How to Check If a Pool Cue Is Straight? (Warped Cue Fixes)

How to Check If a Pool Cue Is Straight

Playing pool requires not only skill and strategy but also a straight pool cue.

A warped or bent cue can significantly affect your game, leading to inaccurate shots and frustrating gameplay.

In this comprehensive guide, I will explore various methods to check if your pool cue is straight, ensuring your equipment is in top condition for your next game.

Key Takeaways

  • Importance of a Straight Cue: Understand why playing with a straight cue is crucial for accuracy and performance.
  • Visual Inspection Methods: Learn simple techniques to visually inspect your pool cue for straightness.
  • Advanced Techniques: Discover more advanced methods for those who want to ensure absolute precision.
  • Maintenance Tips: Get tips on how to maintain your cue and prevent warping.

How to Check If a Pool Cue Is Straight?

There are a couple of methods you can use to check if your pool cue is straight;

  1. Sighting your cue
  2. Rolling your cue

Sighting Your Pool Cue

One of the most popular, and easiest ways to check your cue for warping is through sighting it.

You may have seen people doing it with a rifle before, and it works the same kind of way here, just you are turning the billiard cue instead of a rifle.

In my opinion, it’s the most reliable way to check if you have a perfectly straight cue.

How Do You Sight a Pool Cue?

The steps to sighting the cue are as follows:

  • Hold the cue like a rifle
  • Place the cue at eye level and look down the butt of the cue to the tip end
  • Much like looking down the barrel of a rifle, hold the cue at a slight angle
  • Rotate the cue 360 degrees while looking down the cue from the butt-end
  • As it is rotated, you will be able to check for any warping in the cue
  • If you do have a bent cue, importantly you will be able to identify where it has warped and needs to be straightened

This is an easy way to check if a cue is straight, however it can be even easier if you have a two-piece cue.

If you don’t want to sight the whole cue at once, and you have a two-piece, this is for you. 

Just separate both ends and check each part of the cue for straightness individually. 

Checking Cue Straightness and Roll the Cue Across a Flat Surface

Rolling the cue is another popular method to check a cue stick for straightness. Most people will roll it across the table felts surface, but you can actually use any level surface.

There are problems with this approach, and it’s mostly to do with the reliability of the results. 

First, let me explain what it involves.

How to Do the Rolling Cue Test?

To do the rolling cue test:

  • Roll the cue from the butt, across the pool table-top or your chosen flat surface
  • Don’t hold the pool cue, while doing the rolling test
  • Let it roll freely as it gives the truest indication of straightness
  • While it is rolling, look for any wobbles in the shaft, or clear bouncing across the surface
  • A straight cue should roll with no wobbles or bouncing 

The Problem of the Rolling Cue Test

As I mentioned above, there are a few problems by the rolling test, especially if you are using the playing surface on a pool table. 

The main problem is if it’s not completely flat and level, which a pool table should be, however they may not be for multiple reasons. Regardless of the reason, this will affect the results of the rolling test.

Even slight inconsistencies can cause a cue to wobble a little, such as 

  1. Any irregularities in the playing cloth
  2. The directional nap can also sometimes affect the roll
  3. Taper wobble is also a possible cause if the shaft bounces during the rolling test

Can a Warped Pool Cue Be Fixed?

Yes, you can usually fix a warped pool cue, and dents in the cue, if it is a good quality cue, and you can do so:

  • With steam
  • By hand with a little force
  • Using gravity by suspending the cue
  • Straightening tools such as a Jacoby Shaft Straightener

Minor bends are relatively easy to fix back straight, however badly warped shafts on the other hand are more difficult, though not impossible.

Can You Play with a Warped Pool Cue?

You can technically play with a warped pool cue, however it’s not really advisable.

If you are a beginner, you’re at the stage of developing your stroke, and finding the most comfortable way to hold your cue. 

Which is why it’s better when a cue is straight. 

For some players, a warped cue may not matter all that much, like for instance if you are a casual player.

If you only play occasionally, plays with friends, as long as it’s not completely out of shape, you can still have fun with it.

Should You Straighten a Warped Pool Cue?

Whether it is worth your time and effort to straighten a pool cue depends on a few different things:

  1. Low quality cues – Cheap cues are likely to warp regardless
  2. Higher quality cues – Cues manufactured by reputable brands are worth the effort of fixing
  3. The size of the warp – If a pool cue is warped very bad, it may be too far gone to fix
  4. The type of player you are – Recreational players may be better replacing the cue if it was inexpensive to begin
  5. Sentimental reasons – If the cue holds sentimental value, it will be worth fixing

How Do You Straighten a Pool Cue Shaft?

Fixing a warped cue shaft can be done in a few different ways.

Fixing Minor Warps

You may be able to bend minor warps back straight using just the palm of your hand and the floor.

  • Position your cue at an angle, with the tip touching the floor
  • Using your palm, press down on the cue against the warp 
  • Keep applying pressure until the bend is gone

If this doesn’t work, you can try the next option below.

Let Gravity Fix The Warp

If you hang a cue from a height, a wooden cue can actually fix itself out thanks to gravity.

  • Leave the cue suspended from a height vertically
  • Allow it to dangle motionless for a minimum of a couple of weeks

There is no set timeframe for how long it will take to straighten, so you may need to leave it hanging for longer

Apply Some Pressure

If you haven’t got the patience to wait for a few weeks, there are quicker ways by using either

  1. Steam
  2. Jacoby adjusting tool
  3. A lathe

Using Steam to Straighten a Pool Cue

Steaming warps is very effective as it helps soften the wood to the point where, with a little force, the cue can be bent back straight.

Using the steam from a boiling pot is one of the most popular methods if you plan to steam the warp out of the cue

  • Make sure the warped part of the shaft is directly in the steam, and rest the tip angled on the edge of the pot
  • With the tip end of the cue resting against the pot, you can use a little force and straighten the shaft

There are other ways you can use steam, which include: 

  • Leaving it in a steamy shower room
  • Using heated cloth, or towel, wrapped around the warp
  • Suspending the bent shaft over a boiling pot

Use A Jacoby Adjusting Tool

You could also fix warps using the Jacob adjusting tool, which is a tool specifically designed to make it easier to straighten pool cues. 

And it works really well. You simply slide the tool back and forth over the bent area in a gentle motion, which should straighten the cue.

How to Maintain a Perfectly Straight Cue?

To maintain a perfectly straight cue, there are some dos and don’ts to follow

What you should do: 

  • Store your cues in a climate controlled room, free from humidity
  • Use a pool cue case when transporting the cue
  • Use a wall rack to store your pool stick and balls
  • Clean the cue regularly with a lightly damp cloth
  • Burnish a cue made of wood with a sealant or cue wax to seal the pores and lock out moisture

There are different factors that cause a pool cue to warp, and here is what you should never do with your cue:

  • Store your cue in extreme temperatures, either hot or cold
  • Don’t lave your pool cue outside in direct sunlight
  • Never keep your cue inside a hot car
  • Lean on your cue between shots
  • Rest your cue against the wall
  • Clean your cue with household cleaning products


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