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Choosing a Pool Cue Tip

A short article from the late 1990s on choosing a pool cue tip by Jim Barr, league operator of the Players Pool League of KC (BCAPL) . Originally published in 1997 under the title "A Little About Tips". It was no longer online, so we wanted to resurrect it, as it still contains some good advice on choosing a pool cue tip that is as applicable today as it was 20 years ago.


Choosing a Pool Cue Tip

Why do I want to talk about tips? Your tip and your shaft are the two most important parts of your cue. It is important that the butt be well made, but it is the least important of the three, when it comes to playing. There are many different types of tips on the market, most are made from leather or synthetic leather. There are tips made of other materials, but they are not legal for tournament play. Leather tips are made from animal hides, and most of the hides used to make tips come from cattle.

Tips come in a variety of sizes and hardness. Two of the softest tips on the market are Elk Master and Blue Night. Royal Oaks are a medium soft and Chandivert Match and Triumph are medium. Chandivert Champion, Chandivert Crown and Triangle are rated medium hard. Le Pro is rated slightly softer than the Triangle. I don’t agree with the Le Pro rating and I will explain why later in this article. Chandivert Rocky has the hardest rating of any tip, and I recommend that beginners stay away from this one. I realize this does not cover all tips, but it covers some of the most common.

If you are considering changing tips, here is some information to help you make that decision. I recommend that beginners use a soft tip simply because it is easier to learn English (or side if you prefer) without miscuing. I’m not saying that all advanced players should use a hard tip, this is a matter of your personal preference. I do feel that a hard tip will give you a more solid hit and that is better! If you do change tips, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to adjust to it, at least 10 to 20 hours of playing time. You might also keep in mind that after a period of time, your tip is going to harden as you play. This is because you are compressing the tip by beating it down.

A soft tip requires more maintenance as it will mushroom more often. A hard tip requires more chalk and needs to be scuffed more often. The hard tip will retain its shape longer and will also last longer than a soft tip.

If you are wondering if you are using the right shape for your tip, or wondering if the shape you are using is the best for you, then here’s a starting point. If you stay within the center of the cue ball to half way to the edge of the cue ball when you shoot, then you might be best suited with a nickel shape. If you like to get farther out to the edge of the cue ball, then you might want to try a dime shape, and maybe even more.

Tips are also inconsistent in hardness. In other words if you buy a box of 50 tips they may be very inconsistent. If you are replacing your own tips, then I doubt that you would ever need to buy an entire box. I’m telling you this because if you can pick your own tip from a box then do so. If you want the hardest tip in the box then pick one with the smoothest back, for the softest tips in the box pick the roughest back. The harder tips were pressed harder when they were manufactured, giving them the smoothest back and making them the hardest, of course this method won’t work with tips that have an added backing. I don’t keep any tips with a backing on them, but sometimes I have players bring them to me to put on their cue. I don’t recommend these tips, I sometimes have these players come back to me and tell me their tip came off. After inspecting the shaft I usually find the backing is still on the cue. My experience with these tips is that the tip will separate from the backing, it’s usually not the tip coming off the shaft.

Now here’s why I don’t agree with the Le Pro rating. I have read on rsb that players have commented that Le Pro’s are very inconsistent, they are either way too soft or way too hard. When I buy Le Pro tips, I pick out the hardest that I can find, and I believe that these tips are harder than the Triangle Tips. Triangle and Le Pro are the two most common tips that I replace. When I sand on these tips I notice that my Le Pro tips are the hardest to sand and the Triangle tips tend to flake up in larger chunks that the Le Pro tips.

I have heard of many methods to make tips harder. Last month I told you that I knew of three things that would harden a tip, one of them was liquid. There is one well known cue maker that admits too treating his tips, but as far as I know he has not revealed his method. I believe this is not an uncommon practice among custom cue makers and some cue repair people.

Soaking tips in all sorts of liquids is not an uncommon practice. Some people claim to have the perfect secret liquid solution. It is also not uncommon for them to press tips using a vice, c clamp, pliers and other methods. (Pressing tips is the second way I know of to harden tips) Pressing tips can be done with or without the soaking, but it is most common to use both methods.

The third method for hardening a tip is heat. Do not try to harden your tip with any kind of heat except burnishing the side of the tip. It is possible to over burnish your tip (get it too hot) and make it so hard that you could have a chunk of it fall off after a shot. You can burnish the sides of your tip with a piece of leather, but I prefer using a dollar bill. The idea is to rub hard enough and fast enough to generate some heat. If you notice that the side of your tip is starting to take on a shine, then you are doing it correctly. Burnishing the sides of your tip will also help to prevent it from mushrooming.

Choosing a Pool Cue Tip

  • Title: Choosing a Pool Cue Tip
  • Author:
  • Published: 1/1/1997
  • Last Updated: 3/28/2017 7:19:38 PM
  • Last Updated By: billiardsforum (Billiards Forum)

Choosing a Pool Cue Tip

Choosing a Pool Cue Tip Comments

  1. user1509258996user1509258996 from Philippines on 11/6/2017 2:05:52 AM

    I use a Triangle 12mm pool cue tip, medium to hard. They are very good.

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