20 Oct Willie Blade 2017 Interview (Sneaky Pete Mafia)
[originally posted on 21st Sept 2017 at Sneaky Pete Mafia]
A pool player is only as good as his or her cue, and no one knows that better than Willie Blade, a Ukrainian born cue craftsman. Thirty-one years of age, he’s been in the cue-making family business from the young age of fifteen, falling in love with, and developing a keen mastery ever since. The most important aspect of a cue?—that it fits the style and personality of its owner, everything else falls into place once that relationship is cemented. Style and form mean nothing if there’s no instinctive bond, but that certainly doesn’t stop Willie Blade from creating some fascinating pieces nonetheless.
What’s your favorite material to use? What’s your favorite design that you’ve made?
Thick wood is preferred. Some breeds like ebony, macassar, bocote, cocobolo, hornbeam and so on. I like to combine different contrasts, use black color with exotic pattern. The most popular wood is hornbeam. It is white, but could be impregnated with any color. Hornbeam has excellent playing features and attractive price due to its cost.
Associated only with the best quality of craftsmanship and design, Blade’s emphasis is on product, not branding. That means tweaking technical aspects of cues and re-vamping old and outdated measuring applications. An effort to improve as much as it is to re-define, not just cues, but the game of billiards in general. It’s no small feat for Blade and his cue-making workshop, but the outcome speaks for itself. And it is magnificent.
The experimentation of creating cues that continue to push the envelope in both style and performance, is a driving factor in Blade’s work. The aim of he and his crew, is to first and foremost create cues that are more than just tools or a means to a (victorious) end. A cue should be an extension of the cue master’s own body, and a reflection of the cue master’s own sense of style and attitude. As dynamic, as colorful, and as poised for hard-fought matches as its owner. Nothing less will do. So many great pool players already own one of these magnificent creations of Blade’s, but he still maintains hopes that the game of billiards will continue its international growth, extending its reach to even the most unlikely of players, because Blade knows, no matter how much work he may put into his creations, it still takes fostering relationships with foreign partners, cue-makers and dealers worldwide, to sustain and improve upon an already prolific pastime.
What impression do you hope you leave on people who see your work, who may or may not be pool players themselves?
I want people to see in our cues not only a playing tool, but also a masterpiece. And vice versa. Not only a beautiful thing, but also a powerful billiards weapon which has perfect playing characteristics. The edge where masterpiece meets with reliability.
There is no doubt every person who has genuine interest could become a billiards player. It’s just matter of time and practice.
Someday all the many factions that make up the world of billiards (Russian Pyramid being one that Blade is more intimately familiar with) will meld together, and the game will further evolve in its diversity of both playing style, and players. The game will grow, that’s inevitable. And Willie Blade and his one-of-a-kind cues, will be right in the center of it—and maybe even too, held in hand in even the smallest and quaintest of pool halls in the most remote pockets of the U.S., and world-wide.
Blade: It’s a huge community and I’m grateful to be one of the [ones bringing improvement to the game].