My father in law and I tried and sort of succeeded in summer 07 at turning a cue. To do it on a wood lathe is not as precise as a metal lathe or a cue lathe but it can be done despite what alot of people who want to make a buck off of you, would have you believe. You can purchase what you need as far as joint collars, pins, brass inserts, butt caps, ferrules and tips at attlas billiards website. Birds eye or hard rock maple are your best bet for shaft wood. For the butt it all depends on how exotic or detailed you want to go. I used long leaf pine for the butt/handle. The cue has no points or inlays and is off at the joint by a nat hair. I learned some great lessons in humility and patience when we did it and it made me want to learn more so my later efforts would be better. To turn it on a wood lathe you NEED the following:
A Jacobs chuck for the tail stock
Pin jaws for your chuck
at least 1 steady rest two would be better
lots of sand paper 100-at least 2400 wet/dry
I started with the butt/handle and will again. Make sure that you have center marked by a scratch awl on a 2in x 2in or 1.5 x 1.5in stock of whatever wood you want. True the wood round. Mark 29 in total length and laeve room for waste at both ends. Determine what end you wil use for the joint. Attach your jacobs chuck and makes sure it is as level as possible (This can a take a while to line up) Take dry runs with the chuck while the lathe is off so you can ensure you get the hole for the joint pin as presise as possible. Mark the depth of the pin in tape on the drill bit you use to drill the hole. I recomend starting with smaller bits and widening the hole in progressive diameters with larger bits. The reason two steady rests are needed is because of the presision needed for the joint work. I got away with using 1 but two would be better.
Dry fit the joint pin.. Once it's to the depth you desired remove the butt from the lathe. Take your maple shaft stock mark center and true it on the lathe. Repeat the same steps from the butt piece joint work this time you are trying to get the brass insert in the shaft portion. NOTE: Taps for the joint pins only exist on attlas, cuecomponants or McDurmott's webpages and they are expensive. I will be honest and admit I didn't use a tap for the joint pin. I glued it and filled with epoxy and a filler. I was after a good bit of effort, able to find a tap for the brass inserts at a local metal shop.
Once you have the joint pin and brass inserts dry fit you can start working on the taper. You will need a template to work from. (An old cue) Mark the shaft or butt wihcever piece you taper first every 3in. Use the calipers to guauge the diameter of the 3in area you will turn first from the corisponding 3in area on the template cue. Use a parting tool to get the depth and continue checking with the calipers. Once you have the depth right use a spindle gouge to take the 3in area down to the depth (leave it slightly oversized for the sake of sanding later) Do this the entire length up the shaft and butt.
Once you have an oversized taper you need to get the steady rests again so you can cut tenons at the joint. Use calipers again to gauge the interior diameter of the joint collar. Cut the tenon(s) and dry fit the joint collar(s). You can use phenolic plastic or metal or both. If you can chase threads on the tenon do it. Again I am not as skilled so I did not. I just glued/epxoied them in place.
The rest is sanding and finishing and because I don't want to run on too much I will stop here. Sand like someone else is paying for the paper. Sand in one direction so as not to create un even spots.
This is the shortest possible description I could give on the subject. There is 10,000 more words I could add on this and I am far from proficient at this. But I remember how the lack of info angered me when I tried so I will help you or anyone out who wants to try this out. Ask me anything and I shall try to help. Again I am no expert