The finish protects the stick from scratches and stains from chalk powder. Bare wood, without varnish, accumulates collected perspiration and dirt. It may snag on the skin because it is sticky. Some players dislike varnished shafts, preferring the slightly "slower" action of bare wood.
- Some furniture cleaning solution, the type used to eliminate wax buildup on wood, can take the finish off your cue if desired. Use small amounts on a cloth and rub the finish from the cue. Test a small area first for results.
- Wood polish on a cloth will add a coating to your shaft again, if you wish to experiment, though no amateur can get the ultra-thin coat the manufacturer gives. Some players swear by a certain lemon polish, a leather shammy, or some other coating method.
- Be careful, removing the finish causes a cue to lose permanently its brand new, glossy look.
- Take a quick look at an opponent's custom cue before competition starts. Is their shaft a dirty blue or green from chalk from the tip down? The finish has been removed, possibly by human perspiration. They have shot a substantial amount of pool with it and have certainly “played this game before”.