There is no reason you should not be able to re-tip your own cue. It is neither a black art nor difficult. Below is the method I use – that’s not to say it is the only way, but it is the one I find the simplest and most reliable. Bear in mind I don’t just re-tip a few cues a year but hundreds if not thousands! Right off the bat, let me say this is for standard tips like blue diamond, elkmaster, blue crown, tweetens etc. not the latest super duper 30 quid a pop 3-toed ant eater leather or leather from a 1920s Rolls Royce Silver Wraith. (I’ve nothing against them some people swear by them – some just swear at them!)
Firstly after removing the old tip (if it’s not fell off already) carefully file the end of the cue down using a fine metal file, keeping the file square with the cue end – make sure you remove any old traces of glue. It is essential the end of the cue is flat and square, close one eye and look across the top of the cue rotating the cue at the same time if you are unsure how flat it is.
Now take a tip of slightly larger size than the end of your cue, using fine or medium sand or emery paper sand the back of the tip down – the reason for this is most tips are slightly concave and if you don’t sand it the odds are it will come straight off or at best sound hollow when striking the ball. It’s fairly obvious when it’s sanded properly the tip will have sanding marks across the whole diameter.
Now we come to the type of glue to use – I prefer superglue gel slightly thicker than standard superglue and a bit easier to apply than the watery stuff. Just a dab on top of the cue sufficient to cover the complete cue end (don’t overdue it or you will find your fingers and everything else will also stick to the cue.) Carefully place the tip on top of the cue making sure the tip is central and press down firmly. I usually tap the tip down with a small hammer or upend the cue and press down on a hard floor surface. You should not incidentally score either the cue end or the tip to rough the surface up to get more grip – superglue is an anaerobic product meaning it sticks in the absence of oxygen so the flatter and smoother the surfaces the better. It’s good stuff – jumbo jets are glued together with it though probably with a stronger version – I hope so anyway!
To trim the excess tip off, upend the cue on a block or piece of wood and carefully pare it down with a sharp and I do mean sharp craft knife. You can use a fine file to finish though careful use of the knife is usually sufficient. Don’t be tempted to use sandpaper in a downward motion as you will be slowly thinning the cue down – it may not be that noticeable but it’s surprising how quickly this thinning process can occur.
Problems – occasionally the glue just won’t seem to stick, if this happens very slightly dampen both the cue end and the tip and try again. Persist and it will stick!
There are other glues and tip cements but they nearly all require either a cue clamp or need leaving overnight to cure, superglue you can pretty much play straight away.