A quality billiard cue case is a necessity to keeping that valuable collector pool cue of yours in good shape. There's more than one quality that a person should be looking for when considering. These qualities may include, but are not limited to: heat and moisture protection, impact protection, aesthetics of the case itself, and whether or not it will carry shafts of a custom length.
There are numerous styles and variations cue cases. The soft case is the least desirable, because it gives very minimal protection -- only preventing minor accidental dents while traveling to and from the pool room. The most important but often least considered element is the prevention of warpage. A cue should never be left leaning against a wall for any length of time. Similarly, if stored in a soft case, one would need to take particular care not to leave their cue (in the case) not leaning against a wall, such as in a closet during hot summer months. A soft billiard case also has little barrier against moisture should there be any kind of water that inadvertently might come into contact with your cue during storage.
The old time box style case will significantly help prevent warpage by holding your cue flat at whatever the angle you choose to lay it at. It also does a moderate job of protecting against moisture, but it leaves little room for any of the more popular accessories. Usually the inside is less padded, thus causing a lot of rattling that can be hard on your cues delicate urethane finish. Many folks choose this type of case because it is more economical and can be easily filled with cloth or tissue to fill any of these voids.
The hard tube style case and its many variations is a popular favorite among the players. The hard shell tube case is by far the most popular cue case because it protects the best against moisture and rattling. I believe that the tube style cases which incorporate a hard foam inside, which is described by many as a "Cue Safe," are the least desirable of the tube type of case. One might think that foam molded to fit the shape of the cue would be the best protection; however, that is only when one does not consider the many diverse styles of tapers, diameters and lengths of a cue. When you take into consideration that the cases themselves vary in the tightness of the foam itself, it is almost impossible to get that perfect fit. Making matters worse is that some are lined with felt, while others are not. The non-felt lined ones generally end up having a more abrasive foam, which will rub your cue each time your cue is taken in or out. Something important to take into consideration is if you choose to use a joint protector, the pool cue fits even snugger because the case top has to push your cue down harder into an already too tight fit! Over time these cases can leave friction marks, dulling and scratching the finish of your pool cue.
A little known fact is that some of the highest priced cases are actually made overseas in China for the lowest production cost possible. Many of these cases are popular because they find a happy medium between the too loose box case and the too tight cue safe, have large pockets, and are made of genuine leather, but many are bought simply for the name brand recognition. These cases allow the cue to have a little movement, but not enough that it rattles. Some incorporate simple padded fabric dividers, while others incorporate small lined tubes for each shaft and butt.
There are two moderately priced, popular brands of the hard tube type of case made by American manufactures Joe Porper and Giuseppe. My personal favorite is the Giuseppe case because of the high grade of vinyl, the solid feel, the leather tacks on the bottom that protect the vinyl from wear, and the fact that they will let you customize your case with many variations in color and length of the pockets - at no additional cost and with a quick delivery time. They are also longer as a standard stocking models, easily holding a 31" shaft with joint protectors. Still, for a mere $5 Giuseppe will make an even longer case. There is little to no possibility of having a customization like this done by an overseas manufacturer. This case uses a hard outer tube shell and hard inner lined tubes which are not tapered. The advantage to having the inner tubes untapered is that it allows for varying tapers of cues and for the many users who like to place their cues bottom end in first – allowing the protection advantage of holding the cue securely between shots.
The size of pockets must be considered when considering a case. You must know and foresee what types of accessories you have or might intend to purchase at a later date. The fact that small jump cues are gaining in popularity has made the size of the pockets increasingly more of an important issue. The imported Instroke case has long incorporated a special side zipper and sleeve in the side of their case pocket to hold the small butt end of the jump cue, and now Giuseppe has made a 14 inch pocket for this same reason. Although the Giuseppe does not have the sleeve to hold the jump cue, one could easily wrap the jump cue butt to fit.
Lastly, the only other features to carefully consider are the size and weight of your cue case. The popularity of break cues has almost made it almost a necessity to have a case that will hold two cues and two shafts. Some manufactures, such as Meucci, make their high-end cues come standard with two shafts, and so you will then need to consider purchasing a cue that holds 2 butt 3 shafts, add a special jump cue and a 2 butt 4 shafted case is necessary. Adding to the weight of your case would be choosing to purchase a leather case or a foam filled case, along with all those special new doodads that we all must have.
This article was posted on Aug 5, 2005