How To Round Your Billiard Cue's Tip

Round And Round It Goes But Where It Stops You Need To Know

pool cue tip
Matt Sherman

The most important part of a cue stick is its tip, the tiny portion that contacts the cue ball. You've got to be aware of the roundness of your own tip and know how to repair your tip or a borrowed house cue's tip promptly. It's got to be in round or it will work only poorly.

The game begins and ends here so take a few short minutes every few sessions to keep your equipment in top shape.

Use a Nickel

Cue tips have a perfectly rounded surface, so the largest possible portion of the tip shall contact the spherical cue ball at impact. A nickel or dime, edge held behind a cue, reveals if the tip's circumference is true. Look for little bumps and/or an uneven edge that indicates a cue is out of round.

Rounding the Tip

To round a tip, rub a swatch of sandpaper briskly across it. Work the sanding strokes in one direction only, downward from the top of the tip. Rub the cue from an angle of about 50 degrees. Turn the cue and tip in a circle underneath your sanding hand.

Moving from near the top to the bottom gradually, this procedure takes a minute or two to shape a tip properly. A few extra moments for careful work prevents whittling the tip into too small an amount of leather.

Using a Tip Shaper

You don't have sandpaper on hand? Sounds laborious? Simply get a tip shaper, available at any pool hall that also sells equipment and available online from eBay and from dozens of retailers. You put the shaper, which has a bowl-shaped depression with scoring abrasive paper inside, right-side up on the floor, flip your cue stick upside down and put the tip into the depression. Holding the cue at the other end near the butt as the top, you roll the cue briskly back and forth between your palms like you're rolling a meatball from chop meat. A great cue tip will soon result.

It takes just a few minutes' time to care for your cuestick's tip, and the effort is well worth it. Each time I've grabbed a house cue without caring for its tip, I've regretted it, because eventually, that one critical shot requiring a bit of extra spin won't come off as planned. Worse still would be a miscue. The advice shouldn't be "select the best tip you can find" but bring a shaper and fix the room's tip for them if they're too lazy to do so for their patrons.