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TommyT
02-24-2005, 11:05 AM
Myself and a fellow cue afficiando were discussing George's cues and what made them so special.He put forth the proposition that it was the glue that made his cues play better than others. He claims George had a formula for glue that was superior to the glues other cuemakers were using. The glues in those days were water based. The glue would soak into the wood and would meld the pieces together. The glue today bonds the wood to the glue and not wood to wood. Supposedly George had the right ratio of glue to water,so that it created a better bond. What do you think about this?
TommyT /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

FastJoey
02-24-2005, 11:59 AM
i have heard that the hit was great because of the joint he used..i have never seen an original but have a new replica of one..maybe a collector of an original can chime in here and tell us a few things.......

GeraldG
02-24-2005, 12:23 PM
Well, to be perfectly honest, I've hit balls with original Balabushkas and I didn't find the hit all that special....certainly no better than a number of current custom cues. I wasn't even really all that impressed with the fit and finish.

Pizza Bob
02-24-2005, 12:25 PM
Not sure that I buy the glue theory. What did he glue? He used Titlist blanks (glued by Brunswick) early on and later used Szamboti and Spain blanks, glued by the makers. Also would have to think that today's glue technology has surpassed whatever was available then. Haven't had enough exposure to 'bushka's to formulate an opinion, but the mystique factor has to play a role. JMHO.

Adios,

Pizza Bob

MrLucky
02-24-2005, 12:40 PM
My understanding of what made Georges Cues better from hearing of them from some of the Old Timers, was his work and balance of the cues coming from his being a straight pool lover and his wood craftmanship! Not inlays or designs like the many "FAKE" Balabushkas being passed off for loads of money by so many now and especially after the cult band wagon theme movie <font color="red">The Color of Money!" </font color> His Cues were actually plain but good to play with and used by some very good players in his time! /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Barbara
02-24-2005, 12:47 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MrLucky:</font><hr> His Cues were actually plain but good to play with and used by some very good players in his time! /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif <hr /></blockquote>

I would have to disagree with you on that one. I have been priviledged to have held some of his fanciest works. One had filligreed gold work in the butt.

Not all of them were plain!

Barbara

MrLucky
02-24-2005, 12:53 PM
Was this one of his hand mades or one produced by ADAMS co. which bought the original rights to his name? Many of the ones that are around with his sig are actually not hand mades ! not to say the one you held isn't just curios, He died in 1975 and only produced cues until 1971-72 with 75 a year at his peak many fewer toward the end!
http://allsportsbid.com/whatochoose/balabushka_images/balabushka2.jpg

Deeman2
02-24-2005, 01:00 PM
Mine was made with one of Gus's blanks. I never got to see him work on it as it was almost finished when I got there. I did see the inside of his shop for minute but not while he was working. I have heard he never let anyone see him work but I was 20 years old and never thought much about it then. I had a very minor repair done in about 1977 and the craftsman who had worked on others told me it was the joint that gave it the hit and the shaft that gave it the "kerplunk". Other owners know what I mean.

The stick is a tad over 21 ounces and is way too heavy for me now. My mistake as I had asked for 21 but misjudged how much heavier that would be than my 19 oz. Palmer was then. A collector at Valley Forge (2003) told me I'd be insane to have it lightened up. The fit and finish is as good as I've ever seen on a later example of his work. The collector had six at Valley Forge and his were all less well finished than mine but in fairness, you could tell they had been used a lot more than mine. Mine is 35 years old this year and I can't feel an inlay anywhere. One of the diamond motherof pearl inlays has a small flaw but it was there the day it was made. One of the double rings has a small oxidation mark that appeared in about 1980 but I was told not to even mess with that. I have "given" this cue to my first grandson and only pray he ends up playing pool. He turned two in December and I hope I live to see him run a rack with it. The collector at the expo offered me 91 times what I paid for it. I was unemployed for over a year and sold a lot of things that I loved. I never considered selling it.

That being said, I agree, I have hit with better hitting cues. My Schon hits better. Both my shafts are original but both show almost no runout on an indicator after all these years. It has never been in a hot car or left in the cold. If I'd only taken that good care of my body, life would be great.

I tried to buy another from Fran back in about 1999 but she never would give me a price. The only other one I hit with was Steve Miserack's "Dove" cue in about 1980 and it hit a tad better than mine, he agreed after he hit with mine but said mine was much prettier. His was very plain as most are.

SPetty
02-24-2005, 01:11 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman2:</font><hr> I have "given" this cue to my first grandson and only pray he ends up playing pool. He turned two in December and I hope I live to see him run a rack with it. The collector at the expo offered me 91 times what I paid for it. <hr /></blockquote>Or, pragmatically speaking, you could sell the cue now and give your first grandson a fine prepaid college education!

Barbara
02-24-2005, 01:15 PM
Oh this was an original all right! Trust me, it was breathtaking!

Barbara

Pizza Bob
02-24-2005, 01:16 PM
Trust me when I say, Barbara KNOWS the difference!

Adios,

Pizza Bob

Deeman2
02-24-2005, 01:25 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote SPetty:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Deeman2:</font><hr> I have "given" this cue to my first grandson and only pray he ends up playing pool. He turned two in December and I hope I live to see him run a rack with it. The collector at the expo offered me 91 times what I paid for it. <hr /></blockquote>Or, pragmatically speaking, you could sell the cue now and give your first grandson a fine prepaid college education! <hr /></blockquote> <font color="blue"> I paid his mother's way through UT, then three years of Notre Dame Law Scholl, she then worked four months at a law frim after passing the bar and retired! I think I'll let her pay his way, she can certainly afford it better than I. She does do charity law work but essemtially stays home with the kids. (Two of 'em now). </font color>

Deeman
Domer daughter made me poor... /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

Popcorn
02-24-2005, 01:27 PM
I', not sure he did anything special. Secret glues and all are a myth. He joined the butts a little different then some cue makers today but for the most part he was a guy in a garage putting together cues. One of his biggest advantages may have been where he lived. The East coast area players began playing with his cues and when someone like Crane is using one it gives added credibility. There were not many cue makers period anyway and they had to use something and a Balabushka was as good as any. I've played with quite a few and still have a couple that I like to play with. They aren't pristine because I used them a lot but they are still Bushka's. I had a couple more I sold to Rick G. that I wish I still had one was very ornate for a Balabushka and would be worth three times what I sold it for today. Below are the two I still have and they still play good. One is a Titlist type there is one similar to it in the Billiard Encyclopedia and the other is just a plain four point from Burton S. blank.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid159/p7b9673a97bdabae86805ce215025abfc/f5053a91.jpg

Barbara
02-24-2005, 01:30 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Pizza Bob:</font><hr> Trust me when I say, Barbara KNOWS the difference!

Adios,

Pizza Bob <hr /></blockquote>

Thanks Pizza Bob! Yes, My Cueman taught me very well about ID-ing old cues. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Barbara

Popcorn
02-24-2005, 01:41 PM
I doubt anyone with a brain in their head will be fooled by the new Adams cues.

Deeman2
02-24-2005, 01:47 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MrLucky:</font><hr> Was this one of his hand mades or one produced by ADAMS co. which bought the original rights to his name? <font color="blue"> Richard Helmstetter designed a line of ADAMS that looked remarkably like some of the more ornate originals. and Barb, as usual, is right, while most of his early stuff was very simple, his later works were pretty ornate for the times. Not a Richard Black ornate, mind you, but still very intricate for the early 70's. </font color> Many of the ones that are around with his sig are actually not hand mades ! not to say the one you held isn't just curios, He died in 1975 and only produced cues until 1971-72 with 75 a year at his peak many fewer toward the end! <font color="blue"> His wife, I can't remember if it was Mary or something like that, was the sweetest woman in the world. I had been taught that people in NY would be rude and standoffish (it was my first trip there). She treated me like I was family and feed me my very first, but not last, Ruben sandwich. Mr Balabuska was rather quiet and didn't say a lot. I got the feeling he loved the game and many of the local NY players. We were to go and meet a few players but I had to leave before we could. I remember being surprised he didn't live in a mansion and have a hugh workshop as I had heard of him as the greatest cuemaker in the world even back then and assumed that it was a path to riches, yeah!. I didn't say I was a smart 20 year old. </font color>
http://allsportsbid.com/whatochoose/balabushka_images/balabushka2.jpg <hr /></blockquote>

Deeman
got a parking ticket, still unpaid...

Cueless Joey
02-24-2005, 02:18 PM
All myths imo.
The epoxy these days are harder and are more impact resistant. A friend of mine has a GB collection. One of them has a nasty rattle. It still hits great.
GB's cues hit great because they had better wood then imo.

Popcorn
02-24-2005, 02:24 PM
I was at a tournament and Cannonball Chapman, broke a rack with his Balabushka and the cue fell apart at the beginning of the wrap. He was standing there with two pieces in his hand. They weren't all made great. I had to come back and add this I had forgotten. Rocky Tillis was sitting there and came over and took the cue and said he would fix it for him. He brought the cue back in a couple of days and it was perfect. Cannonball hit some balls and said the cue was better then new, he said there has been something wrong with the cue since he got it but it was great now. He tried to pay Rocky but he wouldn't take anything.

Fred Agnir
02-24-2005, 02:48 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote TommyT:</font><hr> Myself and a fellow cue afficiando were discussing George's cues and what made them so special.He put forth the proposition that it was the glue that made his cues play better than others. <hr /></blockquote>Personally, I think he simply paid closer attention to quality than any other cue maker at the time and was unwilling to compromise. Additionally, he was an innovator of many things that are present in the modern cue.

There was an article done on George Balabushka in the March '04 editions of InsidePool (yours truly) and Billiards Digest (Martyne S. Bachman). I'm not sure about Martyne's article, but the InsidePool article touched on the quality focus.

Fred

Fred Agnir
02-24-2005, 02:55 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote MrLucky:</font><hr> Was this one of his hand mades or one produced by ADAMS co. which bought the original rights to his name? Many of the ones that are around with his sig are actually not hand mades ! not to say the one you held isn't just curios, He died in 1975 and only produced cues until 1971-72 with 75 a year at his peak many fewer toward the end!
http://allsportsbid.com/whatochoose/balabushka_images/balabushka2.jpg <hr /></blockquote> I guarantee you that Barbara knows the difference.

Also, George Balabushka was making cues until he passed away in Dec. '75. He died while making a delivery to the post office. Also Mr. Lucky, of interest to you if you haven't seen it, the March '04 InsidePOOL article on George has a never-before-in-print photo of George with Cisero.

Fred

FastJoey
02-24-2005, 03:23 PM
while we are talking about Balabushka cues what are some of the prices any of you heard that they are selling for? i have heard $8,000.00 to $20,000.00...

Barbara
02-24-2005, 03:39 PM
FJ,

The one I hand my hands on 7 years ago with the filligreed gold work in the butt was estimated by My Cueman to be worth $35,000. /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

And that was 7 years ago. /ccboard/images/graemlins/blush.gif

Barbara

DickLeonard
02-24-2005, 03:41 PM
Popcorn I have an imitattion Bushka similar to the top pictured cue. I asked Peter Balner if he could make me one and he said no problem I sell him all his parts. I will use my screw so it will not be his. I never hit a Balabushka that didn't have a clunk in it. You would hit two or three shots then the dread clunk.

I was at the 74 US open and a fellow had one that he had paid 4200 for and was trying to find out if it was an original. I told him I could tell, I hit 4 shots and then the dread clunk. I said thats an original you can copy his work but that clunk his his trademark.

I hate to think how many of Georges cues I turned down at $90.####

MrLucky
02-24-2005, 09:22 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote MrLucky:</font><hr> Was this one of his hand mades or one produced by ADAMS co. which bought the original rights to his name? Many of the ones that are around with his sig are actually not hand mades ! not to say the one you held isn't just curios, He died in 1975 and only produced cues until 1971-72 with 75 a year at his peak many fewer toward the end!
http://allsportsbid.com/whatochoose/balabushka_images/balabushka2.jpg <hr /></blockquote> I guarantee you that Barbara knows the difference.

Also, George Balabushka was making cues until he passed away in Dec. '75. He died while making a delivery to the post office. Also Mr. Lucky, of interest to you if you haven't seen it, the March '04 InsidePOOL article on George has a never-before-in-print photo of George with Cisero.

Fred
<hr /></blockquote> <font color="red">I would like to see the article ! the reason I said what I did was because George, Basil and Cisero used to play in Basils Pool Room Where I was lucky enough to meet George when I was around 18 years old ! he had 3 cues with him once that he had made All of them were very similar to the pics in the post above perhaps not as ornate! Cisero told me then how his cues were well made! though Cisero was a fan of Palmers work, Whom I have met also, When he presented me my cue which I still have till today! </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

MrLucky
02-24-2005, 09:30 PM
One thing that I remember very well was that his ideology regarding cue making was that... "it was more important to be well made than to look pretty" /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Fred Agnir
02-25-2005, 06:21 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr> Also Mr. Lucky, of interest to you if you haven't seen it, the March '04 InsidePOOL article on George has a never-before-in-print photo of George with Cisero.

Fred
<hr /></blockquote>Whoops. It must have been the April '04 InsidePOOL Magazine edition.

Fred

MrLucky
02-25-2005, 07:46 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr> Also Mr. Lucky, of interest to you if you haven't seen it, the March '04 InsidePOOL article on George has a never-before-in-print photo of George with Cisero.

Fred
<hr /></blockquote>Whoops. It must have been the April '04 InsidePOOL Magazine edition.

Fred <hr /></blockquote> <font color="purple">Thanks ! it was a great article and a good Pic! it seems your article also speaks of Georges views on simplicity of his Cues ! perhaps as he became older he changed! </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif <font color="purple">I hope not but according to Barbaras statement he must of! My uncles high regard for him was based upon his refusal to sell out for the money ! </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

Popcorn
02-25-2005, 11:02 AM
quote
"it was more important to be well made than to look pretty"

I don't think he thought like that. Along with build good playing cues I have to believe he would have been tickled to death to have been able to build some fancy cues. You can see it in some of his cues, even one of the cues I have that is pictures in my other post. It has some colored veneers in the butt in an attempt to fancy it up a little. I think he just did what he could with his limited shop.

MrLucky
02-25-2005, 11:08 AM
Popcorn that was a quote from him! /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif <font color="brown">Perhaps what we have here is a failure to communicate!!! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif The ones in your pic are not what I would be thinking of when I say "pretty"!!! not to say they are bad but in my mind the word pretty I would use to describe my Samsara not your Balabushkas! </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Popcorn
02-25-2005, 02:30 PM
That's what I am saying, he didn't build fancier cues because he couldn't, not by choice. I am not sure he was ever capable of building a spliced butt himself. His cues pale by comparison to the work done by even most beginners building cues today. What I point out in my cue is his feeble effort to add a little fancy touch. Beyond some mother of pearl that he did and that work was average at best, and maybe plastic rings, he could not build a fancy cue. If he actually said what you say he said it sounds like sour grapes. I am sure he saw a Ginacue at that time and wonder what he thought. Burt Schrager told me that the first time he saw the work on the Ginacues at a tournament in Las Vegas he was embarrassed by his own work he had on display. He said he just knew he had to get better.

Fred Agnir
02-25-2005, 04:07 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> That's what I am saying, he didn't build fancier cues because he couldn't, not by choice. I am not sure he was ever capable of building a spliced butt himself. His cues pale by comparison to the work done by even most beginners building cues today. What I point out in my cue is his feeble effort to add a little fancy touch. Beyond some mother of pearl that he did and that work was average at best, and maybe plastic rings, he could not build a fancy cue. If he actually said what you say he said it sounds like sour grapes. I am sure he saw a Ginacue at that time and wonder what he thought. <hr /></blockquote>I often wonder about these points. I've found it odd that he never made the transition to making his own blanks. Nothing suggests that he even tried.

Throughout all the interviews I've done, one thing that strikes me is the different motivations and goals that each cue maker has. I don't know what GB's motivations were, but it almost seemed that he was targeting one Northeast cue maker (Paradise) and striving to make a cue that was opposite if that makes any sense.

I mean, surely he had the drive and the cash to do more inlay work, but I don't think that pushing the inlaying envelope was a motivating goal for him.

That being said, if the Golden Balabushka is truly his, then it's possible he did find that motivation.

Fred

MrLucky
02-25-2005, 04:28 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr> <blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> That's what I am saying, he didn't build fancier cues because he couldn't, not by choice. I am not sure he was ever capable of building a spliced butt himself. His cues pale by comparison to the work done by even most beginners building cues today. What I point out in my cue is his feeble effort to add a little fancy touch. Beyond some mother of pearl that he did and that work was average at best, and maybe plastic rings, he could not build a fancy cue. If he actually said what you say he said it sounds like sour grapes. I am sure he saw a Ginacue at that time and wonder what he thought. <hr /></blockquote>I often wonder about these points. I've found it odd that he never made the transition to making his own blanks. Nothing suggests that he even tried.

Throughout all the interviews I've done, one thing that strikes me is the different motivations and goals that each cue maker has. I don't know what GB's motivations were, but it almost seemed that he was targeting one Northeast cue maker (Paradise) and striving to make a cue that was opposite if that makes any sense.

I mean, surely he had the drive and the cash to do more inlay work, but I don't think that pushing the inlaying envelope was a motivating goal for him.

That being said, if the Golden Balabushka is truly his, then it's possible he did find that motivation.

Fred <hr /></blockquote> <font color="red">It most certainly wasn't when I used to see him in the late sixties ! He was absolutely against making cues as art work and more for the cue itself as the art! I guess as he got toward the end he changed his ways and thoughts! Peace! </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Barbara
02-25-2005, 04:28 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fred Agnir:</font><hr> That being said, if the Golden Balabushka is truly his, then it's possible he did find that motivation.

Fred <hr /></blockquote>

Fred,

You can "stop by in CT" on the way to the Expo and ask for yourself.

Or come on down and ask "you know who".

Barbara

Popcorn
02-25-2005, 04:48 PM
I saw one of those Balabushkas with the gold and it looked like gold chain he had put under a clear plastic ring above and below the wrap. It wasn't an inlay.

Barbara
02-25-2005, 05:20 PM
Popcorn,

This Balabushka cue I saw with the filigreed gold inlay was finely inlayed - I would have to ask Barry if a pantograh machine was involved. It defintietly wasn't under a ring. It was a true inlay.

Barbara

Fred Agnir
02-25-2005, 06:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> I saw one of those Balabushkas with the gold and it looked like gold chain he had put under a clear plastic ring above and below the wrap. It wasn't an inlay. <hr /></blockquote>
The Golden Balabushka is shown in maybe the Billiard Encyclopedia. It's well different than any other Balabushka I've seen.

Fred

Barbara
02-25-2005, 06:48 PM
Nope Fred,

I just looked. It was definitely not photgraphed for public display.

I'm actually sorry I brought this particular cue up for discussion. It's in a private collection.

'Nough said.

Barbara

MrLucky
02-25-2005, 07:30 PM
<font color="purple"> Why be sorry for sharing knowledge and information? </font color> /ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif

FastJoey
02-25-2005, 08:18 PM
as far as George making fancier cues..you have to remember this was in the 50's and 60's ...those cues were in the style of the era..also George was Russian born and the design styles mimmick Russian art work (styles @ colors ect.)..i enjoy the stories of owners of Balabushka cues...keep them coming..tell us about your cues and any stories...

tateuts
02-25-2005, 08:45 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Popcorn:</font><hr> Below are the two I still have and they still play good. One is a Titlist type there is one similar to it in the Billiard Encyclopedia and the other is just a plain four point from Burton S. blank.
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid159/p7b9673a97bdabae86805ce215025abfc/f5053a91.jpg <hr /></blockquote>

Popcorn,

I would like to e-mail you a photo of a forearm from a vey old Palmer I have. I wonder if it's an old Burton Spain forearm like your Balabushka. At first I thought it was an ebony Titlist but the veneers are a little different. I sent you a P.M. thanks.

Chris

BLACKHEART
02-27-2005, 10:48 AM
I bought one, about the time of the Color of Money movie. I paid $1100 for it, kept it for 8-9 years &amp; sold it for 4 times what I paid for it. I was told that the guy who bought it from me, turned a quick $1000 profit. Looking back, maybe neither one of us made a very good deal...JER

Jimmy B
02-28-2005, 03:20 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Barbara:</font><hr> Nope Fred,

I just looked. It was definitely not photgraphed for public display.

I'm actually sorry I brought this particular cue up for discussion. It's in a private collection.

'Nough said.

Barbara <hr /></blockquote>

Barb you and Fred are not talking about the same cue, the cue Fred is talking about is owned by someone in NYC I believe.

JB

Scott Lee
02-28-2005, 03:27 PM
Gerry...I bought one from George himself in 1975, just a few months before he died. I paid $200, for two shafts, and a new Brunswick leather case. I played with the cue for 17 years (even though I owned and played with several other cues, including Ginacue, Schon, and a custom Joss West), and sold it for 20 times what I paid for it, to the girl who started Atlas Billiard Supply. Bill Stroud still refers to me as "the guy who sold a Balabushka to keep a Joss West)! Right after I sold mine, my Mom sent me a copy of Crain's Chicago Business magazine, with a picture of John Wright on the cover, holding two Balabushka cues, valued at $13K &amp; $18K. LOL At the time, she thought I'd NEVER get $4k for that cue. Afterwards, she wrote on the article, "I guess you DID sell it too cheap!" LOL

Scott

tookalooka
03-05-2005, 04:12 PM
I think its important to note (and a great article BTW) that George didn't make blanks BUT he used the best available to him at the time.

Tooka