By Andrew Wolf
Getting real value for your pool cue dollar is a lot more than buying the first cue priced at over $100 you like the looks of.
The biggest flaw of many cue manufacturers isn't bad grammar, you need to look deeper.
Often first time cue buyers overlook the important things, for instance, the joint. Many manufacturers will not make a joint that is fluent with the design of the cue. A break cue should have a solid hit and in that instance they should use a solid feeling heavy joint like a steel on steel. I have also seen custom cues that had joints that did not match up flush with each other. That's a big no-no.
The next thing I would look for in a quality made cue is the inlays. Do the points make an actual sharp point or are they somewhat rounded. An expensive cue should look like you could poke a player’s eye out with the points.
So What's It Made of
Another consideration should be the material used.
Exotic hardwoods: like cocobolo, purple-heart, Ebony, Bacote, Jatoba, Kingwood, Tulipwood etc.
Exotic materials: Mother of pearl, Abalone, Pearl, Paua shell, and the mothers of all value Ivory, etc.
Exotic wraps: Lizard skins, Ostrich skins, Snake skins, Etc.
The quality of the workmanship in creating the points and as evidenced by the materials used in construction add to a cue's resale value (unfortunately more than the quality of the hit provided.
Heritage is another big part of value.
I have seen custom cue makers spending twice the money on materials as a well known manufacturer and then being forced to sell their product for half the price of the well known cue manufacturer.
Mike Wheeler was a protege of Richard Black back in the 80s and was from Texas. Truly classic cue with 4 points and classic veneers.
This all has to do with brand recognition. The custom cue maker's brand may not make it and their cue may go from a value of $100 to 10 years later still being worth $100.
The opposite can also go for a cue manufacturer. Take a well-known cue manufacturer from Russia for instance. His cues were originally around $150 fifty years ago. He wasn't very well known until some well-known players started shooting with his cues exclusively. His cues are now easily worth the normal $50-100,000 price range.
That cue crafter of course is none other than George Balabushka and I doubt another will come around but you can see my point. If you really believe that your unknown cue maker has a great product then he has probably got a great product and others will find out too! And maybe their cues will be worth 5000 times the price you paid for it today.
McDermott Pool Cues
I will start with one of my favorites McDermott. First off all of their cues are made right here in the good old USA. If you have a chance check out their video of their factory on their website do so, you will be impressed you can find it on there website www.mcdermottcue.com under the McDermott experience tab (factory tour video).
Its definitely a good thing to spend time watching if your thinking about shelling out a couple hundred dollars on a cue. They do all of their work by hand (lathe machined etc.) but they do it with the consumer & craftsmanship in mind.
Recently, I ran across a bunch of cue sellers trying to move damaged cues and describing them as “dinged or dented”. And in the spirit of following the market, I decided to call McDermott to see what they do with their damaged stock. They throw it away!! They would not sell me a damaged cue for any price. Just to add to there reputation that they only sell the best.
BEST OF SHOW: JD30 Jack Daniels even though you are looking at a $800 cue You can not beat the legacy and design behind it.
Central American cocobolo, one of the most beautiful woods in the world, on the forearm and sleeve; 6 genuine Southwestern turquoise and reconditioned ivory floating points in a “sword” motif.
Unbeatable value in that only 200 of these were made. We’re talking about “Best of Show” in Turquoise and Cocobolo, one of the best (cue material) matches I have ever seen.
When you are looking at a McDermott I would steer away from the lower priced cues. I have been told by the leader in McDermott distribution 2005 that anything McDermott prices under $200 are not worth the money.
They use less material and second picks on the material and some of them are made out of the country. Not something that McDermott would want you to know. I don’t really believe I would agree with that statement entirely. When I asked Mcdermott about it they made it clear that they are all inspected to the same (very strict) regulations that they have in the US.
I have held some of these lower priced cues and it seems to me that they are of the same quality of the higher end cues.
How to get a good price on a McDermott cue Using BEST OFFER (This will work for alot of the well known cue manufacturers like Predator, Viking, Lucasi, 5280, etc.)