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How To Examine the Master Joint

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master joint, pool joint, cue joint, tip joint, shaft joint

The master joint up close

Photo (c) 2008 Matt Sherman, licensed to About.com, Inc.
The shaft on a two-piece cuestick ends at the master joint, where it fits firmly together for play to operate as one unit. Joints come from a number of materials, including steel, brass, plastic and cue wood itself, to absorb the shock of impact with the hard cue ball. Playing qualities change between materials but generally you need to know what to look for in a cue you might purchase.

The female end of the joint, where the screw threads into, is on the bottom of the shaft. It is often imbedded in the wood itself for a tighter fit. The male end is on top of the butt, although a few cues have this standard reversed.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Two minutes

Here's How:

  1. Look at the screw's threads on a cue you want to buy. Are they thick, and spaced far apart from one another? A thick, sturdy screw insures a solid connection.

  2. The joint should close without any visible gap between the two ends. If not, the stick will chip and crack near that space as it grinds together during play.

  3. Assemble and separate the cue at the joint a few times, feeling the point of closure and whether there is a tight connection between the cue's components.

  4. Cues assemble by screwing the male end of the joint into the female, never the other way around, prolonging the life of the joint. Insiders know to put both halves together vertically, giving the male end a few turns into the screw to start. Then, to finish tightening the joint, the stick goes parallel to the ground. This procedure avoids twisting or wrenching the screw unnecessarily.

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