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View Full Version : “Secret” Shaft Treating/Cleaning Elixir



Nick B
03-16-2004, 09:19 PM
For the last couple of years, I have been experimenting with a few different cue shaft treatment methods. I bought some furniture that required some small touch ups. The gentleman who came buy and saw my billiard equipment sparked up a conversation about what was in my bag.

After half an hour of discussing the various properties of wood, I lamented that I didn’t have a decent cleaning product for my shafts. He then recommends “Armor All – Paint Formula”. Well at first I was a little skeptical, but never the less I tried it on an old beater cue. Well Oh My God! The gunk & chalk that came off was incredible. A very nice byproduct of this was after a quick dry polish the cue was almost tooooooo slick. Over the last 3 years, I have been doing it regularly on my playing cues c/o Regular Maple Shaft, Predator and Non-Pred Layered copy. All with no problems. Now I must warn you! I repeat I must warn you…do this VERY CAREFULLY. Apply a very little bit to a clean dry cloth and wipe evenly along length of shaft without stopping. Then dry immediately with dry cloth. After time the stuff builds up and requires very little redoing.

I welcome any comments from the cue makers or any other formulas that others have discovered.

Nick

Sid_Vicious
03-16-2004, 09:24 PM
Where is it commonly available???sid

BLACKHEART
03-16-2004, 09:53 PM
When I 1st started my cue making business, I got a lot of good advise from JIM MCDERMOTT, the founder & former owner of Mcdermott Cues. One of the things he said, on several occations, was to NEVER USE ANYTHING WITH SILICON in it, on your shafts. He said it would break down the basic fibers of the wood & make the shaft weak. Does this stuff have SILICONE in it?...JER

SpiderMan
03-17-2004, 09:56 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Nick B:</font><hr> For the last couple of years, I have been experimenting with a few different cue shaft treatment methods. I bought some furniture that required some small touch ups. The gentleman who came buy and saw my billiard equipment sparked up a conversation about what was in my bag.

After half an hour of discussing the various properties of wood, I lamented that I didn’t have a decent cleaning product for my shafts. He then recommends “Armor All – Paint Formula”. Well at first I was a little skeptical, but never the less I tried it on an old beater cue. Well Oh My God! The gunk &amp; chalk that came off was incredible. A very nice byproduct of this was after a quick dry polish the cue was almost tooooooo slick. Over the last 3 years, I have been doing it regularly on my playing cues c/o Regular Maple Shaft, Predator and Non-Pred Layered copy. All with no problems. Now I must warn you! I repeat I must warn you…do this VERY CAREFULLY. Apply a very little bit to a clean dry cloth and wipe evenly along length of shaft without stopping. Then dry immediately with dry cloth. After time the stuff builds up and requires very little redoing.

I welcome any comments from the cue makers or any other formulas that others have discovered.

Nick
<hr /></blockquote>

Nick,

I'm not familiar with the Armor-All "paint" formula. How similar is it to the "leather/vinyl/plastic" formula? Is it a billed as a cleaner, or as a preservative? Standard Armor-All seems to be like most of the upholstery preservative products, a water-based mixture containing silicone, sunblock, maybe some other stuff.

I notice Blackheart posted a warning from another cuemaker about silicone attacking wood; this would be worth researching before becoming an advocate. If it's really a danger, the Armor-All site (or even the product brochure) should have some warnings about use on bare wood. For what it's worth, I know several serious guitarists who use silicone spray on their instruments. They claim they can play faster and cleaner on the slick fretboard/neck and strings after treatment.

SpiderMan

BLACKHEART
03-17-2004, 10:09 AM
Guitars &amp; furniture have a hard protective finish, that would not allow the spray to actually penetrate the wood. Shaft wood is exposed &amp; the spray enters directly into the wood fibers...JER

Sid_Vicious
03-17-2004, 10:16 AM
Does that mean that these silicon based cleaning wrags sold specifically(and labeled as such) for wiping down cues, is a danger to the bare shaftwood? I've been swiping the entire length all this time with the thing, but will resist if need be...sid

BLACKHEART
03-17-2004, 10:31 AM
I don't have any first hand knowledge about any of this, Sid. All I'm doing is repeating the caution that Jim Mcdermott past on to me. It may be that the amount of silicone in the wipes, is so small as not to be a factor...JER

SpiderMan
03-17-2004, 10:37 AM
A very good point. TomBTank probably plays 20 to 40 hours a week, and has been using those silicone cloths to wipe down his $1800 Kikel (and his $4000 Schick) between every inning for at least two years. As I far can tell both cues are still pristine. He's such a fanatic about using the silicone cloth that he wipes his cue as he comes to the table, lays the cloth on the rail, then wipes again when he returns to his seat.

SpiderMan

Eric.
03-17-2004, 10:40 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BLACKHEART:</font><hr> When I 1st started my cue making business, I got a lot of good advise from JIM MCDERMOTT, the founder &amp; former owner of Mcdermott Cues. One of the things he said, on several occations, was to NEVER USE ANYTHING WITH SILICON in it, on your shafts. He said it would break down the basic fibers of the wood &amp; make the shaft weak. Does this stuff have SILICONE in it?...JER <hr /></blockquote>

I gotta question regarding Silicone.
I have been using Silicone spray on my shafts for a few years. This is the first I heard of it having bad effects on wood. I guess ignorance is bliss, but I seem to be happy with Silicone. To the untrained eye, I can't see/feel any difference in my shafts. I like the way it seals and lubes the shaft. In fact, once you use the stuff for awhile, all my shafts need is to be wiped down with a damp cloth and dried with a paper towel to slick it up again. I really like the stuff and would be bummed if I had to try something else. Is there any 'proof' that it's no good for wood?

Thanks in advance.

Eric

SpiderMan
03-17-2004, 12:31 PM
I don't use Armor-All on my cue, but I've developed an academic interest in whether silicone is more harmful that lighter fluid, simple green, rubbing alcohol, soft scrub, or whatever else some of us may use for shaft treatments.

So, I sent the following inquiry to the Armor-All customer-service email address. I'll post the response, whenever it arrives.

SpiderMan

**************************************************

Gentlemen,

I have recently been involved in discussions on the likelihood of silicone products such as yours causing damage or weakening of wood. The particular application is the shaft of a billiard cue - there are proponents who like to use your product (or similar) as an occasional wipe-down for cleaning and treatment of the shaft, which is hard maple without other coatings. There have been cautions from other participants who feel that silicone is very harmful in contact with bare wood, to the point of causing deterioration and weakening.

Are you aware of any basis for fearing deterioration of bare wood by silicone?

Best regards,

************************************************** **

SpiderMan
03-19-2004, 04:04 PM
OK, I got a response from Armor-All customer service. Of course they didn't respond to my exact question, but it's something. They don't recommend Armor-All protectant on wood, but they don't say whether or not it's because of the silicone. From their answer, they might just be saying that there is no protectant benefit. Oh, well, here's what their man wrote:

Thank you for contacting us about ARMOR ALL Protectant. We appreciate
your interest in our product.

ARMOR ALL Protectant is a water based silicone emulsion specifically
designed to protect and beautify polymeric materials such as rubber,
plastics, vinyl and automotive-grade finished leather. Our product
actually bonds to the surface to help protect elasticity and fight surface
deterioration. Unfortunately, our product is not recommended on wood
surfaces. I hope this information is helpful.

Again, thank you for contacting us.


David N. Mills
Product Specialist

004033254A

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr> I don't use Armor-All on my cue, but I've developed an academic interest in whether silicone is more harmful that lighter fluid, simple green, rubbing alcohol, soft scrub, or whatever else some of us may use for shaft treatments.

So, I sent the following inquiry to the Armor-All customer-service email address. I'll post the response, whenever it arrives.

SpiderMan

**************************************************

Gentlemen,

I have recently been involved in discussions on the likelihood of silicone products such as yours causing damage or weakening of wood. The particular application is the shaft of a billiard cue - there are proponents who like to use your product (or similar) as an occasional wipe-down for cleaning and treatment of the shaft, which is hard maple without other coatings. There have been cautions from other participants who feel that silicone is very harmful in contact with bare wood, to the point of causing deterioration and weakening.

Are you aware of any basis for fearing deterioration of bare wood by silicone?

Best regards,

************************************************** ** <hr /></blockquote>

Rod
03-19-2004, 04:17 PM
ARMOR ALL use to turn sort of a yellow color, so I quit using it. Especially if you used it on vinyl tops and other areas like tires. It got that way I imagine because of being baked in the sun. Out here everything gets baked. LOL

It's not for wood obviously, so he is just issuing a standard disclaimer to cover his butt.

Rod

Leviathan
03-19-2004, 06:33 PM
'Lo, Spiderman.

I'm not a chemist and I don't really know anything about silicones, so I feel compelled to offer an opinion...

I suspect that the silicone compounds in typical cleaning and lubricating spray products are harmless to wood. I suspect that other ingredients in these products can damage wood under some conditions. Something like Armor-All may be a mixture of silicones, assorted petroleum distillates, synthetic solvents, waxes, and secret seasonings. God knows what's in the stuff. The solvents could clean a shaft, the waxes could seal it, and the silicones could lubricate it. I'd be reluctant to use strong solvents on my shafts; if I used them at all, I'd use them sparingly.

AS

Frank_Glenn
03-19-2004, 06:54 PM
I like RainX a lot beter than Armor All. YMMV

WesK
03-19-2004, 08:33 PM
I poked around and found a couple of sites with some information about this issue.

It seems that the most common problem with using silicone on wood is that it is so pervasive. Once on the wood, it is very hard to remove and therefore affects any future woodworking. This site seems to sum it up best.

Warning (http://www.perfectproductsonline.com/warning.html)

Apparently, there seems to be a cetain degree of "common knowledge" that silicone is bad for wood (bare or not). This notion is offset by the makers of Pledge.

Pledge Says (http://www.pledge.com/tips_index.html)

This stance may also be supported by the fact that silicone oil is also used by conservators looking to preserve wood. And, while the Pledge folks may be concerned with finished wood, these guys are not.

Wood Conservation (http://nautarch.tamu.edu/class/anth605/File6.htm)

Note that they caution that once one starts the conservation process with silicone, it cannot be reversed (this supports the other warnings). And, granted, they are preserving wood for static display and not daily use but I think that it lends credance to the claims of the Pledge folks that silicone is otherwise harmless.

The bottom line, you roll the dice and take your chances...

wes - I like to keep my shafts bare.

pooljunkie73
03-19-2004, 09:36 PM
I use alcohol wipes on my shaft. The cue people i have talked too said because it evaporates so fast there shouldn't be any damage to the shaft. One guy i know uses Murphy's lemon oil on his. It slicks it up, but it leaves a greasy feeling to it.

Kent Mc.

Rich R.
03-20-2004, 07:27 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote WesK:</font><hr> I poked around and found a couple of sites with some information about this issue.

It seems that the most common problem with using silicone on wood is that it is so pervasive. Once on the wood, it is very hard to remove and therefore affects any future woodworking. This site seems to sum it up best.

Warning (http://www.perfectproductsonline.com/warning.html)

Apparently, there seems to be a cetain degree of "common knowledge" that silicone is bad for wood (bare or not). This notion is offset by the makers of Pledge.

Pledge Says (http://www.pledge.com/tips_index.html)

This stance may also be supported by the fact that silicone oil is also used by conservators looking to preserve wood. And, while the Pledge folks may be concerned with finished wood, these guys are not.

Wood Conservation (http://nautarch.tamu.edu/class/anth605/File6.htm)

Note that they caution that once one starts the conservation process with silicone, it cannot be reversed (this supports the other warnings). And, granted, they are preserving wood for static display and not daily use but I think that it lends credance to the claims of the Pledge folks that silicone is otherwise harmless.

The bottom line, you roll the dice and take your chances...

wes - I like to keep my shafts bare.

<hr /></blockquote>
Wait just a minute. This post had more than 3 words in it.
What did you do with the real WesK? /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

BTW, I dabble in woodworking. Not as much as I would like, but I do read a lot about it, trying to accumulate a lot of knowledge that I will get to use some day.
Through the years, I have read many articles warning against using any silcone containing product on wood. Just as Wes, if that is really Wes, said, the application of silicone can not be reversed.

Sid_Vicious
03-20-2004, 09:46 AM
So is this rep talking about Armorall Paint Formula, the generic interior protectant, or ALL Armorall products? I think the meat of the question was in the special paint foumula. See you Monday at the salt mine Spiderman and discuss it further. My night in the barrel Monday night???sid

SpiderMan
03-20-2004, 09:59 AM
The meat of MY question to him was whether or not silicone was harmful to wood. That's the more general question I was trying to resolve, as we're concerned about several silicone-containing products such as the saturated cue-wiping cloths.

His answer was so narrow as to be useless; ie it only said that the protectant product was "not recommeded" for wood. No mention of whether it was harmful, and no mention if silicone was harmful.

SpiderMan

Sid_Vicious
03-20-2004, 10:15 AM
Bout what I got out of it as well too. These customer service people have a textbook way of stamping out semi non-direct answers, kinda like the Maxtor rebate guys and their replies huh.

I have an Elkmaster in the Willard, figured I'd give Huey a chance to feel it's hit today. That tip on the EK-1 won 3rd place money for me Thursday alright, but the tip definitely was a loser for me after the switch to the Moori. I'll probably use the EK shafts for tip-dabbling and tip install promos for a while. You outta come play in the chip tournament today...sid

Chris Cass
03-21-2004, 01:13 PM
Hi Nick,

I know you mean well but there is no secret. When the shaft gets sticky, wipe it down with a lightly damp paper towel. Other than that, the best thing to do IMHO is to leave it alone. The natural oils from your hand built up is the best thing for the shaft.

Regards,

C.C.

SpiderMan
03-22-2004, 10:08 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chris Cass:</font><hr> The natural oils from your hand built up is the best thing for the shaft. <hr /></blockquote>

Chris,

This is sort of funny, but why would the natural oils from a person's hand be the best thing for shafts? That'd just be too much of a coincidence, sort of like expecting the natural chemicals in urine to be the best thing for cleaning toilets. I have a six-month experiment going that appears to say it ain't so /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Depending on the person, these "natural hand oils" might vary quite a bit (dung, sweat, salt, peanut butter, slobber, maidenoil, french fry grease, smegma, secret sauce, boogers, etc). Would they all still be "the best thing"? I shudder to think what might be in that hard patina on some house cues!

SpiderMan

Eric.
03-22-2004, 10:11 AM
The talk about silicone really perked my ears up. I have been using silicone spray on my shafts for about 7 years. My unexpert opinion is that it hasn't hurt my shafts. I haven't noticed any weakening of the wood and they still have the same diameter/circumference as when they were new. I based this on a stick I have where I treated 2 shafts, but have a 3rd unused/untreated shaft. They all seem to measure and play about the same bringing me to the conclusion that it hasn't changed the wood. BTW, they also weigh the same as before. The only change I noticed is that after using the silicone, it tends to seal the shaft (not a bad thing) because the stuff penetrates the surface of the wood. I understand that if I planned on repainting or staining my shafts, that would be a bad thing, I don't plan on doing either. Another thing I noticed is that on humid days, the shaft may get a little sticky but that is easily fixed by re-spraying some silicone on, or taking a damp paper towel with a little hand soap and wiping down the shaft. Then, buff with a dry paper towel and it is slick as a baby's, well, it's slick again.

The bottom line is that this is my version of the silicone glove before there was a silicon glove. I never liked them gloves anyway. They're not comfortable. My personal opinion is that if you plan on running around with 1 glove on, you should stay on your Neverland ranch /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

Anyway, thanks for your help, see ya at VF.


Eric

Rich R.
03-22-2004, 11:06 AM
Eric, considering the fact that we are talking about cue shafts, and not fine furniture. I don't think you will have a problem. Personally, I have never read anything indicating that silicone would weeken the wood. Anything I have read, only dealt with the finishing or refinishing of the wood. Silicone will affect that greatly.

I was also thinking of the possibily of silicone affecting the refinishing of the butt portion of a cue. Since most modern cue makers are using clear coat finishes, meant for use on cars, I have no idea how the silicone would affect the refinishing process for a cue butt.
It would be interesting to hear from a cue maker/refinisher about this.

Personally, I think I will be staying away from the silicone containing produce, for both my cues and furniture. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Rod
03-22-2004, 11:36 AM
[ QUOTE ]
I have no idea how the silicone would affect the refinishing process for a cue butt.
It would be interesting to hear from a cue maker/refinisher about this.
<hr /></blockquote>

Rich,

Although not a cue maker I can tell you, you have to remove any wax, grease, oils, silicone, teflon, etc. In automotive painting it is a necessary step before spraying any primer, sealer etc. The car can be completely preped sanding etc, but particles can still remain. I used and still do before painting anything Ditz-O. It cleans the surface of impurities. I have used laquer thinner or enamel thinner which is close.

With a cue if the finish is worn out or chipped, I'd imagine it does get into the wood to a degree. How much I don't know but it would have to be cleaned well or the paint just won't stick evenly. Wood is pourous so it could suck it up. There is probably a wood sealer though during production so it's only a guess. Little fish eyes or the like tells someone when the surface wasn't clean enough. Just a couple of thoughts.

Rod

Rich R.
03-22-2004, 12:45 PM
Thanks Rod.

It sounds like silicone would be a problem with the car finishes too.
As I said before, I will be keeping products containing silicone away from my cues and furniture.