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Maker of pool cues from 1963 to present, currently in Stanton, California.
Tad Kohara was born in California, the son of first-generation Japanese immigrants. When his father retired in the early 1940s, Tad went to Japan to study cabinetmaking in Hiroshima. In 1945, the school he was attending was destroyed by the atomic bomb. Tad returned to the United States in 1949, and made his living as an automotive mechanic. With hard work, Tad was eventually able to buy his own gas station. In 1963, during the post-"Hustler" billiards boom, he opened Tad´s Family Billiards in Los Angeles. Tad, an experienced woodworker, decided to purchase a lathe to maintain his house cues, and offer repairs to his customers. Within that year, Tad was making his own cues.
The first Tad cues were Brunswick Titlists cut in half, to which he added a joint. He then began making cues from scratch, with solid bird´s-eye maple forearms and butt sleeves, similar to what Harvey Martin was making at the time. Martin was a friend and an influence, and Tad bought his equipment when Harvey retired. A couple of years later Tad sold his poolroom and started making cues full time. Some of Tad´s cues of this era (1960s and early 1970s) reflect the influence of other cuemakers such as Ernie Gutierrez, Gene Balner (Palmer) and Doc Fry, all of whom were making cues during that time. Early examples of Tad´s cues may have plastic rings or, more rarely, plastic windows in the butt sleeve, and even plastic handles.
Tad was never really a pool player, so he didn´t know much about how cues should play. By relying on the advice of players like Willie Mosconi, Jimmy Caras, and Joe Balsis, Tad produced cues which, early on, became known for their playability. Tad even made the cues for Willie Mosconi´s pool school in North Hollywood.
From 1963 until 1977, Tad cues were not marked with a logo. In 1978, he started engraving the butt cap of every Tad cue with the "Tad" logo, used to this day. Also in the late 1970s, Tad experimented with different tips and developed his own tip hardness tester. He was unable to find tips that were consistent enough for him, so he started making his own single-layer tips.
In 2000, after four moves in nearly 25 years, Tad settled into the shop he is in today, in Stanton, California. The workshop has 18 lathes and three pantographs. Tad has customized his machinery as he has deemed necessary. Virtually everything in Tad´s cues is made in the workshop, except for the bumpers. All ferrules, butt caps, and collars are threaded on. Finished cues hang for several months before delivery, to ensure that all of the materials have settled.
Tad´s Custom Cues produces less than 100 cues per year. This is truly a family business. Tad´s wife, Susie, does much of the pantograph work. His son, Fred, has been taking on much of the cuemaking responsibility in recent years. All work is done by hand, with the aid of CNC machines. Since a large number of Tad cues go to Japan, ivory is rarely used, due to the ban on export items containing ivory. Consequently, ivory points, joints, and butt caps are extremely rare.
After 40 years in the business, Tad is acknowledged as a master cuemaker. He was honored by his peers and collectors from all over the world at the "Showcase at the Ritz" in Marina del Rey, California in November, 2003.
If you have a Tad cue that needs further identification or repair, or would like to talk to Tad about ordering a new custom cue, contact Tad´s Custom Cue, listed in the Trademark Index.

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