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Maker of pool cues from 1984 to present in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Joseph Picone´s first exposure to the game of pool came at the age of twelve. While attending a birthday party that was being held at a local bowling alley, he wandered into the billiard room. The next two hours were spent sitting in a chair watching a number of men playing pool. Not long after that experience, he learned that a nextdoor neighbor, an old woman about eighty years old, had a pool table in her basement. It had belonged to her deceased husband. The table was a nine-foot Susser and Gramaldy, made in the 1920s. After asking a few times, she agreed to let him come over and use it. The table had torn cloth and the cues had no tips. Joe taped down the torn cloth and made tips for the cues by cutting up an old belt. Even as a beginning player, he always felt that using the right cue was important. His first two-piece cue was a Brunswick "Willie Hoppe." He used the cue for a short time before deciding the butt was too fat for his fourteen-year-old hands. He took off the leather wrap and sanded down the entire butt by hand. He played with that cue for two years, turning down many offers to buy it. Most of his teenage years he worked in different poolrooms and was called upon by players to work on their cues, putting on tips, ferrules, wraps and refinishing. All of the work was done by hand.
During these years, and until it closed, Joseph was a regular customer at a poolroom in Miami called Abes Congress Billiards. Abes Congress Billiards was one of the top action poolrooms in the country. The Congress was open twenty-four hours and it wasn´t unusual to stay there for days at a time when things were going on. Players came from all over the country to play at the Congress and with them they brought their cues: Balabushka, Palmer, Paradise, Gina, Martin, Joss, etc. This exposure to fine cues started a fascination with custom cues. It was not long before he was ordering cues from every cuemaker. When he heard about a new cuemaker, he would order a cue. If he got his hands on a broken cue, he would cut it apart to see how the cue was made. This process taught him a lot about what makes a good cue. In 1976 he bought the Gold Crown Billiards in Hollywood, Florida. It wasn´t until 1983, when he sold the Gold Crown, that with the encouragement of his wife, Tanya, he began to think seriously about doing cue work. This was before "The Color of Money" and the big pool boom. There were not many cuemakers, and suppliers of cue components and machines to build cues were expensive.
In 1984, while searching for cuemaking equipment, Joseph called Bert Schrager, having heard that he had some equipment for sale. It was already sold, but in the course of the conversation, Bert Schrager said, "If you want to see firsthand what it takes to build a cue, come out here and I´ll show you." Joseph jumped at the offer and in a few days flew from Florida to California. The time spent at Bert Schrager´s shop saved him many months of frustration. Tim Scruggs was also a big help in getting materials by sharing sources.
After using several kinds of joint designs, Joseph settled on wood to wood with a 3/8-10 screw. This joint went unchanged until 1997 when a radial screw was offered as an option. Butts are built using the short splice with the wrap section made of special hardwood for more natural weight. Joseph´s points are longer than most. The standard is five or six points. Joseph likes to build cues of his own design, but he will work with a customer who has something special in mind. Unique designs are produced by selecting rare exotic highly figured hardwoods as well as inlay.
Although some early cues are not signed, starting in about 1986, cues are signed Joseph Picone and dated in front of the wrap. Joseph casts his own bumpers, and tints the rubber to match the color scheme of the cue. Joseph makes all parts except tips and screws. All woods are kept in a climate-controlled environment. Picone cues have a solid, quiet type of play. Joseph feels that with careful material selection and consistent construction methods, it is possible to build cues that reflect the same quality of play from one cue to the next.
Joseph Picone cues are guaranteed against construction defects that are not the result of warpage or abuse. If you have a Picone cue that needs further identification or repair, or would like to order a new Picone cue, contact Picone Cues, listed in the Trademark Index.

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