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Postby acesinc

RODDYJB wrote:I am going to replace some cue tips on mine & my kids cues.
We are not pros so don't really need professional tips - just some decent tips.
Any suggestions would be great?

Hi Roddy. As you are asking for suggestions, I am guessing that you are relatively new to changing the tip on your cue. It is not difficult but like anything, it will take some practice to do it well. Don't be discouraged if it takes a few tries to get it right. Probably the most common problem is getting the adhesive to set correctly. You may be happy with your new tip, trim it to size, take a few shots and it feels good.....then it falls off.

Don't get discouraged; won't take long before you are tipping like a pro. When I get the table time I like, say about 10-12 hours a week (lucky to get 2 hours a week lately), I will re-tip about every two to three months maximum, sometimes less than a month if the tip just doesn't feel quite right. If you want to play this game well, the tip of the cue should become an extension of your body like your know where it is, you know what you are trying to do, you know exactly how the tip will react with the ball. Tips are cheap; there is no need to leave the same tip on your cue for years and years at a time. If you do, that tip will feel differently throughout the years of its life. Your goal is for the tip to feel the same every time, every strike. Chalking a cue properly is sort of like will grind the tip down and thin rather quickly. That is the main reason why some people leave the same tip on for years at the time; they strike tentatively not getting much response out of the cue ball, they don't chalk properly (because they don't need to....if you are not looking to get much action out of the cue ball, you don't need to do much chalking), so the tip stays thick enough to leave alone and this type of player is usually not comfortable putting a new tip on his cue anyway so they are happy to just leave it alone. This is a very poor approach. I had a guy in my club ask if I could re-tip his cue (I did but I prefer not to...I believe real players should be pro-active and tip their own cue in order to learn what they like) so I looked at his tip. It was ridiculous.....looking at it face on, you could actually see the ring of the brass ferrule around the tiny bit of leather tip that remained. I asked when was the last time he re-tipped and he said about five years ago. FIVE YEARS!

Get comfortable re-tipping your cue. I put on my first tip about three days after I bought my first cue. I have probably re-tipped a couple hundred times since then. There is a lot of advice about this in YouTube videos. Professional coach Barry Stark has an excellent video which is about spot on to my own basic method that I have been using and refining for myself for much of the last thirty years. You can see that here:

My biggest piece of advice....after the tip is well adhered to the end of the cue, you will need to trim it even with the ferrule. Tips are always oversized slightly compared to the actual diameter of the cue to allow this trimming. Occasionally a pro will come along touting the benefits of a "mushroom" tip, i.e., tip is left untrimmed overhanging the ferrule, but I have never understood how this could be a benefit more than it will be a problem when trying to stroke the cue over the edge of a cushion. So anyway, my point is, you ought to trim your new tip. When you do, ALWAYS, and I mean always, use a new, fresh razor blade to do this trimming. If you use anything that has already been even slightly dulled, razor blade, knife, whatever you prefer, then the blade edge may not cut cleanly through the leather. You will be fighting it and may end up scratching the ferrule and you will also be stressing the new adhesive as you struggle to cut and your tip may fall off before long. Always use a fresh blade for this step and the edges will trim neatly and easily.

Now on to your actual question, that is, what tip to use. The answer is entirely up to you. If you want to become good at the game, then you will need to experiment to find what you like the best. Tips range in characteristic from soft to hard. The softer a tip is, the more you will be able to impart spin on the cue ball. BUT, that may be a bad thing if you don't have control of that spin. It is difficult to feel exactly how much the cue ball will screw back for instance. And if you strike off-center, your soft tip will tend to impart unwanted side more than a harder tip. As the tip becomes harder, it becomes more difficult to impart spin to the cue ball. Your technique must be better to use a harder tip. BUT the harder tip will provide a much more consistent action and that is where you see the pin point precision of a professional's stroke. A harder tip will give you more of a "crack" sound when you strike the cue ball. A softer tip will give you more of a "thump" sound. Probably nearly universally, professionals tend to play with a firmer, harder tip.

So what you want will be entirely your preference. But with tips, like chalk, the same product that a professional uses is readily available to you. Probably the single most industry standard, commonly used tip is Elkmaster. You will need to find a local distributor but here is the website of the manufacturer right here in Chicago:

They also manufacture Triangle chalk, the most popular chalk in use for Snooker for as long as I have been playing. Ronnie O'Sullivan visited this factory when he came to the USA for his "American Hustle" television programme and Ronnie looked like a kid in a candy store watching all these things being made in the factory. I have had the owner of this company visit my club a couple of times, really nice chap.

So if you don't know anything else yet, put on Elkmaster. They have a medium hard feel to them, good action. If you want a softer feel, then the one to try is Blue Diamond by Brunswick. Again, you will need to find a local distributor but here is one: ... -cue-tips/

I am not a fan of Blue Diamond myself. As I said, I can get more screw perhaps, but I cannot control it with precision.

For nearly my entire time playing the game, myself I use Triumph tips. Far less popular so they may be more difficult to find, they are made by the same company as Elkmaster. I have found Triumph to be very, very consistent, feel exactly the same tip to tip, and throughout the life of the tip. I get very good control. I have known good players to say that Elkmasters are generally consistent, but occasionally you may get a bad tip that just feels funny and needs to be changed immediately.

Probably far more information than you ever wanted but I hope this encourages you to properly learn the craft of re-tipping. It is a very useful skill if you wish to be a good player.