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In the mid-1900s, America held the keys to most of the manufacturing in the world. Cars, furniture, and consumer products were all made in the United States. This is part of the reason for products of that era have such a distinct look. Companies wanted their employees to take pride in what they were making.
Nowadays, everything is made abroad. Not just cars and furniture, but phones, and even produce will be package in other countries even if it is grown in the United States. Of course, this finds its way into every industry, including pool cues. Even something American designed is made cheaper in China.
Lucasi pool cues are made in Taicang, China. This is for two reasons. The first is that Taicang is home to the Taicang Sunrise Wood Industry Company. These are providers of wood that is used all over the world. The second, more obvious reason is that Chinese factory labor is, simply, cheaper.
Why does this happen? How does this happen? Well, people have written books analyzing this exact thing. In fact, books were written in the 1800s predicting that this would happen. What is the short version?
Why Lucasi Cues (and Everything Else) are Made in China
The reason for this is the most intuitive and obvious: China has more workers available for cheaper. China’s labor laws are such that a factory worker does not have to be paid enough to survive. If a factory worker wants to make enough money to eat food and sleep under a roof, they need to work a ton.
Imagine that the same company that produces the food you eat also owns your apartment, as well as running the factory in which you work. This company can control the cost of all of your survival needs. You have no choice in whether or not you pay for survival needs, so that company would basically own your heartbeat.
Without the law stepping in to protect you, this one company has no incentive to do anything but extract the maximum amount of value from you. This means working you for as long as it can, as hard as it can, while sacrificing as little of its resources to your continued existence as it can.
This is why so many companies use Chinese labor. Not only does the Chinese government not step in to help their workers, but they actively conspire with the corporations to aid in making this exploitation of labor more efficient. China will tank the value of its own currency to make products cheaper than American made goods.
So even as companies like Nike and Abercrombie promote social justice in their publicity, they still make use of an inherently unjust and abusive supply chain. The question then becomes: Is it possible to produce something ethically using Chinese labor? Are there non-abusive companies? Are Lucasi Cues made ethically?
Where and How Lucasi Cues are Made
As mentioned before, Lucasi pool cues are made in Taicang, China. They are manufactured in factories owned and operated by the Taicang Sunrise Wood Industry Company. Hundreds upon thousands of pool cues are fashioned by machines and organized by hand in these factories every single day.
The price point of many Lucasi cues makes it easy to imagine them being carved and detailed by the hand of an artisan. And indeed, an artisan did work on them. Only, it was at the design phase. It is unlikely that any artisan that designed a Lucasi ever touched a pool cue before it was finished.
The Lucasi pool cue is made by a person-operated machine. This is somewhat fortunate, as it means that the process has not been automated to death entirely. This machine starts by “coring” the cue, or using a bladed pipe to turn a piece of wood into the general shape of the pool cue. This is only a first step, however.
Many pool cues are made of more than just one kind of wood. In order to give them a diversity of texture, or a balanced weight, the cues must have one end affixed to another; in short, the pool cue’s heavy back end must be affixed to a lighter top end of a different material.
This difference in material can be done in a number of ways. It can be a sturdier type of wood for the bottom end to give it a classy feel. It can also be a cheaper type of wood wrapped in a material like leather or plastic.
Of course, then additional customizations are added. These are also done by machines, as doing every custom design by hand would be inefficient. The only time human hands touch the pool cues is when they are done and being loaded into crates to be shipped off all over the world.
From there they are transported by semitruck to sports and hobby shops to be sold to you, the consumer.
Why are Lucasi Cues So Expensive
If you want to buy a Lucasi pool cue then you need to part with about $500, you may think that’s expensive, but i feel they are priced well for what you get.
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Lucasi is a premium cue manufacturer, just like Predator, Balabushka, and Mezz. You are going to pay a premium for those cues as they are made differently from mass-produced cues such as say Viking or Viper.
Lucasi didn’t get to where they are today by mass-producing cues, they invested in research and technology and fine-tuned each of their cues accordingly.
Lucasi cues may be made in China where costs are cheaper but their time and research into cues doesn’t come cheap. It’s that attention to detail and their performance that sets them apart from the more affordable cues, and unfortunately, that will cost.
The materials they use to make the cues are also of premium quality, using more exotic woods and beautiful inlays which will make the cue stand out from the rest.
Are Lucasi Cues Ethically Made?
All this talk of automation and workers’ exploitation might have you worried as to the ethics of Lucasi cues’ manufacturing. Fortunately, the Taicang Sunrise Wood Industry Company is reputed as being a rather fair employer. Due to most of its production being machine-aided, its workers are not all that replaceable.
The semi-automated nature of the Lucasi cues’ production might turn off some connoisseurs of pool cues, but if you want truly unique, hand-crafted pool cues you are going to need to shell out more than $300.
The closest thing the Taicang Sunrise Wood Industry Company has to an ethics issue is less related to their production pipeline and more related to their resource gathering techniques. That is to be expected to a degree, since wood harvesting requires a degree of deforestation.
However, it should be noted that as with most wood harvesting companies, this one plants many more trees than it cuts down. The pandemic lowered the output of forestry in the United States while demand stayed the same, resulting in the Taicang Company increasing harvesting rates.
This still did not make them cut down more trees than they planted though. Given all this, you should still judge for yourself whether you want to pay this company to keep making pool cues. Nobody can make the decision for you as to what methods are ethical and which are not.