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View Full Version : How can I start cue-making without woodshop?



bustah360
05-01-2005, 08:11 PM
Ok the thing is this, I have a huge appreciation for the work that goes into making a cue. The end result is a beautiful piece of art even in its most basic style. What I wanna know is, how do I get started? Unfortunately I'm in the city and rent an apt., therefore no garage or basement to actually have a wood shop.

Popcorn
05-01-2005, 08:38 PM
It doesn't take much space but can be noisy and dusty. Tough to do in an apartment but not impossible. You may be surprised where some guys build their beautiful cues.

ceebee
05-02-2005, 07:31 AM
Just a few thoughts on your beginning...

You have to have a lot of money, to purchase good equipment & materials. You also need to live in a good size town, so you can start off with a nice customer base, because it will take awhile to build your brand name.

Painting your cues in an apartment may cause you some grief. The Fire Marshal will chastise you for that & your neigbors will have turned you in, once they smell the fumes. You might even become sick from smelling the fumes yourself, for too long a time.

Good Luck to you...

bustah360
05-02-2005, 04:01 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ceebee:</font><hr> Just a few thoughts on your beginning...

You have to have a lot of money, to purchase good equipment &amp; materials. You also need to live in a good size town, so you can start off with a nice customer base, because it will take awhile to build your brand name.

Painting your cues in an apartment may cause you some grief. The Fire Marshal will chastise you for that &amp; your neigbors will have turned you in, once they smell the fumes. You might even become sick from smelling the fumes yourself, for too long a time.

Good Luck to you... <hr /></blockquote>
Doesn't look too promising for me then...I have the big town down cold, I mean nyc is as big as it gets for customer base. But dealing with fumes could definitely end the story before it gets started. Anyone have any suggestions?

Rackin_Zack
05-02-2005, 04:09 PM
I don't know how plausible this is or how much room you have, but I would think you could make some sort of containment tent or something like that with ventalation that is directed outside?! I do, however, sympathize with you as I am in the same boat. Not that I could really afford to buy all the right equipment now, but I would like to get a decent lathe and learning to do some repair work.

Barbara
05-02-2005, 04:14 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bustah360:</font><hr> Ok the thing is this, I have a huge appreciation for the work that goes into making a cue. The end result is a beautiful piece of art even in its most basic style. What I wanna know is, how do I get started? Unfortunately I'm in the city and rent an apt., therefore no garage or basement to actually have a wood shop. <hr /></blockquote>

Man, you must hate your sanity!

Barbara

bsmutz
05-02-2005, 04:33 PM
Get one of those rebreather things or a good quality painter's mask with replaceable filters. Put a high velocity fan in the window and stuff a towel under the front door and any other doors between the room where you paint and the hallway. This works good for getting high, also, and that may prove to be less expensive in the long run as well as fulfill your dream (at least in your own mind).

Popcorn
05-02-2005, 05:06 PM
I am curious why you would say that?

Troy
05-02-2005, 05:46 PM
"PAINT" ???
I sure hope you really mean the "FINISH" coat... /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Troy
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ceebee:</font><hr>Painting your cues... <hr /></blockquote>

Barbara
05-02-2005, 05:51 PM
Popcorn,

It was just a joke.

Barbara

Cueless Joey
05-02-2005, 07:07 PM
I'm not one to break someone's dream but I think you're better off forgetting about cuemaking.
You will be better off buying a portable repair lathe and start doing repairs. Doing repairs costs a lot less to do and much more profitable.
Or you could move to Ohio where real estate is cheap.

John_Madden
05-02-2005, 09:05 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Cueless Joey:</font><hr> I'm not one to break someone's dream but I think you're better off forgetting about cuemaking.
You will be better off buying a portable repair lathe and start doing repairs. Doing repairs costs a lot less to do and much more profitable.
Or you could move to Ohio where real estate is cheap. <hr /></blockquote>
I agree - Joey is right. An apartment - no way. Another thing you need to consider is the finish and the dust can give a cuemaker major health problems so until you can get it out of the apartment and set up the right dust collection and spray booth you just can't do it. Save your money - you will needs lots for the equipment and tooling also.
Jack
www.johnmaddencues.com (http://www.johnmaddencues.com)

bustah360
05-03-2005, 07:32 AM
well I wasn't really thinking about trying to make a buck. dont get me wrong, money is sweet for something I'd like to do but I just wanted to try and make the cues for the artistic value of them. buying a lathe just to repair probably isn't something I'd bother with. there are plenty of other ways I can make a buck (legally of course, lol!)

btw...just outta curiosity, how much would a small lathe to repair shafts cost? would it be messy either way?

SpiderMan
05-03-2005, 07:50 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bustah360:</font><hr> well I wasn't really thinking about trying to make a buck. dont get me wrong, money is sweet for something I'd like to do but I just wanted to try and make the cues for the artistic value of them. buying a lathe just to repair probably isn't something I'd bother with. there are plenty of other ways I can make a buck (legally of course, lol!)

btw...just outta curiosity, how much would a small lathe to repair shafts cost? would it be messy either way? <hr /></blockquote>

Bustah,

I don't think Joey was implying you should get into repairs for the money. I believe it was suggested as a means for getting into working on cues at reduced expense, and at a level that might be compatible with your living quarters.

I'd have to agree, the complete construction and finishing of cues is not something compatible with apartment dwelling. I wouldn't even want to do it in a large room of my house, at least not one that is on the same central ventilation system.

Doing repairs will also help you learn whether you have the patience and attention to detail demanded for precision work.

SpiderMan

ceebee
05-03-2005, 07:53 AM
Mr. Bustah360, here's an idea for you.

Get a small lathe for cue repair &amp; learn that art first. You can start by retipping (SOME RE-FERRULING) cues in local taverns &amp; pool halls.

Contract with a cue maker to make you some cues (maybe 4) of your design &amp; have your logo put on them. Tell the cue maker your plan, some will help, some won't.

You can make a few dollars &amp; test the waters before going crazy with an unproven investment for you.

bustah360
05-03-2005, 08:14 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote ceebee:</font><hr>
Contract with a cue maker to make you some cues (maybe 4) of your design &amp; have your logo put on them. Tell the cue maker your plan, some will help, some won't.<hr /></blockquote>

Sorry if I'm lost, but I'm not sure what you mean by this.

bustah360
05-03-2005, 08:20 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote bustah360:</font><hr> well I wasn't really thinking about trying to make a buck. dont get me wrong, money is sweet for something I'd like to do but I just wanted to try and make the cues for the artistic value of them. buying a lathe just to repair probably isn't something I'd bother with. there are plenty of other ways I can make a buck (legally of course, lol!)

btw...just outta curiosity, how much would a small lathe to repair shafts cost? would it be messy either way? <hr /></blockquote>

Bustah,

I don't think Joey was implying you should get into repairs for the money. I believe it was suggested as a means for getting into working on cues at reduced expense, and at a level that might be compatible with your living quarters.

I'd have to agree, the complete construction and finishing of cues is not something compatible with apartment dwelling. I wouldn't even want to do it in a large room of my house, at least not one that is on the same central ventilation system.

Doing repairs will also help you learn whether you have the patience and attention to detail demanded for precision work.

SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote>
I appreciate you clearing that up for me. I was mistaken. One thing is that I have no clue as to where and how much a small lathe would run me. I've seen some at the superbilliards expo every year. One operated by laptop (way outta my price range and ability to house anywhere), and some of the ones that some cue makers use to do shaft work. Every year I take my shafts to Phillipi and he has a pretty small lathe, just not something that's for sale there though.

SpiderMan
05-03-2005, 08:45 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bustah360:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote bustah360:</font><hr> well I wasn't really thinking about trying to make a buck. dont get me wrong, money is sweet for something I'd like to do but I just wanted to try and make the cues for the artistic value of them. buying a lathe just to repair probably isn't something I'd bother with. there are plenty of other ways I can make a buck (legally of course, lol!)

btw...just outta curiosity, how much would a small lathe to repair shafts cost? would it be messy either way? <hr /></blockquote>

Bustah,

I don't think Joey was implying you should get into repairs for the money. I believe it was suggested as a means for getting into working on cues at reduced expense, and at a level that might be compatible with your living quarters.

I'd have to agree, the complete construction and finishing of cues is not something compatible with apartment dwelling. I wouldn't even want to do it in a large room of my house, at least not one that is on the same central ventilation system.

Doing repairs will also help you learn whether you have the patience and attention to detail demanded for precision work.

SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote>
I appreciate you clearing that up for me. I was mistaken. One thing is that I have no clue as to where and how much a small lathe would run me. I've seen some at the superbilliards expo every year. One operated by laptop (way outta my price range and ability to house anywhere), and some of the ones that some cue makers use to do shaft work. Every year I take my shafts to Phillipi and he has a pretty small lathe, just not something that's for sale there though. <hr /></blockquote>

Though there are purpose-built "cue lathes" sold by several people, I'd recommend taking the $700-$1500 that these things cost and investing in a solid used metalworking lathe. If you visit the shops of any serious cuemakers, you will see metalworking equipment that is adapted to their use.

If you are on the west coast or in the northeast, you may be lucky - it seems there's always a glut of nice surplus machines from the manufacturing and military industries. I'm in Dallas, where there exists a seller's market for such gear. I spent six months looking and a two-day weekend on the road to get my Atlas lathe. And I still paid about $750 for a pre-war 10"-swing benchtop model with QC gearbox and tooling.

Of course, since you're in an apartment, you'll need to consider the size and weight of this "real" machinery we're discussing. Even a medium-size benchtop lathe of this description can weigh a couple hundred pounds, and floor-model engine lathes several times that. Unless you're on the ground floor you may get some complaints from the downstairs folks when you're running it.

SpiderMan

landshark77
05-03-2005, 09:37 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr>
Of course, since you're in an apartment, you'll need to consider the size and weight of this "real" machinery we're discussing. Even a medium-size benchtop lathe of this description can weigh a couple hundred pounds, and floor-model engine lathes several times that. Unless you're on the ground floor you may get some complaints from the downstairs folks when you're running it.

SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote>

I'd say getting it into the apartment could be a feat within itself. /ccboard/images/graemlins/crazy.gif

bustah360
05-03-2005, 11:27 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr>
Though there are purpose-built "cue lathes" sold by several people, I'd recommend taking the $700-$1500 that these things cost and investing in a solid used metalworking lathe. If you visit the shops of any serious cuemakers, you will see metalworking equipment that is adapted to their use.

If you are on the west coast or in the northeast, you may be lucky - it seems there's always a glut of nice surplus machines from the manufacturing and military industries. I'm in Dallas, where there exists a seller's market for such gear. I spent six months looking and a two-day weekend on the road to get my Atlas lathe. And I still paid about $750 for a pre-war 10"-swing benchtop model with QC gearbox and tooling.

Of course, since you're in an apartment, you'll need to consider the size and weight of this "real" machinery we're discussing. Even a medium-size benchtop lathe of this description can weigh a couple hundred pounds, and floor-model engine lathes several times that. Unless you're on the ground floor you may get some complaints from the downstairs folks when you're running it.

SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote>
Ok, see now things are getting complicated. One thing I'm not is a machinist, so I would have no clue as to where and when to look for these things. I also didn't have any idea that the small ones still range from $700-1500 either...all that just to replace ferrule and tips?

Cueless Joey
05-03-2005, 05:17 PM
Try finding a used metal lathe, 11 by 36 would be a good one to start with. Make sure the ways and gears are in great shape. Make sure the tailstock is in good condition also so it's be accurate. A steady rest and a matching bearing would be nice to have also.
The lathe would weigh around 800 lbs. and would cost around $1500 used. A good 6-jaw chuck would cost around $400.
Make sure the motor is 110 volts so you can hook it up to the regular outlet.
You can then start making nylon collets so you can use the inside spindle of the lathe. You need them for butts and shafts.
You will need a taper bar for the lathe too. You will need a router and router mount so you can cut wood.
A dust collector is a must. So is a Shop Vac.
You will also need an air compressor. Make sure the air that comes out of it has no water and is clean so you can use that air to spray.
Since you like pretty cues, you should get a pantograph or a cnc router/mill. If you get a CNC router, make sure you get the software for it. You will need a CAD/CAM software. Autocad and Mastercam are both good. So is Bobcad.
If you buy a nice pantograph instead, get the templates for it. They cost around $100-200 each.
Oh, you will need some wood. Get a dehumidifier and humidifier since NY has extreme conditions at times. You don't want those wood to crack due to heat, cold or dryness.
You will need some taps and dies or threading mill b/c good hitting cues need threaded major parts.
You will need some epoxy. Slow setting ones and fast setting kinds.
All the best.

bustah360
05-05-2005, 10:41 AM
thanks for the info. that's a lot of info, I see that you're a custom cuemaker yourself then?

John_Madden
05-05-2005, 11:38 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Cueless Joey:</font><hr> Try finding a used metal lathe, 11 by 36 would be a good one to start with. Make sure the ways and gears are in great shape. Make sure the tailstock is in good condition also so it's be accurate. A steady rest and a matching bearing would be nice to have also.
The lathe would weigh around 800 lbs. and would cost around $1500 used. A good 6-jaw chuck would cost around $400.
Make sure the motor is 110 volts so you can hook it up to the regular outlet.
You can then start making nylon collets so you can use the inside spindle of the lathe. You need them for butts and shafts.
You will need a taper bar for the lathe too. You will need a router and router mount so you can cut wood.
A dust collector is a must. So is a Shop Vac.
You will also need an air compressor. Make sure the air that comes out of it has no water and is clean so you can use that air to spray.
Since you like pretty cues, you should get a pantograph or a cnc router/mill. If you get a CNC router, make sure you get the software for it. You will need a CAD/CAM software. Autocad and Mastercam are both good. So is Bobcad.
If you buy a nice pantograph instead, get the templates for it. They cost around $100-200 each.
Oh, you will need some wood. Get a dehumidifier and humidifier since NY has extreme conditions at times. You don't want those wood to crack due to heat, cold or dryness.
You will need some taps and dies or threading mill b/c good hitting cues need threaded major parts.
You will need some epoxy. Slow setting ones and fast setting kinds.
All the best. <hr /></blockquote>

tap, tap, tap,
You just got years and years worth of information from Joey and I don't think he told you the half of it - you need to spend a lot of time just "building" cues, throw it away and rebuild the cue, throw it away and rebuild the cue, etc. so you can build a good quality cue that you can sell (just like pool - practice, practice, practice). And after that building a quality cue isn't done in a week - wood moves and one mistake on a lathe and you throw out weeks if not months of work. (I wasn't fortunate enough to have someone give me the "free" advice) --- again don't forget the dust collector and spray booth (this addiction can be dangerous to your health).
Jack
www.johnmaddencues.com (http://www.johnmaddencues.com)

wolfdancer
05-05-2005, 11:54 AM
It's maddening, isn't it?

bustah360
05-06-2005, 10:42 AM
yes, very maddening...caught a headache trying to get all that down. I'm not a machinist, so all this info is overwhelming a bit.

SpiderMan
05-09-2005, 08:37 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote bustah360:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote SpiderMan:</font><hr>
Though there are purpose-built "cue lathes" sold by several people, I'd recommend taking the $700-$1500 that these things cost and investing in a solid used metalworking lathe. If you visit the shops of any serious cuemakers, you will see metalworking equipment that is adapted to their use.

If you are on the west coast or in the northeast, you may be lucky - it seems there's always a glut of nice surplus machines from the manufacturing and military industries. I'm in Dallas, where there exists a seller's market for such gear. I spent six months looking and a two-day weekend on the road to get my Atlas lathe. And I still paid about $750 for a pre-war 10"-swing benchtop model with QC gearbox and tooling.

Of course, since you're in an apartment, you'll need to consider the size and weight of this "real" machinery we're discussing. Even a medium-size benchtop lathe of this description can weigh a couple hundred pounds, and floor-model engine lathes several times that. Unless you're on the ground floor you may get some complaints from the downstairs folks when you're running it.

SpiderMan <hr /></blockquote>
Ok, see now things are getting complicated. One thing I'm not is a machinist, so I would have no clue as to where and when to look for these things. I also didn't have any idea that the small ones still range from $700-1500 either...all that just to replace ferrule and tips? <hr /></blockquote>

No, not just to replace ferrules and tips. For those repairs only, you can get by with one of the 7"-swing benchtops that are sold by many of the tool importers for about $350, brand-new. I think Fred Agnir owns one, maybe he can give you some direction as to the best place to order.

SpiderMan

NBC-BOB
05-09-2005, 12:00 PM
I don't know if you have any woodworking experience.And I agree with you that it's a real art.But that being said.It's not easy to do, and usually cuemakers have some experience in ww in general and then spend a few years perfecting there cue making techniques.But if you have the skills and desire,maybe you could look around for some woodworking club or school where you could rent shop time.
good luck bob