Bent Pool Cues – Cue Warping and How to Prevent It
Have you ever opened up your cue case to discover that your pool cue is crooked? Pool players everywhere can relate. This is one of the worst feelings, as oftentimes, you can do nothing to make the cue perfectly straight like it used to be.
In this article, we will provide some insight into pool cue warping – what it is, what causes it, and if you can repair a warped cue. We will also provide some tips for preventing pool cue warping in the first place.
Why Do Pool Cues Warp?
Different things can cause pool cue warping, but it’s usually a combination of several factors.
Here are the 4 leading causes of a bent or warped pool cue:
- Changes in temperature
- Moisture absorption
- Bad storage conditions and cue habits
- Poor quality wood and finish
Like other wood products, pool cues will expand and contract in response to temperature fluctuations in the atmosphere. The pool cue will eventually warp when this happens over a long period of time.
Wood is a porous material, so it will absorb moisture from the surroundings. When the pores are saturated and cannot absorb more, there will be increased pressure on the inside of the cue. The excess pressure then causes the cue to warp.
Bad Storage Conditions and Habits
Failing to store your cue correctly is a common cause of warping. Improper storage exposes the cue to all the other factors that cause warping. To avoid warpage, always store your wooden cue in a hard case and keep it upright.
Some pool players also tend to forget about their cues and leave them out once they finish playing. This exposes them to abuse from other people, temperature fluctuations, and moisture. All this can lead to warping.
Poor Quality Wood and Finish
Sometimes a pool cue will warp simply because it is made with low-quality wood or the finishing is poorly done. Some wood types will not dry out properly and cannot handle the stress of playing pool. Such wood types will warp and wear out quickly.
Also, low-budget cues will not undergo a proper veneering process. The protective layer will either be under or overdone, leading to warping.
Can You Fix a Warped Pool Cue?
A warped pool cue will affect your game and often means you have to spend more money to get a new one. But before you spend the cash on a new one, you should try fixing the warped cue.
A warped pool cue can be fixed, but success is never guaranteed. Many pool players have been able to straighten their warped cues. But remember that sometimes you can worsen the warp or cause a double warp. It is also possible to break the cue as you try to straighten it.
There are different ways to straighten a warped cue. They include:
- Hanging the pool cue upside down
- Bend back the warped section by hand
- Heating the pool cue
How to Straighten a Pool Cue
You can always take your pool cue to a professional for straightening. But this can be quite costly and isn’t always worth it since you can never be 100% sure of the result. A better idea is to try doing it yourself, especially if it’s a cheaper cue.
Here are some methods you can use to straighten your pool cue:
1. Steam method
The steam method can allow you to straighten more badly bent pool cues. You’ll need to steam the warped section to make it more flexible and easy to straighten by hand. You can steam the cue by placing the warped part over a pot of boiling water.
2. Hang it with a Cue Hanger
If you do not mind waiting, a cue hanger can also help straighten a cue. This method requires hanging the cue (at the tip) from the ceiling using a rubber cue hanger. You should then connect the butt. The extra weight and gravity will slowly straighten out the warp.
3. Bend manually by hand
You can fix minor pool cue warpage by bending them with your hand. Simply place the cue at a slight angle and with the tip on the floor. You should then press down the warp with your palm. Keep doing this and sighting the cue for straightness until the warp is straightened out.
4. Use a shaft straightening tool
There are commercially sold pool shaft straightening tools that you can use to remove warps. Some people swear by their helpfulness, while others think they waste time and money. The only way to know for sure if they work is by trying them.
How to Prevent Pool Cue Warping
Pool cue warping is a complicated problem to deal with, and you might not even be able to straighten the cue no matter what you do. It is better to prevent the warping, so you never have to deal with it in the first place.
Here are the best, most effective ways to prevent pool cue warping:
- Always store the cue in a hard case and keep it upright when not in use
- Never leave your cue next to a fireplace or any other heat source
- Avoid storing your cue in basements and other extremely cold places
- Seal and polish your wooden cue regularly to close the pores
- Never clean your clue with any abrasive materials
- Buy a good quality cue made from maple wood, ash wood or carbon fiber
Proper Cue Storage
Proper pool cue storage is essential to ensure you get many years and sometimes even decades of excellent cue performance.
If not stored correctly, pool cues can warp or splinter. Sometimes, the cue can break if you subject it to excess stress when in storage. Improper storage exposes the cue to a higher risk of temperature fluctuations and humidity, causing warping.
A warped cue makes it hard to line up for a shot and affects your accuracy. Splintered and broken cues are often not usable and can be a huge loss, given that wood cues are now some of the most expensive.
A warped pool cue is one of those things that every pool player hates seeing. Warping affects your performance and, in some cases, renders the cue useless.
While you can try different techniques to straighten a warped pool cue, they do not always work. No matter what you do, a cue shaft prone to warping will likely warp again if fixed. Warping often occurs at the cellular level making it super hard to reverse.
The best you can do is prevent warping by taking good care of the cue through regular polishing and proper storage. Also, make sure you pick a cue made from high-quality wood that has been adequately dried.
As always, Happy Shooting!