Tips today on repairing your own equipment, saving money and keeping your billiards gear in peak condition. Let's begin with one old technique that can work wonders on a wood cue shaft.
1) A drinking glass can be used to do a superb repair job on a shallow nick or dent or even to smooth a shaft. Use a clear glass with no decals or marks of any kind. Rub the glass very quickly and vigorously along the side of the shaft. So hard and fast, in fact, that the glass will feel warm or hot to the touch.
Microscopic amounts of silica will leave the glass and adhere to the shaft, smoothing it and making the shaft slicken it to the touch. The glass will appear undamaged in any way when you're done and the stick will be, of course, as smooth as glass! I know some players who carry a glass in their cue case to smooth it before play.
For deeper shaft dents, several techniques will work well:
Fold a paper towel, wetting one corner.
Next, Press a hot clothes iron onto the moist paper towel where it rests atop the shaft dent. Caution: Don't overdo the pressure or time! Heat the spot for several seconds then check your progress. (You might also need to wet the paper towel at its corner again.)
When the dent has disappeared dry the shaft before "polishing" it with 1000 to 1500 grit sandpaper. Don't overdo sandpaper with your cue, ever.
Remember to be delicate and deliberate if you ever sand a shaft. Here's another technique you might like:
Using a small piece of fine sandpaper work the dent briefly. Mark the spot with a pencil by drawing a circle around it. Take a washcloth or paper towel and soak an area about the size of a U.S. Quarter ($0.25) thoroughly with hot water. Fold the area to a small round point.
Press the wet ball firmly against the dent ONLY. Clamp it there with your hand for 10 minutes or more as the wood soaks up moisture, swelling to fill the dent. Remove the cloth, and stroke gently over the affected area to see if the dent has been repaired.
If the dent is still present, wet the cloth in the same area again and repeat the process. Eventually, instead of a dent there a slight raised bump where the dent sat. Use fine sandpaper (400-600 grit) and gently, with the pressure of one or two fingers only, sand the bump smooth and even. Use 1200 grit sandpaper next to even the area to become as smooth as the rest of the shaft. Done!
If the dent is very small, you can alternately then place a drop of water directly on the dent, let it soak in and dry overnight. As the water softens the wood, it may return to its natural shape by itself.
If this doesn't work, then fold a few layers of paper towel or tissue paper to a size slightly larger than the dent, place the paper against the shaft, and hold it in place with a rubber band. Wet the paper, and leave it in place overnight. The wet paper allows the water to soak in deeper still before evaporating, allowing the wood to return to its natural shape far slower than the first method.
If this still doesn't work soak the dented area with water! While the water is soaking into the shaft, boil some water in a steam kettle or tea pot with a thin spout. Heat the dented area with the steam from the spout. The steam heats the water that has soaked into the wood, causing pressure to push out the dented area from the cue stick's inside.
Do not allow the steam to heat the ferrule or cue stick joint as it may weaken these structures! Of course, don't allow your shaft to linger a stovetop or heat source. If the spout from your steam kettle is too wide to work neatly post aluminum foil around the spout then punch a small hole in the foil and steam the cue with directed heat.
Remember, hot water will cause the wood grain to rise a bit, and after drying it will feel slightly rough to the touch from the bump replacing the old dent. A rubdown with a clean cloth could remove the bump enough to restore the shaft without the need to use sandpaper at all.