If you just bought a wrong set of expensive cue tips and just found their density is hard then you are not the only one. It is quite common to order tips that you are not comfortable playing. Although, my opinion is that tip hardness does not matter at all. What matters is the shape of the tip and playing techniques of the player. Anyways, let’s talk about how to soften a pool cue tip.
The first thing you need to understand is the reason why your tip is hard is that at the molecular level the material tip is made up of are closely packed with each other. Shorter the chemical structure hence, higher the density which will make the tip hard. So you have to increase the molecular distance in the chemical structure of the tip.
Depending on the material the cue tip is made up of, some materials can retain the density while others can permanently lose their shape in the process of increasing distance. So softening a tip is actually a risky process. You should consider it as an experiment and not as a permanent practice.
Increase Distance In Tip’s Chemical Structure
Before you try any of these methods make sure that the tip is not attached to the shaft. The purpose of this post is educational, any harm or damages you do to yourself, your shaft or tip is completely your responsibility.
Increase Tip Temperature
There are a number of ways you can increase the tip temperature. Heating up can expand the tip and move the molecules apart from one another. I would never recommend using a flame to heat up the tip but steaming a tip would actually be the safer way.
Steam will help expand the tip safely and depending on the nature of the tip material it can allow the moisture to settle in the tip chemical structure or it may only increase in size and not retain its shape. For very hard tips you may not observe any increase in size at all.
If your tip has increased in size, you can check if it retains the shape or not. However, if the shape is not retained then your shift has become softer. But if the tip has retained the shape back then you need to expose it to a longer duration of the steam session.
Long exposure will help the tip absorb the moisture from the steam. The water molecule will fill in the gaps between the chemical structure and will actually bring the density per mm cube lower than what it was with the tip material only.
Hence your tip would become softer. In order to make sure that the tip retains the moisture content, you can ice or place it quickly in a freezer. This will help trap the water molecule who may escape from the newly developed molecular gaps.
Soak The Tips
The second method is more commonly used to expand the tip is by soaking it in milk. Liquids such as water in the milk can help to loosen the chemical structure of the tip. The expansion will open up gaps that can be filled in by fats and other organic molecules in the milk.
This is relatively a safer way to soften a pool cue tip.
Why I do not Recommend Any Method
My stance is that cue tips do not matter. The reason why you are miscueing is because the shape of your tip has worn out. You are making contact with the ball on the wrong place. The tip uneven part comes in contact with the cue ball which imparts Englishes on the ball. This will sway the ball away from the intended trajectory and hence, you will blame the hard nature of the tip.
It is better if you can learn how to shape a pool tip, master how to hold a pool cue and get yourself a better pool stick to play the game. The more investment you do on your technique the better player you will become who can play under all conditions.