View Full Version : Visited my cuemaker yesterday...

05-12-2003, 08:41 AM
So after mid-morning brunch with our family I ventured over to my cuemakers house to check out the progress on my custom cue. I do not know very much about cuemaking, but became a little more knowlegeable after seeing where he is with my forearm.

He, Larry Schave from Vancouver WA, has finished setting my upper two full spliced points on the lower three points and is getting ready to start the upper points. He still has to put in the actual three lower points, below the two extra splices. I hadn't really thought that this was how to finish points, by setting the outermost of the points first and working inward. Pretty fascinating how intricate cuemaking is, with all of the precise cuts that need to be made. One blunder and it is wasted.

It will look super when complete. One of the most beautiful pieces of mexican cocobolo with thick dark swirls for the forearm and buttcap. Each of the 6 alternating hi-lo points above and below the wrap will have an outer curly maple point, to an ebony point, to the larger full curly maple point. For 18 points up and 18 points down = 36 points. Along with some checkered and silver ringwork.

Have any of you tried making your own cues? Actual cuemakers not included. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif


I was so excited when I got my first peek at it. Can't wait.

05-12-2003, 08:50 AM
damn, sounds amazing. As for me, i will be meeting with a cue maker named art cantando, who will be making me a custom cue, i just have'nt quite got any designs that i may want, for that matter i dont know what i want in design, but am going to find something. i do know am going to get the uni-loc joints and my name on the butt of the cue.
btw, i would just like to know how much is this costing you, art and i have'nt discussed price yet because i dont have any designs together. so i was just wondering what the prices are for this type of work.

05-12-2003, 09:16 AM
I have known the guy for a few years now. I have been away from Vancouver for some time, ran into him around New Years and he said that he got into making cues. He is a machinist by trade and he has always shot with the best equipment. I know he has owned Schick, Bender, Scruggs, Southwest, Coker. Said he got sick of spending money on cues. Once he started and made a couple he found they hit as good if not better than what he has had in the past. So he sold his cues bought a CNC machine for inlays, he already had the lathe, but he bought another one. Got design specs from another local maker who is swamped. Saw some forarms he is working on with turquise inlays and stuff that were beautiful also. I am just not a bg fan of inlays or floating points.

They hit real stiff due to the 3/8 10 pin. I have wanted this design of a cue for the past few years, had it in my head. But for a well known cuemaker to make it it would cost twice+ as much and take 3+ years to get. I know this guy and I can always bring it to him since he lives 4 miles from my parents house. He is trying to get his cues out there so he is selling this cue to me for ~$700 (cause I know him), lower end for $350 or so. Second cue he ever made he sold to a collecter in Seattle for $1200

He leant me a cue to shoot with while mine is being made to get used to the hit. I love the one he gave me too, however it is only 58" and mine will be 60".

yeah Muj, the sky is the limit in cuemaking. Anything you put on it ups the value (and price), but doesn't affect playability. If I didn't have this opportunity to get basically half off on a cue of my dreams, I would be content with my Scruggs sneaky pete. But I do, so I can be content on spending two months worth of tourney winnings on it.


Cueless Joey
05-12-2003, 09:34 AM
Off the subject but I think you mean real milled points not full spliced.
I plan making cues by next year.If all goes well that is.
Lathes and tooling to make cues cost a lot of money. I will have to sell some of my cues to pay for it. Good thing is I have a patron in waiting who will buy my first cues, if I ever make them, to keep me afloat. I won't do it full-time though as cuemakers, most of them anyway, do not make money.
Just like players. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

05-12-2003, 09:48 AM
Yeah when he very first started he got laid off from his job and this supplemented his income. Now he has a new job during the day and works on them when he gets home. His brother is helping him out with a few things as well.

I could be confused about the points. As I said I know nothing about wood working or the making of cues. I made a nice chessboard box with a slide out for the pieces in high school. That is the extent of my wood working...unless I am driving a nail through it HEHEHEHE.

What is the difference between the two styles?

Cueless Joey
05-12-2003, 10:09 AM
Full spliced points are points that are actually part of the handle. Most house cues are done this way.
Short splice points are points milled in the short forearm. The handle is threaded to the forearm.

05-12-2003, 10:27 AM
quote"I won't do it full-time though as cuemakers, most of them anyway, do not make money."

That could be said about any business, not due to there being no money in the business, but due to the businessman. A cuemaker making cues that only retail for $500. to $600. can easily produce 10 cues a month without killing himself. That is $60,000. to $70,000 a year not counting repair work. With a world wide market, the sale of 120 a year is not overly ambitious. As long as the work is top notch, you can expect to sell most everything you build. Even if some don't fly out of the shop, they still add to your net worth, and could be wholesaled if need be. Going into your own little shop and building cues, can be the next best thing to printing your own money. It is up to the person, success is no accident. There may seem like there is a glut of cue makers out there, but when you consider most don't build much more then a few dozen cues a year, and many may not even be any good at it, if you are one of the good ones, (that is up to you), you will make money. I have bought bankrupt business and put them back of their feet and sold them for good profits. What I have learned is, assuming the business had a chance in the first place, most failures are due to the owners. Same with guys not making any money with their cues. There is a big market out there.

05-12-2003, 10:49 AM
Looking at the overhead of product for the cues. What do like 3x3 sections of the differing woods cost? What do the blanks for shafts cost? I know that it takes a while to hang and cure the woods, and Schave has a great set up. With the dozens of different woods out there and keeping an inventory of those woods must take some grand starting capital...just like any business. Then you get into inlay materials (MOP, turquoise, etc.) How about those?


05-13-2003, 02:51 AM
Starting capital would include:

1. Shop space
2. Lathes
3. Inlay machines
4. Raw wood
5. Hardware (joints, ferrules, etc.)
6. Inlay material.
7. Other materials (stain, wood treatments, etc.)
8. time, time, and more time

Also remember that all GOOD cuemakers treat and cure most pieces of wood in between every turning. Sometimes to take a piece of cocobola from a 3x3 blank down to a cue may take several months. Many of the top cuemakers will re-treat and cure wood for 30 days every time they take a 16th of an inch off of the surface.

In many of the larger cities cuemakers will tell you that they make more from repair/refinishing work than they can ever hope to make from making custom cues. Ferrule/tip jobs take about 50 cents worth of materials and take 10 minutes and usually yeild 30 bucks profit.

Talk to a few cuemakers and they will tell you that they dont get into the business for the money. Its the love of the sport and the love of their craft that drives them. And its those cuemakers who do it for the pleasure of making good, quality cues that turn out the best products.