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jims workshop
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ABOUT ME

I'm a collector/repairer/restorer of antique & vintage cues, with a well equipped home workshop which allows me to complete a wide range of projects.

I have developed a passion for cue care over the years, and produce most of the products I use to maintain my collection, which currently stands at around 200 cues. 

My time in the workshop is split between producing Lynch's Cuebalm, my other cue-care products, cue restoration work, and occasional repairs for local players.

For players who need cue work elsewhere I have developed a loose collaboration with specialists across the UK that I feel happy to recommend. Check out the Independent Repairers Map here to find someone local to you.

THE STORY OF LYNCH'S CUEBALM

Cuebalm is a product which came about after much experimenting with wax/oil mixes to try and perfect the optimum 'player applied' shaft finish.

I always found my mixes to be either a little too 'waxy' (in which case they re-melt in hot conditions), or a little too 'oily' (which caused cueing drag when hands damp).

In 2017 I was introduced to a friend who manufactured essential oils (for aromatherapy) and was intrigued by the production methods used to extract the natural oils direct from plant material.

After much research, and some tuition from an industrial processes bio-chemist, I begun to experiment!

The final process I developed involves a specific mix of waxes reduced to a steam and infused with the natural oils from the plant materials - producing a unique "balm" molecule, which is then condensed to achieve the final cuebalm.

When applied, it acts like an oil, in that it provides some "good" moisture and nourishment to the wood, and like a wax, in that it microscopically seals the pores of the wood temporarily. Overall it reduces the surface porosity, and can be buffed to a super smooth finish - WITHOUT the "oily" or "waxy" drawbacks!

Cuebalm does not re-melt on the cue in hot/humid conditions like a traditional wax only product, and maintains the smooth finish in all conditions !

The name Lynch's Cuebalm was chosen as a tribute to a long time friend Steve Lynch who was an avid and passionate cueist, tinkerer, and inspiration to me. Steve remains a great loss to everyone who knew him ! 

I still have to pinch myself at the success and ongoing kind feedback and support the cuebalm enjoys ! Hope your proud Steve !

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Cue Care Jim YOutube

Many of my weekends are taken up by Cue Clinic LIVE events for several partner organisations. I provide Cue "Service" (mini shaft refurb), tipping, basic repairs (dent & scratch removal), grain enhancement,  cue-care advice - and I have a selection of the cue-care products I use for these services for players to purchase.

I advise a number of cue makers & brands on cue-care finishing products and cue-care techniques.

Recently I've began producing  content for both my own, and other interesting Social Network channels. Clearly a bit of a dinosaur with it all but I have some future plans, and I'm getting great advice from other content producers - so please follow my channels.

CUE CARE

Cue-care encompasses a wide range of topics, and there are countless number of ideas, suggestions, products, and practitioners around. There are products and solutions which can give instant help to the player for sticky/draggy/rough cues - but that does not necessarily make them a cue-CARE product. There are products and methods which are good for the cue - but dont always give a satisfactory cueing experience for the player.

 

My personal experience comes from years of restorations, and through handling over 2000 cues each year at the Cue Clinic LIVE events.

Head to Jims Cue-Care 101 section to understand my own cue-care philosophy, methods, and get some useful hints, tips, and links to other great resources.

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Lynch's Cuebalm distillation
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Jim Cue Care 1010

My philosophy on general shaft care

Main issues arising from no, or innapropriate care of the shaft.

 

All cues:

Sticky/draggy cueing

Cue “wasting” beneath the ferrule

Ferrule damage

 

Ash Cues:

Stubble Catch when cueing

Rough grain/ loss of grain

 

These are related in that they are mainly associated with damage to the grain to varying extents, especially in ash cues. Whilst ash has some great properties which make it good for cues ie shock resistance, elasticity, and strength/weight ratio – compared to other hardwoods - it is PERISHABLE. It does naturally lose the darker grain over its life cycle, and this is accelerated by the friction of cueing, and especially by lack of, or inappropriate, cue-care.

 

Correct cue-care is basically about slowing this deterioration.

 

The problem: Wood is porous ! Ash has particularly “open” pores within the dark grain. The lighter part of the ash, and the grain on Maple cues, is relatively closed pore, but still porous.

 

The main issue of sticky/draggy cue is primarily to do with these pores being clogged with “contaminents” - micro dust particles, chalk dust particles, various detritus from the hand, and any other direct contact. Cues are handled a lot and used in clubs, pubs etc and in time will get clogged pores.

 

The result: When you cue through the bridging hand, especially if you have any sweat, dampness etc on the hand, or in hot/humid conditions this reacts with the dirt in the pores and causes the “drag”.

 

The solution: This one is not so simple. The “instant” fixes for this mostly will work short-term, but may not necessarily be good for the cue overall, or prevent the problem from re-occurring quickly. Even where they are good for the cue, they often will not give a satisfactory cueing experience for long.  

 

Common attempts to remedy:

 

Damp towel, or other cleaning “solution”.

 

Whilst it may occasionally be necessary to clean the cue in this manner, any moisture applied to unprotected wood should be kept to a minimum.  When dry wood is made wet, it absorbs water, causing the wood fibers to swell. This can result in the wood becoming softer and more pliable. As the wood dries, the water evaporates, and the wood fibers contract, which can lead the grain becoming more pronounced as the fibres contract unevenly. This can result in loss of the black part of the grain and leave the pores "exposed".

 

If the cue is left/used in this condition it will quickly get clogged again with contaminants. I recommend a light oiling at this point to nourish the shaft, and then seal the pores in to achieve the final playing finish.

 

Oiling

 

Oiling the shaft every few months (or after cleaning)  will help to “feed” and give “good” moisture back into the wood. This is good for the wood ! Once applied the cue will usually polish up nicely and gets some protection.

 

However, players will often find that a cue left with the oil only finish as the final stage, will still get draggy if the hand gets sweaty/damp or in hot conditions. The reason is simple. Oil and water do not mix!

 

Damp hand on oiled cue does not always give a satisfactory feel through the bridging hand !

Wax

Sealing the pores in with, for example, a beeswax, after cleaning and oiling, is again very good for the wood. It will protect the grain, slowing the inevitable grain loss, and will polish up to a nice smooth finish.

 

Once again however, a player will often find that using wax as a final ‘playing’ finish will not give a nice feel through the hand for long in hot/humid conditions. With heat, the wax can re-melt ! this makes it sticky to use, and attracts the micro dust / chalk dust etc. which can lead to the cue being worse overall!

The Cuebalm way !

 

This conundrum of finding a solution with is both good for the cue AND give nice smooth cueing experience was essentially my motivation for developing the Cuebalm as a final playing finish.

 

Cuebalm is an oil/wax hybrid, the process used creates a unique molecule which retains some of the properties of an oil - giving some nourishment to the wood, some of the properties of a wax - by sealing the pores for a period and leaving a polisheable finish - and it retains the pleasant aromas of the plant materials used in the extraction process.

 

It can be used after damp cleaning, or after oiling - or it can be used alone to provide some of the goodness offered by oiling, and microscopically seal the pores.

 

Whichever method is used I recommend the cuebalm as the final playing finish applied.

 

It will work like a wax, and also give some nourishment, however once polished it does not re-melt on the cue in the same way as a traditional wax only product.!!

 

Even in hot conditions, a buff with the cue towel will maintain a smooth finish for a period once the cue is treated with the cuebalm.

 

There are instructions in every box but its VERY easy to use. Using a rag just rub a very small amount (less than pea size required) INTO the cue shaft. Take a couple of minutes to work the cuebalm in. Leave a few minutes, then wipe it OFF again.

 

The wood will have taken some in and it will have dried in the pores of the grain. Wipe what you can feel or see OFF the shaft, then just buff it up with your dry cue towel. Less is more, basically the more you put on the more you have to take off before buffing !

 

Just use dry cue towel each time you play over the next few weeks. Usually between 2-4 weeks the player simply wears through it, and it should be re-applied.

Using Lynch's Cuebalm regularly every couple of weeks or so temporarily seals the pores, extending the length of time before the cue needs its next thorough clean & re-nourish. 

Clean Nourish Seal

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Be smart : Clean Nourish Seal

'Remedies' to avoid !

ABRASIVES - sandpaper, scrubber pads etc. ANY abrasive will remove material from the shaft, and therefore thinning the wood - and is particularly damaging to ash cues.The dark grain is "softer" (less dense) than the white part of the grain. Taking ANY abrasives to it therefore removes MORE of the dark grain than the white - thus creating grain "loss", rough areas, and "ridges" around the shaft. This can be remedied to some extent by grain filling, but it is advisable to keep abrasives used to an absolute minimum to help extend the life of the cue. If you feel you must use some abrasive, then 0000 grade wire wool will cause less damage than most.

talc
sandpaper cross

TALCUM POWDER - will allow the cue to "flow" temporarily through the bridging hand - but is "clogging" the pores of the wood, becoming embedded just like chalk & any airborne dust, and will increase the frequency of the cue needing a damp clean. 

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QUICK-FIX "solutions" - Whilst these do exactly as they promise ie produce a "slick" feel through the bridging hand giving instant results for the player - they are NOT a good long term cue-care answer. They are usually silicon based, and again "clog" the pores up and attract contaminants - thus making the cue grubby again. Think about silicon pads/wipes you use on car dashboard etc ! They look great for a few days and then go tacky as they attract micro dust. In addition silicon can actually break down the structure of the wood.

furniture polish

DOMESTIC FURNITURE SPRAYS - also very often silicon based. Modern furniture is usually varnished or laquered. Spray & shine polishes are fine for this, but not for unprotected wood (like a cue shaft !)

Other common avoidable issues !

ISSUES

Damage beneath the ferrule

To prevent this try to always chalk ACROSS the tip pushing the excess dust away from the cue, rather than "screwing" the tip into the chalk.

Use a good fitting tip protector to stop the chalk moving from the tip onto the slot in the case! Clean it out regularly so the chalk inside is not making the problem worse!

We remedy the staining issue at Cue Clinic with a good clean & dry of the affected area, a light oiling to moisturise, and seal & polish with Lynch's Cuebalm.

Please remember this is also happening right down the shaft to a lesser extent - chalk properly, and follow a sound cue-care regime to prevent problems !

wasted cue

This is one of the most common issues we see at Cue Clinics. Chalk is necessarily abrasive in order to create friction between the tip and the ball.  In addition to unsightly staining it "wastes" away the shaft beneath the ferrule. It makes the wood dry and brittle and often causes splits or even a snap beneath the ferrule.

 

It is mainly caused by careless chalking technique, and often by the shaft rubbing on chalk deposited in the case.

Bends in cue

bent cue

Avoid the cue physically bending ITSELF by never leaving it propped up by the tip against a wall etc. Gravity will do for the cue here, as it is heavier as the shaft thickens and can begin to bow in an incredibly short time.

Dampness, or condensation caused by temperature or humidity changes can easily cause the cue to bend. Never use WET towel on the cue and always try to store it flat in a padded cue case. NEVER leave it in the car, in a porch, or other area prone to regular change in environmental conditions.

Once bent a cue cannot be easily straightened. Steaming the affected area and gently bending back can provide good results, but often only temporarily as the cue often reverts to the bent shape it has "learned".

 

It can be straightened if hung by the tip end for an extended period - the weight of the butt and gravity bringing it back in line.

I do not recommend attempting to bend the cue back into shape yourself. Take it to a cue repairer who has the experience and is happy to take on the job !

Experts

Recommended Resources
Some highly experienced experts we recommend

marc lockley Snooker Crazy

Marc Lockley

Snooker Crazy

Marc is one of the most experienced cue specialists in the UK.

 

Check out the information packed Snooker Crazy YouTube Channel which has loads of great advice, and tutorials on care/repair of cues, cases, tables & more.

Sam Sprackman Dr Cue

Sam Sprackman

Dr Cue

Sams cue builds and repairs are some of the most complex and ambitious around!

Talk to Sam about any major structural work required or any unusual build requests - or just check out his amazing creations.

Paul Curran Cuefix NI.jpg

Paul Curran

Cuefix NI

Trusted fitter to many  top players & companies, and the man  behind the excellent Pro Spin Cue Tips.

A font of knowledge on all things tips, talk to Paul about any tip queries or issues you might have.

repair network

Independant

Repairer Network

Check this page to find a specialist trusted repairer near you !

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