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Maker of pool cues from 1995 to present in Sullivan, Illinois.
J. Michael Durbin grew up on a farm in Central Illinois, the seventh generation of his family to work this same area of rich farmland. During high school, Mike showed a lot of interest and talent in woodworking and the operation of milling equipment. During this time, he put these skills to work on the farm repairing equipment and building some furniture in the high school shop.
In 1985, after graduation, Mike attended Lake Land College, majoring in Agriculture Production and Management, and that is where he discovered the game of pool. It wasn´t long until he was hooked on the game. In 1987, Mike transferred to Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, which is only about twenty minutes from Johnson City, the home of the great all-around tournaments of the 1960s and 1970s. While in Carbondale, Mike worked hard on his game and became one of the upper level players in the area. One day, while not satisfied with a repair job on his cue, Mike decided that he could do better. Soon Mike was doing most of the minor repair work in town, all by hand. In 1989 the players at the major pool room gave him a tenoning machine for replacing ferrules, which he still has today, but is no longer in use.
In 1995, after several years of doing shaft work, Mike decided to build his own cue. He bought a small lathe and started to make his first cue. It was an osage orange cue, made from the wood from the farm of one of his landowners, and is not for sale. Over the next year, Mike dissected a number of different cues from a variety of cuemakers to see what he liked and disliked about different construction methods. The early cues that he made are not visibly marked but all are signed under the wrap with the original specifications and the original owner (if custom ordered).
Mike believes in only using the finest materials. All white inlays are ivory and all work is done with no CNC machines. Mike enjoys making unique one-of-a-kind cues and uses very little maple in the forearm. He prefers to use ebony and other exotic hardwoods because of the value and beauty it adds and Mike believes it doesn´t warp as easily as maple. Durbin Custom Cues are known for the playability first and the beauty second.
Farming is Mike´s means of making a living, and therefore no cue leaves his shop that isn´t up to the standards that his customers have come to expect. All work is done by Mike in his one-man shop and production is limited to fifty custom cues a year. Mike feels that making more than fifty cues in any one year will only hurt the value of the cues made in the past. Mike´s cues are signed "J. Michael Durbin".
In 2001, Mike approached Mark Wilson, a professional pool player and top instructor, to make Mark a cue in order to have his input in building a better product. In 2002, during the "Dr. Cue 3-on-3 Team Tournament" Mark expressed in more detail what he would like to see in a custom cue. These things included G-10 joint pins, ivory joints and ferrules, and custom fitting. After a year of development, the first "Mark Wilson Advanced Accuracy Cue" became available from Durbin´s shop. These cues are available by custom order or from models in stock from Mike or from Mark at Advanced Accuracy Custom Cues. Production of Durbin Custom Cues is limited to fifty cues a year.
If you are interested in talking to J. Michael Durbin about a new cue or cue that needs to be repaired, you can contact him at Durbin Custom Cues, listed in the Trademark Index.

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