A Light White
A set of micro scales is not an essential item of equipment but it can be useful if there is ever any dispute about the relative weights of the balls within a set, especially the cue ball.
On this set of scales, the 1/0 symbol is the on/off switch, the M symbol will switch between metric and imperial measure with the lower case ‘g’ in the top left corner of the screen indicating grams and changing to a lower case ‘oz’ to indicate ounces with a press of the symbol. The T is the Tare symbol and C will turn on the back light.
Pressing ‘Tare’ will eliminate any item being weighed that is not needed in the final reading and pressing this symbol with anything on the weighing pad will result in a reading of 0.0. This will become important when weighing balls, which will certainly roll off the weighing pad without something to hold them there. I always use a block of chalk for this as it is perfect for the purpose and there is always one handy. A ring, if one is worn that can be easily slipped off a finger, will also admirably suffice.
As can be seen here this chalk block weighs 14.8 gms which would otherwise be added to the weight of the ball without the use of the T, but after it is pressed the scales are then ready to take the ball and give an accurate reading.
With the ball balanced on the chalk block it is then a simple matter of reading the display window and putting an end to any arguments or complaints, or conversely, having accurate knowledge that a ball needs replacing, whereupon the correct action can be instigated.
This cue ball weighs 139.5 gms. and if from a 1G set would not be more than 1 gm. heavier or lighter than any other ball from within that set. According to the official rules it is allowed to be up to 3 gms. heavier or lighter but not more or less.
It is often the case in venues with multiple tables which have enough sets of balls to accommodate them all being used concurrently that sets can become mixed over time. It can also be the case that balls will get chipped or scratched with prolonged use, with the ‘good balls’ being put together in one set and the set with one or more chipped or scratched balls being the one used as a last resort.
It is also true that the cue balls are most likely to be the ones with damage and good centre managers will replace them as necessary but often without checking the weights. It is because of this and the other circumstances outlined, that ball sets in some venues can have balls that are not of the original set and can often be outside the parameters explained above.
The most common complaint is that the cue ball is ‘a light white’ and experienced players will soon pick up this fact from the reactions of the ball in the course of a stroke, either in striking other balls or a cushion or from the amount of spin that can or cannot be imparted. This is a valid complaint and even without a set of scales a referee must be prepared to change a ball or a set of balls upon the request of a player with the agreement of their opponent. Sec.1 Rule 2b.
The cue ball in the example shown was not from the set photographed which was indeed a 1G set where all the balls were between 141.0 gms and 141.4 gms. and even though it would be acceptable under the rules as they stand to use it, it would still be 1.5 gms lighter than the lightest ball in the set and almost 2 gms lighter than the heaviest and could therefore still be described as a light white.