Snooker/Billiard Cue lathe Build


Hi VHS members. I just joined the forums. I’m not a member yet, but I plan to build a cue lathe. I would love some help to get this project done.

I will post pics of some of the items I have gathered so far. I have a 110volt motor and that’s it so far.


Interesting! I hadn’t considered that pool cues have special lathes!


I love it! So is the primary difference that you can feed the cue through the headstock? The one linked also has what looks like a small rotary tool instead of a tool rest.

I occasionally teach a wood turning class, I’ll be following this closely.

Also, if you are open to it, please keep a build log so I can watch your progress. Successes and mistakes; I love it all :slight_smile:


Thanks for replying @mike, @lukecyca

I will definitely keep you updated on progress…

I’m not using it for cue making from scratch, per se, but for tip changes, finishing, etc. I have a collection of cues (some rare and vintage) that I want to refinish, restore as side projects. Billiards is a small passion of mine and I blog about it also ( So that’s my background.

Re: headstock, yes, I would definitely need the cue to pass through. Most cue makers also use plastic (or some variant) for protecting the cue when in the chuck as well. But apart from that, there is no special tech involved.

My main challenges right now: lack of tools to build it (planer, jointer) and skill level (amateur).

I want to also make it portable so that I can be present at shows, events, and provide tip changing and finishing services there.


This cue lathe is often mentioned in forums in my world. It’s $2000+. I guess I could just buy it eventually, but what fun is that?? Half the joy is building the tool to make the thing - just like the old boys once did.


If you haven’t come up with a design, I recommend checking out Fusion360 to plan it out. That should let you come up with a plan. I built a Thickness sander a couple years ago (we now have a real one) but mocking up all the assembly digitally helped me plan.

He headstock/chuck are probably the most interesting aspects of this to me, I’d love to see what you have planned.

Looking for hardwood

Thanks @mike I will have a look. Though, I don’t have the patience to sit in 3d software for hours. I may just “wing it”. I know that’s not a smart idea, but I don’t mind making a few mistakes along the way. Whatever I do, I will document it all.


I strongly recommend at least drawing hand sketches on paper before you start building. Problems that are easy to spot on paper or in CAD can cost hundreds of dollars and weeks of work if you jump straight to construction.

If you’re concerned about the learning curve, Autodesk has an excellent video series specifically aimed at first-time CAD users that starts from the basics of how to draw shapes and works all the way up to structural modelling of complex assemblies. A friend of mine did it and in a week was modelling usable parts for the 3D-printer.


Can a “scaled up” (and the angle between two cutting mills adjustable) version of a Pencil Sharpener work to make and finish cues? Just a wild idea!


Interesting idea. Im not sure I fully understand. You mean without a lathe?


Yes, without using a lathe. Think of a giant pencil sharpener where the conical angle can be adjusted.


Interesting. Perhaps fpr roughing out the shape but at the thin end of the cue I doubt it could work as it goes to around 10mm diameter.