A cue tip is used as a connecting piece between cue and ball, so it is important to give it a particular importance.
François Mingaud (1771 - 1848) is the official inventor of the leather cue tip. The idea came to him in prison, where he had access to a pool table, and he made it public for the first time in 1807 - after his release. He is also the first to perfectionise the technique of spin. Among other things, it was now possible to play a screw shot, follow shot or a stop shot, whereby the screw shot was the most surprising.
In the meantime, there are dozens of companies that produce cue tip leathers in all imaginable variations.
As the name suggests, single-layer leathers are made of one piece of leather. These can also be treated with binders. Further pressing may give them a higher hardness.
As they are relatively easy to manufacture, they are less expensive than multi-layer leathers.
Leather tips are available in different degrees of hardness and are marked with the following symbol:
Depending on the manufacturer, there are sometimes more and sometimes less different hardnesses for a leather. Basically, the harder a leather is, the more control and precision it gains. The softer the leather, the more spin and grip increase. For more dimensional stability, harder leathers should be preferred, whereby the composition of the leather is also relevant and multi-layer leathers have an advantage.
Essentially, cue tips are made of pig or water buffalo leather. Acrylic is also used as a connection between cue and leather. Pig leather is rather tough and "rubbery" in consistency and often softer than water buffalo leather, which is rather "fibrous" and "woody" in texture.
Cue tips come in following sizes:
|Diameter||Type of game|
|11 mm to 14 mm||Pool|
|11 mm to 13 mm||Carom, Five Pin Billiard|
|8 mm to 11 mm||Snooker|
Replacing the leather requires some skill, if you do it yourself. We do not want to go into details here, but we do want to mention the most important things to be aware of. The old leather should be removed without leaving any residue. The glued surfaces of the new leather and cue should be prepared so that they are flat and free of logos, seals and grease. There are various tools that help you both with the change, as well as with the post-processing. Sharpener trays, Willards, tip sealers, leather applicators and much more are used.
In order for tip to have optimum contact with the ball, they should have the so-called "dome" shape. These can be achieved with sander trays and Willards. It is also important that the leather is rough on its impact surface so that the chalk adheres better. Embossing irons, leather trimmers, Willards and also sander trays are used for this purpose. The roughening should be repeated at regular intervals.
Chalk consists mainly of silicon dioxide (fine sand) and can considerably increase the grip of the leather. Chalk of various consistencies is used to improve the bond between the ball and the leather tip. Their colors depend primarily on the cloth color of the billiard table, which makes contamination by chalk less noticeable. The consistency is primarily a matter of taste and can sometimes be more or sometimes less smooth, up to high-tech chalks. These are elaborately composed to ensure very long, very good adhesion. (e.g. Kamui).
The answer is relatively simple: try it out. If you don't know which leather you might like, we recommend the following: Choose a leather of medium hardness, play it and then try one that is harder or softer. With this you can set a direction, which leather suits your own playing behaviour and that of your cue. However, the trend should be towards "harder leathers", as these provide more feedback from the impact. The road to perfect individual leather can be very long. Even professionals are always trying out new ones.
Factors that may play a role:
Multi-layer leather in various hardnesses. It is used in the pool and carom.