if I eventually get enough cues. I spoke to Will about this a few weeks ago in KC and he mentioned that many a cue collector end their dive into this endeavor as their cues just wind up in a closet or in a case for no one to see.

JimS - Be sure to come and introduce yourself in Des Moines. If you let me buy you a beer then I will even let you hit a few balls with this cue.

Will/Don - Hope you can schedule a trip to Des Moines as well.

congrats, buddy
 

Fatboy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Wow, the cue came out great, and I am sure it fully lived up to and exceeded expectations. Not to mention the customer service. Again, WOW!

Your recap here of the correspondence throughout is a real testament to both you and Paul. With collaboration like you both had, it makes delivery day for the cue all the more fun and anticipated. The correspondence also makes it more fun for a customer-oriented cuemaker.

I am glad you like the cue. And the experience. As I said, you would find Paul easy to work with, and very hard to beat. His latest wrapless butterfly cues are so complicated, most cuemakers couldn`t even figure out how he does it. Let alone do it even if they know.

On to the next one. Andy Gilbert is world class too!

Will Prout (Mr. XXXXX)


hi Mr. XXXXX,

nice to meet you sir!

I thought you banned hence the XXXXX (inside joke JCIN and Watches know),

Will I will explaine later,

eric
 
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