Every custom cue maker has a certain feel for the industry and the way they want their cues to look and feel in the hands of the customers.
When I first met Shawn Gainey, we began our relationship on the foundation of what we both liked in cues for looks and the way they feel. Now Shawn does a little something different with his cues and I really enjoy this aspect of his work.
He personally places a roman numeral on the cues to number them and kind of track them. I was happy to receive the cue number XIX. Also, Gainey Q’s come standard with a nine-layered Black King Tip with the customers choice density of Soft, Medium, or Hard.
The cue had an incredible finish on the shaft that I have never seen or felt before. The shaft had an 12.75 pro taper on it and felt like glass freshly shined sliding through my fingers as I shot with it.
As a custom cue maker begans his journey in creating a cue, he has to start off with the elements that it takes to create a masterpiece. For the cue I had the luxury of testing and reviewing was created with these exotic woods.
The forearm is Macassar Ebony.
The wood is very dark, like all of the ebony woods out there with a dense feel in your hands. The light like contrast of this section was a really nice touch to the cue and helped with the balance point.
The handle is Philippine Burl. This part of the cue was a unique choice piece because of the grain in the wood with dark and light color tones. I have never seen Philpine Burl used before and I could sit and stare at it all day long. The more I get to know about the different woods used and how hard burl is to stabilize, the greater respect I have for the cue craftsmen that choose to use it.
The butt sleeve is Gabon Ebony. The ebony family of woods are unique in the way that they are all darker in color with highlights in different colors. By Shawn putting these dense woods in contrast with the burl, he is giving the cue a firm and solid hit without giving the cue a balance point that is too far down the butt.
The ring work on this cue was made out of nickle and along with his choice in woods really made the entire cue pop. There is matching ring work in the shaft.
This cue came standard with an inch Ferrule and a nine-layered Black King Tip.
The pin was a 3/8X10 and has a solid hit.
The entire portion of the Butt has been cored to stablize the nature of the wood from changing shape orwarping in different conditions. Mind you these woods that are used in Shawn Gainey’s XIX cue are from all over the world. This is what makes him stand out as a cue craftsmen in the trade.
I believe the price point for this cue is a decent value at $800.00 USD. When you get into custom cues, the sky is really the limit as to what can be the value. The more I personally learn about how much effort it takes to product a custom cue the more I have respect for the work.
I usually prefer a smaller diameter on the shaft but I was shocked on how easially it was to minipulate the cue ball with the shaft. The only issue I have is that there was a small lip at the joint collars where the butt and shaft meet. This is almost not even noticeable, but feel that I should bring that up. That was the only thing I could see that might have been improved.
The things that really stood out about getting the opportunity to shoot with this custom cue were the Roman Numerals on the butt section, placed right after the Gainey custom cues, and the finish on the shaft and butt. I have never felt anything so slick and smooth to the touch as the finish on his shaft.
Building cues is a labor of love and you can see the love that goes into his work.
The cue should be played with and loved as it was loved by its creator Shawn Gainey.
Photo: Garret Troop Editor: Dana Gornall