When was the last time you showed your snooker cue some TLC?
Judging by the cobwebs and dust on my case after several months of lockdown, I’m guessing most people’s answers will be… “Err, before Covid. If ever…”
Last week we received a free sample of Lynch’s Original Cue Balm, a product that I hadn’t previously heard much about.
Now, my previous record of cue care could be summarised as dicey at best.
In short: I’ve snapped more cues than I’ve applied balm to.
But unlike most wax and oil based cue care products, Lynch’s Original has an interesting hook that caught my eye.
It comes enthused with three essential oils that are designed to provide both smoother cueing and a calmer mind.
Smoother Cueing + Soothed Mind?
Well, now we’re talking!
Applying the Cue Balm
Our package came with a cloth, the tin of balm and some simple instructions for using the product – either as a finish, or as a cleaner.
What’s the difference?
Well, a lot of time has been spent developing Lynch’s to be used primarily as a finish. It is infused with three essential oils that are intended to stay on the cue and feed the wood. By leaving the balm on the cue, it will form a polishable surface that retains those oils and any possible aromatherapy benefits (more on those later).
However, you can still use Lynch’s to remove old chalk marks, sweat and other residue. It is softer than other wax products and super easy to apply.
For Cue Cleaning
Use the balm with a finger in the cloth and apply it straight on to the cue.
Gently wipe down and you’ll remove any dirt, chalk or sweat that might have accumulated on your stick.
For A Smooth Finish
Apply the balm evenly across the surface of the cue (but not the ferrule or tip obviously). Instead of wiping it off immediately, leave the balm to form a nice polishable surface for at least 10 minutes.
The instructions say 10 minutes, but you’ll probably want to leave it a bit longer if you can.
Then buff the cue with a soft cloth.
You should be left with a nice silky smooth finish.
You’ll also have created quite the aromatic cloud over on Table 4, so be prepared for a few questions if there are other players nearby!
The Aromatherapy Benefits: Stress Free Cueing?
There are two main selling points with Lynch’s Original Cue Balm: it’s not just designed for smoother cueing.
It’s also designed to soothe the player wielding it.
The balm is infused with three therapeutic calming oils.
The shipped product doesn’t actually mention these ingredients on the tin, but they are listed on the website:
- Tea Tree — used to treat anxiety and improve mood.
- Rosewood — used to induce a feeling of calm and focus.
- Ylang Ylang — used to lower blood pressure, improve mood and reduce depression.
The Cue Balm is thus designed with the lofty intention of quashing anxiety, reducing stress, fending off panic attacks, conquering bad moods, and fighting depression.
All feelings that I routinely encounter over the course of a single line-up, never mind an actual frame of snooker.
Of course, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how a few of those benefits would help your average club player. Any product that claims to have the magic elixir is likely to turn a few heads.
So what did we think of the therapeutic properties?
It’s hard to describe the actual smell of the balm.
I’m sat here now with the tin pressed to my face, possibly slightly high, trying to put my finger on the correct term: a sort of sweet aromatic varnish?!
I like it.
It certainly packs a punch when you’re applying it.
After playing a session, I met my wife for coffee and she politely noted that I smelt like I’d “had a bath in herbal sanitiser”.
(So in other words: a significant improvement.)
By the time the initial application had worn off, the aroma was much more subtle and appealing.
It’s difficult to say whether it will help to reduce stress or anxiety, specifically, as our league circuit is currently suspended due to covid. I haven’t faced the type of match that would typically draw me in to a stressful environment. Or a cue snapping tantrum.
(I will update this review when I do.)
What I can say is that the scent remains noticeable while you’re cueing up. It’s subtle but ever-present.
If the calming benefits of aromatherapy are your cup of tea, then you may well find this a useful trigger for a focused mind.
Cue Balm Finish: How Does It Play?
No doubt here, the balm leaves a nice smooth finish.
I have neglected my cue for a long time, so I went for a full clean followed by a second application to leave a nice finish.
The stick was slightly taken back.
(“What is this? The Good Cop treatment? You’ve never been this tender before…”)
If you’re going to leave the balm on the cue – as a finish – be sure to let it dry properly (or face the dreaded sticky lacquer backswing). Once the balm has soaked in, it leaves a really satisfying finish.
As somebody who suffers from sticky cue hands — and playing in the height of British summer in a poorly ventilated hall — I was a bit worried that applying the product would have the opposite effect and cause the wood to stick.
(I turn up to matches armed with sandpaper for a reason!)
But I’d have to say… the worries were unfounded.
The cue slides very nicely after application, with that satisfying wooden swoosh sound that is indescribable but familiar to any snooker player when things are going well.
Will the balm produce smoother cueing?
Well, it’s tough to change the stripes of a club banger, but it certainly isn’t going to hurt.
Snooker players can be notoriously OCD.
If you are the kind of player who is very particular about his equipment, his routines and so on… then I can certainly see this product finding a permanent home in your cue case.
The easiest way to order Lynch’s Original Cue Balm is through the official website CueBalm.com.
As of August 2020, a tin of the balm is available for £10.99.
The tins are fairly small, so you may find yourself getting through them relatively fast.
Alternatively, the £12.99 for a gift set (tin of Lynch + soft polishing towel) makes a nice little present for any discerning snooker/pool player who values his equipment.