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Topic: Cork Ball & Shells. Done a new way!
Message: Posted by: shellgame-al (Nov 14, 2014 11:39PM)
3shell.com is coming out with a whole new line of cork ball shells.

The Cork Ball-Walnut Shells; are molded from a real walnut shell from the inside and out. There are no gimmicks employed into the shell.
The interior of the shell is designed for the cork ball to roll freely inside the shell without coming out of the shell when moved in all directions on the surface.

This is all done without a added ridge.

This makes the shells to appear to be fair shells and they are. But at any time you choose to make a steal and load into another shell it can be executed in an undetected way.

The same handling that is used with our Bottom Ridge Shells works very well with these shells. So if you know this handling you have a head start in mastering these type shells. Basically these type shells bring all the features the bottom ridge shells bring, but is all done without the added ridge and is all done with a natural cork ball.
Unlike other shells, these shells do have a undetectable secret to how they work that will only be known to the ones that own them.
They can be fully examined at any time without switching anything out.

These shells are not hard to use with some basic sleight of hand skills like; the finger clip, back finger clip and the thumb clip. The cork balls are easy to finger clip, with the hand crafted texture that is applied to the cork balls. The shells can also work with a soft pea if preferred, but using a soft pea will take away some of the fair game controlled features.

Our first set of cork ball shells being release is the Grizzly Shells.
For more information and pictures you can see at http://4photos.weebly.com/

Old School shells designed for today.

Message: Posted by: Andre Hagen (Nov 15, 2014 12:58PM)
I just hit the button on these as fast as I could! Al is so great to deal with and his shells are so innovative and beautiful. Yes, I'm a shell collector of sorts but if you work anywhere you have to deal with repeat customers who bring their friends and ask you to do the shell game...you will appreciate a set of Al's bottom ridge shells.

It's easy to learn a fixed routine but repeat spectators may very well recognize the pattern and trip you up. You can, of course, change your pattern with any set but it is so much easier with bottom ridge shells and letting them move the shells themselves without having to switch the pea is priceless.

I have a set of Al's Bottom Ridge Vintage Shells and a set of Rough and Ready Black Walnut Shells. I was about to purchase a set of Bottom Ridge Colossal Shells but decided to give these Grizzly Shells a try. Letting them move and handle the shell AND the cork ball. Doesn't get much better than that. I'll offer an opinion when they arrive. Stay tuned!
Message: Posted by: shellgame-al (Nov 16, 2014 11:40AM)
Thank you, Andre

There is one important feature I forgot to mention with the Grizzly shells.
If you like to do the shell display with all three shells in one hand, you will find these shells are very amazing for this.

Most large shells you will have a hard time fitting three shells between your fingers.
These shells are 2-1/8 long by 1-1/2 wide and 1 High, one of the largest shells made today.

If you look at the picture that shows the back of the three shells on the new product preview link, you will see the shape from the back of the shell.
Just above the bottom shell base the natural shape of the shell goes inward some, where the side of the fingertips fit perfect to hold and control the shells.

You have full control of all three shells independently at the same time the ball stays inside the shell when the shells are moved.
When all three shells are shuffled on the surface the hand can lift the shells up and down during the shuffle, to show the cork location.
This will convinced them to follow the right shell. When you decide to do an undetected steal and a load into another shell, it is only once and only when you choose too.
This will all show that you have some good sleight of hand skills.

From all the different shells I have made over many years the Grizzly shells are my first choice shell in doing a one hand three shell display.

The beauty of this display, it is all done at the fingertips with full control and with larger shells that will look more impossible to do.
This will fool anyone, even magicians that know the shell game. This is because you are never forced to take the ball.
This is all done with no gimmicks and a natural cork ball that can all be examined if need be.
Message: Posted by: benhart (Nov 20, 2014 02:26PM)
I too have collected a good number of shells and most of them are just that.

Al's shells are not just a collection of shells. They are shells I get the most use from.
Always having the spectator guessing with no clue on how it was all done.

His bottom ridge shells have taken my shell game to a much higher level.

I ordered a set of these new cork ball Grizzly shells and can't wait to get my hands on them.
I hope to maybe take my shell game to even a higher level.

It can't get much better. I think I will find both type shells, the BRS & the cork ball shells to be used for different type settings.
I think these two type shells will cover any area I want.

I will get back with my opinions of them, after I receive and have a chance to work with them
Message: Posted by: shellgame-al (Dec 15, 2014 12:43AM)
3shells.com just released a new set of cork ball shells; Nickel-Silver cold cast Thimble set.

Also some nice accessories: Clip & Grip; is a coating that is applied to the fingers to make clipping & gripping of a cork ball easier.
Dries in 30 seconds and washes off with water.

Cork ball holder and extra cork balls.

For pictures and more detail view at the new product link below.

Message: Posted by: benhart (Dec 27, 2014 04:17PM)
I received my Grizzly Cork Ball Shells and I love them!

Using a cork ball is a different animal than the soft pea. With all of Al's instructional videos and his personal help I am really hooked on the use of a natural cork ball. The cork ball will stay in the shells like Al's Bottom Ridge Shells.

I also got some of the Clip & Grip that works very well in clipping the cork ball.

If you want to present the shell game in the most natural way and without any gimmick these are the shells. It is so cool to be able to let the spectator examine everything that proves what they seen is all done by sleight of hand and not gimmicks.

These shells can even work great with a soft pea, so it is open to how you want to use them. If you use a soft pea, they work like the classic type shells and the steal is very smooth without any lift of the shell. This smooth steal is even done with a entire flat bottom surface.

There is no notch at the back of shell or the Channin dip. The handling and gripping of the shells can't be any better.
These are GREAT SHELLS! Thanks for all your help Al!
Message: Posted by: Andre Hagen (Dec 29, 2014 11:04PM)
I have worked with the Grizzly Shells for about a month now and Al's Thimble Set for over a week. Today I received my set of aptly named Top Shelf Vintage Shells. I will set them aside long enough to write my thoughts on Al's cork shells.

The bottom ridge shells were very liberating. At last I could move a shell around with a pea under it with impunity! I could let a customer move that same shell, but I never felt good about letting them touch the pea. I had a customer call one of the firmest top-of-the-line polymer peas "squishy" and of course he was right (which is why the player is never allowed to touch the pea or the shell in a standard setup) and it made me uncomfortable and gave the customer an "ah-Ha" moment. Something he won't get when you use a cork ball. Instead he will give you credit for great dexterity and skill.

Another plus for those who perform the shells often with either Al's bottom ridge or cork shells is the opportunity to improvise. You no longer have to work in fixed patterns which is invaluable when working for the same customer who wants to see it the next time he comes in. You may wear out your "outs" with that player! Also, you won't get bored making the same moves every time.

But I digress. I wanted to talk about the cork shells Al has so far released:

The Grizzly Shells are large and distinctive yet very easy to grip. I find it easier to grip three between the fingers of one hand than my La Maggiore Shells. They are easy to learn on which may be one reason why Al released them first. Follow his videos on the bottom ridge and his instructions for the the cork shells and you will be amazed at your progress. I remember how amazed I was to learn that Jack Chanin used cork balls. How could this be? Now I realize it is not only possible but with the necessary practice just as easy and deceptive as a standard shell and polymer pea.

As for the Cork Ball Thimblerig Set, I jumped for these as I perform Fast and Loose, Three Card Monte and The Shell Game in an historical context and of course the shell game started in England centuries ago with thimbles and was called thimblerigging. These thimbles have a vintage look and some heft to them and yes, you will be able to use these with a cork ball easily once you put in your practice. It will surprise you! I can do all the moves I do with any shells with these little beauties.

Now I have the Top Shelf Vintage Cork Shells. The picture on the website does not do them justice. They are very beautiful and almost the size of the La Maggiore shells but with a somewhat darker and polished finish. I'm an incurable shell collector and proponent and these may well end up as my shells of choice and I have many to choose from including an old favorite SFS Magnetic Gold Shell Set. They have a good height and are easy to pick up.

Now Al has come up with This Clip and Grip mentioned by benhart that really works. I've used everything from Sortkwik to Gripper Finger Conditioner and a solution years ago involving rose water but this stuff actually does what it's supposed to do. I try not to use it in practicing but it is great insurance when performing. I haven't had it long but as I said...it works!

These shells are game-changers! You won't go wrong giving them a try.
Message: Posted by: shellgame-al (Dec 31, 2014 03:53PM)
Benhart & Andre

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the cork ball shells.

You are both right on how you will be viewed as one with real skills displaying the shell game with a cork ball.
Being able to display the game very openly with nothing to hide and having no limits on the spectator’s request, you will be able to prove you have skills.

Like Andre said, it takes some practice to get a good smooth game. The good thing is the shells also work great with a soft pea.
You can work into upgrading your game by using a cork ball at your own pace and still use the shells with the soft pea.

The Top Shelf Shells I will also be making them with the bottom ridge soon.