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Maker of pool cues from 1960 to 1973 in Hayward, California, from 1973 to 1991 in Santa Barbara, California, and from 1991 to present in Scottsdale, Arizona.
John Robinson was born in Arkansas, but his family moved to California when he was four. He grew up around the Oakland area. John had an interest in hand-carving wooden toys that began around the time he moved to California. When he found a piece of billiard cloth in a park at about twelve years old, he decided to use it on a miniature table that he then hand-carved. He used marbles for the balls, and his interest in playing pool developed.
Although the local pool halls were not supposed to allow minors, John had a friend that would let him in before he was eighteen. By the time John was 27, he had made his first cue. He took it into an Oakland pool hall and sold it for $20 and two theater tickets. John gained a good reputation as a cuemaker, and made about 1,000 cues while he was in the bay area. During those years, John visited and got cuemaking advice from Harvey Martin and Tex Zimmerman.
The first cues had a Delrin joint, which was changed to brass in the early 1960s. It was during this time that John started to develop his own style, and started putting the joint screws in the shafts, a feature which continues to this day. The joint is so strong that John can set a cue on two blocks about 14 inches apart and stand on it. Although about half of the early cues had leather wraps, they rarely are done today. Early Robinson cues were all 57 inches, and changed to 58 inches in the late 1960s.
In 1973, John moved to Santa Barbara, California, where he worked full-time in the flooring business, making cues in his spare time. In 1977, John´s son, Greg, started to help with Robinson Cues, helping out for the next few years. About a year after Greg joined, the standard brass joint was replaced with stainless steel. In 1986, with the increased demand for custom cues brought about by "The Color of Money," John started making cues full-time, and Greg joined the business full-time soon after.
Robinson Cues makes fewer than 60 cues per year, by hand, without the aid of CNC machines. Inlays are done on a manual pantograph, as are the points, as John has never made spliced blanks. Greg inlays the points, which are cut by hand at the ends, to make the tips razor sharp. He is very particular about the extremely close tolerances of his inlay work, and stresses original designs which have inspired other makers. Among the unique features of Robinson cues are the ivory inlays, which Greg can dye to any color. Greg also applies the finish on Robinson cues which requires an average of 10 to 15 hand-rubbed coats. John and Greg make every component of Robinson cues, except for the bumpers and tips, which John treats and compresses, using a process he developed himself. Although very few Robinson cues have ever been signed, they are easily identifiable by their joint and unique style. Playability is an important factor, and John and Greg try to build a low-deflection, two-piece cue that feels like a one-piece. In 1999, John began to core the butts in his cues with rock maple for a more solid hit, and to prevent warping.
In his spare time, Greg is a self-taught musician who writes music, makes custom guitars for his own use, and pursues other forms of art. John is always trying to make constant improvements to Robinson cues, and is constantly searching for the finest materials. Ivory ferrules are standard on the higher-end cues. The Robinsons also market the "Perfex" tip tapper, which John designed and patented. In 1999, they opened a website which has pictures of the cues and products they have for sale at a given time.
Robinson cues are guaranteed indefinitely against construction defects that are not the result of warpage or abuse. If you have a Robinson cue that needs further identification or repair, or would like to talk to John or Greg about ordering a new cue, contact Robinson Cues, listed in the Trademark Index.

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