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Maker of pool cues from 1960 to present in Toledo, Ohio.
Joe "Toledo Joe" Thomas is one of the few old-school cuemakers that are still making cues. When he started, his main competition was Paradise, Rambow, and Martin. Balabushka and Ginacue were just getting started. Joe had taken machine shop in high school and worked for his family´s shoe stores. He later worked for a military contractor making parts for bomb sights. Joe was a very good pool player so he decided to start making cues in 1960. He liked the way Paradise cues were identified, so in the 1960s he started putting "Joe Thomas Custom Cues Toledo, Ohio" under a clear plastic window in the butt sleeve. He still does this today.
Joe can make all of his own components. In the shoe business he learned how to mold rubber soles and work with leather. He has used this knowledge to mold rubber bumpers and make leather tips which he sometimes uses. Joe also makes his own joint screws. When he started he used Titlist blanks. Then he started buying blanks from Burton Spain. Now he prefers solid wood forearms, usually cocobolo. Joe likes decorative rings of colored plastics and he used to do mother-of-pearl inlays by hand. He also prefers hand-carved French fluted wood handles instead of wraps. Early cues usually had aluminum joints but now brass is most common. Stainless steel and ivory are other options which have been available. Joe has also experimented with buckhorn for ferrules, joints, and butt caps.
Today Joe owns a small pool room with just one table and his one-man shop. He has slowed down his cuemaking, building less than ten cues a year. All work is done by hand without the aid of CNC. Shafts are hand sanded and butts are finished with five coats of hand-rubbed lacquer. He also makes unique red, white, and blue cue cases out of newspapers and duct tape.
If you are interested in talking to Joe Thomas about a new cue or cue that needs to be repaired, you can contact him at Joe Thomas Cues, listed in the Trademark Index.

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