The tip is the most important part of your cue. After all, it’s the only part of the cue that actually contacts the cue ball. A mis-shapen, worn out, or bad tip can and will throw off your game. So, it’s important to keep your tip in tip-top shape.
Although new tips are flat when they come from the manufacturer, they should be rounded off at the top when installed. An improperly-shaped tip will result in more miscues, especially when trying to hit the cue ball off-center for position play.
It is commonly stated that the tip should have a radius similar to an American 10 cent or 5 cent coin. In theory, the larger 5 cent radius will be more forgiving to players who are less accurate when trying to hit the center of the cue ball, while the tighter 10 cent radius will be less likely to miscue when hitting far off center. That said, in practice the difference will be slight unless the tip diameter is very small, and either size will work for most players.
Over time, the tip will start to flatten out. A good tip shaper tool is an important addition to your pool cue case, as you will need to round it back into the correct shape. However, sandpaper can be used in a pinch.
Occasionally, the tip on your cue may “mushroom” over the sides of the ferrule as it gets worn in. Many tip shaping tools have a built-in burnishing tool which can be used to correct this. Burnishing papers can also be used. Simply wrap one around the tip and twist the shaft back and forth until the sides of the tip are smooth.
Leather alone is not that great at gripping the cue ball. That’s why we add chalk to the tip before we take a shot. The chalk stays on the tip by hanging onto the irregularities of the tips surface. Over time however, the tip will start to smoothen out and the chalk will have less and less to cling to. You’ll wind up having less chalk on your tip and more miscues.
To combat this, we scuff the tip every few games. There are all sorts of tools available to do this, and many tip shaping tools also have a scuffer or tip-prick built in. Simply agitate the surface of the tip by either running the scuffer over it or, if you’re using the tip-prick style tool, gently poking it.
Eventually, the tip will wear down to the point where it can no longer be correctly shaped. At that point, it’s time to replace it. Although many do-it-yourself tip replacement kits are available, the process is best done on a lathe by a professional. He or she will ensure that the tip is properly installed and shaped for both a clean appearance and effective performance. Your McDermott Lifetime Maintenance Plan includes free tip installation with the purchase of a tip from us.
As you can see, maintaining your cue’s tip is fairly easy, but has big rewards. By keeping your tip in shape, you’ll not only greatly extend its life, you’ll ensure that it helps, rather than hurts, your game. Set aside some time to take care of your tip. Or, if it’s time for an upgrade, give us a call: 1-262-251-4090.