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If you own a pool, you definitely own a couple of cue sticks too. Pool cue sticks are a long-term investment, as they are not cheap per say. When you buy one, you want it to last long.
So how long do cue sticks last? Ideally, there is no specified time that a cue stick will last. This is partly because the cue stick has various components that have their own lifespan, and partly because different cues are made of different materials with varying longevity.
This article will look at the factors above in detail, as well as other pool cue-related issues to give a deeper insight on pool cue lifespan. Keep reading.
What Material Makes Cue Sticks and How Does It Affect Lifespan
In a bid to determine how long a pool cue will last, it is important to consider look at the material that has been used to make the cue stick.
The two major classifications of material include wood and fiberglass.
Traditionally, wood was the main material that was used to make cue sticks. To date, pool cues made of wood are known to be exceptional in terms of quality, which makes them last longer. In the past, the major wood type for pool cue was maple wood.
However, today there is a myriad of other wood types such as Brazilian Rosewood, Blackwood, Zircote, Red Ivory, Cocobolo, Ebony, Olive Wood and many other exotic woods, all of which produce quality and long-lasting pool cues. However, wooden cue sticks are prone to warping if not well taken care of.
- Fiberglass and Other Alternatives
Now, to solve the problem of warping comes the fiberglass cues. Fiberglass cues are less prone to warping, but majority of professional pool players frown upon them. While the may not warp easily, they may compromise the quality/outcome of the game. When it comes to longevity of the cue, you may use it for long without the worry of warping, but it may never exceed the superiority of using a wooden cue.
How Do the Components of the Pool Cue Affect Longevity?
As already mentioned, one of the reasons why we do not have precise time of the longevity of a cue stick is because of the cue stick components.
The pool cue is not a one large stick. No. It is made up of three components namely the butt, shaft, and cue tip.
The butt is the larger end or preferably the base of the cue stick. The tapered end is the shaft. The tip is the farthest end of the pool cue, which is attached to the ferrule on the shaft. Let us look at them in details.
- The Butt
The butt, being the rear of the stick, it is simply the part where you hold for support. This part rarely wears out, and as you replace any other part, this part can always remain intact.
- The shaft
The shaft is an important component as it holds the cue tip. Depending on the material used in constructing the shaft, it might sometimes acquire dents or warps.
The good news is that you can interchange pool cue shafts. If your shaft has a problem, you do not have to run to the shop to buy a new cue stick altogether.
If you are playing at bar, you can pick another stick and interchange the shafts if compatible. On the other hand, if you own a pool cue, you can simply by another shaft and fix it on your cue.
- The Cue Tip
The cue tip is the part that touches the ball when playing. It is the most important part of a cue stick, as it determines the direction of the cue balls.
How long will a cue tip last? On average, a good cue tip should last about 6 months when used regularly. However, the longevity of the cue tip depends on certain factors such as the material used, the frequency of use, and maintenance.
A tip made of skin may wear out in a span of 6 months while a phenolic tip may last longer than that. Additionally, a harder tip will definitely last longer compared to a softer one.
If you keep the tip well maintained, it will give you longer service. Proper chalking is one of the best methods for cue tip maintenance.
Does Using a Cue Stick for Its Intended Purpose Prolong Its Lifespan?
If you are a professional player, you already know that there are cue sticks for different purposes as seen below.
- Break Cues– break cues are purposely meant for breaking the balls. As such, they have hard tips, mostly made of phenolic, fit for their purpose. Most of them are also heavy.
- Jump Cues- professionally, this one is used for jumping the cue ball. Compared to the other standard pool cues, this one tends to be shorter and much lighter to enable the jump shot. It also has a hard tip to give the jump shot more energy.
- Jump-Break Cues- this one is a combination of the two cues above. It comes in three pieces. For jumping, attach the shaft to the butt end. For breaking, add in the third piece.
- Playing Cues- at least even beginners are familiar with this cue. This is the ones used in the rest of the game.
Now if you own a stick, it would help a lot if you don’t use it for jumping or breaking the balls. This way the tip will not wear out faster than it should.
If you use the playing cue to break the balls all the time, there you have it. It may not last long.
General Cue Maintenance Tips
How long a pool cue lasts is largely dependent on maintenance. Below are a few tips to help you preserve your cue stick.
- When changing the cue tip, go to a professional, or someone who has done it several times. You want to ensure it is done properly so that your cue stick remains in good shape.
- When you are not using it, store it in a sturdy box or case. Still on storage, ensure you keep the cue stick at moderate temperature. High temperature can cause warping for wood pool cues. Further, do not keep your stick leaning on the wall for long. This position exerts pressure, which again causes warping.
- Do not use your cue when breaking the balls. If there is no break cue, use the house cue and preserve yours.
- Practice proper chalking techniques, and avoid storing chalk in the cue case.
See Also: 4 Best Pool Cue Tips For Breaking
Which Cue material is best?
There are different materials used for making cues such as fiberglass, wood, graphite, carbon, fiber, aluminum, etc. for beginners, forget about the rest, and choose from the first three. Professional players choose wood because of playability. Fiberglass does not warp but the game quality may not be as wood. However, your choice boils down to personal preference.
What cue tip is best?
Standard cues come with a medium tip, which is acceptable for most players. However, depending on the intended purpose, it could be jumping or breaking the balls, then you may choose a hard tip.
Is a fancy cue stick the way to go?
It does not matter how expensive or fancy your pool cue is. The tip is what determines if you will hit or miss. That does not mean other parts are not important. However, the tip must be in shape. A professional will always look at the density, size, and type of cue tip before he or she picks a certain pool cue.
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