how to maintain a pool cue stick

How To Maintain A Pool Cue Stick: The Ultimate Guide

Now that you have purchased your preferred pool cue, you would want to get value from it.

That’s why it’s crucial to figure out how you will be maintaining your cue, least it wears out so fast, wasting your investment.

By this, we generally refer to both the shaft and the tip.

While there are so many ways to maintain these two vital parts of your instrument, today we are going to simplify everything for you.

One of the too many reasons to continue reading this article. Here we go!

Pool Cue Tip Maintenance

If you ask experienced players, they will readily inform you that a cue with an unmaintained tip is one of the worst enemies you can ever come across in your gaming.

For you to enjoy everything, you must ensure your tip is well-groomed for optimum playability.

And this loosely translates into how well-shaped it remains and how good it holds the chalk. It should never be chalk deficient or become smooth for any reason.

But how?

First, ensure you chalk your tip correctly.

The chalk should have a flat surface. Afterward, hold it firmly in one of your hands and gently apply it on the tip.  A perfect application should cover the whole surface.

As you do this, ensure you don’t use too much force.

Doing this can cause the chalk to grind into the tip, a mess you don’t want to deal with. Imagine having to deal with an insightful display of a chalk-stained line around the ferrule!

However, for chalking to work properly, the shape of your tip should be on point. And that calls for proper shaping.

By now, you should know that not all tips come with the same hardness. Some are soft, others hard, and the remaining lot lies in between.

Also, most of the tips in today’s market are made out of leather, complete with a slightly rough surface.  And it’s thanks to this roughness that give the chalk a hold as you apply.

If done properly, the chalk’s texture will create the right amount of friction between the ball and your cue’s tip to ensure you achieve a perfect spin as you play.

Also, considerable friction means your tip can quickly grab the ball and “force’ in a given direction.

That’s why, when your cue tip’s chalk is wearing out, you will realize an increase in the cases of miscuing. You should, therefore, work at correcting that as soon as possible.

Because if you don’t, winning a match will be an uphill task.

Although some cue tips come ready for use right out of the package, most of them require shaping.

And this’s where little scuffing skills come in handy.  Remember, even after the first shaping, you will have to re-do whenever you see the tip starting to flatten out.

If you aren’t careful, the only alert you will get is when you start miscuing a lot.

To shape your cue, ensure to do so in a dime to nickel radius.  But if you can’t seem to achieve this, go the traditional way.

Let the tip shaper lie on the ground with its bowl facing up.  Afterward, gently turn your cue upside down, such that the tip gets into the shaper’s bowl.  Then begin to rotate your cue back and forth.

While at it, avoid over sanding as the tip could wear out fast. Once you achieve the desired shape, you should stop.

Also, get specialized wax and use it on the outer part of the tip (on edge between the burnish and the tip.) This is one of the best ways of preventing your cue’s tip from mushrooming.

Pool Cue Shaft Maintenance

Just like the cue tip, the shaft is another vital part of your device.  They both go hand in hand.

Therefore as you enjoy your frequent games, you will realize that the shaft will catch dirt over time.

Usually, this is a combination of sweat from your hands, dust from your immediate environment, and the particles of chalk from your shaft.

You will realize that with this, you can no longer achieve a smooth stroke, and the shaft becomes annoyingly sticky. This is how you will know it’s time to clean up.

There are various cue cleaners in the market that you can use to clean your shaft. The process isn’t tricky to master, you won’t need an expert to help you out.

You can also use a burnisher.

As you clean, be gentle, not to damage your shaft’s finishing. And this means avoiding the usage of heavy-grade sandpapers, and brillo-like pads.

If you happen to use moistened cue cleaners, ensure you wipe them off immediately to avoid destroying your shaft over time.

If possible, invest in a microfiber hand towel for in-between-uses cleaning.

Tips on How to Protect Your Pool Cue for Longevity

The reason you have invested in that pool cue is that it can give you years of service. Therefore, you should treat it with care, the same way you would a child. And this is how:

  1. Avoid direct sunlight.

The intense sun rays can significantly damage their finishing. The last thing you want is for your cue to warp.

  1. Avoid any form of humidity.

As already mentioned earlier, always wipe any moisture on your shaft immediately.

  1. Store the cue in a carrying case.

If your cue comes with a carrying case, well and good, but if it doesn’t, purpose on purchasing one.

Always ensure you store your stick in its case after each use and cleaning session.  The cue should lie flat in the case, in a straight manner, and then hung upright.

If you have a cue hanger, you can also let it hung upside down.

  1. Don’t lean on your cue stick.

Since most cue materials aren’t that strong to withstand the human weight, you could end up breaking it.

Refrain from leaning on your cue against the table as you play or engage in a discussion.

Also, avoid using it to support yourself against the wall or even floor. And most certainly, don’t even think about using it as a “stool”.

  1. Invest in a bumper.

To protect the butt end of your cue from damage, invest in a bumper and ensure it’s all the time.

  1. Don’t apply any oil on your cue.

No matter how tempting it might be, never think of applying any oil on your cue. The results will be softened wood and some visibly damaged parts.

Your stick isn’t your car engine.

  1. Be cautious about leaving your cue lying around.

If you’re out with your cue and it’s outside the carrying case, ensure you secure it back before leaving to attend to something else.

No matter how momentarily that might seem. The worst mistake you can make is leaving it unattended in an insecure position.

Remember, not everyone wishes you well. Someone might step on it, or it could never recover from that unintended hard fall.

Therefore, why not make a habit of taking your stick with you?

  1. Use professional services.

If you ever need expert help with your cue, be it cleaning services or anything else, it’s best to use experienced and reliable personnel.

Never let just anybody handle your stick, especially when you too don’t know much about it.

FAQs About How to Maintain A Pool Cue Stick

 How Do You Keep A Cue Shaft Smooth?

Generally, keeping your shaft smooth means cleaning it.  And while there isn’t any single correct way to do this, you can always identify one depending on your needs.

Because I had explained how to do this earlier, I will provide you with a video for better understanding. I hope it helps:

How Do I Keep My Pool Cue from Warping?

First, avoid leaning on it against any surface. If you do so, the cue might bend.

Also, avoid leaving your stick within or near high temperatures.

And then, if possible, get a storage place that isn’t too hot or cold.  And certainly not under direct sunlight.

Avoid putting any external pressure on your cue, especially when under storage.

Lastly, don’t bang your cue’s butt on any hard surface.  And although sometimes accidents happen, try as much as possible not to drop your cue on any hard surface.

How Long Do Pool Cues Last?

The only sure way to ensure your cue serves you for long is taking good care of it.

But if you’re a beginner, you will probably ask yourself, “how?” And we have to answer this question in the above section.

Back to the main issue.

Yes, most people would argue that it should last you for at least six months, but even with excellent treatment and regular maintenance, we believe how long a cue lasts, depends on various factors.

It largely depends on how frequently you use it.  You can’t compare the longevity of a pool cue being used by a heavy player with a seldom user.

How To Burnish A Pool Cue Shaft

Nothing is as annoying as the presence of debris in the pores of your shaft. The stickiness that comes with them is frustrating, to say the least.

Therefore, you should work on burnishing the pores to prevent this from happening. Use a cue slicker to rub your cue up and down as fast as possible.

This will expose the cue to friction, causing it to heat up, leading to expansion and eventually forcing the pores to close.


As a pool player, it’s incredibly beneficial to maintain your cue stick frequently. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand the various ways to achieve this without seeking professional help.

Don’t forget to check out our tips on protecting your pool cue for longevity. The standard rule is for you to protect your investment the same way you can do with a child.

Happy playing!