Paul wants the people who buy his cues to play with them. To that end, he has put the knowledge gained in more than 40 years of playing pool and billiards into the construction of his one-of-a-kind custom pool cues. In addition to his extensive playing time, Paul brings to his cue making many years repairing cues and valuable antiques.
Paul has played with and owned some of the best cues including those made by Palmer, Balabushka, Rambow, Szamboti, and others. He knows what to expect from a great cue and strives to deliver the same to fellow pool players.
Paul is especially proud of his completely hand-inlaid work: No machines is his motto; he is a dedicated perfectionist. When he says his cues are hand-inlaid, he means it! He has no pantograph or CNC mill, in fact, he has never seen one in use. He makes every inlay he uses from raw materials. Every inlay fits precisely into a hole cut in the cue using only an X-Acto knife and a hand-held Dremel tool. Each inlay goes into its own hole and is so precisely fitted that when testing to see if the inlay fits, he must lever out with a chisel. The rounded points that are seen in some other cues are absent in a Dayton Cue. In fact, his points are so sharp that he must guard against cutting himself.
You won’t find fancy filigreed or curved inlays in a Dayton cue. Paul could do the inlaying, but no human craftsman can make numerous exact duplicates of the same filigreed inlay. This is where computers excel, they can do the same task the same way forever. Paul’s vision and passion is to create one-of-a-kind custom pool cues and nothing else. He is in no hurry.
OLD WORLD CRAFTSMANSHIP
After more than 40 years of working this way, Paul sees no need to change. After all, this is how the world’s finest inlaid furniture was once made. Paul’s concept of Old World Craftsmanship refers not only to the methods used but to complete attention to the smallest detail. This attention to detail is obvious to anyone who plays with one of his one-of-a-kind custom cues.
It is not that Paul resists change, the glues and finishes he uses did not exist 10 years ago. Paul is constantly experimenting with new products. He simply refuses to compromise his Old World Craftsmanship for any process or material that doesn’t improve his cues. Time-saving steps are only as good as the improvement they produce. Quality is never sacrificed. Through the years Paul has found that the best way to save time is to do it right the first time, or: Why is there always enough time to do it over, but never enough time to do it right?
A CURE FOR EVERY ILL
Paul’s Old World Craftsmanship also extends to the materials he chooses for his custom cues. He will not use wood that hasn’t been fully seasoned, which means the wood has cured for several years. Paul currently has more than a eight-year backlog of shafts and Birdseye maple as well as handles and exotic lumber. Some of his Birdseye and handle stock was cut during the 1920s and 1930s. Some of his shaft wood is from the 1960s. This wood was purchased in the 1970s for use in his repair of antiques. Paul sizes and turns the wood roughly every six months until it is ready to become a Dayton Cue. If after four turnings and stabilization a piece of wood still warps, it is discarded.
ONLY THE FINEST HAND-PICKED WOOD
Paul travels to Ontario or to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan every other year to personally select shaft wood from a major supplier. He typically sorts through 20 shaft blanks before he finds one that is acceptable.
This allows him to build an inventory of high-end custom cue shafts that will last for years. Each shaft typically has more than ten growth rings per inch and virtually no grain run out. To insure that his seasoned shafts stay true, Paul chemically stabilizes them using an industrial wood stabilizer. The chemical adds a few grams weight to the finished shaft but almost eliminates problems that occur with moisture transferring from the atmosphere to the shaft, which dramatically reduces warping of the wood. Allowing the shaft to perform the way it was intended.
As for plastic, except threaded Delrin butt caps, Paul refuses to use anything but Phenolic resin and Thermoset plastics. These are used in joint rings, joints, butt caps, and Ivorene ferrules. Since this material glues perfectly, it can be used for structural applications.
ONLY THE FINEST MATERIALS
Paul buys his screws, bumpers, and tips because even though he could make them himself, he doesn’t believe he could do a better job than a factory that specializes in the production of these items. The current selection of joint screws and connector pins available from Uni-Loc are accurate to within 3/10,000ths of an inch. This degree of accuracy allows custom cues to perform better than ever.
Additionally, it is now possible to obtain screws in aluminum, steel, brass, and titanium making it possible to control the weight and balance of the your custom cue.
Paul typically uses steel screws because a two-piece cue needs about an ounce of weight added at the mid-point for the balance to feel right. He uses aluminum when the cue is already front heavy. No fiberglass screws are used in the joints of Dayton Cues. Paul feels that even though fiberglass seems very smooth, it still has a slightly rough surface and, since it is harder than the wood, it will eventually wear the threads in the shaft.
CUSTOMER PREFERENCE AND SHAFT PERFORMANCE
The pins or screws Paul uses to join the shaft to the butt depends on a number of factors, including customer preference. The Uni-Loc radial pin offers a stiffer joint than a 5/16″ screw. In addition to screw type or size, using aluminum, brass, or steel, can change a cues balance. The 3/8″-10 screw has been around a long time and provides a medium stiff hit, while the 5/16″ screw, including the quick-release Uni-Loc, produce a softer hitting cue.
The real secret to a cue shaft’s performance is in the taper. Paul uses a modified pro-taper that took years to develop. While not extremely stiff, his cues have a very solid hit with some feedback. This is partly because of the ferrule and tip, but primarily it is a product of the taper. A profile of his cue shafts would show that the diameter from the tip to the joint is a constantly changing curve.