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Got Wood? Edition (7/24/12)

Howdy PoolDawgians!

Now I know everyone's getting amped up about the Olympics, but there's something else going on later this week that ties in much better to our topic de jour.  If you live in Wisconsin, you probably already know where I'm about to go - The Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward Wisconsin.

And why am I writing about this?  Well because we're talking about the awesomeness of wood of course!  This week I'm going to tell you a little about four of the most popular woods that are used in pool cues - Birdseye Maple, Cocobolo, Bocote and Ebony.

As for this week's learning goodness, Liz Ford will be talking to you all about the art of playing "bar rules" pool and holding a pool table at your local bar.  And away we go!

 

Cocobolo Wood Cues

I love cocobolo.  It's one of those woods that is instantly recognizable and really enhances the look of just about any pool cue.

One of the more interesting aspects of cocobolo is the color range.  It isn't uncommon to find cocobolo ranging from orangish to reddish to brown.  In addition to the color, cocobolo is extremely dense and has a ton of natural oil that really makes the wood stand out.  A great example of this is the Schon CX01 which features birdseye maple in the forearm, cocobolo in the sleeve.

 

Bocote Wood Cues

When you look at a piece of bocote wood, you'll notice two reasons why this wood is so popular with cue makers.  First is the rich brown color that can range from dark to golden.  The real show stopper though is the striping.  

Bocote can have some really wild striping.  Sometimes it is concentric, other times it isn't.  What it always is though is absolutely stunning.  Check out the 5280 GEM03 as a perfect example of great use of bocote.  As for workability and density, bocote is a fairly dense wood, however it typically is not as dense as cocobolo

 

Ebony Wood Cues

Ebony is one of those tricky woods.  True ebony is absolutely gorgeous, but it is both hard to find and extremely expensive.  As a result, many cue makers are now using synthetic or "recon" (short for reconstituted) ebony.  The look is near identical, but there is a difference, as most recon ebony is man made.  

As an example, take a look at the Southwest cue we recently picked up.  It features true Gaboon Ebony throughout the cue and that genuine ebony is part of the reason for the hefty price tag (that and the fact that it's a Southwest).  The McDermott G405 on the other hand, while stunning, uses recon ebony.

 

 

Birdseye Maple Cues

Probably the most common wood that you'll find in used in pool cues is Birdseye Maple.  There are a few likely reasons why this is the "go to" wood for so many cue makers.  Birdseye maple is known for two key features - durability and turnability.  

Birdseye maple tends to be both dense and durable.  The fact that the wood is easy to carve and turn makes it ideal not only for pool cues but for all sorts of woodworking projects.  One of my favorite examples of birdseye maple is the JOS02, which has a beautiful blonde birdseye running throughout the forearm and sleeve.

 

 

Liz Ford - Stranger In A Strange Land: How To Hold The Pool Table At A Bar

If you've become accustomed to playing in leagues and tournaments with well-documented, standardized rules, it can be a real trip into the wild, wild west to flex your pool muscles at the local bar. Breaking into the scene has two main obstacles: familiarizing yourself with the locals and also with their local rules. Chances are there's at least one rooster who'll crow if you beat him and at least one obscure, illogical rule that'll leave you scratching your head.

Don't be discouraged, view it as a challenge. There's nothing more satisfying than walking into someone else's territory and beating them at their own game...keep reading

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