What is it and do I need to use a tip press?
Well this takes me back to the 1980’s a bit. In those days I really only had the choice of a Blue Diamond or Elkmaster tips locally as the internet obviously didn’t exist. Personally I always liked the Blue Diamond so that became my tip of choice at the time.
The only issues with the old tips is you had to play them in each time you fitted a new one so they would compress enough to give you what was considered to be a reasonable and consistent strike.
My first encounter with learning this was popping into the snooker room around the early 80’s and seeing a county player driving his tip into the wall as many times as he could: apparently this was common practice to speed the process up. His view at the time was that he could do this in the off season, play them in a little and then cut them off for spares. If he then required a tip change mid season he had suitable tips closer to what he needed without all the the pain of waiting for it to compress.
Other guys would use a workshop vice to compress the tip and then fit the tip and some would soak them in their own remedy and stick them in the oven!! Lots of different ways to achieve the same purpose.
In the States, pool players used to soak their tips in milk and then compress them as it changed the way the tip played, gave them more grip and made the whole structure more solid but I think that’s for another time.
What have players done since those days?
Well it’s fair to say that tips have moved on a lot and there is so much choice nowadays it can be easily confusing.
Obviously we now have a choice between laminated (multi layers) and pressed (single layer) tips so players can easily find a tip that has a suitable compression, grip and feel, or so you would hope!
Many manufacturer’s nowadays have already graded the hardness of their tips so this has certainly helped ensure you have the best possible chance of popping a tip on that has the same characteristics than the last one.
But, what if you like a tip but they’re not graded for hardness?
Well, that’s where a tip press comes in as you can pop your tip in the press, wind the compression a little tighter, leave it over night (or a few hours) and this will help do the job for you.
Although it can take a little trial and error you can measure the original height of the tips and work out how much compression you need (or turns of the press) and then replicate it next time.
For me, there’s a strong argument for just buying a graded more modern tip as all the work has been done for you. Realistically, that’s what you’re paying the extra for as generally an un-compressed standard tip is a lot cheaper.
Now I change a lot of tips in the season and what’s clear is that although many players use the more modern tips, there are still the die hard players that have always used the older pressed ones and nothing will move them on; generally the core of these players are very good so who’s to say they are wrong!
If you’d like to read a bit more on tip presses then you can have a look here: