Magic Chalk Review & Comparison
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Magic Chalk Review & Comparison - 03-20-2016, 12:14 PM

I was one of the recipients of ChicagoRJ's Magic Chalk giveaway and promised a review. It's been slow in coming because, free or not, I had a $5 cube of chalk and I didn't want to leave it on a table somewhere, so I've used it sparingly until I could get to the store for a chalk holder. After playing with it in a tournament yesterday, I feel I've used it enough to have formed an impression of it. Be warned that because I am trying to write a thoughtful review, but the subject matter is chalk, this will probably be a wordy and uninspired review. If you like exclamation points, you probably won't find any here.

First, I am not in either of the two extreme camps: those who reject anything over $0.40 as snake oil; nor those who are willing to spend $30 on a piece of chalk. I generally believe that chalk is chalk, as Dr. Dave nicely demonstrated (http://billiards.colostate.edu/threads/chalk.html). It won't improve your game. I have played with chalk that will actually hurt your game, but that's a rare piece of chalk. Masters and even Silver Cup will do the job. However, I also will not hesitate to make use of something that just feels better than the standard, if it's around the cost of a beer but will last me months. Still, a $5 cube of chalk? Even as I write this positive review, I hesitate to commit myself to spending quite that much on chalk.

The Magic Chalk joins two other brands that I've been carrying in my case. I try to always have a small box of Masters on hand. It's cheap and it's an excellent chalk. I keep this available as a donation to any table that has nothing but drilled out or broken chalk. It's the standard for most, and I've shot with it for years without really wanting anything different.

Several months ago, I shot with a guy who put a piece of Predator on the table. I made use of it, and found that I preferred it over Masters. What I noticed there was a softer feel to my hit that I liked. A few days later a friend was headed to the billiards shop and I asked her to pick me up some. I got a tube of 5 chalks for around $7 and it's been my primary chalk ever since. I don't notice any performance difference between it and Masters, but the softness of the hit lends itself to a smoothness in my stroke that I like. I also haven't noticed the messiness of Predator chalk that others complain about. Maybe I'm just a slob but it doesn't strike me as noticeably different than my usual Masters.

Magic Chalk is an interesting contrast to Predator. Where Predator feels soft and smooth, Magic Chalk has a roughness to it that took me by surprise. I intended to review it after the first time I used it, but I didn't because I thought my stroke was just off that day. Sometimes when I'm tired or unfocused, I'll become a little heavy handed, banging at the balls without any smoothness, and I felt like that must have been one of those days even though I was shooting just fine. My experience with Magic Chalk since then informs me that it's the feel of the chalk that gives that roughness to the stroke. It's actually close to the feeling of miscuing a draw shot and accidentally jumping the cueball. There's that kind of bite to it.

But I'm not miscuing. If Magic Chalk lacks the softness that I appreciate in the Predator, it makes up for it by being wonderfully reliable in its hold on the tip and grip on the cueball. Magic Chalk actually lends me more confidence in my stroke when it comes to shots that are difficult to execute due to the precision of stroke required. I feel I have just a little more room for error when reaching deep for an extreme draw to avoid a scratch or come back off the rail across the table from a long cut shot. Yes, I am arguing that Magic Chalk actually has some performance benefit over Masters and all other chalks I've tried.

Dr. Dave's tests focused on the number of hits before a miscue to make comparisons between chalks. Magic Chalk was the only real standout in this regard, except that my other preferred chalk, Predator, stood out as one of the worst. Neither of these matter to me, as Dr. Dave also points out that any chalk he tested performs just fine when applied between every shot. I have never understood not wanting to chalk between every shot. The only times that I do not are when I have a simple three ball runout in front me that doesn't require any difficult stroke or positioning. Nonetheless, for the sake of this review I will add that I've tested Magic Chalk's persistence myself and you can indeed get through a rack with only one application. I might feel confident to get through a few strokes with one application, but I will continue to apply before every turn at the table, every rack, and any time I'm using any stroke that is not center ball.

The conclusion to my review is yet to be determined. I purchased a chalk holder for it yesterday after liking it for the tournament, so I will be using it as my primary chalk. When my free cubes run out I imagine I'll be switching back to the Predator that's still in my case. However I feel about that switch when it happens will decide whether I am willing to drop $10 for two more pieces of Magic Chalk. For now I can only say that I suspect I just might.
  
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03-21-2016, 02:42 AM

Thank you for noticing the different feel of the hit with Magic Chalk. For me it means that I'm cueing much more accurately.
Also great that you played the most important chalks right now side by side (save Blue Diamond which I rate better than Predator and equally smooth).

Cheers,
M
  
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03-21-2016, 04:15 AM

I had occasion to try Magic Chalk this weekend as a friend recently purchased some.

Little mess, clean to use. It provides amazing grip as well. What I liked most about it was the way it felt applying it. It has a different feel, rough, unusual but interesting. I liked it enough that I'm going to buy & try some for awhile.

I have a question for those who have used it awhile. Do you notice quicker wear of your tips? I wonder about this as it has a very gritty feel when applying that I rather enjoyed but it made me wonder how this would affect tip wear.


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03-21-2016, 04:38 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bank it View Post
I have a question for those who have used it awhile. Do you notice quicker wear of your tips? I wonder about this as it has a very gritty feel when applying that I rather enjoyed but it made me wonder how this would affect tip wear.
The gritty feel does go away a bit when you wear down your cube a little. Still a bit coarser than BlueDiamond in general.

No, no quicker wear. I still do regular scuffing of my tips.
  
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03-21-2016, 07:25 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by M.G. View Post
Thank you for noticing the different feel of the hit with Magic Chalk. For me it means that I'm cueing much more accurately.
Also great that you played the most important chalks right now side by side (save Blue Diamond which I rate better than Predator and equally smooth).

Cheers,
M
A couple of years ago someone left some Blue Diamond behind on a table and I tried it out for a couple of weeks. I prefer Masters over that one. I don't remember what it was that I didn't like about it but I do remember that I thought it was great for my hard breaking tip but didn't care for it on my player.
  
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03-21-2016, 01:26 PM

I like the Russian magic chalk a lot.
The only downside is it kept trying to invade the table next to me.


Playng cue- Troy Downey
Back up cue - The Mighty Lucasi Cocobolo
Still straighter than 90 % of all Meucci cues ever made
"Russian Magic Chalk- good enough to steal".

Russian Magic chalk is the nuts.
Its so good my last and only cube was stolen off the table when I went to the bath room.
They left my $1000 cue but stole my chalk, how strong is that?


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03-21-2016, 02:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by measureman View Post
I like the Russian magic chalk a lot.
The only downside is it kept trying to invade the table next to me.
That's what the pocket chalker's for. Quit Putin your fancy chalk on the table.
  
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03-27-2016, 09:15 AM

I bought my first box of Magic Chalk December 07, 2014. It is all I will use. It works a little better than Masters for me. But it is so clean, I can play all night and my hands are still clean. It lasts a lot longer than any chalk I have ever seen. I have not used up a cube yet. I have three that I have used about 1/4 up. I chalk every shot. Usually with the chalk in my bridge hand.
  
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12-31-2016, 09:27 PM

Just an update to my original review. After 9 months and counting I'm nearing the end of my free trial with Magic Chalk. I just sent along a payment for two more boxes while my Predator chalk sits nearly untouched with my backup cue in my backup case at work. While it stung a little to send off $17 for four more pieces, I've clearly decided it's worth it.
  
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01-06-2017, 01:16 AM

My box of Magic Chalk must be different than any other cause it's horrid messy. After a few hours my hands are atrociously blue. Love the chalk so I just wash my hands every so often. Only chalk I've found messier was orig. Kamui. Brian.
  
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