View Full Version : Cue Warping
What is the best way to prevent warping in a cue shaft?
I ask because my Viking Cue, which is barely a year old, appears to have a warp in it. What angers me about it is the fact that I leave it in its cue case to avoid any damage to it. The only thing I can think of is the climate where I live. It gets pretty humid in the summer and dry in the winter. Would this be a contributing factor?
What do you folks do to avoid warping? any advice and suggestions are very much appreciated. Thanks
11-21-2002, 10:16 AM
Boss, there is never a guarantee that a shaft will not warp. Although your climate could be the reason for the warping of your shaft, there are also other factors. To avoid warping due to climate, you should try, as much as possible, to avoid storing your cue in extremes of humidity and temperature. Never leave it in your car. The cue should go in the car with you and out with you. Storing it at home, in a good case, in a cool dry place is best.
Factors beyond your control, which may have contributed to the warped shaft, are natural stresses in the wood. The wood may have not been seasoned properly. The shaft may have been turned down to its finished size too quickly. Top custom cue makers remove small amounts of wood, with each turning, letting the shaft rest for long periods of time between turnings. That is one of the practices that make some custom cues so expensive.
I'm sure I have missed a couple of things that could have contributed to the warp.
My only suggestion would be to buy a cue from the best cue maker you can afford and take care of it, the best you can. There are still no guarantees, but a top cue maker may either replace the warped shaft, if he feels it wasn't your fault, or he may work with you on the price for a replacement.
11-21-2002, 10:30 AM
Ditto what Rich R. said plus never lean your cue against a wall.
If it's really bad you can buy a new shaft from Viking for a reasonable price.
I would make sure the shaft is warped not the butt before I spent money on a new shaft...
11-21-2002, 11:51 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rich R.:</font><hr> Boss, there is never a guarantee that a shaft will not warp. Although your climate could be the reason for the warping of your shaft, there are also other factors. To avoid warping due to climate, you should try, as much as possible, to avoid storing your cue in extremes of humidity and temperature. Never leave it in your car. The cue should go in the car with you and out with you. Storing it at home, in a good case, in a cool dry place is best. . . .<hr /></blockquote>Just to argue from the other side:
My primary cue is a Viking (owned/used for about 6 yrs). I bought it in California, and when it wasn't in use, it sat flat on the floor in a soft case, in my room, where I kept 1-3 windows open year-round.
I now live in Atlanta, where the temperature and humidity are 'extreme' and schizophrenic. I leave it in the trunk of the car, which is garaged at home--although this is not good to do, the trunk generally stays much cooler than the car interior, but still gets cold when the temp is low. I also lean it against the wall, when I'm not holding it around a table. And I've always shot breaks with it--with a short respite, when I got tired of reshaping the tip (from mushrooming).
The shaft has never warped.
Back to the warping:
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Rich R.:</font><hr>. . .Factors beyond your control, which may have contributed to the warped shaft, are natural stresses in the wood. The wood may have not been seasoned properly. The shaft may have been turned down to its finished size too quickly.<hr /></blockquote>Just a guess, but the location of the tree that the shaft-wood came from may be to blame as well. I think that wood closer to the center of the tree--the older stuff--is harder. Also, the grain can be affected by the 'life experience' of the tree. If the tree weathers consistent seasons, the grain should be more uniform.
However, I would think that good seasoning, as Rich R. brings up, would go a long way towards stabilizing the wood--which of course brings us to variables in the chemical stabilizing procedure used, but I won't wander into that, (It would certainly just be more conjecture.)
Contacting Viking directly and asking if they would do anything, considering the age of the cue, is an option. This may be a longshot, since they may feel that the warping is more due to treatment, as opposed to manufacturing process, but it doesn't hurt to ask. http://www.vikingcue.com .
11-21-2002, 12:46 PM
If you get to the point that you feel you have nothing to lose with a warped shaft, there are several ways to straighten it. I warn you, however, they are not for the faint-of-heart. The method that I have used successfully is to (it makes my blood curdle to even think about it now) heat the warped area with a hair dryer and then bend against the warp. This is done repeatedly and with great caution so as not to overheat or overbend the shaft. Sometimes it requires using books and other weights to hold the bend correction in place over several hours.
I have used this method on probably 20 shafts from old Bruswick Hoppes and Rambos to Joss Wests and, for me, it is permanently successful in keeping the shaft straight about 75% of the time. Whether the cure is worse than the disease (in the cell structure of the wood) is certainly open to debate, but I have only done this to shafts that were otherwise useless. Bob C
Thanks for the help everyone.
From looking at it, it appears to be a rather small warp, so it might not effect its performance too much. I'm not sure though, I'm no expert on pool cues. I guess what bothers me the most about it is the fact that the cue is just barely over 1 year old. Plus the fact that I have only gotten to use it once since I bought it.
One last question for you folks. Is it better to leave it standing up or lying flat when its in the cue case? or does it really matter?
Thanks again everyone
11-21-2002, 02:27 PM
If you have a soft case NEVER stand it up against the wall or you will have a warped Q.
When buying a Q the 1st thing most of you do is look at the price, then the looks(how pretty it is). This thing has only one purpose--TO HIT A Q BALL.
The 1st thing you should look for, is the fit & finish. If the maker takes shortcuts here, then they probably skipped other important steps that will show up later. Then look at the taper. If it looks thick & stiff It probably has a hit to match. If it looks thin like a toothpick it will probably have a lot of flex when you hit the ball. Then look at the shaft wood. You don't have to be a Qmaker to see the lines of grain in the wood. The grain lines are a little darker than the rest of the wood. The more lines of grain you can count & the straighter they are, the better. 8-15 grain lines at the joint would be a quality shaft. Under 8 will be light in weight,will not be as strong & probably will have a more difficult time resisting warpage. After all this being said, even the best wood can be rushed through the system & produce a Q that will not stay straight.
I don't want to get into an argument about any particular Qmaker,but 95% of all of us WILL NOT STAND BEHIND OUR WORK, AGAINST WARPAGE, BECAUSE WE CANNOT TELL WHAT KIND OF TREATMENT YOU GAVE IT, ONCE YOU TOOK IT HOME.
If you can't afford a good stick,save your money til you can. Then you'll enjoy it more & have a better chance of having it for many pain free years...JER
11-21-2002, 03:55 PM
I was thinking about this too. Mine is not warped. I frequently go to my table off and on during the day. So how many hours is it okay to leave it in the rack, without fearing it will warp. It is kept otherwize in a hard case upright.
11-21-2002, 10:29 PM
JER, you hit upon something that a friend was discussing with me just tonight at league. He said that if you look at the grain line, and it doesn't go straight down the shaft, it is very likely that the shaft will warp. He said that any shaft he had ever seen that curved or twisted noticably, warped in time.
11-22-2002, 04:58 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote stickman:</font><hr> JER, you hit upon something that a friend was discussing with me just tonight at league. He said that if you look at the grain line, and it doesn't go straight down the shaft, it is very likely that the shaft will warp. He said that any shaft he had ever seen that curved or twisted noticably, warped in time. <hr /></blockquote>
ww kept raving about the cues he was selling. they are very good looking. he discovered last night, when he took one of mine to be trimmed a bit that, 3 out of 5 have warpage and he has to send them back. we have been careful too about how we store the cues.
we have only had these cues(the first two) for 3-4 years.The only two that were not warped were the cue i play with all the time(3 year old) and ww newest one which is 17oz while he is used to playing with 19oz. my new cue,ww old one and a new one gotten a couple of months ago were all warped
it looks like i will be looking around. what is the price range for a basic cue, no inlays or fancy stuff that is unlikely to warp as long as I store it properly.
11-22-2002, 08:41 AM
Good luck in sending the Qs back. I know that even Meucci has a policy about warpage. They guarantee any Q for 10 days AFTER THE DEALER GETS IT. Nothing after that & nothing for the buyer...JER
11-22-2002, 09:20 AM
I have a list of Q brands that I see a lot of warped shafts as they come to me for repairs. 90% of these come from Taiwan. They include LUCASI,QUEST,COMPATITITON,SHREDDER,PLAYERS & STRATFORD. Other Qs that are made in Taiwan, but I don't see much problems with the shafts are PREDATOR,CUTEC,ACTION & HELMSTETTER(including their BALABUSHKA line). I'm not saying that all of these Qs are bad, but they do show up HERE more often than any of the others.
If you ask my opinion BUY Qs MADE IN THE UNITED STATES. This has nothing to do with nationalism, but I just don't see many American Qs with the problems Of warpage, poor fit or finish or breakage like I do with the Taiwan Qs( with the exceptions that I noted)...JER
11-22-2002, 01:10 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote BLACKHEART:</font><hr> I have a list of Q brands that I see a lot of warped shafts as they come to me for repairs. 90% of these come from Taiwan. They include LUCASI,QUEST,COMPATITITON,SHREDDER,PLAYERS & STRATFORD. Other Qs that are made in Taiwan, but I don't see much problems with the shafts are PREDATOR,CUTEC,ACTION & HELMSTETTER(including their BALABUSHKA line). I'm not saying that all of these Qs are bad, but they do show up HERE more often than any of the others.
If you ask my opinion BUY Qs MADE IN THE UNITED STATES. This has nothing to do with nationalism, but I just don't see many American Qs with the problems Of warpage, poor fit or finish or breakage like I do with the Taiwan Qs( with the exceptions that I noted)...JER <hr /></blockquote>
these cues were american made and supposed have a lifetime guarantee but we will see about that when ww tries to send them back. he felt the quality went down when ownership changed hands but one of the warped ones (his fav) came from the old makers, and the other two came from the new people.
I just want another good basic cue. do you think i could get this for 3-500 us dollars.?
I am just real basic, not even an intermediate player (whatever that is) so dont need something fancy and expensive.
Bluewolf..of course you can get a good cue btwn 3-500 dollars. I suggest looking into the Predator line...even their sneaky peats look pretty good..The first predator I bought was the Sneaky Pete with the joint..350.00, then i went up the 2K2 due to the look of it...545.00 but was able to get it around 440.00...Was the best cue I had, but I busted it out of anger and had to get another one without the same amount of funds..so i went to the 3K1. ALL of them hit really well and consistent. I have friends that have the higher up models and they claim the same...
But outside of my love for the 314 shaft...if you are really just starting and an intermediate player like you claim,,,why spend so much? I have friends that are 4's in APA leagues that shoot with Cuetecs and love them...150.00 for the ones they shoot with...
Just my thoughts!
11-22-2002, 11:09 PM
"What is the best way to prevent warping in a cue shaft? "
Sorry to say this, but short of keeping the shaft in a temperature and humidity controlled enviroment, there's not much you can do.
If the shaft wood is unstable, and "wants" to warp, it will.
But if the wood is stable, it will tend to stay straight throughout the usual changes in relative humidity and temperature that a typical cue will go through. The only way to warp a stable shaft (or butt!) would be to subject it to some sort of mechanical stress.
What to do if your shaft is already warped?
Well it depends on how it got that way. If it warped because the wood had internal stresses (ie: the shaft was unstable) or uneven or non-parallel grwoth rings, then you're basically out of luck.
It is possible to straighten a shaft, but in my experience, if the shaft is made from unstable maple, then the warp almost always comes back.
But if the shaft warped due to poor handling (like being subject to a mechanical stress like leaning against something for an extended period of time) then it probably can be straightened successfully.
When buying a new cue, some things to avoid:
1) avoid, whenever possible buying a cue sight unseen, or over the internet. This really applies to production cues (custom cuemakers will often replace a warped shaft).
2) avoid any shafts with grain lines that are not equally spaced, or do not run straight, and parallel to the centerline of the shaft. The grain lines should not waver, or curve, or twist around the shaft, especially anywhere near the tip area.
Avoid shafts with less than 8 growth lines per inch.
And finally, whenever possible, try and buy a shaft (or cue) that has been around for a year or so. Then sight down the shaft, and roll the shaft on the table seperately.
Don't buy a shaft that isn't straight to begin with, it likely won't get better on it's own!
Avoid big extremes in humidity if possible.
11-23-2002, 05:42 AM
There are many top quality cue makers in Maryland.
Try contacting them and discussing a cue at your price point.
I do not know if you will be successful with some of them, because they are no longer making the lower price plain cues, but you can ask. I'm not sure if you can get one from Scruggs, Lambros or Black Boar, but maybe one of the others.
Not on that list, but still in Maryland, is Bob Frey, who makes an excellent cue.
11-23-2002, 05:04 PM
My current cue has a stiff shaft with a soft talisman tip. We saw some cutecs at the pool store and the shafts were very flexible. i dont know if this is true of all cutecs but i do like a stiffer shaft. is the predator stiffer. I think I am going to get the predator. I am not sure what model I looked at but it is cheaper at poolndarts.com. Most of them are at least $50 cheaper. So thanks for the recommendation.
As far as being an intermediate player, I see myself as 'scratching and clawing' my way to the middle. I have trouble saying anything about my ability expect i am ok in certain things while other things need a lot of work. Also I have noticed that sl in APA are very inconsistent. I have seen very good 2 and 3s and very bad 4s and 5s. Even I have seen some 6s and 7s who wernt much better than some good 3s I know and it shouldnt be that way,imo. a six or seven should be totally out of our league (2-3), imo.
anyway thanks for the tip on the predator.
11-25-2002, 02:49 AM
Have you ever heard of the "Butt" portion of the cue warping? Years ago, I bought a Stamboulini and somehow,the Butt warped-the guy gave me a completely different cue,but I thought that was weird-and also, if the butt 'does" warp, can it be repaired?
Carol~took care of cues as if they were my child!:)
11-25-2002, 08:31 AM
Butts & shafts alike, have to go through a turning process in order to insure straightness. If you cut a raw piece of wood in one turning to it's finished size, it probably will warp. Reasons being are that the inside portions still hold moisture & will dry & warp more or less with the grain. The wood also has internal stresses( trees growing towards the sun or bending with the wind),that are released when you cut them. I take 8 cuts( between a 1 inch dowel & my final shaft size), over a 20 week period. The wood for the forearm portion & handle is turned to a 1 1/2" diameter then rested 4-8 weeks. Then the forearm portion is turned to a tapered size & rested a couple of weeks. Then the two are screwed & glued together, using a tenoned joint. After resting a week the assembled butt section is turned to a taper of 1" on the joint end. Again it's rested a week or two then turned to .900 & rested for another week or two. At this time the inlays are cut & glued into place. After a few days the Q can be turned to it's final size. I install the joint screw as my last operation before sanding(which I hate),& clear coat finish is applied. If at anytime the Qmaker takes shortcuts the butt or shaft can warp...JER
AS USUAL THIS IS PROBABLY MORE THAN ANYONE REALLY WANTS TO KNOW, BUT THERE IT IS. Others may do it differently, this is the way I do it & it's just for informational purposes.
11-25-2002, 08:38 AM
I for one found what you said very interesting. I also appreciate you mentioning the process too. You make some beautiful cues JER.
11-25-2002, 09:33 AM
Love the knowledge Blackheart,
I have ALOT of respect for that! Thank you very much-have a nice Thanksgiving!
Carol~has Meucci,helmstetter,Joss,Predator,Bungee and one day a BLACKHEART!:)
11-25-2002, 09:36 AM
Im praying to my Saint to meet Blackheart at Valley Forge and have enough "moolah":) to buy one of his cues!
11-25-2002, 10:17 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote CarolNYC:</font><hr> Hey Chris,
Im praying to my Saint to meet Blackheart at Valley Forge and have enough "moolah":) to buy one of his cues!
Carol <hr /></blockquote>
I would just wait till Karla Chorney's losing and offer to buy her cue. It's beautiful. The only problem is Karla doesn't miss. HAHAHAHAHAHHA
C.C.~~luvs the women of the CCB..... /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
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