...Refinish Your Cue
For a general refinish, you can follow the instructions in the video below, but if your cue needs a little more attention then add in step 1, shown below, to your refinishing process.
Step 1 - Remove the old finish and prepare the wood
- Give your cue a good rub down with a paper towel using a suitable solvent. Common white spirit is fine.
- Take some 320 grit sandpaper (use good quality stuff like cloth backed aluminium oxide) and sand the whole cue, taking care to move evenly over the surface. You may need to start with 240 or lower if you are trying to remove dents/scratches, and you will probably need to change paper a few times as you are likely to see a build up of grime etc.. Clogged sandpaper will make a mess, work with clean sections.
- When you start seeing nice clear wood dust, change the sandpaper grade to 400 grit and and do exactly the same. Then repeat with 600 grit paper. You can go higher if you like, but you do not need to.
Hint - If you want to highlight the grain of an Ash shaft, save some of the Ebony or other dark hardwood dust that you created whilst sanding the butt section. You can use it later.
- At this stage the wood should be smooth and free from any visible scratches if you have done it correctly. If you see scratches, you have not been thorough enough or worked evenly. Start again, and do it carefully.
- The cue should feel very smooth right now.
Note #1 - Only use vertical strokes. Watch the video on Scratches page for a clearer idea of sanding technique.
Note #2 - If you have a lacquered cue, you will need to remove all the lacquer using a rougher grade sandpaper. Start with 120 grit, or maybe 80 grit, and remove all the laquer first. This will be hard work but you must remove it all. Look under the light for any shiny patches and make sure they are all gone. Once you can only see wood dust and no shiny patches, move on to 180 grit, then 240, then 320 as above.
Step 2 - Apply an oil finish
These instructions are for my own Liquid Gold Cue Oil, but should work reasonably well with any oil.
- Wear gloves or at least avoid skin contact. It may get sticky depending on what oil you use, so it's best to keep it off your skin or clean off immediately with suitable solvent based spirit or specialist cleaners. Do not use water!
- Apply liberally over whole cue, shaft and butt, rubbing well into the grain.
- Use plenty of oil and make sure the wood is saturated all over.
Hint - If you want to highlight the shaft grain, take that black/brown dust you saved from earlier and rub it well into the grain of the Ash shaft. Do not do this on Maple, you will make it look dirty. Apply more oil if it gets a bit dry, as you want the whole cue to be wet with oil.
- Leave for 30 minutes to soak into the cue then wipe off all the excess oil with a soft cloth or paper towel.
- Leave to fully dry for a few hours, preferably overnight.
- Buff with a clean soft cloth and repeat the oiling process. 2-3 oil treatments will probably be enough, but do it as many times as you feel the cue needs it. When the oil stops soaking into the cue then you know it's pretty much 'full up'.
- Continue buffing regularly during play to keep it clean and maximise the shine.
Important - Do not leave any excess oil on the cue or it may be very difficult to remove later.
Step 3 – Secret extra finishing stage
Although not essential, I strongly recommend the following 'secret' step:
- After leaving the cue to dry overnight, give it a good rub down with the ultra fine 0000 grade steel wool.
- This will really make the cue feel super smooth in your hands and help develop the shine quicker.
- You can re-oil straight after this if you feel the cue needs it.
Initially, the cue may not be as shiny as you want, but after a few weeks of regular buffing with a cue towel or other soft cloth, the oil finish will mature, harden, and develop a deep and natural shine.
- Not all oils are equal. Some will take an eternity to dry, if ever, and will not create the finish you need.
- Avoid Raw Linseed Oil for this reason, it is not a drying oil and is not classed as a finishing oil. You can search the internet for any number of wood finishing experts who will tell you the same. You may well know someone who says it is good, but it's not. Don't get me wrong, it won't hurt to use it, but there are much better options available.
- Boiled Linseed, Danish, Tung and many other finishing oils are fine to use. Each has it's own characterstics with regards to drying time, water resistance, durability etc.. As long as it's a drying oil, it will do the job. But, it may not give you quite the finish or feel you were wanting...
- Buy MW Liquid Gold Cue Oil
- It may not be cheapest option, but it contains the finest blend of expensive, traditional ingredients, and will give you the highest quality, smoothest feeling, oil finished cue.