The most essential piece of equipment for the game are the pool cue sticks, or simply the cue. They are tapered, typically 58 inches long and range between 18 and 21 ounces. They are primarily made of wood, but occasionally covered with other materials such as graphite or fiberglass. The length and weight can be altered to create a custom cue for the professional player.
There are three types of pool cue sticks.
One type is the one piece cue. These are generally for the casual player and often stocked in pool halls. They have a uniform taper and standard length and weight. Another type is the two piece cue. This is usually divided in the middle and screwed together. The two piece cue makes for easy transport and storage in a case. The third type is also a two piece cue, but the joint is not in the middle, but further down on the butt, about 1/3 from the end.
The parts of pool cue sticks:
There are different parts to pool cue sticks, all of which you should become familiar with. The shaft is the smaller, tapered end of the cue, and the butt is the wider, heavier end. When using a two piece cue, the pieces are attached at a joint which is made up of a screw coming from the butt that is screwed into the shaft. The joints can be made from an array of materials from plastic, wood or aluminum, to bone or antlers for more expensive sticks.
On the shaft, you will find the ferrule and the tip. The ferrule is the piece of white plastic immediately below the tip. It can be made of different materials, most commonly plastic for the casual player and brass for the more experienced player. The tips come in a variety of sizes and shapes, and can be custom rounded to suit your needs. Tips are primarily made of leather and are available in different hardness grades.
The butt of pool cue sticks is where you will find your weight. Whether you play with an 18 oz. cue or a 21, the weight is all in the butt. The cue butt is often the area that is most ornate. Many sticks have carvings, leather grips and various other inlaid objects that appeal to the eye. They add nothing to your game but a sense of pride when you pull out your dazzling cue and start a game.
Lastly, and often the most overlooked piece of pool cue sticks, is the bumper. This is a round rubber piece attached to the butt. It offers protection when you place your cue down and also reduces the vibrations that travel through the cue on impact. On pricier cues, the bumper is made of leather.