A Tale of the Tip
A good quality tip will hold its shape for many weeks. You don’t need to reshape it very often, but when it needs shaping, you need to know how to do it properly. The first thing you need to know is that the tip will take a shape that matches your playing style. If you’re a center ball player and hit the cue ball in the center with very little english, your tip will become flat on the end. Just because it’s flat doesn’t mean you need to reshape it. Flat matches your style. It’ll only become flat again. If you use a lot of english, your tip will become rounder. If you feel you need to mess with your tip, then you need to know the proper way and have the proper tools. Let’s talk about the hitting surface of your tip. This is the only part that touches the ball and is the most important.
Tips tend to develop a glaze over the hitting surface after extended usage. This makes it harder for the chalk to adhere to the tip. There are many products on the market to scuff up the surface. In the early days of pool, players carried an ordinary file with them. They lightly tapped on the tip to develop a texture. Sometime in the ‘70s, Lou Butera came out with the “Tip Tapper,” and the tip tool war was on. There must have been at least 30 different types of tip tools marketed over the years, most of which work well. The secret to their use is to not use them in a sanding motion. This tears the leather. Simply tap the tip with the tool or press them to the surface of the tip, and then roll it around the on the tip. This produces a dimpled surface that will hold chalk well.
If you’re using the “Tip Pic” or other tools that contain a lot of needle tips, simply press and release. Do not roll this type of tool because it will only tear the leather on your tip. In the next months, we’ll discuss the other aspects of tip care. Remember, I’m always looking for your questions, so contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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