Recollection Cues

Collectible Cues, Cases & Quality Players


Mike Bender has been one of the top cuemakers for more than thirty years now, and still makes a small number of cues regularly for select customers.  They're hard to find and to buy, and finding an old one like this - still in new condition - is a an exceptional rarity.

This stick was built for the "Lone Star" Collection at the International Cue Collector Show in Houston in 2007, in which each invited cuemaker was allowed to submit one cue on the Texas-based theme.  He named it "Free Range."  Since then it has been housed in a private collection, unplayed and unchalked, until recently when we purchased it.

The forearm of this cue is described by Mike as: "20 spliced points ... (holly, ebony, desert ironwood-high, holly-low) into an ebony nose ... ."

The ring pattern is what makes this stick unusual, and also what gave it the Texas "Lone Star" look.  Mike ingeniously uses individual inlays of sterling silver to form rings that circle the cue, creating the impression of barbed wire.  Then, each of those rings is layered on both sides with concentric double silver rings of silver with alternating squares of ebony and ivory.

I have a Certificate of Authenticity on this cue signed by both Mike and his wife, Tracy M. Dunham, who is a well-known artist.  She contributes to the design of many of his cues, and frequently adds her own scrimshaw work.  I suspect she had a lot to do with the design of the rings in this cue.

The points are long, sharp and even, and the bright veneers provide nice separation for the desert ironwood points.

The butt sleeve has a similar design as the nose, only more compact, with the points running in the opposite direction  (Twenty splices points, up and down, according to Mike's documentation.)

This cue is in excellent condition, overall, and has never been played.  However, there is a small scratch in the finish in the butt sleeve about an eighth of an inch long.  I debated having it refinished, but since it is so minor I opted to leave it all original.

For the handle, he uses a beautiful piece of black lizard.  It is expertly applied, and looks great.

He uses the spectacular barbed wire rings above and below the lizard wrap, along with the double silver, ebony and ivory rings.  At the joint, and above the butt cap, he uses a simpler ring set of double silver rings with the ebony and ivory squares.  He also uses these on the shaft ring collars.

This four long, four short point design, often built with either ivory or holly shadow points, is very "Bender-esque."  It has always been his favorite design, and almost a signature design.  His cues are often recognizable clear across a room.

As you would expect on a cue of this stature, he adds an ivory joint, and ivory ferrules.  This cue is a great piece of functional art, to be sure, but don't underestimate how well his cues play.  He makes some of the best hitting cues built anywhere.

This one weighs 18.6 ounces - surprisingly light with the amount of ebony and silver in it.  It is 58 inches long and comes with two nicely aged premium maple 13mm shafts with ivory ferrules.  It is built with his usual 3/8 X 11 steel pin.
This is another very artistic cue by Mike and Tracy, but as usual with his sticks, it hits a ton.  It is very playable, and very collectible.  Here's one that can be played and enjoyed for years, hold its value, and always make its owner glad he owns it.