Changing Your Tip
by Jim Buss
In the last issue, we talked about when to have your tip changed. This month, we’re going to start to show you how to change your own tip. I must emphasize that there are several places where things can go wrong. You have the possibility of messing up your ferrule or even your shaft, so please don’t attempt to change your own tip unless you’re good with your hands and can take your time. You’re prime for a disaster if you rush into this.
The first thing you have to do is to remove the old tip. Carefully cut the old tip off using a sharp knife. Figure 1 shows this being done using a utility knife, but almost any sharp knife will do the job. Many billiard supply catalogs and billiard supply houses sell a knife made especially for this job. Remember: cut the tip off and not your finger.
Once the tip is off, you need to remove the entire leftover tip and glue from the face of the ferrule. This may well be the most important part of the entire operation. It is very important that this surface is clean and flat. If you try to sand the ferrule surface with a piece of sandpaper or a file, I can guarantee you will end up with a slightly rounded surface, and your tip won’t stick to it properly. Your tip will develop a click, or may come off entirely within just a few days. You need to get a tool such as the one shown in Figure 2. This one I bought many years ago and is made by Tweeten. This exact model might not be available today, but there are similar models available from a billiard supply company. There are several alternative versions of this tool available; some can become quite expensive (around $400.00). This may sound like a lot, but with tip replacement running over $10.00, you only need to do it 40 times to pay for the machine. You can even do tips for your friends, which will pay the money back quickly. Tweeten also makes a very inexpensive plastic version that is only a few dollars. I have not tried this version, but it looks like it will work for low volume work. Notice the red thing in Figure 2. This is a match book that I placed between the sander and the shaft. This is necessary to protect the shaft from nicks.
Once you have your ferrule prepared, you need to put the tip on. Pick out the tip you want to use. Look at the back of the tip. You will notice that it has an irregular surface. You need to make the surface flat so that glue will stick to it, and you do this by sanding the gluing surface with a piece of sandpaper, preferably 180 to 220 grit. Place the sandpaper on a flat surface and rub the tip over it. Try to keep the tip and the sandpaper flat to eliminate rounding the bottom of the tip. You may want to tape the sandpaper down if that’s easier for you.
In the next issue, we will actually get the tip glued to the ferrule (finally). Remember, if you have any questions about cues or suggestions for future articles, please contact me at jimbuss@InsidePOOLmag.com
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