How to Press a Cue Tip
Well I’ve got to say that if I had a quid for every time I get asked how to press a cue tip I would certainly have a few bob!
I’ve fitted hundred’s of tips over the years with all sorts of shapes and sizes being requested but few beginners know too much about tip compression and how to do it. Now I’m sure many will disagree with that statement but I’m talking in percentage terms. For the people that do press cue tips they use all sorts of ways including putting it in a vice, G clamps, wood and blocks and even tapping the tip a few hundred times after fitting.
Personally, when people ask me how to press a cue tip I think the easiest way is just to put it in a cue tip press.
I prefer the stainless steel type and one that’s domed, why make it difficult I say, simplest is usually best?
So, onto some of the basics of how to press a cue tip.
People get very tied up in the soft, medium and hard type tips, is it laminated, leather or is it a milk dud? etc etc. I think that once you have found your personal ideal snooker tip then photograph it’s shape, measure the depth (height) and just replicate this when you need a replacement. If it’s an unusual make, buy a good stock as I know many people who are looking for discontinued tips that were previously well known for a while.
As regards hardness and pressing, you need to measure your snooker tip prior to pressing so you have an equal start point prior to pressing in the future. If you use the same cue tip press, the same turns and the same cue tip make and height then guess what, you should be as close as you can be to replicating the start point of your last tip.
So, lets take a look at the process.
Cue Tip Press Drive and Chamber
This the basic cue tip press that I like to use, simplistic in design and use, what more do you need?
Be careful though, there are many cue tip presses that look like this one but do not have the correct internals to press a decent dome. This version comes in two basic types of design; the flat press and the domed press, obviously most like to use the dome press as it saves time unless you have a different shape in mind.
Domed Face Chamber
As you can see in the picture, this chamber has a domed face. The domed face is the part that fits over the domed part of the snooker tip. You can see where the threaded part of the drive winds into the chamber, the more you wind it in, the more the snooker tip compresses.
Centering your cue tip
In our example, we have placed a 10mm Tweetens Elkmaster in the snooker tip press. When you put your snooker tip in, it may seem obvious but make sure it is completely centered or the compression will not be even. As I said, at the base of the chamber there is a dome, place your tip dome in there or if you have a flat tip, just ensure it is central.
Cue Tip Press – Start Measurement
Using a digital vernier the Elkmaster tip measurement was 4.2mm in depth prior to any compression. It is important to know the size of this depth prior to any compression as when you understand your perfect start point you can pick a similar one next time.
How to press a cue tip
With your snooker tip in place (and being careful not to tilt the press), take the tension up until you feel the driver reach the snooker tip in the chamber. This is the point at which any further movement will start to compress the tip.
We need to understand these points as it will help us replicate the process into the future so this is the start point.
Cue Tip Press – First Compression
By turning the tip press clockwise one half turn (180 degrees) the drive part of the chamber will compress the tip further on itself.
One half turn on this tip, with this tip press took another 0.4mm off the depth of the tip, now this might not sound a lot but I can tell you even this affects hardness.
Cue Tip Press – Second Compression
By turning the tip press clockwise another half turn (180 degrees) we will have compressed the tip a total of 360 degrees.
One full turn from the start point for this tip equates to a reduction in tip depth of 0.6mm. This is a further reduction of 0.2mm which is less depth reduction than the last compression but this time the tip is already part compressed. Clearly, by default, the tip must also be much harder as it is smaller and now more dense.
Cue Tip Press – Third Compression
As the tip has already received a full compression, this is where it will be difficult to compress the tip too much further.
I managed to get another three quarters of a turn out of the tip press but it was not easy! With this further compression, the tip press actually reduced the tip depth another 0.4mm. The tip is certainly what I would now call hard.
How to Press a Cue Tip – Types of Hardness
I think what is important to understand is that if you ask a group of cue players what they consider hard, medium, soft and super soft they would come up with different answers. This is the mistake I first made when changing peoples tips, one persons hard is definitely another persons medium.
If you change a lot of tips, my advice is to record by picture if possible the persons preferred tip shape and their desired hardness. Always measure the start tip height and required compression (hard, medium or soft) to finish depth required. This in my opinion is how to compress a cue tip.
Cue Tip Press – Classification
Asked to give a personal classification of the tips pressed above I would agree with the following:
Super Soft – 4.2mm
Soft – 3.8mm
Medium – 3.6mm
Hard – 3.2mm
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