Click on the arrow in the above picture to view the video I created for QC players wanting to learn a great way to replace their cue tips. (Printable details below.)
Click the following link to a two-page pdf for printing all the below instructions if you’d like to have a handy copy at your workbench whenever you’re replacing a tip:
How to replace a cue tip yourself
And click this link: Billiards Club DIY Tip Replacement Kit – photo to see the boxed DIY loaner kit itself.
All of the following instructional text verbally describes the steps you’ve seen visually demonstrated on this video I specially prepared for local players.
Tools you’ll need:
* Strip of heavyweight 80-grit sandpaper (measures approx. 2” x 7”)
* LocTite cyanoacrylate instant superglue (thin version called “Liquid”, not the gel)
* Tweeten Rapid Cue Top Sander
* Very sharp retractable-blade utility knife
* 9-inch Metal Cue Tip Trimmer/rough-shaper
* 6” mill file to finish-trim the new tip’s overhang flush with ferrule
One Kleenex-type tissue and one piece of postcard-sized paper
Painters tape (or any low-tack tape)
Willard Nickel (or Dime) shaper — borrowable if you don’t have something similar
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Note: The asterisked items (first six on this list) are provided to you within the Billiards Club’s DIY tip replacement kit freely loaned to any local pool player requesting it from our resident Billiards Club Supplies Manager, Bob T. A copy of the below video-accompanying DIY instructions are also included in that borrowable six-item kit we’ve assembled for you.
Tip replacement steps These seem voluminous when textually expressed, but are strictly meant to serve as a very necessary printable worktable reminder of what you’ve just seen on my custom-prepared DIY video demonstration. While a printout of these instructions is kept within the kit, you can also simply copy/paste this instructional text into a Word document. Print that, and you’ll then also have your personal copy too. Or just click on the above-attached pdf of these two pages and hit Print.
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Now to begin — With several back & forth strokes on the black 2 x 7 strip of 80-grit sandpaper on a flat surface, sand the bottom of the tip (the non-playing side – the side which won’t be eventually domed).
(Important note: after sanding never touch with your finger any surface that’s about to be instant-glued (as with both the replacement cue tip and the top of the ferrule). Hand oils diminish the strength of any cyanoacrylate joint and frequently cause later joint failures . . . and tips pop off.
Holding the just-sanded tip only by its rim, carefully attach to the tip’s playing side a short piece of painter’s (low-tack) tape moderately firmly (it will soon be removed) then, holding on to a portion of the piece of tape, use the Kleenex-type tissue to remove any trace of sanding dust from the cue tip’s flat gluing surface. (Hint: to make a piece of any masking tape low-tack just press it on your palm a few times.)
Then double-prime the tip by first applying a drop or two of the instant glue to that surface and use your toothpick to spread a very thin coat of that liquid to cover all of the circular gluing area. This is the first of two priming coats you’ll be applying. The tip’s natural porosity quickly absorbs most of this first priming coat, sealing the porous surface for better gluing. Set the tip aside to dry so its gluing surface hardens.
Place the shaft of the cue stick on a couple of stacked magazines and use the utility knife to carefully slice off the majority of the worn tip from the ferrule by progressively rolling the shaft in place. Be sure to stay at least a 32nd to a 16th inch away from the ferrule’s top.
The replacement tip’s first prime coat of instant glue will have dried by now, so take a moment to apply the equally important second coat which (now that the surface is sealed), will only require the spreading (via toothpick) of a drop or so of the glue, ensuring a thin coat covering all of the circular gluing area, but without allowing the glue to drip over onto the rim of the new tip.
Now, as shown on the video, wrap a piece of paper (or better still, one of those rugged subscriber postcards that fall out of magazines) lengthwise several tight turns around the shaft and covering the majority of the ferrule. This is to protect the ferrule and shaft when performing the next step:
Holding the paper tightly to the shaft, slip on the Tweeten Rapid Cue Top Sander and with only a bare minimum of tightness snug the clamp’s screw (only enough to keep the shaft from slipping; — unnecessary tightness risks denting your cue’s shaft).
I prefer to use the hole in the Sander that’s furthest from the shaft for fast leather removal when I begin cranking the handle of the sander’s disk, then I finish using the nearer hole. Crank the handle a few turns at a moderate-to-rapid speed, and with minimal downward pressure. Keep checking (by raising the disk slightly after every few turns) to see how close you’re coming to having no more of the old tip’s leather showing. It will only take a minute or two. Be sure to raise the shaft closer to the disk if it starts to slip away from it, and then snug the screw very slightly.
Remove the Tweeten Sander device and the rolled-up protective paper when you’ve arrived at the freshly-exposed gluing surface. Then as shown in the video, verylightly and minimally stroke (at an approx. 45 degree angle) the outer circumference of the ferrule with the “Fine-grit” side of your emery board, to remove the small inevitable plastic edge-burr created by the sanding device process.
Using only the Kleenex-type tissue, clean any sanding debris off the ferrule top (again, never touch this gluing surface with your fingertips). Cut a piece of the painter’s tape squarely to slightly longer than 1 ½ inches and wrap it one turn around the ferrule, ensuring that it sits just clear of the exact end of the ferrule. This wrap helps prevent glue spill-over and equally important, protects the ferrule during the upcoming utility knife step that’s soon going to trim excess leather off the firmly attached new tip.
Carefully remove the painter’s tape that’s still attached to the fully-primed new tip and set the tip down for a moment on a dust-free piece of paper. Holding the cue’s shaft vertically in front of you, apply a small drop or two of the instant glue to the newly-exposed top of the ferrule, and spread the glue so it fully covers that circular area. Only a very thin coat is needed for maximum grab, so dab off any excess glue with the same toothpick, wiping the excess onto the Kleenex tissue (or a paper towel).
Pick up the replacement tip, carefully set it (glue-side down) directly on the ferrule top. Press very lightly on it with your index finger. Release your finger pressure, and you’ll have a few seconds to rotate the shaft, inspecting that (as near as you can tell) the tip is centrally located with a roughly equal amount of the tip overlapping completely around the perimeter. Quickly do any nudging required to correct the tip’s position to approximate centrality.
Immediately press down more firmly for a few seconds without de-centralizing the tip, then turn the shaft so it — as vertically as possible — rests perpendicularly on your worktable with you pressing down rather firmly with both hands for at least thirty seconds (a minute is even better).
To ensure a solid tip-to-ferrule connection, let the glue set up more by laying it aside for a couple minutes.
As shown in the video, on a table-protecting piece of cardboard (or several pieces or magazines stacked), now vertically hold the shaft tip-down with one hand. Taking very small bites per stroke of the utility knife, trim the excess tip overhang completely around the circumference of the tip. Shave it as round as possible and flush with the ferrule’s circumference. Then do the finish rounding with the “Rough-gritted” portion of your emery board. (The Kit’s small flat shop file as seen in the video works equally well or better.)
Rough shape a domed tip geometry with a number of strokes of the concavely-curved 9-inch metal cue tip shaper/sander. Moisten your index fingertip with a drop or two of water and then use the finger to lightly wet the side of the tip around its circumference.
Wrap a dollar bill around the tip and part of the ferrule as shown on the video and twist back & forth for a few moments while squeezing the bill against tip’s side. This creates localized heat on the leather’s rim, burnishing and hardening the tip’s side, greatly reducing future mushrooming. It’s a good habit to perform every few weeks (enhancing the tip’s playability and extending its life). (Steve Mizerak used to wrap a hundred-dollar bill when burnishing before a match, because (he said) it often intimidated an opponent 🙂
At your leisure, use a Willard Shaper to finish-shape the new tip perfectly to the Nickel or Dime shape you prefer playing with.
Get Everest tips if you wish to, for $13.95 w/ free shipping here: http://tinyurl.com/m5ocdvf
Get Elk Master “MilkDuds” tips for $5.95 w/free shipping here: http://tinyurl.com/lrqy5es (Pre-compressed, super-long lasting versions of the blue one seen on the video, with even better control features than standard Elk Masters)
If either source becomes unavailable at those sites, simply go on Google Shopping and search for the best online deal on either above brand of tip or any other brand (as seen in the Mueller hard copy or online catalog http://muellers.com or as seen elsewhere) that you wish to experiment with.
Dick Sussman ~ QC Billiards Club 2006 founder ~ 393-8600