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DENNIS DIECKMAN Pool Cues

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DENNIS DIECKMAN
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DENNIS DIECKMAN
Maker of pool cues from 1973 to present currently in Manchester, Michigan.
Dennis Dieckman decided to become a cuemaker in 1971 while attending the University of Michigan. He was there on the G.I. Bill, after spending three years in Vietnam. A player since the age of seven, he spent more time playing pool at the student union than studying at the library. It was at the union that Dennis met Carl Conlon, who taught him the game of three cushion billiards and was one of the inspiring people in his life. During this time, Dennis began making chess and backgammon boards, and started acquiring woodworking machines and tools. He also traveled to Chicago to meet Eddie Laube, who was instrumental in Dennis becoming a cuemaker.
In 1973, Dennis bought a lathe and made his first three cues. These cues were 57 in. long and had stainless steel joints with 5/16-18 screws and black phenolic rings at the joints and in the butt sleeves. One butt was red oak, one was walnut, and one was mahogany. The shafts were cut from house cues with 3/4 in. black ferrules. Dennis sold them for $50 each.
In the summer of 1975, Dennis moved to Virginia, and in 1977, moved to Omaha, Nebraska. In both locations, he set up shop and made cues and game boards. Dennis estimates that during those years he made approximately 100-150 hustler cues, which were essentially house cues that were cut in half and fitted with 5/16-18 screws that went into a shaft insert. These cues were primarily sold at regional flea markets for $40 to $75.
From November of 1978, to May of 1979, Dennis was at North Hollywood Billiards studying three cushion billiards under Frank Torres and studying cuemaking under Bert Schrager.
On September 5th, 1979, back in Omaha, after his second day of classes at Creighton University Law School, Dennis received a phone call offering him a job running a pool room in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He left school to take the position. In December of the same year, he bought a nice lathe and, by the spring of 1980, he set up shop in Ann Arbor. That summer he was offered a job as a golf pro at the University of Michigan golf course, something he had always wanted to do.
For the next nine years, Dennis played and taught golf in the summers, and made cues during the winters. Approximately 95% of these cues were for three cushion billiards, a game Dennis played around the country at tournament level since his days in college. The early cues, made before 1982 or so, had 3/8 in. wood-to-wood joints, inspired by Bert Schrager. After that, he started using 1/2 in. wood screws, usually on bird´s-eye maple cues with brown phenolic butt caps and white ABS joint collars on the butts only. They were generally 54 in. to 56 in. long with 10 mm to 11.5 mm tips, short ferrules, and perfect conical tapers from butt cap to ferrule. These cues sold from $125 to $200. In 1983, Dennis made his first cue with butterfly points. This cue, as well as the other butterfly spliced cues he made before 1989, had disappearing points. During these years, he estimates that he made an average of two to three dozen cues a year, most of which were three cushion cues. Many of these cues were made for some of the top billiards players in the country.
In the summer of 1989, Dennis moved back to Ann Arbor, Michigan with the help of his old friend Steve Titus. Steve was Dennis´s first cuemaking student, and was the creator of the laminated Predator shafts, which Dennis was heavily involved in.
In the winter of 1989-90, Dennis decided to start making cues full time, and has been doing so ever since. In 1990, Dennis made his first video on the art of cuemaking and made his first cue with traditional "pointed" points. In 1991, he helped to found the American Cuemakers Association, and was one of nine makers present at the first meeting. In 1992, Dennis completed the sixth and final video in his first series of cuemaking videos. The same year, he began selling blanks and bird´s-eye maple to other cuemakers.
1993 was spent searching for a more permanent location for his shop and, by the end of the year, he found it. After three months of interior construction on an outbuilding outside his new house, he had a shop he was proud to work in. With four metal working lathes, a wood working lathe, a spray room, an office, 30 feet of benches to work on, a sleeping loft, a pantograph, a milling machine, and at least 75 butts turned to .050 oversize, Dennis can deliver a finished custom cue in as little as two to four months.
In January of 1994, Dennis sat down and looked at all six of the cuemaking videos he had made, and was appalled to the point that he set out to re-do them. In the fall of 1994, he started writing a column on cuemaking in the First National Billiard Exchange. By mid-1995, he completed the first seven videos in his second edition, which were much better than the first. He estimates that approximately 250 people are making c


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