Q: What’s the difference between hand spliced and machine spliced?
A: Time…and looks
The butt on a hand spliced cue has four smooth rounded ‘points’.
It is made by taking a shaft, then skillfully inlaying four individual splices of butt wood.
So, the shaft on a hand spliced cue runs right to the very bottom of the splices.
Many people insist that this method produces the best ‘feel’ in a cue. Without doubt it creates the ‘look’ favoured by the majority of players.
To hand splice a cue well is extremely difficult and there are plenty of bad examples out there. It takes tremendous skill and a lot of time to do this correctly.
This is why you will always find that a top quality hand spliced cue costs much more than a cheap mass produced machine spliced cue.
However, you can also find cheap hand spliced cues, but invariably the quality of the splicing is poor. You are better off buying a well made machine spliced cue than a poor quality hand spliced cue.
Read on or:
Machine spliced cues have four sharp points where the butt meets the shaft.
Although easier to produce, machine splicing does not mean that wood is put in a machine and pops out the other end as a cue! There is still work to be done...
A machine spliced cue is made by taking a solid piece of wood for the butt and sticking it to the shaft by cutting an interlocking shape in both shaft and butt and pushing them together with glue.
This means that the shaft wood makes up about ¾ of the cue and the solid butt makes up the last ¼.
It is relatively easy to manufacture this type of cue which is why this style is far and away the most common type you will see in clubs, shops etc.. Mostly, they are imported and some are better quality than others.
However, a well made machine spliced cue is still a good cue and should not be dismissed lightly.
Read on or:
Butterfly splicing produces two 'points' or 'wings', and have rounded 'points' similar to traditional hand spliced cues.
This cue also has a solid butt, into which the shaft is 'set'. If this is done well, a very nice looking cue can be produced. But it's not easy to do well…
The benefits of this style are:
- Unlike machine splicing with sharp points, butterfly splicing has rounded points for a more pleasing 'hand' spliced appearance.
- It is easier to make than a 'full' hand spliced cue, so can be priced accordingly
Like all other cues, if made well, and with good materials, a butterfly spliced cue is a good cue.
- The method of splicing, in itself, does not make one cue better than another
- The standards of craftsmanship, and quality of materials, do