Ferrule Overview

The ferrule is the interface between the tip and the shaft.  It is designed to protect the shaftwood from splitting.

There are several styles of ferrules in use today.  The common variables are:

The diameter of the tenon
Whether the tenon is threaded or not
Whether the ferrule is capped or not  

The simplest option is a sleeve ferrule that slips over a tenon.  The size of the tenon can vary, depending on the strength of the ferrule material.  Many cuemakers feel a larger tenon gives a better hit since you have a simple, direct connection between the shaft and the tip. 

Note: many imports use a sleeve ferrule made of an "economical" material that doesn't bond well with glue.  They use ribbing inside the ferrule to provide a mechanical bond to the tenon.  It is sometimes difficult to get tips to adhere to these cues.  The only foolproof solution is to replace the ferrule with something worthwhile.

 The next option relies on a threaded tenon.  This provides a mechanical bond to retain the ferrule while adding additional surface area for glue.  The threaded ferrules commercially available are tapped 5/16-18.  Although this size has been used successfully for ages, some feel this size weakens the tenon at its base.  Their response is to use larger thread sizes & machine the ferrules to their own specs. 

A desirable option is to add a locating diameter at the base of the tenon.  This serves the dual purpose of adding strength while locating the ferrule accurately on the tenon.

Both designs can be capped or not.  It might depend on the material being used or simply the preference of the cuemaker.  On one hand, a capped ferrule is unquestionably stronger & provides a consistent surface upon which to glue your tip.  On the other hand, it introduces the opportunity for air pockets which may affect the sound of the hit, although it shouldn't affect how it plays. 

The uncapped ferrule offers the most direct connection to the shaft but it is more likely to crack or split than a capped ferrule.  This is where the tenon diameter comes into play, forcing a compromise between tenon diameter (solid hit) vs. ferrule wall thickness (resistance to cracking).  But then, maybe if it were threaded, the additional glue surface will prevent it from cracking. But then...and on and on.  

Now you can see why there is no consensus as to what is the best design.  As a result, I am constantly trying new materials as they become available & as others become obsolete.  Some play well but get dirty easily.  Some are too hard and squirt more than others.  Some are too soft - they play well but scratch, dent and crack too easily.  Some don't like wood glue.  Etc, etc.

Follow to the next page if you aren't bored stiff already.

Page 2 - Ferrule Overview part 2

Page 3 - Ferrule Installation

Page 4 - Micarta and its Relatives

Page 5 - Ferrule Weight