View Full Version : Using Ajax for shaft cleaning

01-22-2003, 10:30 PM
SecaucusFats suggested using Ajax for cleaning shafts. This seems unusual and possibly dangerous (but a hell of a lot cheaper), but then again I don't know much about it. Does anyone else reccommend using ajax?

01-22-2003, 10:52 PM
Actually, I recommend NOT using Ajax because it's abrasive, as are some of the cue care specific products. I use Simple Green® diluted with 1-2 parts water with a soft cloth for a quick first pass.
I then follow with lighter fluid (or alcohol) finishing with a good buff/burnish. I stay away from any wax 'cuz it tends to get sticky from hand moisture/oil.

<blockquote><font class="small">Quote 9 ball junior:</font><hr> SecaucusFats suggested using Ajax for cleaning shafts. This seems unusual and possibly dangerous (but a hell of a lot cheaper), but then again I don't know much about it. Does anyone else reccommend using ajax? <hr /></blockquote>

L.S. Dennis
01-23-2003, 02:22 AM
Well a little disagreement, I do use ajax with water and it seems to work just fine. Another thing I use at the end of the cleaning proceedure is cue wax. I spin the shaft on a high speed on my lathe to buff the cue wax and it too seems to work just fine. I don't recommend using cue wax if you don't have a lathe though, I can see in that instance where it could get a little sticky.

01-23-2003, 12:54 PM
Sure, Ajax, Comet, Bon Ami or even some of the Cream Cleansers work wonders to clean a shaft.

Far cheaper than Q- clean or similar products.

Keep in mind that these types of cleansers are only for occasional use to clean a really dirty, filthy shaft. They are not to be used as part of a regular maintenance program!

A regular wipe down with a mild solvent is all that a normal shaft needs to stay in playing condition.

For the Ajax, use a damp cloth, scub the shaft thoroughly (don't get the tip or the joint wet) and then wipe down with a clean damp cloth. I've even run the shaft under water (breifly!) to get all the residue off.

Then wipe the shaft with a clean towl and hang it up to dry.

After drying (overnight is best, but an hour or so is o.k.) the grain will be raised. Some players claim that if yuo leave the shaft overnight to dry and then burnish the shaft with leather, you can remove the raised grain without any sandpaper. I havn't found that this works as well for me.

I carefully sand the shaft with some 600 grit (and then finer) and burnish with a dry paper towel.

As I said, don't do this every week!


01-23-2003, 03:17 PM
After use Q clean or a powder like that on a damp cloth, do you have to sand this shaft? This makes me very nervous.

01-23-2003, 03:51 PM
I'm not speaking for Tony but if the grain is raised and open which it normally is. You'll probably have to sand the shaft. I've not had good results just burnishing with leather as the grain is still a little raised and open.
Correct me if wrong Tony but You also spin this in your lathe? I know it can be done by hand it's just more accurate in a lathe.

I'd stick with alcohol or lighter fluid. It may not take all the chalk out but is far simpler to use. The finish is good without any sanding. Use leather or the back side of say 600 grit to burnish.

L.S. Dennis
01-23-2003, 05:45 PM
There's been a lot of talk about not wanting to sand the shaft. I'm not sure why, since sanding is really the best way to get that real smooth feel that people want. I'm not saying sanding a 1/4 or even an 1/8 off just enough to get it feeling slippery smooth. I've tried burnishing with leather and all the rest. If you want the shaft to have real smooth finish feel break out 1000, 1200, 1500, and 2000 grit sandpaper. Try to use a little wood sanding sealer after the final sand and wipe it down well.

01-23-2003, 06:10 PM
My main reason for not sanding is I like my shaft to remain it's original size as long as possible. I realize fine paper takes little off but add it up over time and the shaft will shrink in size. I personally don't need or like to feel that new sanded finish. I like the gloss seal from my hand oils. It may not be as slick but I prefer a slight drag. If I remove a ding with water then I use some 2000 if necessary but only light in that spot then burnish. For those that don't care if a little wood is removed and like that super slick finish, thats their choice.

I had a cue guy use some fine paper after a new tip. I about went through the roof. I cringe when I see abrasives sand paper or otherwise being used.

01-23-2003, 07:02 PM
So you can use alcohol and the wood won't expand and you won't have to sand, while still getting the same results? Is this just regular rubbing alcohol?

01-23-2003, 07:35 PM
Alcohol dries fast and won't raise the grain. Just use a small amount. I use it twice, it picks any left over from the first time. It won't clean out all of the chalk and is not as smooth as sanding. But then your not sanding your shaft away either. Use leather, paper what ever you have to burnish. The best part is it won't harm your shaft. Try that first if it is not clean or smooth enough for you then go to the cleanser and of course sanding. I use de-natured alcohol as I feel it cuts oil film better but rubbing is ok to.

L.S. Dennis
01-23-2003, 07:35 PM
Yes you can use rubbing alcohol if you like and it will work just fine. I use isopropyl rubbing alcohol 91% which can be bought at most any drug store.

On the other matter I thing Rod is probably right in saying that if you don't want your shaft THAT smooth (although I think most people do) you probably shouldn't be sanding your shaft at all. You can use leather or the back of a piece of sandpaper or whatever it that's what satisfies you. You might want to consider that whenever you go to a professional tournament and there is a cue repair man on site with a lathe and you bring him your shaft for cleaning they almost always automaically do a little sanding to get it clean and smooth. Natuarally over time your shaft is going to be reduced some in diameter, but that's the trade off you get. Most people like to change shafts from time to time anyway.
Just my thoughts

01-23-2003, 10:13 PM
Thanks for the posts guys, I think Ill give the alcohol a try.

01-24-2003, 12:11 AM
It usually raises the grain, so yes you have to sand the grain down smooth. Just with very fine paper though, so nothing to get too nervous about.

I did say it wasn't something that I would do very often!

-have never had to clean one of my own shafts like this! They never get that dirty!

01-24-2003, 12:14 AM
"Correct me if wrong Tony but You also spin this in your lathe? I know it can be done by hand it's just more accurate in a lathe."

Well yes Rod that's how I'd do it, but it can easily also be done by hand. It only takes a few minutes to knock down the raised grain.

If the shaft was dirty enough, I wouldn't hesitate to use the abrasive cleanser.

But you are right, if I didn't have to, I wouldn't.

-lighter fluid dude....

01-24-2003, 12:16 AM
Yes, plain old regular rubbing alcohol works wonders. It takes out a lot of the hand oils and dirt, and it doesn't really raise the grain. After cleaning, you can burnish the shaft to a nice gloss.


01-24-2003, 06:11 AM
Tony...I want to say thanks for sticking through this discussion. I personally believe that as much pure resistance I have had from gettting the stain out using even lighter fluid, that a little grain raising for the deep clean will be a given sacrifice. I'd like to get to a near new condition on my wood and then seal it with the best sealer, put the cue(s) in a non-tube type case from then on and just SEE if I can't keep them nice. I'd hope everyone would understand that you aren't condoning repeated uses of scouring materials...we surely all know TonyM that well by now...sid ~~~lil' sanding ain't gonna kill it every so often

Rich R.
01-24-2003, 08:53 AM
Sid, please don't take this in the wrong way, I do not want to appear to be a smart a$$ on this and I am seriously curious.

Why are you so interested in your cues looking like "new"?

I don't want a sticky grungy cue either, but, I see nothing wrong with a little discoloration and smooth patina you get from use. After all, shouldn't a used cue, look used?

Just curious.

01-25-2003, 04:12 PM
Thanks Sid!

And yes, I little serious scrubbing every so often won't hurt your shaft. Neither will a little sandpaper. Or a little water, etc. etc.

As a good friend of mine likes to say: "do everything in moderation, but once in a while, include moderation itself!".


01-25-2003, 04:17 PM
I hear you Rich. I like my shafts to have some "character" to them. A little bit of colour looks fine to me.

I actually don't like the snow white bleached look so in vogue these days. It makes the shafts look "anemic".

If you look at some of the old Szamboti cues, you see nice dense shaft wood that was often slightly tan in colour. I love shaft wood like that.

A nice old shaft with a natural patina from hand oils just looks "right" to me.

But, then again, some folks like to maintain that "like new" look as long as possible.

Different strokes ya know!