Pool cues are the most common accessory for a player to own. They are also the most diverse item that a player can own. They can range from a price of $15 to $25,000. They can be bought off the shelf and be one of hundreds of thousands just like it or it can be one of a kind. The least expensive of cues are made of ramin wood, a material that has more in common with bamboo than wood, with a screw-on tip and one piece construction. The most expensive made by hand to the specifications of the person ordering it and may contain precious metals, ivory and numerous exotic woods inlayed in to the butt of the cue.
Less expensive cues are made in asia and generally give you few options other than changing the weight. The wood is often not properly dried which can cause warpage and cracking at the joint material and other places where parts are attached. As you find cues that sell for a higher price point these problems become less common but this statement refers to manufacturing of higher quality and not just adding more decorative appeal to a cue with inlay or cheap transfers to it.
Domestic cues on the other hand almost never have problems with warpage or cracking and are often covered under a warranty if they do. The prices of domestics are higher but give you a range of customization to make your cue yours. The starting price range is around $200 and can go to almost any price you are willing to spend but you can often change the weight, tip size, stain and wrap at often no extra charge. Joints on two piece cues and tips can be changed to get a different feel but often changes the price only a small amount. Most of the truly expensive cues are priced higher because of the number of man hours put into the detail work to produce elaborate designs. There may be little difference though in how the cue performs within the same manufacturer.
Franklin Billiard carries cues from a number of manufacturers. In our imported line we carry cues from Players, Lucasi, Cuetec and Outlaw along with a few others. These cues although imported have had few problems compared to some imports we have had in the past. Domestic cues we carry are primarily Viking, McDermott, J. Pechauer and Meucci along with a few lesser known manufacturers.
Cue cases offer the best way to transport a cue safely from place to place without worry of damage. The main division of cases are hard and soft. Soft cases provide a cushion to transport a cue and a handle with which to carry it. Most hold one or two cues and are reasonable priced but have no support. Hard cases by contrast can hold one or several cues. May have individual compartments to separate the cues it contains. They give better support, eliminating pressures which can cause warpage. If a case is dropped, they provide better protection and in some cases can prevent damage even if driven over by a car.
Most cue manufacturers offer cases that match their cues but there are a number of companies that specialize in cases that make a good product. Viking, McDermott and Meucci have their own cases but Cue and Case, Imperial have well made products and have larger selections.