Pre-CNC-Cognoscenti, Early 1990s
Joe Gold began making cues in the early 1990s. His shop a humble workspace consisting of minor, but good equipment. Joe's cues today utilize CNC technology to cut pockets and parts for inlays, although the actual inlay process is done by hand, by Joe himself. Before CNC, Joe had a pantagraph machine which is an overhead pin router with a tracing capability whereas a scribe can follow a design cut out of metal or wood and replicate that design to scale on the cue stick. It is a slow and tedious process to prepare cues this way to be inlaid.
The cue is ebony with a highly figured birds-eye maple handle. This was one of his first cues that featured the now famous 30 silver piece rings. The inlays are sterling silver and ivory, with small ebony dots, nestled inside a sterling circle, inside the ivory points. Inlaying the silver skeleton points was a tedious process for Joe. To complete such a task, a number of jeweler's tools for filing and curving the silver are needed. Contrary to popular belief, silver is not very soft and easy with which to work. Each curve had to be curved by using jeweler's pliars. The ivory points are pretty thin at the top and were very delicate.
Resources: (First hand account of Deno Andrews, for and partially by whom the cue was made)- I worked for Joe in the beginning years while I was in my early 20s. During my couple years there, I worked on most every part of the cue making process. What I did most however was to operate the pantagraph and cut pockets and parts in the cues and prepare them for inlay. It was boring and fascinating at the same time seeing how different woods reacted to being cut, and cutting through ivory tusks (nasty smell) with Joe preparing slabs to be parted out. As Joe's shadow for a couple of years, I came to appreciate his construction technique and the integrity that went into his cues. I saw more cues get cut in half by Joe that had minor flaws than I could believe. Those were the kinds of flaws that many cue makers find acceptable and deliverable.
This particular cue has an interesting story. In the beginning there was not a lot of money to go around in Joe's shop. I was traveling a lot playing in billiard tournaments around the country and abroad. As part of my working agreement with Joe, we designed and made this cue together as part of my payment for working there. I worked on it in my spare time because it was not a revenue generating cue stick, so other projects took precedence. I cut all the pockets and the parts as well as designed the taper and length. The cue is a little shorter than the typical Cognoscenti as it was designed as a hybrid cue for pool and billiards. I assembled the cue, turned it, basically did all but inlay the cue which was Joe's specialty, and the finish which Joe has a special talent for.
Now in the days of CNC cutting, it is not uncommon to see such elaborate designs. As a pre-CNC cue out of Joe's shop, this was a very elaborate design.
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