*All credits for the article go to Billiard-Cue-Site. Picture credits go to IndyQ! Much thanks to Billiard-Cue-Site and IndyQ!
In the world of billiards, one will never be too ignorant of South West Cues. Founder Jerry Wayne Franklin was born in 1953 September 12, died of heart attack at the age of 42 in 1996 may 11 while enjoying his boat in Mead lake. Jerry Wayne Franklin was a rare talent during his time, at his adolescence, he can dismantle his bicycle and put them back together again part by part. For the craze of carting at a young age, in order to put together a cart for himself, he dismantle his dad's lawn mower and drop it into his cart's chasis! In 1976, to own a famous cue from cuemaker David Paul Kersenbrock, he promised to fix David's car as a trade off.
Not long, Jerry Wayne Franklin was found working for David in his company, Kersenbrock Cues Service, as an accountant. Because of the close contact of cuemaking daily, his interest in billiards cuemaking grew, he started cuemaking and helped improve the machines at the same time. In 1978, Kersenbrock moved out of
In 1980, Jerry Wayne Franklin started his billiard cue stick repair business and also started selling billiard cuemaking machines. In 1982, Jerry Wayne Franklin finally started his own billiard cuemaking career, thus the birth of South West. During the same year, Kersenbrock visited Jerry Wayne Franklin and stayed for months to discuss and innovate a new way on wood cutting. This led Kersenbrock to travel back and forth bringing new ideas everytime, and South West cues improved in every aspect. Because of this, the billiard industry always mistook South West cues was made by Kersenbrock, in fact it is hard to tell the billiard cue stick from South West and Kersenbrock.
Since 1993, South West started using the Cactus as their logo, as it reflects the spirit of the west. Gradually, Jerry Wayne Franklin embedded the Cactus logo on the shaft joint, and every billiard cue stick will have its own unique date and serial number to individualize his billiard cue stick from others in the market.
Just why is South West cue's performance so recognized by most players? One of the most important factor that contribute to the success of the South West cues is their high demand for quality from choosing of materials to the completion of the billiard cue stick, every single step is done by years of experience and stringent checks.
Let me walk you through some of the stringent process of producing such a world-class billiard cue stick. First of all, to choose the best wood, it must not produce too much sound when you hit it. Every precise cut of the wood have to take into account the annual ring of the wood. When the wood just arrived from the factory it is cut into 1 cubic square, it has to be cut 12 times all round, and each cut will not be more than 1/16”; and every cut to be performed has to be between 14 days. After every cut, the wood has to undergo a process called seasoning. And because of the stringent quality control of each billiard cue stick, the billiard cue stick do possess a high rate in durability against warp.
As for the butt, the material used must be hard, choice wood are Cocobolo, Pauferro, Congolo, alves, and it uses a computer to choose the best piece of material, in terms of weight and balance, making sure they have the best of the best. As one can recorgnised that there are no ballast in the billiard cue stick to adjust to the balance! Finally, 3 colored inlay was selected for the 6 point design, and a South West Cue has just given birth. And of course Jerry Wayne Franklin also does seldom make one piece billiard cues, and is equally good in performance.
Another special characteristic about South West cues is that it never use the traditional style joint, it uses their own 3/8-11” brass direct plane to plane joint. It has an equally solid feel when playing, and the grip is extremely comfortable to play with, even for very long hours.
After the billiard cue stick is complete, the next step will be spray varnish. Each coat of varnish has to left dry for a day before applying the next coat. The number of coats will depends on the characteristics of the wood, normally it will be 5 coats. After the varnish, it has to be polish to the optimum shine and it is finally complete. As you can see, to make a South West cue, it has to go through so many stringent process, and it sure takes up a lot of time to complete just one billiard cue. Customers will have to wait for at least 6 years to receive their billiard cue stick because South West only produce 250 to 300 billiard cue stick per year.
In the beginning South West work load was shared between Jerry Wayne Franklin and his wife Laurie Franklin, later his family join in the effort and thus the company was not named after Jerry Wayne Franklin but South West. Currently, it has been rumored that the quality of South West cues has dropped since Jerry is not making the billiard cue stick anymore, plus the ferrules are now made with a new material “Melamine” since 1996.
Secondly, Jerry Wayne Franklin was in charge of the intricate design detailing of the billiard cue stick and machining, while his wife took care of the management, his brother
From the beginning when South West was born, Jerry Wayne Franklin has been making high quality billiard cue stick and he never compromise on that in order that his customers can enjoy the best quality their money can afford, he also hopes that South West will always set a new bench mark in quality. Currently, there are a lot of collectors looking for Jerry's billiard cue stick when he is still alive and they are willing to pay high price for it. The delivery date for each customer is 6 years and each customer is not allowed to order more than 2 billiard cue stick a year, and the price of the dealers and consumers is the same.
Presently, for each customer to received his billiard cue stick has prolong to 7 or 8 years. In March 17 2005, ACA has listed Jerry Wayne Franklin at the Allen Hopkins Super Billiards Expo.
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