Richard Black Custom Cues  

Home | About | Shop Tour | Awards - Honors | Current Events | Past Events | Repair Work | Contact Us   

Awards & Honors
Grand Collection Award
2012 Grand Collection Award, International Cue Collectors Show, Las Vegas, NV
The Jester »

2011 Grand Collection Award, International Cue Collectors Show, St. Louis, MO
Venetian Dream »

Collectors Choice Award
2010 International Cue Collectors Show held in Sarasota, Florida October 2010
Squared »

Trailblazers Award
August 2017
The International Cue Collectors Association started a new award and called it the “Trailblazers Award”. Richard Black was the first recipient and was immediately followed by Ernie Gutterriz and Paul Drexler. The criteria for this award are: Cue Making Excellence, Innovation and Creativity, Benchmark Designs, Industry Leadership and ICCS Participant for at least three years.

  Hall of Fame

December 2017
The International Cue Makers Assoc. inducted Richard into their Hall of Fame. The criteria for this honor is having built cues for at least 25 years and made significant contributions to the industry.

March 2009
The American Cuemakers Association inducted Richard into their "Hall of Fame". He is the twelth inductee and is now on the selection committee for future nominations to the "Hall". A new inductee is voted in every other year.

ACA Induction
Peoples Choice Award

Chantilly Gold (a 1993 creation) was chosen as the "Peoples' Choice" at the 2007 International Cue Collectors Show held in Houston, TX
Chantilly Gold »
Chantilly Gold

Winner of The Josswest Prize

The Josswest Prize is to identify and reward the cuemaker who, in their opinion, has done the most with new technology and has applied it to extending the design possibilities of cue design.

Winner of the Best of Show "Silver Medal" at the 1999 Gallery Gala in New York City...the "Athena".

The Greek goddess of war was also worshipped as patroness of the arts and crafts, renowned for her skills as a spinner and weaver.  This paradoxical blend of the aggressive and the artistic is reflected in this cue which has been two years in the making.  Inspired in part by the features of an early nineteenth century cue from France, Athena is an eclectic mix of colors, patterns and materials.  An aggressive, almost brash range of colors greets the eye.  The strong diamond patterning of ebony and camateo in the handle contrasts with the curly patterning of amarath in the nose, and with the madrone burl in the butterfly patterns adorning the handle.  Inlays of abalone, mother-of-pearl and silver provide a rich enhancement.  The patterning at the base of the handle is a conventional diamond approach which is in stark contrast to the delicate, fern-like silver inlay which appears to meander in almost whimsical fashion from the tips of the points, up and around the handle.

For a more detailed look at the "Athena" go to the Gallery Cues section.

(click on picture to see full size)


"The Chantilly" is now residing at the National Museum of American History in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.  The following information accompanied the gift from R.C. Helmstetter to the NMAH

The story behind the Chantilly follows:

In 1994, I began a project to design a cue based on a piece of fabric.  Although the result bears no resemblance to the original fabric design, it was that inspiration that got me started in a direction.  By sketching and ‘doodling’, I stumbled first on what I called the Pagoda design inlays and then connected them with loops, or ‘horseshoes’, to complete a ring around the cue.

At this point I envisioned a cue with this ring on each side of the wrap area and no other inlay.  I made that cue and called it the "Chantilly’s Ring".  It had ivory inlays into ebony.  It was very striking in that the complex rings complimented the simplicity of the solid black wood.

Then I decided I wanted to carry the design on and inlay complimentary points and butt sleeve inlays to create a dynamic design flow - something I had learned about from Bas Poulos (Director of Art and Art History at Rice University).  In 1993, I had won an award for "Best Design of Show" at a cue show and Poulos was one of the judges.   Since I felt many of my other designs were far superior to what the panel judged ‘Best’, I sought out the judges and asked them for their criteria and learned about ‘Dynamic Design flow’.

My effort was to start in the nose area and have a long, thin point inlay that would move the eye to the first of the ring designs.  Then pick up on the other side of the wrap area with additional rings and inlays that would draw the eye but not captivate it.   This was all accomplished by using one material for inlay and one ‘field’ wood, limiting the colors involved.

The wood I choose was Cacique (Ka-see-kay), a South American rosewood species that is a favorite of mine because of its stability and consistent manner of transmitting shock waves.  I have always been enamoured with the beautiful hues of the various rosewoods, but usually lean to the more active grain configurations of Brazilian, Madagascar or Coco Bolo.  In this case I felt Cacique, with its shrimp coloring and inactive grain pattern was a better route.  The "Chantilly" was born.

This cue has appeared on the TV show "Collectibles" and inspired one more "Chantilly" creation.  The "Chantilly Gold" is the last of this very limited edition and I consider it to be the most beautiful cue I’ve ever made.   The "Chantilly Gold" was premiered at the World Nine Ball Championships, Chicago, October 1997 and was shown at the Gallery of American Cue Art, New York, January 1998.

The "Chantilly" is from the collection of Richard C. Helmstetter, cue builder, cue collector and most importantly - cue aficionado.

"Man of the Year" - Houston Pocket Billiards Association - 1975
National 8-Ball League - ‘for your continuing support and promotion’ - 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994
"Best of Show" - ACA Cue Expo - Houston, TX , Spring 1993
Texas A&M Pocket Billiards Club- ‘In appreciation for your support and hospitality’ - "North American Challenge" - 1997
North American Challenge II - ‘In appreciation for your outstanding contribution and support’ - 1998
Silver Award "Best of Show", 1999 Gallery Gala, for "Athena"
Steve Mizerak’s Complete Book of Pool - dedicated "to Richard Black for renewing my interest in pool" - 1990
Tom and Dan Birkbeck’s watercolor - "Legendary Cuemaker" - 1994
Inclusion in the Billiard Encyclopedia - 1994
Inclusion in the Blue Book of Pool Cues - 1996
Inclusion in the Art of American Cuemakers Calendar - 1998
Invitation to display cues at the Gallery of American Cue Art - 1998
Member of…..
The American Cuemakers Association (ACA) -

Formed to advance the art of cuemaking as a unique American Art form by establishing and maintaining high standard for American made cues and cue products, to educate the public, promote the collecting of cues, and to cooperate with other organizations engaged in billiards promotions whose objectives are compatible with the ACA.

The Academy of American Cue Art (AACA)

Formed principally to promote the "Gallery of American Cue Art" (GACA) which is dedicated to promoting and exhibiting the functional art form of cuemaking.  The GACA provides a quality venue to display and sell the artful creations of many of America’s finest cue artisans and encourages its invited participants to ‘push the envelope’ and go beyond the traditional boundaries of design and creativity.  By virtue of expanding the craftsmen’s horizons, the functional art form of cuemaking takes on new dimensions that provide a lasting tribute to expression and talent.

March, 1999 saw RIchard's Rhapsody cue on the popular TV show "The Pretender".
Over the past 25 years, Richard and his cues have been featured and mentioned in many TV shows, magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals.  The following is a partial list.
Houston Post Newspaper
Jul 1976

The National Billiard News
Feb 1977

Austin American-Statesman
Jul 1977

Texas Monthly Magazine
Sep 1977

Houston Chronicle Newspaper
Nov 1977

Houston Party Line
Apr 1978
Houston City Magazine
Dec 1978

American Billiard Review
Jan 1979

Eyes of Texas (TV)
May 1980

Houston City Magazine
Nov 1982

Houston Digest Newsletter
Jul 1983

Esquire Magazine
Nov 1983

Houston Chronicle
Nov 1983

Houston Post Newspaper
Nov 1983

Austin American-Statesman
Nov 1983

The National Billiard News
Jun 1984

Chicago Tribune
Aug 1985

Bottom Line Personal
Aug 1987

Billiard Life Magazine
Jul 1988

Playboy Magazine
Oct 1989

Complete Book of Pool

The Snap Magazine
Apr 1990

The Snap Magazine
May 1991

Houston Post Newspaper
Sep 1991

The Clipper Newsletter
Sep 1991

New York Times Magazine
Feb 1992

Robb Report Magazine
Mar 1993

The National Billiard News
Apr 1993

Pool and Billiard Magazine
Apr 1993

Billiards Digest Magazine
Apr 1993

Michigan Pool Magazine
Apr 1993

The American Cueist
May 1993

Pool and Billiard Magazine
May 1993

Billiards Bulletin
May 1993

European Billiard News
Oct 1993

Michigan Pool Magazine
Apr 1993

The Billiard Encyclopedia

Rice University Sallyport
Feb 1994

Pool and Billiard Magazine
Oct 1994

World Billiard Magazine
Dec 1994

Private Clubs Magazine
May 1995

Norm at Work (TV)
Jun 1995

Humble Observer
Jun 1995

Pool and Billiard Magazine
Oct 1995

American Cueist Magazine
Oct 1995

Pen World Magazine
Nov 1995

Pool and Billiard Magazine
Jan 1996

All About Pool
Jan 1996

National Billiard News
Jan 1996

Billiards Digest
Feb 1996

Texas Business Magazine
Feb 1996

Head Spot Newsletter
Spring 1996

USA Today
Aug 6, 1996

Men’s Perspective Magazine
Sep 1996

Departures Magazine
Jan 1998

Robb Report
Nov 1996

Blue Book of Pool Cues

Autumn 1997

Billiards Digest
Mar 1998

National Billiard News
Mar 1998

Pool & Billiard
Apr 1998

Real Money
Spring 1998

Gallery Art Catalog

Art of Cuemakers Calendar

Houston Chronicle
Mar 2001