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BILL SCHICK ORIGINALS Pool Cues

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BILL SCHICK ORIGINALS
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BILL SCHICK ORIGINALS
Maker of pool cues from 1970 to present in Shreveport, Louisiana.
ill Schick started playing pool as a young boy. In the late 1960s, Buddy Hall moved to Bill´s hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. Buddy spent many hours a day practicing at the pool room where Bill liked to play, and before long, the two became good friends. One day, Jersey Red came into the room, and was showing off a custom cue he had just acquired. Buddy and Bill both played with Balabushkas, but they liked Red´s cue so much that they each decided to order one.
When their cues arrived, they were both disappointed. Bill made the comment that he could make better cues himself, and Buddy dared him to actually do it. Soon, Bill had bought the necessary equipment, including a lathe, drill press, and band saw. Bill had never worked with machines before, so he had to find a local machinist to show him how to use the stuff. After about a year of experimentation, Bill completed his first cue. He used Balabushkas as patterns, dissecting a few of them to learn how they were constructed. Although he talked to George Balabushka many times while ordering cues, Bill regrets that they never actually discussed cuemaking. Bill inventoried the Balabushka workshop after George passed on, and hoped to buy the equipment and other contents, but the deal fell through. Due to his experience in dissecting and restoring Balabushka cues, he is one of the most knowledgable cuemakers in regards to these cues.
Early Bill Schick cues were 57 inches long, with piloted 5/16-14 stainless steel joints, and they were unmarked. After several customers requested that their cues be marked, Bill decided that he should get the butt caps engraved. It just so happened that one of the pool room regulars was one of a handful of master engravers in the world at that time. He refused to engrave the cues, offering to teach Bill how to do it instead. In 1977, Bill started engraving "Schick" in block letters on the butt caps, and started adding the last two digits of the year soon after. It was around this time that the standard cue length increased to 58 inches. In the early 1980s, Bill started marking all four digits of the year on his cues, since some customers were confusing the earlier two-digit style for serial numbers. Engraving continues to be a common feature on Schick cues to this day. Many of Bill´s most elaborate cues feature intricate engraving. The work is so tiring to his eyes that he can only work on it for a few hours at a time.
About twenty years ago, Bill was unhappy with the quality of tips he was purchasing, so he set out to make his own. He found a source in France for water buffalo hides, and learned how to cut and treat them. He has been using his own tips ever since.
Bill has created a number of "signature" designs over the years. Among the best known are his "Chicago-style" cues, which got their name from the place in which they made their debut at a Willard´s tournament in Chicago in the early 1990s. Bill wanted to make a few cues to pay for the trip, and his wife suggested that the forearm design would look good turned around on the butt sleeve.They turned out so well that he built six variations in different materials to display at the tournament. They sold instantly. From that time on Bill started getting orders for "Chicago-style" cues.
Bill took time off from cuemaking from 1994 to 1995 to open his new pool room in Shreveport called "Bill Schick Billiards". It is decorated with antiques, including antique fixtures and decor. These furnishings have come from Bill´s younger brother, who salvages architectural antiques from old buildings. All of the tables in the room are antique, except for the bar tables.
Bill now makes only about 12 cues per year. Although he spends more time than ever making cues, he makes fewer than before he opened his room. This is because most of his cues are elaborate works of art requiring many weeks of work. Bill makes every component of Schick cues except for the screws, which he has custom made for him, and the rubber bumpers. Little has changed in design except for the ferrules, which were improved with the help of an aerospace engineer. Playability is stressed as the most important factor. Bill likes to put a small ivory cap, scrimmed with a stylized "S" logo, at the tip of his 3/8-10 joint screws, which is done strictly for aesthetics. Bill says he just doesn´t like the way they look without them. Although he used Imron from the late 1970s to the beginning of the 1990s, he switched to the clear coat that Mercedes Benz uses, and is much happier with it. Bill´s cues often feature scrimmed ivory, engraving, and gold and silver ringwork. He will only make solid forearm cues out of exotic woods that are less likely to warp than maple. Often Schick cues will have a solid wood butt sleeve of exotic wood or ivory instead of having


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