Product Review: Katana Low Deflection Shaft

 

product review
yep, I do these on occasion

A few weeks back, PoolDawg.com sent me a Katana Low Deflection Shaft for a test drive. The shaft came in its own silken orange — sock — with a little button on the end for a closure. Fancy!

Oh, before I go further, my Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Disclosure about what I received for doing this product review:

A Katana Low Deflection Shaft which came in its own silken orange — sock — with a little button on the end for a closure. Fancy!

Moving on…

I hadn’t heard much about the Katana so I popped on over to the PoolDawg site and this is what I found:

Katana Low Deflection Shaft
“There are low deflection shafts and then there is Katana. This brand new entry into the performance shaft market drastically reduces cue ball deflection while increasing overall playability. Every Katana shaft is constructed with 10 pieces of radial lamination, a shorter 3/8″ ferrule and the new 12.5mm Katana Tip by Tiger. Turn your pool cue into a deadly weapon with Katana.”

Having read that, it was then off to pool room to try the doohickey out.

Shaft

The first thing I noticed about the Katana shaft was its fairly strong taper. It also had a small tip and a very short ferrule.

Cue

I paired the Katana shaft with a cocobolo plain-jane (my first custom cue, ever) by noted cuemaker Jim Buss. (If you actually are curious as to what my first custom cue looks like, it’s the second one from the right but without a stainless steel joint.) With the shaft, the entire cue weighed about 19.5 ounces.

Table & Balls

Seven-foot Valley bar table with a cue ball the same size as the object balls.

Drivers

OMGWTF (average league hack)
Compared to the original shaft that came with the cue, the Katana definitely had a stiffer hit. There was no doubt about that. I tried several different basic shots and the shots that made the most difference for the better with the Katana were draw shots and shots where the object ball was on the rail and required high-inside to cut it in. The Katana definitely made applying inside english much easier.

Marc (league operator)
Marc had a lot of fun trying out extreme english using the Katana. Check out the shot he did below.

 

The object ball and cue ball are very close — less than a half-inch apart. He actually shoots this ball by putting such extreme english across the face of the cue ball that it is a legal hit AND it draws the ball. You can hear the observers call it “cross-face” english. I’ve always thought “cross-face” sounded more like a kind of punch. Or a sour expression. But, no. In this case, it really is like punching the cue ball with a right hook. Here’s another view of the same kind of shot, also done by Marc (…and there’s mild profanity in this clip…).

Gary (one of the top league players)
Gary uses (and completely swears by) a Predator Z shaft, which is also a low-deflection shaft with a strong taper and smaller-than-average tip. After playing with the Katana for a while, he affirmed in some surprise that it played almost exactly like the Predator Z shaft. If this is true, then a Katana is a better buy since it costs significantly less.

The Predator Z shaft from PoolDawg.com is listed at $237.15 while the Katana shaft is listed at $143.20.

Gilbert (EXCEPTIONAL 3-cushion billiards player and a dang fine pool player, too)
Gilbert, who is a man of few words and ridiculous stroke, also tried out the Katana. Here’s one of the shots he tried. Once again, the cue ball and object ball are very close together — but not frozen.

Although Gilbert’s intention was for the cue ball to go completely around the four-ball, there’s still no denying that this shot is a legal shot and would totally have your opponent contorting in fear if you whipped it out during a match.

Conclusion

Everyone who tested the Katana shaft agreed it was a typical low-deflection shaft.

If I were given a choice between playing with the Katana or the original shaft that came with the Jim Buss, I would play with the Katana. I do not feel it made a significant enough difference for me to switch from my current playing shaft (the standard shaft that comes with a Sugartree cue).

Gary felt it played very close to, if not exactly like, the more expensive Predator Z shaft.

Both Marc and Gilbert, while they executed many extreme english shots well with the Katana, would not change to the Katana (or perhaps any low-deflection shaft) from their current playing shaft.

All agreed the orange shaft “sock” was rather funny.