The tip is arguably the most important part of a pool cue, and shaping it just right can significantly improve your game. Usually made from tough leather, the cue tip is the only part of the pool cue that directly touches the ball, which when shaped correctly, can significantly influence the accuracy of each pool shot. Most new pool cues come with a relatively flat tip that requires some shaping.
The Right Shape
The ideal cue tip shape is generally considered to be about the circumference of a U.S. nickel, though some players prefer a rounder tip with the circumference of a dime. To shape the tip, hold the pool cue with the butt on the floor and the tip at about eye level. Use a file or a piece of fine sandpaper to shape the leather to your preferred roundness. As you shape the tip, hold a nickel or dime behind it and compare its shape for reference.
You can also use one of the many tip-shaping tools that are available in billiards supply stores instead of sandpaper. Be careful not to scratch the ivory ferrule just below the tip. Once you have the desired shape, use a rougher piece of sandpaper to roughen the texture of the tip. This allows the tip to hold chalk. Depending on the hardness of the leather, your pool cue tip may require re-shaping after a month or two of play.