rekoons wrote:Has anybody ever oiled his cue? If so with what? I mostly read raw linseed oil is the way to go. I have my cue for like 15 years now and have never oiled the shaft before.
The original coating or finished is long since worn off through 15 years of play and regular cleaning through wiping with a slightly damp cloth and then buffing with a dry cloth, when the cue feels sticky
I do notice the cue shaft is on it’s bare wood and dried out quite badly in places because of this, and the grain filler is even missing here and there, so I think it’s necessary to re-oil the shaft…
Hi Rekoons, been a while since we spoke. I hope your table set up is working out well for you. And that you have at least a few mates with whom to enjoy matches and maybe even tournaments.
About oiling the cue, yes, in fact this is something that I have been doing for about the last 5 years or so. Done properly, it should actually be done from the moment a brand new cue is put into service or you would not receive full benefit of the practice. So if you were to begin oiling your cue now, you may see some benefit from it, but time for full benefit is long since passed.
So what does oiling the shaft do? I don't have access to a cue maker who presumably would be able to answer this question best so all I can do is give my own analysis based on my mechanical engineering experience with materials properties and such. So what I write here is my own opinion, nothing else, certainly not "expert" by any means.
Wood of course is a very porous material. Think of it like a sponge. Especially where moisture and humidity is concerned, it will absorb water in a humid environment and it will evaporate water in a dry environment. For a snooker cue, it will absorb/evaporate/absorb/evaporate unrestrained over the service life of the cue. And over time, that will lead to deformation of the original machined shape of the cue. In short, before long, your snooker cue is going to warp. It is only natural. Of course, we can minimize how bad this warp may be and maximize how long it may take by good practices and maintenance of our equipment. For instance, don't leave your cue leaning up against a wall for weeks or months on end. Don't leave it in your car where it will get hot and cold and hot and cold constantly.
On the proactive side, we can attempt to seal the surface of the wood to prevent moisture from getting in and/or escaping in the first place. And THAT is where oiling the cue comes in.
If you have a wood product, any wood product, say your kitchen cabinet doors, they will always be subject to warp over time for the reasons above. In your kitchen, sun shines through the window right on your wood cabinets. Then it doesn't. Then it does again the next day. So what can we do to "protect" the wood? Seal it with a coat of varnish/polyurethane/paint/whatever. This forms a physical barrier on the surface of the wood so the humidity is not constantly absorbed/released from the wood grain. Simple idea.
And of course, you can do that to a snooker cue as well, and most cues are lacquered at least on the butt portion for this purpose. The shaft may also be lacquered on a low end cue, but this is not usually done on higher quality cues. I believe this practice of leaving the shaft as bare wood is probably because any sort of "finish" on the shaft (varnish/polyurethane/whatever) is going to result in an inconsistent feel to the shaft as it slides on the skin of your fingers. Remember the purpose of this finish....it is a barrier to block moisture, so in different environments, humid/dry/anything-in-between, the surface will simply feel different as it slides across your skin. As any good snooker player knows, the Holy Grail of your stroke is consistency. You want everything to feel the same. Always. That is how you will improve.
So for simple aesthetics, like kitchen cabinets, a finish coat is great. But for functionality, like the surface of a snooker cue sliding across your skin, it is not ideal. So the next best thing is to leave the surface of the wood unfinished so it feels consistent in the stroke, but we can treat the unfinished wood so it is less likely to absorb and evaporate the humidity. Oil. Essentially, by allowing the oil to absorb into the pores of the wood, there is no place for moisture to absorb into. Over time, the oil will dissipate, absorb in deeper, or rub away through your cueing action, and so the oil will need to be re-applied occasionally.
For me then, I oil my cue every time that I re-tip. With the boy home from Uni with the lockdown, that is quite often these days. About every six weeks or so. After the new tip, I slather the oil from the joint up to the ferrule and let it sit overnight for the oil to absorb as much as possible. In the morning, give it a normal wipe down. Between oilings, I have another odd habit that I have never heard of anyone doing before. But it works for me. About once a week, I give the shaft a rub down with beeswax (which is commonly used to fill the joints between the slates of the table). This is a pretty hard wax so it does not go on smoothly. After applying, I rub furiously with a clean rag to "melt" and soften the wax to spread it out to fill in the grain. When it is time to oil the shaft again, I will clean it and rub it down with a Scotch-Brite scouring pad to try to remove any remaining wax to allow the oil to seep into the wood again.
As for the oil I use, I did try linseed oil the first time I did this. I didn't like it. If I recall, I think it was a little thin, dripped a lot, didn't stay in place, had to re-coat several times. But mostly, it seemed to darken the wood. I just didn't like it. I still have a nearly full can that I don't know what to do with. Instead, I stumbled across something at a home improvement store that works perfectly for me. Its "normal" use is in the kitchen on wood items like cutting boards or the handles of cutlery. I am sure there are many similar products but here is a link of exactly what I use: https://www.howardproducts.com/product/ ... board-oil/
It is clear, clean, thick enough to stay in place overnight, and never goes bad. Four or five years on, I am still on my first bottle. And it is food grade in case you want to use a couple cues for novelty oversize chopsticks.
Probably way more than you ever wanted to know, Rekoons. As I recall, we had a discussion about tipping and chalking a while back. So I am curious now that you have a home table and you are presumably getting much more table time these days.....have you incorporated some change in that regard? How often do you need to tip now?