View Full Version : Micarta Ferrules

03-10-2004, 07:58 PM
I have went through 4 Micarta ferrules, 2 a few months ago, and 2 just now, and i haven't got a useable ferrule out of them. I have started with a 1/8" drill bit, and then went up the ladder of drill bits (I don't have a boring bar small enough), all the way up to a hole size of 0.275", but they still get hot, and delaminate, mostly when i try to thread them. What is going on? What am i doing wrong here? Is there some secret to this ferrule material that i'm missing??? And just in case you try and explain the best method to me, here are the specs. i am after:
Length - 3/4" & 1"
Cap - 3/16"
Relief Hole - 1/32"
Threads - 5/16-18

Please Help,


P.S. Do you think i should single-point-thread them??? or use a thread cutter that goes in a grinder??? (already have one, but it's way too big)...

Cueless Joey
03-10-2004, 08:53 PM
Jon, check your PM at AZB.

03-10-2004, 09:04 PM
hey, just checked it, will reply in a few minutes... i had no idea that was you... i need to pay more attention...



03-10-2004, 11:31 PM
You are not doing anything wrong, Micarta is not like it used to be. When it became popular some years back it was a different formula (I was told this by the manufacture). It is still not that bad for knife handles or inlays, but it is no good for cue joints and ferrules. I have a sheet of it I bought that is 1 inch thick I paid $800. for figuring I could use it for joints and ferrules. EVERY ferrule and joint separated and had to be replaced. It just can't be trusted. Now I just slice it up for inlays, I have a life time supply. Here is the joint on a cue I made for myself a while back, you can see the cracks in the joint. I need to fix it when I get around to it.


03-11-2004, 02:22 AM
> I've read several articles on the differences between the old style Micarta,and the stuff available now. General Electric developed this material for use as a non-conductive product to make certain types of bushings,simple washers and such. The difference between the old stuff versus the new is the old was an ASBESTOS based phenolic resin,as opposed to whatever is in the newer style. The EPA or some other governmental agency issued GE an absolute cease and desist order barring them from making one more sheet/roll due to the health risks involved from using Asbestos,which is the same type of material used in insulation/building materials that have caused so much devastation health wise for thousands of people. GE,totally willing to comply,reformulated in very quick fashion. Their new offering worked as well as the old stuff,with no health risks,similar performance under their criteria and intended usage,and cheaper to produce as well,so they took the ball and ran with it. Unfortunately,the Asbestos in the old stuff was what made it such a great material for OUR intended use. It was made in the same general fashion as the old paper/glue or epoxy "fiber" material like old McDermotts and house cues. Imagine a thin layer of Asbestos insulation,wrapped REAL tight around a stick,and dipped in basically the same phenolic resin as pool balls,while the resin is molten,and allowed to cool in various molds,also laying the fiber flat and making sheets. All linen based phenolic resins are produced this way as well,using a super fine weave linen "gauze",wrapped around a mandrel,dipped in the molten resin and molded. The Asbestos stuff is pretty easy to machine,from what I understand,and I'm sure there is a stash somewhere no one knows about yet,including cuemakers and repairmen,who I've witnessed offer to people at prices of 100 bucks for a ferrule replacement on vintage Southwests and such. Schon offered these on their shafts back in the early 90's along with Southwest and others. If you look on the Cueaddicts.com site at Southwests,Kersenbrocks,or Libra cues and ever wondered what "GE Micarta ferrules" meant,this it it. It is usually YELLOW,like a real old ivory would be,had nice grain at times,and was very durable. I am going to install a ferrule on one of my shafts made out of a Red Circle cueball in my machine shop class,if I can find way around the required 3 jaw chuck on the back of full sized machine lathes modified for cuemaking or repair,my instructor squashed that idea when I asked him,LOL. I am hoping I can make a nylon collet that I can just slide into the back side of the spindle of the lathe I use in class. Tommy D.

03-11-2004, 09:59 AM
Very interesting I did not know all that. The old stuff was so strong that the stuff used on Southwest was not rolled but what is called stripped. That means it is laminated, then cut and turned. It never split or anything. The stuff sold by Atlas is made by International Paper co. I don't see how they can sell it, they must get a lot complaints. Someone may say, "I used it and there was no problem". That could be the case, but with such a high failure rate, it just can't be trusted, the customer is going to be back asking "what happened to my ferrule or joint". As far as building cues and using it for joints or butt caps, forget it. You never want to be having to go back and repair major parts of a finished cue if you can help it. You need dependable materials and Micarta just can't be trusted. When I say Micarta by the way, I am referring to the paper based ivory like material. The term Micarta is often miss used by some cue makers as any type of phenolic cue materials.

03-11-2004, 10:42 AM
I believe I have seen that stuff on an old Huebler cue and mistook it for ivory. Is that possible? The material had streaks of yellow in a cream-colored background, no visible "weave", but a longitudinal grain like ivory.


03-11-2004, 10:47 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Tommy_Davidson:</font><hr>I am hoping I can make a nylon collet that I can just slide into the back side of the spindle of the lathe I use in class. Tommy D. <hr /></blockquote>

Hey man, go for the nylon collet, i have one on the back of my lathe, and it was bored for a press fit, and has three nylon screws (with nylon nuts) just like a steady rest, it just takes longer to get zero runout than with a double chuck, just thought i would let you know that it works OK, and you shouldn't have any problems... I could post a pic or two if you would like, to go by.



03-11-2004, 10:51 AM
Ok, here is the email i got from atlas billiards today:

We are going to discontinue selling the Micarta Ferrule blanks at Atlas
Billiard Supplies. I know some cue makers that use and machine the
Micarta with no problems, but to many people are having trouble with
them. It is also the least used material for ferrules. We are not going
to produce it any longer. When our stock is gone that will be it.

You should experiment with different speeds and feeds until you find a
right combination. You need to produce less heat when you are machining
the material.



But not to worry, i've found at least 3 different places where i can get either, paper micarta, linen micarta, glass epoxy micarta, and maybe another kind. I'll try some of them out, but for now, can anybody name a similar ferrule that i can use, for now, that would be about the same hardness of micarta, weight (light), and lower deflection characteristics (sp???)



03-11-2004, 11:14 AM
and by the way, Popcorn, that is a sharp looking cue you have there, do you have any other examples of your work???



03-11-2004, 12:40 PM
There is no weave because it is paper base and it does have the look of ivory when it is turned from strips. The layers fade in and out and look like the grain of ivory.

03-11-2004, 12:47 PM
That cue has 54 MOP inlays. I like MOP but it is hard to work with. Ivory is like stealing to work with, it is cheaper then MOP and commands a higher price. I'll take a picture of the whole cue later.

03-11-2004, 12:54 PM
I would suggest the old time fiber ferrules. McDermott used them for years. They do have some problems but have nice playing characteristics. You know, even the stuff that Atlas sells would work if it were rolled and not made from layered stock. I wonder if International Paper makes it that way? If they do it would work. You could give them a call. As far as what Atlas said, they are passing on the blame for selling a bad product. They should not even sell the stock they have left.

03-11-2004, 01:33 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I would suggest the old time fiber ferrules. McDermott used them for years. They do have some problems but have nice playing characteristics. You know, even the stuff that Atlas sells would work if it were rolled and not made from layered stock. I wonder if International Paper makes it that way? If they do it would work. You could give them a call. As far as what Atlas said, they are passing on the blame for selling a bad product. They should not even sell the stock they have left. <hr /></blockquote>
I had some fiber ferrules (from atlas as well) and hated them, i put two on (threaded on)on the same shaft (at different times of course), and around 6 different triangle tips on them, and everytime when i would hit off center, it would make an awful "tick" sound, and it wasn't the tips, and it wasn't the shaft (had aegis on it before), so i gave them to a local repairman (my friend /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif) for cheap-o repairs on players/actions/meucci and the like, and atlas tells me they have been working on a new ferrule material, and should have them in (through type, no cap, 5/16 and 1/4 I.D.'s) in april and the capped/threaded ferrules in june. I might try them out. i am currently in the process of obtaining information from two different companys that offer canvas-backed micarta, linen reinforced micarta, glass epoxy micarta, and paper bases micarta. I want some quotes and specs, here are some specs lol:
Rockwell hardness - 58
Moisture Absorption - 1.2 percent
Compressive Strength (axial) - 22,300 PSI.

Sounds good to me /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
and here is something from another place:
paper phenolic tube with good electrical properties in both humid and dry conditions. It has good impact, tensile and compressive strength. Typical Applications are in switchboards, relays and other parts that require good machining characteristics"

What do you think?



03-11-2004, 05:28 PM
This "old" micarta was also used to make the big insulators that hold those high tension power lines at power companies. If you find a pile of them tossed out at a power company near you...you might want to pick up a few and try them out. They may not be pretty, but a little cutting should clean them up.

03-11-2004, 06:29 PM
The problem you run into is, the stuff is not being made for cue makers, they are common industrials materials. When it is made for cue makers they have to run it special in very clean conditions if it is a light color like tan or white. There are only a few companies that will do it. I got a sample of a cream colored LE linen phenolic from one company that was great. It machined smooth and polished beautifully. They told me the resin formula was their own. This stuff was like ivorine, but without all the problems, except one. When it is manufactured dirt finds it's way into the stuff and shows up since it is cream colored.. The people that make the stuff for cue makers have it down pretty good, but most manufactures have no interest in trying to run in such clean conditions. They need to know what you are looking for and be willing to do it, but I am afraid you will find it a take it of leave it deal.

Working in hospital like conditions is not the business they are in. Here is a picture of that sample, you can see the dirt and discoloring. you never know when it will appear. Sometimes on your last cut and the job has to be done from scratch. Here it is on the surface and you can see it. Working with material that may be dirty or flawed can be very frustrating.


03-11-2004, 07:12 PM
Here is the rest of that cue, I have been using it for quite a few years and it's a little beat up. It has six long purpleheart points and a purpleheart butt. The underwrap is the same piece of purpleheart as the end of the butt, no sleeve, all one piece. It is kind of an old time style with the MOP dots and diamonds. I did another identical cue in ebony and ivory for a friend. The underwrap was not ebony though, it was sleeved.

03-13-2004, 05:48 PM
Very nice Popcorn, if you don't mind my asking, do you cut your own points??? Or buy blanks???



03-13-2004, 08:16 PM
I make everything except the screws and tips. I even cast my own bumpers in different colors to match the scheme of the cue.