Why do people use ‘Milk Dud’ cue tips?
Basically, some players like a pressed tip and some like a laminated cue tip. If a pressed tip like an Elkmaster could play, grip, spin and hold the chalk like a laminated tip then you really do have a discussion as to what the best tips are.
The process of converting an existing cue tip to a ‘Milk Dud’ and giving it these sought after characteristics can be very time consuming and difficult to replicate without a lot of effort.
How to Make Milk Dud Cue Tips
Well this is a topic I regularly get asked about when discussing tips and tip making but it doesn’t generally get a lot of press (excuse the pun!).
If the term ‘Milk Dud’ doesn’t mean a lot to you then hopefully this article will help explain a few of the basics and give you a reasonable idea of how they are made. I’ve been making ‘Elkmaster Milk Duds’ for some time now and it is fair to say that you certainly need a lot of patience to achieve a consistent result.
Why do we need a consistent result?
Once you have found the right tip for you then it will play a certain way; replicating those characteristics is the hard bit. When it comes to a ‘Milk Dud Cue Tip,’ you really want to have every part of the process and especially compression nailed!
So, rather than go into it too deeply here, we’ll go through some of the simple steps in creating a ‘Milk Dud Cue Tip’ so you can understand what goes into it and why one isn’t cheap, but generally cheaper than a laminated tip.
Watch out for the video at the end where we get a well known snooker cue maker to test one of my ‘Elkmaster Milk Dud Cue Tips’ out on a brand new cue, the tip certainly has a solid hit when in the hands of a great cueist!
So here goes…
Use Elkmaster Tips
I have chosen to go with Elkmaster cue tips as they are by far the most popular pressed tip in the world. It’s always a good idea to take and record some measurements at each stage so when you find the right results, it will help you replicate them.
As you can see here, the initial tip height is 6mm from the base to the top of the dome (tip heights can be different).
Soaking the Cue Tip
We use milk as it has a natural bonding called ‘Casein’ which helps bind the fibres of the tip together. I won’t go too deeply into milk types and bonding agents as this the article is to just provide you with the basics. The longer you soak the tips the larger they will get. Personally I would soak them for a minimum of 24 hours; soaking longer requires more compression.
Milk Duds After Soaking
I have soaked these ‘Milk Duds’ in the fridge for 3 days so we can show how much they can expand when the milk has gotten into all the tip fibres. If you take a look at the Elkmaster tip on the right compared to the soaked tips you get an idea how the tip volume changes. Remember again, the more you soak it, the more you have to compress it later!
Change of State
Here’s a nice little side view of the Elkmaster snooker tip prior to soaking, you get a good idea of the change in state by looking at the other two by it’s side. I generally soak up any of the milk drips into something like kitchen roll so the surface of each tip isn’t wet prior to compression. This ensures that some of the tips aren’t wetter than others and they all start from the same point.
Elkmaster Milk Dud – Tip Size
Now that we have soaked the tips over a few days, it is a good time to record how much their volume has changed before we start any process to compress the cue tips. If you remember, the Elkmaster tips taken out of the box started with a total height of 6mm so they have increased in size by nearly 50%; you may want to test this over various soaking times.
Using a Cue Tip Press
There are various ways you can accomplish tip compression so I have used a cue tip press to keep this simple. If you would like to know how to press a cue tip then read the various simple pointers in my other blog here. If you would like to try this for yourself then you can purchase a genuine cue tip press here. I like the cue tip presses as you can also use them to harden standard tips.
After Cue Tip Compression
Now you really have to give the cue tip some real compression just to exhaust the majority of the milk, this part is not easy.
As you can see in the picture, I have managed to get most of the milk residue out of the tip and get the height down to 5.9mm which is around about where we started. I like to get it less than that, that is where you need the real effort, 4.5mm is good!
Find Your Own Preferences
As I said, I much prefer a tip around 4.5mm in height prior to any shaping. At this rate of compression I know the tip is very hard and will play like a laminated tip but with far more grip and reaction. Now, to get from 5.9mm to 4.5mm takes a little effort!.
If you’ve played with a pressed tip, a laminated tip and an ‘Elkmaster Milk Dud’ then you will understand the difference!
Let’s fit the Cue Tip
I have supplied a selection of the various types of cue tip I have made to an up and coming cue maker in Poland who has asked to try a few out and test them on one of his new cues. Here we can see one of the ‘Milk Dud Cue Tips’ fitted to a smaller brass ferrule ready for it’s test drive; I think it looks reasonably well for a low height tip that’s certainly had some work done on it!
Snooker Crazy’s Milk Dud
As you can see here, Jason tries out one of my ‘Milk Dud Cue Tips’ on his latest cue. Jason prefers the hardest tip he can get with plenty of grip so we have really tried to accommodate him to see what he can do when he gives it a test drive. Judging by the way the balls flew in on the video you could say the tip has been a reasonable success.
Snooker Crazy – Domed Cue Tip Press
– Stainless steel
– Size (L and W) Approx. 4.92×2.17 inch / 12.5×5.5 cm
– Dome size: 11mm / Chamber size: 14.5mm
– Detachable screw-in metal tube, easy to control
Well I hope you enjoyed a little look into how to make ‘Milk Dud Cue Tips’ from an Elkmaster Cue Tip. You can find all the items to give this a go on the Snooker Crazy Website if it takes your fancy but either way, when you see this type of cue tip on the internet you will have a better idea what it is and why people like it!