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Maker of pool cues from 1994 to present in Naples, Florida.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Joe Sanko worked for several years as a mechanical draftsman and doing custom marine canvas before moving to Florida in 1989. Joe had been building custom canvas boat tops when he joined a BCA pool league and started doing cue repairs for the players. By 1994 he began making "Sneaky Petes." With a background as a design engineer and a general do-it-yourselfer, he started getting more interested in the design of pool cues. Joe set up a small shop with two wood lathes and some woodworking tools, and started building some basic cues: bird´s-eye maple forearm with four ebony points, usually with white and black or red and black veneers and an ebony butt. He built about two dozen cues during the first two years and all of them sold as soon as they were completed. The early cues had a 5/16-18 flat-faced joint. As playability became more of a factor, he switched to a 3/8-10 flat-faced joint, which he still uses today on his entry level cues.
Joe builds one-of-a-kind custom cues on a part-time basis in his pro shop, which is on the main street of Naples, Florida. In his Pro Shop he has some manufactured cues, cases and maintainence items, including the "Q-Wiz" which was invented by his best friend. But mainly Joe promotes his own cues that he builds on speculation. Tips and minor repairs can be done while you wait.
Joe purchases the forearms and metal components for his cues, but takes special pride in turning his own shafts. Every month he takes another cut on a group of shaft blanks. The complete process takes about 24 months, only removing about .040 at a time. One of the first things you see when you enter his shop are barrels of shaft blanks in line to be turned and several hundred shafts hanging from ceiling racks. Joe offers buck horn ferrules as an option and custom joint protectors made from materials such as antler. Many cues feature exotic wood in the handle area. Also, the use of antler for the handle, joints and butt caps is available.
Sanko cues are easily identifiable by the "Sanko" signature which will appear somewhere on the cue. Most of the early cues were signed, although the signatures may have faded or worn off because some were signed on top of the finish. Early cues were signed after completion, but after a learning process, the signature now is under the finish. Joe builds approximately 60 cues a year, along with running his custom marine canvas shop. Every Tuesday night, as he has for many years, he shows up to play in his BCA league at Art´s Place in Naples, Florida, and Wednesday in a Valley league, where he enjoys seeing a number of his cues being used.
If you have a Sanko cue that needs further identification or repair, or would like to order a new Sanko cue, contact Joe at Sanko Custom Cues, listed in the Trademark Index.

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