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Popcorn
01-03-2004, 05:45 PM
I was just looking at one I have and it occurred to me, I have never seen a Balabushka with birdseye maple. One that I have is from a Burton Spain blank. At the time the cue was made, Spain was producing cues with the birdseye so commonly seen in pointed cues, same with Szamboti. It would lead me to assume that Balabushka ordered blanks made with clear maple instead of birdseye. I wonder if he had a reason for doing so? Of course there may be Balabushas with birdseye, although I don't recall seeing any. Just curious.

BLACKHEART
01-03-2004, 06:18 PM
I think I remember reading, that Harvey Martin would only use straight grained maple in his Qs. If I remember right, he was also the 1st one to use the 3/8-10 screw, to join the shaft to the butt...JER

Popcorn
01-03-2004, 08:02 PM
I had a Martin cue and it was all birdseye with an ivory joint, no points. I think he made a lot of cues like that. Jerry Franklin made me a cue that I ordered with a plain maple nose and six ebony points, three high and three low with no veneers. I think it is the only cue he made like that. I sold it to a cue collector named Campbell, I think he was from Texas. He made an offer I could not refuse. If he reads this board, (I bet he does), he will remember me. I had cues from Billy Stroud and Ginacue also made with plain straight grain maple. I like the way it looks with ebony points. It can be simple yet elegant. My Ginacue had eight points, four high four low. I once had a Joss all birdseye with a brown leather wrap, a plain but beautiful cue. I dropped it on a carpeted floor one night and it broke about four inches behind the joint. I could not believe a piece of wood almost an inch thick could break so easy. I think that birdseye can be very weak sometimes.

BLACKHEART
01-03-2004, 10:32 PM
SORRY POPCORN,you are right. I stand corrected. I looked in my BILLIARDS ENCYCLOPEDIA & it was the opposite of what I had remembered, he liked to use BIRDSEYE ONLY...JER

tateuts
01-03-2004, 11:56 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> It would lead me to assume that Balabushka ordered blanks made with clear maple instead of birdseye. I wonder if he had a reason for doing so? Of course there may be Balabushas with birdseye, although I don't recall seeing any. Just curious. <hr /></blockquote>

Balabushka didn't want birdseye because he felt it was inferior to straight grain maple. This came up when Szamboti was supplying Balabushka blanks toward the end of George's career (life) and he insisted on no birdseye. This is documented in the Billiards Encylopedia under "Gus Szamboti".

This makes a lot of sense because he used Titlist blanks for many years, and Rambow also liked straight grain maple. I am sure when Balabuska switched over to Spain blanks, he ordered them straight grain only, as he did with Szamboti. As a hobbist woodworker (but not a cuemaker) myself, I know how unstable birdseye can be. I can see why it would not be the first choice for durability on a cue makers list. I don't know who first started using birdseye in cues, but I am guessing Harvey Martin made it widely popular.

Chris

Popcorn
01-04-2004, 01:20 AM
You are exactly right. I just went and looked at the Billiard Encyclopedia. I have to admit, I have had the book for years but never read much of it. Interesting to see that very thing addressed specifically.

Fred Agnir
01-04-2004, 07:16 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I was just looking at one I have and it occurred to me, I have never seen a Balabushka with birdseye maple. One that I have is from a Burton Spain blank. At the time the cue was made, Spain was producing cues with the birdseye so commonly seen in pointed cues, same with Szamboti. It would lead me to assume that Balabushka ordered blanks made with clear maple instead of birdseye. I wonder if he had a reason for doing so? Of course there may be Balabushas with birdseye, although I don't recall seeing any. Just curious. <hr /></blockquote> I think I read that Balabushka believed that straight-grained maple "played better."

Fred

Rod
01-05-2004, 10:49 AM
[ QUOTE ]
I once had a Joss all birdseye with a brown leather wrap, a plain but beautiful cue. I dropped it on a carpeted floor one night and it broke about four inches behind the joint. I could not believe a piece of wood almost an inch thick could break so easy. I think that birdseye can be very weak sometimes.
<hr /></blockquote>

I saw a birdseye butt literally break in half while the player was shooting. The cue was fairly new and the mfg, McDermott, would not honor a warranty.

Rod