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Created in the Corridor: Diveney Cues

An assortment of Diveney Custom Cues on display in Pat Diveney's West Liberty workshop.

Eight-ball, nine-ball, three-ball. Just a few of the types of pocket billiards, a game most commonly referred to as pool. it’s a centuries-old sport in which many present-day players take their cue from a self-taught craftsman and what he’s “Created in the Corridor.”

Scott Hargens of Cedar Rapids has been playing pool for 30 years. A three-time state champion, Hargens uses a combination of cues that he considers the best for his game. “I’ve played with a lot of different cues and this is one of the best hitting cues I’ve played with,” said Hargens referring to his regular cue.

Pat Diveney, 69, made his name making those cues. Handcrafted from scratch in his West Liberty workshop, Diveney Custom Cues can be found worldwide. It’s something this fan of the game started doing on a whim nearly 20 years ago while working at a local furniture factory. “I (had) a buddy in the machine shop,” recalled Diveney, “and I asked him one day, ‘could I use one of the lathes after work?’ And he said, ‘yeah, I don’t care.’ He said, ‘what do you want to do?’ I said, ‘I want to build a pool cue.’”

Learning through trial and error over the years, Diveney said he now knows pretty well what works…and what doesn’t. “The way to learn is by mistakes. Mistakes cost money and I can’t afford to learn anymore,” said Diveney laughingly.

Diveney uses a variety of exotic wood from all over the world for his pool cues including Cocobolo and Snakewood. “One of the most exotic is right here in the United States, Birdseye Maple,” said Diveney. “I mean, it’s plentiful and it’s probably one of the most exotic woods there is.”

“Best wood I’ve used is probably Ebony,” added Diveney’s son, Danny, 29, who also builds cues with his father and is not afraid to try something new. Describing his latest cue creation, Danny’s pride begins to show. “It’s all ebony and brass. This is one of them that we kind of did a little experiment with because we never done it before.”

Intricate brass, copper and sterling silver inlays, leather and linen wraps--each cue is custom made. And they don’t come cheap. The average high-end Diveney Cue goes for about $2,800 with a few running as much as $12,000.

But the longtime owner of 2nd Avenue Corner Pocket in Cedar Rapids told CBS2/FOX28 that price really doesn’t matter when it comes to the quality of Diveney Cues. D.J. Wolrab owns four of them. “His high-end cues to his low-end cues play the same. That’s why I think he’s so popular. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $10,000 stick or a $400 stick they play the same,” insisted Wolrab.

State champ Hargens appreciates the craftsmanship. “All the points are even. You know, all the lines are just…it’s just beautiful. (I like) how solid they hit, and the balance. I mean it just feels good in my hand.”

Diveney admits his cues aren’t for everyone but they do carry a reputation. That’s why he carries a wide assortment when traveling to tournaments and cue shows. “If you’re serious about buying a pool cue and you look on there and I can get that cue in your hand and let you try it, you’ll buy it.”

And while he still likes to play the game, Diveney said he’s found his calling helping others enjoy the sport. “I would much rather see somebody playing well with one of our cues. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

We have a link to the Diveney Custom Cues website HERE.

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