I changed to my Walter Donaldson cue for billiards as it has a larger tip. I never quite realised what a pain a one piece is. The case is on view in my car where as the 3/4 one would fit in the boot. Even Easyjet want extra money for a full length cue classing it the same as Ski's.
In 1984 I had a one piece cue. A Riley Professional in ash. Several players had two piece cues including Jim Wych and Cliff Thorburn. I regarded these as Pool cues. A couple of others had two peice cues mainly Maple ones like Dennis Taylor.
At this time one of the good Players called Paul Bingham arrived one day and had his cue cut at 3/4. When I was watching his game he undid the cue and added a long wooden extension to make his cue into a half butt. I went over and looked at it after the game had finished and thought it was quite a neat idea. Over the next few months several players had their cues done either half but mainly 3/4 splits.
I decided to get mine done and found the name & address of the Cue Doctor a Mr Bob Akers from Leeds in SnookerScene. I had just past my driving test and decided to drive over rather than trust the post office to get it there in one piece.
I drove over in my battered blue Ford Escort JEO325P which leaked in water but had a working radio. I got lost around Leeds but eventually found my way to his house and handed over my trusted cue and £ 25. A few days later my cue arrived back in the post 3/4 split with a nice Wooden extension. I played with this cue for many years without problems and several other players also go their cue done from Bob.
Some 30 years later Bob is still advertising in Snooker Scene so I rang him and booked myself in today for the drastic surgery. I had been offered good money for my Walter Donaldson Cue but have always refused to part with it. I decided it had to be split. Cue collectors would call this a mortal sin but never mind no one's collecting my cue.
I thought Bob was really old when I first met him and assumed he must be ancient by now but he's only just 65. I arrived a Bob's at 9.15am a little early and rang him he was just getting up.
He took me into his workshop and I showed him the cue and case it was to fit in. He picked out the correct joint and we agreed where he was going to insert the joint.
I was quite horrified when he flung the cue in a vice put a pencil line along the side of the cue grabbed a saw and cut straight through it.
Vandal - The resulting two bits.
Acrylic Joint ready for Trimming.
Tapping the Thread
Taking off the Excess Steel
Proud Bob with another finished Cue
Bob really does know his stuff, he estimates he has done 10,000 cue joints since 1975. He rarely does them now. Most people have already got a cue which is split so he mainly repairs damaged joints. He states that even good cues like Parris the joints only last 5-10 years before they have to be glued back or replaced. Some cheaper brands last only 12months.
He seemed quite sad that he has not trained anyone else to do the repairs such as an apprentice. He states he cannot go on forever doing the job and eventually he will wind down and stop. It seems sad to me that for so long he has been doing this job and eventually the skills he has will be lost.
He has repaired cues for all the great players. Just speaking today for a short while he has done jobs for Parrot, Davis, Higgins, Spencer, Johnson and for Billiards, Crossland, Gilcrest and Russell. He mentioned over 30 top names and said he has forgotten most of them.