Lonesome Gods: Mimbres of the Mogollon by Bender Cues

Tracy studied the designs painted on Mimbres pottery. The circular engravings on each of the cues are Tracy’s renderings of a top view of bowls made between 1,000-1,300 CE. The engravings are beautifully executed, exhibiting the same type of patterns and fine line detail found on Mimbres pottery. While each cue is spectacular in its own way, the middle cue in the photo is my favorite. Spliced high-and-low points crafted of holly, ebony, and ivory contrast nicely against the ebony nose and butt sleeve. The Mimbres designs beautifully integrate into the cue’s segmented handle. What I appreciate most about the cues in general is the risky choice of engraving such unique designs around the cue. Typically, designs on pool cues are replicated around a cue, rather than the entire cue being a singular work of art. The large circular designs balance nicely to the eye. A closer look at the cue reveals that each design is different. I also appreciate that the designs are artistic, while at the same time it is clear that these cues play as well as they look.

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Cue #65 Richard Chudy (RC3)

RC3 "Edwardian Cue"

Designing a unique work of art that conforms to the surface of cue stick has its challenges. The space is oblong, curved, and varies in width throughout the cue. Artisans have been decorating cues for more than 100 years. It is easy and accurate to claim that most cue sticks produced today are very similar in design to something that has already been built. Given these facts, it is an accomplishment to create a unique design on a single cue. Richard Chudy, the maker of this month’s feature cue, has created so many unique works that originality is one of the pillars of his reputation as a cuemaker. Chudy has been involved in the industry since the late 1960s, and a prolific cuemaker since the 1980s. He has also been heavily involved in promoting cue art since the 1990s, by serving as a board member for the American Cuemakers Association as well as by participating in numerous cue shows throughout his career. Richard’s cues are collected by many of the world’s top collectors.

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Paul Dayton’s “Catitude”

Catittude features cats from smallest to largest, and their attitude is undeniable! Nine wild cats are on the alert and ready to attack. Scrimshawed on ivory, this Paul Dayton cue has colorful wildwood and a rich leather wrap. The multi-hued wood gleams with the colors of their habitats, from deep jungle to open grasslands. Three of the points show detail of the some of the big cats strikingly marked fur. (Note- Scrimshander was Sandra Brady)

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Craig Petersen Custom Cue

Craig Petersen was somewhat of a journeyman Chicago area cuemaker whose work spanned the early 1960s through 1992. He was a contemporary of most hall of fame cuemakers and was well-liked among his peers. For a time, Craig worked with Burton Spain in his shop, as well as for some of the other top cuemakers in the Chicago area. His finest cues were made after 1985, when he began making them in his own shop, first in Bartlett, IL and then later in Fort Wayne, IN. Petersen was able to produce tight tolerances using such crude, rudimentary equipment. As a cuemaker, he was a perfectionist. His attention to detail was ahead of his time, evidenced by his sharp, even point work, perfect inlay and ring alignment, and his treatment of wraps and shafts. Craig’s work continues to be held in high regard with collectors and fellow cuemakers.

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Paul Fanelli Butterfly Cue

Paul Fanelli Butterfly Cue

Paul Fanelli was a phenomenal cuemaker who specialized in butterfly splices. Sadly, he passed away recently. As a cuemaker, he was a perfectionist and was completely devoted to providing his customers first-rate work and service. This wrapless example was made by Paul in 2007. The cue is a full-splice with a Macassar ebony nose and butt, tulipwood points, pernambuco veneers, curly maple handle and tulipwood rings.

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Square and Round Cue by Tom Reed

Tom Reed custom cue

Here is the description of the square cue that you were asking for: Forearm and butt sleeve is a laminated blank made by me, of purple heart, yellow heart, hard white maple, curly maple, hickory and goncalo alves. It is an angle cut to create a desirable effect. The darker wood inlays are cocobolo with melamine and malachite set within. All joints at A, B, C, D and E are phenolic. The joints are all cut at normal cue taper. The flats and corner radiuses are cut at different tapers to create a more desirable effect. Also creating reverse flares at the ring areas. The wrap is a leather embossed baby alligator with multiple brown tones. The cue is finished off with hand rubbed polyurathane and a brown bumper. The shaft is cut with my personal taper with a laminated tip and a LBM ferrule.

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Jerry Olivier Custom Cue

Jerry Olivier Custom Cue

Jerry Olivier created this elegant and understated cue using ebony, ivory and silver. Silver veneers are used on each of the points. Scrimshawed endless Celtic-style knots wrap around the cue on each of the thick ivory rings. A lizard wrap finishes the look.

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Mike Sigel Custom Cue

Mike Sigel was arguably one of the best pool players in the history of the sport. Late in his pool-playing career he decided to take his playing knowledge and experience to cue making. This example is a clear departure from the traditional cue stick formula. The base wood is Cocobolo, which on the butt is inlaid with ivory points and solid gold dots. In a traditional cue stick, the short ivory points in the butt would be complimented by long ivory points in the forearm. Sigel ignored this tradition and placed even shorter ivory points in the forearm above the wrap, also inlaid with gold dots. Sigel did however play on the long-and-short point theme, but by reversing them so that they emanate from the joint.

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Mike Bender Custom Cue

The stark black-and-white color palette highlights the mastery of the point work. Ebony and ivory are the primary materials, with silver decorative rings throughout.

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Joss West (1976)

Joss West

Bill made this one of a kind cue c. 1976 for the man who owned the pool room he played in when he lived in Tulsa. The cue has four ivory points with black, double red, black veneers into stained bird’s eye maple forearm. The stained bird’s eye maple butt sleeve is decorated with eight large ivory diamonds between ivory rings. The joint is stainless steel and it is piloted.

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South West Cue- Fancy

General Cue Description-

South West Cue, Pin # 303-01. This fancy one-of-a-kind South West Cue is owned by Robert Simpson (father of Blue Book of Pool Cues author Brad Simpson). Ordered in 1994, it was received in 2001 and is played with regularly. It features ebony, snakewood and ivory with maple veneers. South West Cues with this much ivory are rare. Additionally at Robert’s request, SW’s Mickey Bunker had the famous South West Cactus engraved into ivory inlays below the wrap. Normally, the Cactus only appears on the joint pin. This is the only South West Cue

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Mike Bender Custom Cue

Mike Bender expertly built fifteen spliced points in ebony forearm. Five high points of purpleheart into holly with ivory dagger inlays. Five low points of ivory are nestled between the long points. The ebony butt sleeve’s ‘Santa Fe’ inlay pattern features ivory bordered purpleheart windows with silver & ebony dot and ivory mirror daggers. Purpleheart and silver ‘Rosary’ rings appear in five places. The cue has an ivory joint and an Irish linen wrap.

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Paul Fanelli Butterfly Cue

Butterfly cues have long been exotic and rare in the pool world, though the norm for billiards players. Paul Fanelli is one the leaders in bringing the butterfly splice to pool cues and his work is well received in this realm. Framed in Purple Heart and ebony woods, butterfly splices go up and down the cue. Additional work includes sharp points on the forearm, and elliptical ring work on the butt.

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Bert Schrager “Tiger” Cue

A member of the ICA’s Hall of Fame, Bert Schrager is one of the earliest cuemakers to focus on high-end fancy cues. Known for his artistry in collaboration with his wife Pat, Schrager was also one of the first builders to really break into the Japanese cue buying market. The Tiger Cue is a vast departure from Schager’s usual offering. At its base the Tiger Cue is an ebony cue with a segmented ivory handle as well as ivory collar, butt cap and inlays. The cue is brought to life with with a decorative tiger theme done by a local California stippling artist.

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Harvey Martin Ivory Handle Cue

Harvey Martin is widely recognized as one of the fathers of custom cue making. In 1970, Martin created what is today one of the biggest collectible custom cues in the world, despite it not having a single inlay. This example has a maple forearm, segmented ivory handle, decorative rings, and an ivory joint and butt cap. The ivory handle is built using nine pieces of ivory, stacked, and without the use of rings. It is likely that the ivory segments were made from retired billiard balls (ivory was replaced by plastics in the late 1960s). None of the ivory segments are cracked, which is very rare for an ivory-handled Martin cue. Several other fine examples are plagued with cracked ivory discs and still demand well over ten thouand dollars at sale. Seven rings separate the handle from the butt sleeve and are stamped with the following: J•MC•F•, which are the initials of Jim McFarlane, who was a notable west-coast three-cushion player and the original owner of the cue.

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South West Custom Cue- Inlaid

This cue is a South West Custom Cue made in 1997. The cue is featured in the first Blue Book of Pool Cues. Most South West cues are not inlaid, making this example a very rare collectible.

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Skip Weston Custom 8-Point Cue

This hand made custom pool cue was made by Skip Weston in 2003. There are eight points with four being high and four being low. The long points are re-cut, which is a technique to make the points look veneered, but without the seem that typically goes through the center of the points. The short points are purple heart with no veneers. The forearm is a piece of highly figured birds-eye maple. The wrap is textured leather and the joint is flat faced.

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Arthur Queue by Marcus Dienst

“French Renaissance” – This ivory-handled Arthur Queue by Marcus Dienst was built for the International Cue Collector Show. It features a Birdseye maple nose with large ivory points highlighted by silver veneers. A segmented ivory handle joins the forearm to an ornately decorated ebony butt sleeve. The cue is adorned throughout its length with over 1,250 intricately inlaid tiny pieces of ivory, silver, and pearl. This cue showcases why Marcus Dienst is known as Germany’s best. This cue is in the collection of William Grassley.

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Frank Coster- 1st Inlaid Cue

Frank Coster circa late 1984 ‘Gambler’ theme pool stick made for Jeff ‘Birdman’ Boyer, who reports that it is Mr. Coster’s first inlaid cue. The rosewood, mother of pearl inlays, wood inlays and veneers are from the Martin Guitar Company. Jeff Boyer and Frank Coster were friends, Frank’s favorite food was meatloaf, Mrs. Boyer had Frank for dinner on meatloaf nights, in appreciation of meatloaf dinners the cue was made as a surprise gift for Mr. Boyer. The woman slaves all day over a hot stove and the man gets the pool stick – go figure. Mr. Boyer operated an exotic bird business, hence the ‘Birdman’ moniker. Ivory ferrules, rare on a Coster, who made only 127 to 132 cues in total. Very few of his cues are inlaid.

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Art Cantando- Pair of Custom Cues

At the time of Art Cantando’s recent death, there were five unfinished cues. These two cues were two of those last five unfinished cues. Long time friend and colleague Barry Szamboti stepped in and offered to complete the cues, which needed shafts, wraps, and finishes. The rosewood-on-rosewood cue features eight points. The low points are ivory and the high points are rosewood with ivory veneers. There are also eight points below the wrap in the same configuration. 96 inlays of gold, silver, and ivory adorn the cue, along with a brown lizard wrap. The ebony-on-ebony cue also features eight points in both directions, with inlay detail at the tips of each points, which are referenced with similar reversed shapes at the bottom of the points. The cues are in The Robert Feldman Collection.

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Tim Scruggs Custom Cue 2008

Master cue maker Tim Scruggs designed and built this cue in 2008. Faced with the task of creating a cue with classic styling, but with a modern touch, Scruggs used ebony and ivory make up the majority of the palette. Inlaid into ebony are classic shapes and a configuration that reminds the viewer of cue design history. To modernize the design, Scruggs built an eight-point veneered forearm with natural, blue, and natural veneer colors. Classic shapes are also inlaid in both the high and the low points. Other modern touches include ivory bow-tie inlaid ring work, a radial pin joint screw, and joint protectors. An ivory joint, and butt cap frame a textured leather wrap.

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“Giza Celebration” by Prather Custom Cues

Giza Celebration, by Prather “…many days and nights the Egyptians celebrated after completion of the great “Pyramids of Giza”, and justly so. Giza Celebration represents the physical and spiritual achievement of these “Wonders of the World”. Cocobolo dancers gaily dance around the Chechen pyramids amidst the Olivewood sand dunes. Brightly colored writings on the African Black Ebony background capture this celebration of our distant ancestors and thier magnificent triumph…” This cue was created for the Cue Art Gallery show of 1997, in New York City. As a result, Giza Celebration was then displayed at the Smithsonian Institute of Art in New York City, New York.

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Ron Haley / Bill Schick Collaboration

General Cue Description-

Cue #150 from Ron Haley is a 6 point cue with 3 long purpleheart points and 3 short ivory points with 3 veneers and 4 of Ron’s signature paper veneers into an ebony forearm and a purpleheart butt with 3 mitered boxes with ivory centers. The cue is a true hoppe butt with an ivory butt plug in place of a bumper. This cue is a rare collaboration cue where Ron worked hand in hand with HOF cuemaker Bill Schick, Ron built the cue and Bill did all the scrim work in all the

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The Brunswick Titlist Cue

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Late in 1939 Brunswick started to market the Titlist cue, which was a one-piece, full-splice, four-point cue with veneers. Brunswick offered this cue as the company’s best house cue for

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Tuxedo Cue by Chris Nitti

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Chris Nitti is known for his traditional cues and his flawless execution. This departure from his regular offering shows a depth of talent by this veteran cuemaker. This beautiful ivory-handled

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Bob Meucci Cue for Minnesota Fats

General Cue Description-

Circa 1980- This ornate cue was deisnged and built by Bob Meucci for the legendary Minnesota Fats. Meucci cues are typically regarded as production cues, but many are also made by Bob himself. The cue is decorated with opals, rubies and silver filigree, which required hours of hand-work to inlay. The points appear to be Micarta or a similar material. The design is one-of-a-kind and one of the more inspired Meucci originals. Fats used the cue in various exhibitions for about a year and a half during the early 1980s. The cue has sold

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Antique European Marquetry Cue

General Cue Description-

Little is known about this cue or its maker. The cue is likely made in the mid-to-late 1800s, in Europe, and features an elaborate artistic design. There are two veneered points, which transform into reverse butterflies as the veneers go down the cue. The subject of the artistic design is a girl jumping rope, framed by a floral vine design. From the tips of the butterflies to the butt cap are two strips of purfling, featuring veneers of the cue’s color palette. Two wedges at the cue’s butt, one of ivory and one of

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Bill Schick Conversion of a Brunswick 360 Cue

General Cue Description-

Hall of Fame Cuemaker Bill Schick built this conversion cue in 2009 and is one of the finest examples of conversion creativity. Born from the fanciest of Brunswick cues, these early 20th-century pieces continue to inspire modern butterfly-splice cue makers. Schick’s conversion features a Brazilian Rosewood forearm with purpleheart points and butt sleeve. Schick used the bottom set of points (the 360 normally has three sets) to create the forearm, while connecting it to the butt sleeve with a smooth leather-wrapped handle. The wedge design in the butt sleeve is carried through from the

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Cal Hedden Custom Cue- made for his daughter circa 1971

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This pool/billiard cue was made for Cal’s daughter, Linda (a striving women’s professional pool player), for a birthday present and is probably his best and most elaborate work performed on

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Richard Chudy (RC3 Cues) Stiletto Cue

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The Stiletto Cue was completed in March 2008 and is a one-of-a-kind design. Shown for the first time at the 2008 Billiards Expo, its simple elegance drew much attention. The

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Guess the Cue Maker

Here are two unfinished butts that never became cues. Anyone want to guess who made them?

20th-Century Miniature Cue Samples for Cue Salesmen

Dick Abbott of BilliardCue.com scored one of the coolest cue collectibles- a set of miniature cues that would have been used by a salesman to show examples of early two-piece cue models. The story per Mr. Abbott was that he showed up a day late at Valley Forge a few years back and saw these samples. He walked up to the exhibitor and said “I’ll take ’em.” They came to terms quickly and Dick was the new owner of the set. Apparently, all the collectors and dealers who had seen them the day before were all talking about the cues,

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George Balabushka Cue for Ray Martin

General Cue Description-

Circa 1971, George Balabushka made this cue for Ray “Cool Cat” Martin. The cue is comprised of a Burton Spain ebony forearm with black, mahogany, grey-blue and natural veneers. Highlights that make this cue unique are: ‘Bushka’ ring above wrap with mother of pearl dots, very unique inlay pattern of mother of pearl notched diamonds framed by gold ‘wedding band’ rings in the butt sleeve and black Dacron Cortland wrap. Pete Tascarella, one of the World’s foremost experts on Balabushka cues said this is the only one he has seen utilizing this inlay pattern

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Jerry McWorter Custom Cue

General Cue Description-

This cue design is named the Pinnacle and was introduced at the Gallery of American Cue art held in New York City around 1999. This design has become one of McMorter’s most famous creations. The serial number on the but sleeve is 1499 which mean this particular cue was probably made in 2004-2005. The cue features Ebony with Amboyna Burl inlays and a subtle Ivory inlay as well. Fine line silver work, which McWorter is known for, adorns both the forearm and the butt of the cue. McWorter’s designs are unique and often play

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King Arthur Cue by Arthur Queues

General Cue Description-

Marcus Dienst from Frankenthal, Germany is one of the leaders in the growing number of European cue builders. Along with his standard cues, he has been making a name for himself in high-end ultra-fancy cues. A precision machinist by trade, Marcus draws inspiration from the Old World which is rich with thousands of years of history and mythology. This cue is based on the story of King Arthur and the legend of Camelot. Marcus partnered with German scrimshander icon Ewa Halat to complete this masterpiece.

Here’s what the experts think- Dick Abbott

King Arthur Cue by Arthur Queues

Early Balabushka Custom Cue Stick c. 1959

General Cue Description-

One of George Balabushka’s earliest works, this rosewood, full-spliced house cue conversion is a coveted collectible. The forearm is curly maple, which is a rare on cues from this period. Balabushka was known for using stainless-steel joints, so this brass joint example helps to determine its age and rarity. White and black joint collar rings flank the brass joint. A smooth black leather wrap finishes the handle area. Cue maker Pete Tascarella painstakingly restored the cue. Shafts have ivory ferrules and it is reported to be an excellent playing cue.

Here’s what the experts

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Andy Gilbert- Southwestern Style Box Cue 2009 (Ending 9/6/09)

General Cue Description-

This elegant play on the “box cue” features an ivory-tipped joint pin, ebony forearm, ivory handle and a magnificent combination of ebony and ivory carried through in the butt sleeve. The inlays are made up of silver, red coral, and Black Lip Mother-of-Pearl. The forearm box is wrapped with silver and is accented with intricate details of arrows and diamonds. The inlay theme is carried throughout the cue in the handle rings as well as the butt sleeve with the inlay design on the sleeve reminiscent of arrow flights.

Here’s what the experts think- Dick Abbott

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#CZ1 Palmer Model 20 Cue

The following description sourced directly from the Palmer Catalog c. early 1970s: Strictly for the player who wants nothing but the best, and is willing to pay for it. Genuine mother-of-pearl shapes are used freely throughout the butt and both shafts of this cue to produce a startling, eye-stopping effect against the ebony that is used in both the butt and shaft sections of this cue. White pearl and stainless steel joint, and this same effect is carried through the butt section immediately above the wrap, and above and below the joint. Your choice of wrapping and personalization, all the other features unique to a cue in this price range make this cue ULTRA-SUPREME in the Palmer line.

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