Whether you're a new billiards player or you've been around the sport for a while now, chances are good that one of the first things you noticed about the game is how the right cue can impact your shot quality. To help you fine-tune your game and make an educated choice when selecting your next cue, we've put together this brief guide that explains what you need to know about picking the right pool cue joint size for your style of play.
Q: What Is A Billiards Cue Joint, and Why Does It Matter?
While there's always been a lot of focus on cue length, materials, and weight, one of the lesser-known aspects of picking the perfect cue is selecting the correct pool joint size. The joint area of your cue is the fitting that connects the shaft of your cue to the butt, and the materials used to make your billiards cue joint, how the joint is fused together, and even the pins that hold the joint together all factor into the feel, control, and consistency of your strikes.
If you've ever picked up a pool cue that seems to be less than straight, has excessive vibration after each shot, or simply doesn't feel as solid as it should, chances are good that the cue has a cracked, loose, or ill-fitting billiards cue joint.
Q: Common Billiards Cue Joint Materials
On the vast majority of cues the male end of the billiards cue joint is located on the butt end of the cue; this is also where you'll find the pin as well. The female end is typically on the shaft end, and most cues have a threaded connection, although there are a few push-to-fit pool joint fittings on the market today.
Typically, pool cue joints are either wood-to-wood joints (with a hidden metal connector); steel joints (with a steel sleeve that covers over the threaded joint once the cue is assembled); and composite joints that have a plastic sleeve located between the shaft and the butt end of the cue.
Steel joints are known for delivering a 'stiff' feel - you won't feel your shot through the entire length of the cue. By contrast, a wood-to-wood pool cue joint gives a soft, fluid feel with each strike that can be felt throughout the whole cue. Landing in the middle of the two are composite cue joints - these joints tend to deliver a softer, more subtle feel than either wood or steel joints do.
Q: Pins and Pool Cue Joint Size Selection
The pins are the 'male' portion of the billiards cue joint connector, and these pins come in a variety of lengths and widths ranging from 3/8" x 10 to 5/16" x 18 as well as the 'Uni-loc' push-to-connect style of pin.
The pool joint size is largely a matter of personal preference; it's also somewhat dictated by the materials used in the pool shaft and the diameter of the cue. Players who prefer a heavy, thick pool cue often opt for a bigger pool joint size, while those who like a lighter cue tend to opt for a pool cue joint size that's as small as possible.