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The elusive Balabushka gold glitter wedding band ribbon rings
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JoshStodola
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The elusive Balabushka gold glitter wedding band ribbon rings - 02-17-2015, 03:42 PM

Alright folks, we need to get to the bottom of this. We all know this is the unicorn. The holy mystery of ring
work. George Balabushka's infamous gold glitter rings. Wedding band rings. Gold ribbon rings. Foily crap.
Whatever clever name you can come up with next.



I have spent some time trying to hunt this material down lately, with no luck. Apparently I am not alone. Pete
Tascarella told me he has been looking forty years. We have seen a few imitations, most notably the epoxied ribbon
used in some Adams balabushka (made in Japan) limited edition tributes:



Note: these imitations are no longer made, for whatever reason. The Adams tributes now have a cheaper looking
acrylic material.

There are a couple stories floating around of its origin. One, George bought the material at a plumbing supply
store. It was used in faucets and/or as a decoration to plumbing fixtures. This seems to be the most plausible
answer, and I even showed pics of the ringwork to my grandfather who was a plumber 40+ years ago, and he said the
material looked familiar and he remembers similar-looking "sticks" with plastic on the inside, he thought the
metal part is probably brass. The other thing I have heard is that it was used as a decoration for certain musical
instruments, such as an accordion.

Somebody has the answer! Pete Tascarella told me the following facts about the rings, and he has probably seen
more of them than anybody else so I think he would be the most qualified for this type of info:
  • Ring is made of three parts
  • The bottom is a slightly flexible canvas backing
  • The middle is the twisted/colored foil material
  • The top is sealed with a clear coating (possibly acrylic)
  • The foily part is prismatic, meaning it changes color as the light hits it at different angles (gold/red/green)


I have seen similar-looking things, from olive oil bottle caps to garden hose couplers. But I have no idea how one
could finagle such a thing into a pool cue.

I hope that in this thread we can collectively figure this out! Thanks


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cueaddicts
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02-17-2015, 04:23 PM

From what I've heard he was a pretty secretive maker. If guys like Pete T and Bill Schick don't know, it may be just sheer luck uncovering this answer. I know a few cue aficionados who have been searching for a few decades and it's managed to elude them. This is probably the most interesting secret in cue history....lol.


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Last edited by cueaddicts; 02-17-2015 at 04:40 PM.
  
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02-17-2015, 04:46 PM

The gold glitter band is different from the red/gold/green.

JV
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02-17-2015, 05:13 PM

I've also looked everywhere on the planet Without luck. Have found some cool other stuff though

Last edited by LGSM3; 02-17-2015 at 05:35 PM.
  
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02-17-2015, 05:34 PM

Cut one in half and lets find out

Lookings like a brass ring thats been knurled with a straight pattern instead of a diamond.
  
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02-17-2015, 05:54 PM

To me, it almost looks like part of a foil cupcake wrapper.


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02-17-2015, 06:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by classiccues View Post
The gold glitter band is different from the red/gold/green.
Thank you for providing this pic and info!

There are two words I forgot to include in my post. I think they're relevant:

Grosgrain (type of ribbed fabric)


Corrugated (English adjective: shaped into alternate ridges and grooves)


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Corrugated is the word
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Corrugated is the word - 02-17-2015, 06:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Destroyer125 View Post
Lookings like a brass ring thats been knurled with a straight pattern instead of a diamond.
I would agree. Much like the aforementioned garden hose coupler:


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Just my .02
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Just my .02 - 02-17-2015, 07:44 PM

As I have not been around the business nearly long enough to know the answer..... however I am pretty good with "jerry rigging"

Could this have been accomplished with a type of die... hard to explain my thoughts but I will try..

Steady the butt in the lathe, have whatever gold foil decoration in flat form (like a ribbon)... put a round die looking similar to the hose adapter in the above post (obviously not as big), with a center bearing so that it rolls with the rotation of the cue. Move the die up to the cue and then continue until it "presses" the foil into the underlying material then rotate the cue by hand until you have gone completely around, remove the extra ribbon and you should be left with die pressed designs? Again you may laugh at me but this is just my .02
  
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02-17-2015, 09:04 PM

Here are a couple more close-up pics to look at (and salivate over).....





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02-17-2015, 10:14 PM

That bottom one looks like it was cut out of some kind of Christmas decoration. Another possibility would be the trophy industry may have had something like that at one time.
  
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wedding ring bands
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wedding ring bands - 02-19-2015, 05:02 PM

Josh,Do you know the approximate width of the gold band and also the width of the 3 colored one in one of the photos?
  
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02-20-2015, 08:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhinobywilhite View Post
Josh,Do you know the approximate width of the gold band and also the width of the 3 colored one in one of the photos?
The gold bands are about .030 thick overall, per Pete Tascarella
I have no idea about the colored ones, this is the first I've seen them


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02-20-2015, 09:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshStodola View Post
The gold bands are about .030 thick overall, per Pete Tascarella
I have no idea about the colored ones, this is the first I've seen them
This must be an error, they look a lot thicker than .030, maybe .30". If you knew how thick the rings were, I would bet you find a knurling tool that would be about the same size.

Also on the rings, what does the surface feel like? Can the ridges be felt, or are they filled with finish? What does it look like under a microscope?

From the pictures on here there is definitely a pattern in the rings.

Aloha
  
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02-20-2015, 09:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albatross Cues View Post
This must be an error, they look a lot thicker than .030, maybe .30". If you knew how thick the rings were, I would bet you find a knurling tool that would be about the same size.

Also on the rings, what does the surface feel like? Can the ridges be felt, or are they filled with finish? What does it look like under a microscope?

From the pictures on here there is definitely a pattern in the rings.

Aloha
Yes I think Pete was referring to the thickness of the black "backing" material.
One gold glitter band in particular was defined in a Tasc COA as 1/4" thick
Sorry for the confusion


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