What is the difference between a machine spliced cue and a hand-spliced cue

Mastercue Tournament Snooker Cue + white veneerThe main difference between a machine spliced cue and a hand-spliced cue is simply the way they are built. 

The cue on the left is a Machine Spliced cue, and though it might have some decorative splices, it is a solid piece of wood, normally Rosewood, Mahogany, or Ebony.  You will see that the ends of the splices are pointed where the machine has cut it. Note; I am referring to the black ebony wood and not the splices and veneers below which are hand-spliced on to the machine spliced butt.

They are not so time consuming to produce so they are not as expensive as Hand-Spliced cues.  Never-the-less, top players have been seen on the T.V. playing with Machine Spliced cues.

The cue maker often uses more exotic timbers to enhance the appearance of Hand-Spliced cues, though it must be said that it won’t make you play any better.

A Hand-Spliced cue is made from several different layers (or splices) which are individually glued to the cue.  Some of these splices can be quite thin, so you can imagine, it is a more skilled and time consuming job, which is reflected in the cost.  

Royal 1pc hand-spiced pool cue

You can see from the cue on  the left that it is a Hand-Spliced cue because the tops of the splices are rounded and not pointed.  Many imported cues that have this feature and are not expensive are sometimes painted in a style of a hand-spliced cue. The quality and feel of a painted butt can not be compared with a true Hand-Spliced cue.

On our website we sell some hand-spliced cues for under £50 and some for over £150. Why such a difference in price? One is that there might be cheaper materials used in the manufacture. Not only in the hardwoods that might be used, but also in the quality of the ash in the shaft. Let’s be honest as well and say that some of the cheaper manufacturers in China will also produce cheaper cues because of labour costs. Do not think that `all` hand-spliced cues are better (or will make you play better) then `all` machine spliced cues. Some machine spliced cues may in fact be made from better quality timbers then cheaper hand-spliced cues. It is definitely true to say that in some cases machine spliced cues are made better then some hand-spliced cues so will in fact perform better.

2 thoughts on “What is the difference between a machine spliced cue and a hand-spliced cue

  1. lincoln roberts

    I personally make my own pool cues from any timber that is given to me as a challenge. I have made several from Red gum one is less than a metre long and weights 22 oz I use this cue in comps for money every week it seems to screw with peoples mind.
    I have also made them from Plum tree. Huon pine.
    I even had a mates dad give me a hard wood garden stake and say that I bet you can’t make it into a cue. I did it and the old man was not happy with me.
    A lot from fence pailing glued together.
    I am after the challenge of splicing them now but I have tried to ask allot of wood turners advice and they are all not game enough to try to help.
    Any chance of getting your help with simple diagrams or measures so I can give it a go thanks Lincoln poodge roberts

    1. admin Post author

      There are several instructional pieces on the internet which should be able to help you. I doubt anyone will give theire own cue makers techniques away as that is what sometimes gives them the edge over other cue manufacturers. Splicing is not rocket science but the final craftsmanship is down to the skill of the cue makers, and that starts with the selection of high quality timbers. I suspect many people could turn down a garden stack into a shaft but the shaft would not have been selected for it’s straight grain and probably not kiln dried so how long it will remain straight is anyones guess.I don’t have any pictures, videos or anything else that I think will be able to help you in your challange but for someone who can make a cue out of a garden stack I am sure you will be able to work it out. Why not buy an old cue and take it apart? That should give you quite a lot of information.


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