Cue making isn't easy and takes many years practise to even get close to perfection. It's about more than just good manufacture. It's about the playability of the cue and the ability to get the most out of a cue and its given spec. Through our experience playing professionally we are in the best position to understand what's required of a cue and, more importantly, make a cue that meets those requirements.
The information below will hopefully answer some questions you may have and point you in the right direction when you decide on the cue that will best suit your game.
ASH OR MAPLE
This is one of the most important decisions to make when deciding on the spec of your cue. Some prefer to look down the chevrons (arrows) on ash whereas others like the clarity and smoothness of maple.
The biggest difference is the playability. Maple is a dense wood so has a more solid feel when striking the cue ball and as a result it does tend to have more cue ball deflection with side. Ash is less dense and has more flex through the shaft which is important for applying spin a bit more easily. Ash also has lower cue ball deflection which is probably why it's the choice of most professionals.
JOINTED OR 1 PIECE For us this is an easy answer - 1 piece is the better cue to play with.
There are plus points to jointed cues. They are far more practical than 1 piece for travelling and if you like heavy cues then a jointed cue should be your preference as they are naturally heavier. For example, if you wanted about 20oz we would recommend a jointed cue as a 20oz jointed cue will tend to play better than a 20oz 1 piece cue.
Because of the natural heaviness jointed cues also tend to have more power to them but it's important to remember that power doesn't equal lots of spin. Power and spin are generated from a well-timed cue action.
First of all the major factor why 1 piece cues are better than jointed is due to wood running right through the cue. The wood in a jointed cue is separated by a brass joint, on 1 piece cues the wood carries on through and you get so much extra feel through the cue, particularly on soft screw shots in and around the black spot. It makes cue ball positioning much easier.
The sound is a more natural woody sound (jointed cues sound more solid) and the natural balance with a 1 piece cue makes it feel like an extension of your arm.
Ultimately it's down to preference. If you have played with jointed cues all your life then a 1 piece cue may feel very unusual and the same goes vice versa. We feel 1 piece cues play better but the decision is mostly down to whether practicality or playablity is more important to you.
We only use our standard full thread joint design in our cues. Quick release joints have become popular recently but over time the threads can move slightly causing the butt to be slightly out of line with the shaft. With extensions now screwing into the base of the cue there's also less need to take the cue apart during a match so time lost in screwing together a full thread joint is no longer an issue.
WEIGHT AND BALANCE
The best weight of a cue is combination of your preference and the right weight for the spec of the cue. As a general rule the best weight for a 1 piece cue is 17oz - 18.75oz and for a jointed cue is 17.5oz - 20oz. This range ensures the cue has enough power behind the shot but still retains enough feel when in the balls. Balance must be correct on a cue for it to feel good. A poorly balanced cue can play and feel terrible no matter how good the shaft may be. Although a balance point can be requested when deciding on the spec of your cue, we always recommend us deciding balance of the cue. When the cue is ready to be weighted we can assess the cue to ensure the best balance is achieved for optimal playability and feel for the cue.
LENGTH, TIP AND BUTT
These sizes are all about preference. The length should be chosen to suit your cue action more than your height. Standard sizes tend to be between 57" and 58". For the tip size we always recommend 9.5mm. It's a good size between large and small as it's large enough to help avoid imparting unwanted side on the cue ball but still small enough to get through the cue ball quickly. For the butt, the only rule is what feels comfortable in your hand. Standard sizes tend to be around 29mm - 29.5mm. Most custom cues we make tend to be between 28mm - 30mm.