The primary working mechanism in cue sports is the cue stick, it is the driving force of all the games, and is a major component to play different types of cue sports such as pool, carom, and snooker.
Hence, it is also imperative that players take care of their cue stick by helping it not get warped sooner than it should. Having a warped cue stick can affect your game critically, and you won’t be able to appreciate playing cue sports at all.
Every cue stick, whether it is expensive and hard or cheap and soft, the cue stick will eventually warp if you do not take care of it. Consequently, one should take care of their cues and keep it safe from warping. But before knowing how to keep it safe from warping, we should first understand why cue sticks warp in the first place.
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Cue sticks mostly warp because of two main reasons; they are the following:
The first most common reason as to why cue sticks warp is because of the change in temperature. The most common example is leaving the cue in your basement or your car.
In the basement, the temperature is colder as compared to the first floor. When cue sticks stay in cold temperatures for a long time, they can contract and warp easily, the same is the case when cue sticks are in a vehicle for an extended period.
It takes a couple of hours for the cue stick to warm when it is inside a car or a secluded area where the temperature is not average.
No matter what material it is made of, even if it is coated with fiberglass or graphite, the cue stick will warp, eventually. It takes almost two years to straighten a cue stick while in contrast, it takes a couple of hours for the cue stick to warp.
The second most common reason a cue stick warps is because of the pressure that is put against it by putting the cue stick against a wall or dabbing the cue stick against the shoulders or on the floor. Some people even do sword fighting which can put unnecessary pressure on the cue stick and warp it.
Although having these bad habits doesn’t cause warping instantly but doing it every time one uses the cue stick can warp it in due course.
Now that we know the reasons why a cue stick warps, we can also check if a cue stick is warped or not. To check out if a cue is warped or not, there are several methods, but the two most common and the easiest methods of finding out if your cue stick is warped are the following:
This method is very common and easiest one to check if your cue is warped or not. The method is simple, first hold the cue stick up in the air as if you are holding a rifle, close one eye and look at the tip of the cue stick.
As you look, rotate the cue stick slowly with your fingertips and look for any warp areas or irregularities. Make sure the cue stick is slightly downwards and that you are looking at the cue’s tip from its bottom end.
The second most common method to look for warped areas on your cue is to roll it on a flat surface. First of all, make sure to find a flat surface, put the cue on the floor and roll it with your fingers or your palm.
If you feel there is any irregularity, then the cue stick is warped. For this method to work, the surface has to be extremely flat, any small bump on the surface can make it look as if the cue is warped.
As discussed before, in order to take care of the cue stick and keep it safe from warping, one should first understand extensively as to why a cue stick warps and how to determine and look for its warp areas.
Now that we have understood the causes of warping and how to check for warp areas, we can understand and learn the different steps to take care of it, keep it safe from warping, and extend its life.
The very first step is to buy a cue case. A cue case is used when you are traveling with your cue or just putting it in a safe place. The cue cases are specifically intended to maintain the temperature of the cue so that it doesn’t warp over time thanks to their special design. You can hold the cue case like a bag as well and take it anywhere securely.
The second thing to invest in is a cue rack. A cue rack can come in many forms. There are cue racks that can hold multiple cue sticks in a way that will not warp them.
Then there are single cue racks that can be placed anywhere even when you are playing. There are cup holders/racks that can attach themselves to the outer rail of the table, helping the player to keep their cue secure and in proper shape and play it whenever their turn comes.
To take care of the cue stick properly, without a cue case, one should be cautious of how long a cue stick stays inside a car. The temperature inside a car can change due to temperature changes caused by using the air conditioner. These temperature changes can contract or expand the wood considerably if left for a long time.
Many people do not chalk their cues properly, which affects their game in the long run. Most of the people are not even well aware of the process of chalking the cue tops. The damaged cue ferrules can decrease the life of cue sticks, considerably.
Often, people who do know that chalking is essential, they tend to chalk the metal ferrule, which can damage the cue. The right way to chalk is to keep it away from the ferrule as well as the wood.
It should also be noted that one should never grind the chalk on the top of the cue as eventually, the chalk will wear the ferrule and damage it. Chalking should be done at the top while applying light brush-like pressure.
Many players have a bad habit of bumping the base joint on the floor after every shot. This can severely damage the base of the cue. Whenever a bump occurs, it causes a break in the base of the cue which slices the cue up in several pieces, ultimately leaving the cue damaged from within.
Hence, it is important to leave this habit or invest in a butt pad that can save the cue from constant hard bumps.
It is essential to change the cue stick’s tip over time if it is severely damaged. If the tip is mildly damaged, one should develop a habit of chalking it with the proper technique to help prolong its life. Trimming the edges up to the ferrule can also increase the cue’s lifespan.
Cleaning the cue stick is vital as leaving the cue stick dirty overtime can increase the residue from the chalk as well as the oils and dust from your palms.
The first thing to make sure the cue will be safe and won’t turn blue is to wash your hands properly. The main cause of a dirty cue is the build-up of oil from the palm of the hands.
When the oil from the palm is absorbed onto the shaft of the wood, the chalk dust clings on this oil, which is then soaked by the grains in the shaft of the wood. By only washing your hands properly, you can cut the time by half when it comes to cleaning your cue. Another way to keep the cue clean is to invest in some pool gloves.
There are many ways to clean it, but the best method to clean the cue is to use a damp cloth and a detergent. Make sure never to use a wet cloth to clean the cue. If you do not have a cloth, a damp towel can also be used.
Cover the cue entirely with the damp cloth or towel and slide it carefully from the tip to the base joint, several times. After cleaning the cue with a damp cloth or a towel, use a dry cloth afterward to clean it again. Plain paper is another alternative way of cleaning the cue accurately.
Many people aren’t aware of how vital a cue stick really is. The entire game of pool, carom, and snooker is played with the help of the cue stick. If the cue stick is not taken care of properly, it can have adverse effects when it comes to your gameplay.
Hence, understanding what causes the cue sticks to get damaged, as well as having knowledge of how to maintain the different components of a cue stick while developing healthy habits can extend the lifetime of the cue, ultimately helping you to enjoy your game more properly.