What is the purpose for the ferrule?
The main purpose for the ferrule is to protect the wood on the end of the shaft. A ferule does allow one to change the tip without damaging the shaft wood, and it might help distribute the impact forces to the shaft during tip impact. The ferrule also affects the look, feel (“hit”), and sound of the cue. A smaller and lighter ferrule results in less squirt (since the ferrule material is typically heavier than wood).
Purpose for a ferrule:
* “Intended” to protect end grain.
* Better base for adhering tip.
* Allows for better facing of surface during a re-tipping, plus no wood removal to shorten shaft length over time.
* Protects shaft from poor chalking technique.
* Acts as a buffer to help retain shaft diameter during ‘maintenance’.
* Style and appearance. Same as any other ring work.
* Really nothing to be gained by not having one. (end mass can be equaled or even reduced with the right ferrule material)
from Cornerman (concerning why a ferrule is used):
Tradition. It’s a good bet that a ferrule pre-dates the tip. Chalk pre-dates the tip which means shafts were subject to split ends and needed protection or repair. With a tip and pad, no ferrule is needed.
… there are almost endless materials to make ferrules out of including the pool balls themselves. Ferrules can be lighter than the wood, heavier than the wood, stronger than the wood, weaker than the wood, stiffer than the wood, more flexible than the wood, on and on. In addition the adhesive use to hold the ferrule on may offset the tiny difference in weight savings of some ferrules.
The ferrule was developed long before we had the quality adhesives that we have now. The pads we use now serve the same purpose the ferule once did, to keep the wood from splintering. Note that ivory ferules normally have a pad installed to prevent them from splintering.
Ferrules are decorative, they may help us aim by giving us an easier to see point to focus on, and they can be chosen to serve a purpose, mostly giving a softer hit. A hard ferrule stiffens the hit compared to a soft ferule but I’m pretty skeptical of a hard ferule and 29″ of wood giving an detectably stiffer hit than 30″ of the same wood. What the hard ferrule may do is change the sound of the hit a little.