—     John Parris pool cue
Perhaps I should first point out that John Parris is solely a snooker
cue maker — hence, getting a custom pool cue built by him was a
feat in itself.  (I also have a snooker cue built by him, see below.)
I first contacted John years ago, essentially begging him to build a
pool cue for me, but got the impression that he wasn't interested in
building any pool cues.  But later when I realized that he had
actually built Tony Drago's pool cues, I called again and this time managed to persuade him to also build one for me.
When I finally decided on the spec & design for the cue, I called John again, and as we hammered out the details, he causally mentioned that I would soon be in good company of the Prince of Brunei who he had just made a similar cue. (I guess that's what they call Royal treatment ;^)
So after 9 months of eagerly waiting for this custom handmade super
duper cue, what'ya think was the first thing I did with it? .... I sent it off
to another cue maker to finish off the shaft the way I wanted it.
It might sound crazy, but my initial plan was actually to have John
Parris build a "partial-shaft" that Richard Chudy could later apply his
magic to.  For those who aren't familiar with Richard Chudy (RC3 cues) I can tell that he's
currently one of the foremost cue makers in the States.  Hence, I
had him cut and taper the shaft exactly the way I wanted it.  And
howdya think it plays?  Although this cue has a very harsh "PLANK"
sound when shooting, and it was 9 very long months
for me to wait for it, yet I think I could've happily waited 9
years — this isn't only a handsome piece of work, but it also
plays perfectly.  Along with the Longoni, it has now become my main playing
The wood used in the butt is hand spliced ebony with an inset facing
splice of maple & ebony check inlay.  Very delicate.  The
top part of the butt is cut from the same piece of ash as the shaft,
making the grain continue across the joint into the shaft.  The
ash shaft has a semi euro-taper, super short uncapped brass ferrule
(2mm) and a sub 10mm tip diameter.  Currently I'm using a homemade
'Milk Dud' Elk Master tip that I soaked 30 days in milk and
then pressed for another 10 days.  I also have a carbon fiber pad between the ferrule and the tip.  Initially I wanted a UniLoc quick-release
joint but after thinking more about how much I like the hit of my other Parris cue, I opted for a similar brass joint (but reversed), and lucky me; it came out perfectly.  Since John doesn't use weight bolts, I spec'd the cue at 19.5 oz from the get-go.  It's quite nicely balanced, slightly towards the butt-end.  I also had John make a solid ebony 6" butt extension for it.
Besides from building the most excellent cues in the world, one would perhaps expect that the administrative part of his business would be on par.  However, it's tempting to joke that Parris communicates by mail-doves and use mules to ship his cues.  Sarcasm aside, I still happen to think it's nice to know that John Parris hasn't turned his magnificent craft into a slick mass-production business.  For example, all Parris cues are entirely handmade in his little Forest Hill shop in London with no association to any other manufacturer (except for the brass joints).  I like that.  I also like the fact that John is a very friendly and approachable laddie, only a phone-call away.