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Maker of pool cues from 1986 to 1997 in Houston, Texas, and from 1997 to present in Overland, Missouri.
Jim Buss was born on November 23, 1942 in Boone, Iowa. His father loved woodworking, and he completely remodeled the house, added rooms, built furniture, etc. He also made custom cabinets for some of the more affluent homes in town. Jim picked up his father´s love of woodworking and enjoyed trying his hand at many of his own projects. Jim enjoyed designing his project, planning how to make it, and then making it. What he didn´t enjoy was sanding the wood in preparation for a finish. When Jim was in high school, he discovered the wood lathe. This gave him a whole new perspective on the art of woodworking.
Jim had other hobbies at that time. He enjoyed being a ham radio operator and a photographer. He also enjoyed camping and was active in Boy Scouts, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout with a Bronze Palm.
In 1961 Jim finished high school and started college at Iowa State University, in Ames. His love of electronics guided him into selecting electrical engineering as his major.
Jim got introduced to the game of pool on his first day at Iowa State. While in the student union, he heard the sound of someone breaking a rack of balls and wondered what that wonderful sound was. This was a life-changing experience, as pool has ruled his life ever since.
Jim´s first cue was a Hoppe Cue sold by Brunswick. One day he decided to modify his cue and he drilled some holes in his stick and glued in some rhinestones. By today´s standards, that would look pretty tacky-but it was pretty enough that someone stole it!
Jim began working with cues that had been thrown in the trash at a pool hall. He would take them home and cut them apart. He was trying to figure out how the cues were made. He realized that it was a very complex procedure, and one that Jim thought he would never be able to do. Making a cue required machinery that Jim had never used before.
Jim graduated as an electrical engineer and began working for McDonnel Aircraft Company. His first assignment was to design an umbilical cable for one of the Gemini astronauts for doing a space walk. From this assignment, he went on to design the power distribution system for the Skylab program. After that, he was assigned to work on classified Air Force Space Systems.
Jim had to move to Sunnyvale, California for his new Air Force project. On a day off, he drove to North Hollywood and met cue maker Bert Schrager, who had agreed to put a new ferrule on Jim´s cue. Jim watched Bert work on a metal lathe and got a tour of Bert´s machine shop. At that point, Jim knew that he definitely wanted to be able to make cues some day. But that "someday" was still over ten years away.
In 1982, Jim moved to Houston, Texas to do support work for NASA and the space shuttle program. He still had dreams about making cues but realized that it was a very complicated job. He set a goal for himself: that he would be making cues that pro players would like to use by the time he could retire. This was nine years away. Within one year, he was realizing his dream, and a local pro player was using one of his cues. He was eight years ahead of his goal.
Since that time, Jim has been experimenting with cue making, creating more and more complicated designs, and pushing himself to perfect his techniques and to develop new ones.
In July of 1994, Jim was elected President of the American Cuemaker´s Association. A few years later, he moved back to the Midwest, to the St. Louis area, to make cues as a full-time job. Jim was offered a job with Boeing that he couldn´t refuse, so he now has two jobs and could not be happier. He has an 8 to 4:30 weekday job with Boeing. He works evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays building cues. Jim plans to retire from Boeing soon to become a full-time cue maker once again.
Although he shares his shop with his brother George, they both make cues entirely on their own, with no work being shared. Jim makes everything on his cues except for the tips, bumpers and screws. He makes his one-of-a-kind cues one at a time, instead of in batches, and he takes many extra steps to ensure that everything is done right. Although the early Jim Buss cues are unmarked, Jim started signing and dating all of his cues, including his hustler cues, in 1993. He will make a cue to any specification the customer desires and can make any common joint type they request at no additional charge. He was one of a few cuemakers to be invited to make a cue to be put on display at the Smithsonian in 1999.
If you order a custom Jim Buss cue and are unhappy with it when it arrives, you can return it for a full refund, minus shipping. Jim Buss cues are guaranteed indefinitely against construction defects that are not the result of warpage or abuse, and Jim will replace the cue, if necessary. If you have a Jim Buss cue that needs further

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