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Topic: The Hardboard and Duct Tape Magic Show
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 9, 2006 07:14PM)
That's the title of Jim Gerrish's New book and it's just starting to come on-line now on my site. All the effects are easy do-it-yourself projects using... hardboard and duct tape, what else? There are some VERY EASY projects for beginners, as well as projects that take more time and skill, but all of them are explained in detail with lots of photos to make construction as easy as possible.

If you just worked your way through Book 1, you would have enough props for a complete magic show, from beginning to end. Book 2 adds even more stuff, not necessarily more advanced, just different. Book 3 will get into some advanced carpentry.

Book 4 is all Illusions. Each Illusion is made from 2 foot by 4 foot pieces of hardboard and duct tape, so you know that all the illusions fold down to that size for transportation.

You'll be able to purchase the books entire, the whole collection of books when it is complete, or each effect as it comes on line individually.
Message: Posted by: Micheal Leath (Oct 10, 2006 12:37AM)
Just what we need, more magicians building cheap looking props.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 10, 2006 08:11AM)
Aren't you the guy who posted this recently? "Public bashing of other performers is unprofessional and makes the whole art look bad."

Why do you assume that the props other magicians build themselves will be "cheap looking?" After all, this is the Workshop Forum Section and everyone in here is building his own props. Magic has always been a "do-it-yourself" art form. Only after someone has built a prop in his basemnent or backyard do the manufacturers grab it up and begin mass producing it for those who would rather buy a prop ready made, all shiny and glitzy and "professional-looking." Meanwhile, the real professional who designed and built it moves on to other projects, oblivious to those who think they can make pronouncements on what "we need."
Message: Posted by: gsidhe (Oct 10, 2006 08:21AM)
There is a place for everything...And sometimes it is best to use props that are not all chrome and stencled on kanji and oriental dragons.
Which would be more impressive? Having someone dissappear from a box that looks like it was made for dissappearing things, or from a cheap looking box that looks like it was made by a high school shop reject?
Besides...If you saw an idea in the books that you liked, but hated the materials, I am sure that with a little thought, you could come up with alternative ways to do the same design.
Books and plans are just springboards for projects anyways. If you are just building the same exact thing that is in the plans, decorating it the same...Then you might as well use the included routines as well.
I build 98% of my props myself so that they look completely different from everyone elses yet all match my show. How can you tell, sight unseen, that these props can't look good?
Personally, I'm interested in the books.
Message: Posted by: Micheal Leath (Oct 10, 2006 01:48PM)
I didn't mean it as bashing. If it was taken that way, then I apologize. All I was trying to say is it's not the fact that someone is building props themselves. It's the fact that the props are being built out of hardboard and duct tape. If cheap and homemade looking fits someones style, then more power to them.
Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Oct 10, 2006 02:58PM)
Inexpensive prototypes are no laughing matter.
There is a long history of inexpensive apparatus.
The original Zombie, intended to resembe a heavy cannonball, always looked to me like a toilet tank ball....
U.F. Grant had a booklet out called Victory Carton Illusions- a fine little volume on cardboard and masking tape illusions!
Oh! and there is always paint, or other forms of decorative media.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 10, 2006 03:49PM)
I apologize for my grouchy behavior in responding to Mr. Leath's post. I hadn't had my morning cup of coffee. What I SHOULD have politely pointed out is that many commercial tricks are made of hardboard, so it can't be the hardboard he objects to, but the duct tape. However, there is duct tape and there is duct tape. He probably imagines the silver stuff actually used on ducts. But duct tape now comes in all sorts of decorative colors, and applied carefully, looks about as nice as the tape that has been used on Grant's Temple Screen for decades.

However, and some of you experienced builders can probably verify this if you will, you can use the most expensive teak and mahogany building materials and end up with a prop that looks like... well, the recent Dean's box rip-off that turned up on e-bay comes to mind... or you can use time, patience and care with hardboard and duct tape and produce a prop that you'd be proud to hand on to your grandkids.

If it's cheap and homemade looking, it's either done on purpose(like Jim Gerrish's OOPS machine, because that's the way it is SUPPOSED to look) or it's because you don't YET have the skills to make it look any better. But at least you didn't waste a lot of money on the lesson. Try again.

Thanks for those who jumped in to help out an old Wizard, but I'm afraid I provoked that. Speaking of U.F. Grant, there is a wonderful Illusion in his Illusion book that has never been truly appreciated, and I hope Jim's Kid-sized version will rescue it from the Illusion cemetary of ideas. It's Grant's X-Ray Machine.

There are some other gems in Jim's books as well, like his Mental Epilogue. OK, this book is intended for beginners, but only for those who are beginners at building their own props, not beginner magicians. Some of the effects will excite those magician builders who have been making fine props all their lives and Jim promises he will not come to your house and huff and puff and blow it all in if you decide to make, for example, his Three Little Pigs Illusion out of something other than hardboard and duct tape.
Message: Posted by: MikeDes (Oct 10, 2006 03:52PM)
I have built a few illusions out of corplast and colored ducted tape. They look great on stage and work well. I have a video of one being performed if someone wants to take a look.

I was a little disappointed with the PVC pipe illusion book put out by this same person but I'll give this one a look because I know from experience that it is possible to make good looking functional illusions from cheaper material. They would be out of place in Vegas but at a school show, they work.

Let us know when it is available for download.
Message: Posted by: Micheal Leath (Oct 10, 2006 04:01PM)
Is there anywhere that I can see pictures of some of the props described in the book?
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 10, 2006 05:57PM)
On 2006-10-10 17:01, Micheal Leath wrote:
Is there anywhere that I can see pictures of some of the props described in the book?
All in good time. Jim has just started. The "What's Up?" trick is finished, and is presented first as being one of the easiest to make and one of the most useful time filler tricks to carry in your suitcase. Then Jim plans to build each of the other tricks in the order given in the Table of Contents. He will build each one from scratch so he can photograph it from begining to end, even though he has built all of these in the past and used them for years with his Wiz Kid group. Many of the former Wiz Kids have the original props and still use them.

The entire proposed Table of Contents for each of the four proposed books is on my site. Changes are inevitable.
Message: Posted by: Doug Higley (Oct 15, 2006 11:12AM)
Anybody have any clues as to brand names for good Duct tape? I designed and built a variety of large clown props out of card board and tape...BIG trick Camera...Razor etc...they looked great but the Duct tape smelled HORRIBLE!

Message: Posted by: magicmarkdaniel (Oct 15, 2006 01:24PM)
Hey Doug

I know what you mean. We had a bad (cheap) batch at the theatre I once worked at. The adhesive smelled like dog do. I have found the best type of tap is not duct tape but Gaffa tape. I always use a brand called Ticki Tape as the adhesive is better than any other brand IMO.

Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 15, 2006 06:28PM)
I never tried sniffing duct tape. I was afraid my nose would get stuck. Jim Gerrish gets his from Home Depot and it comes sealed in plastic. He says it smells fine to him. He also gets smaller rolls of colored duct tape from the dollar store, but only if they are also wrapped in plastic. I don't know if the wrapping makes a difference or not.

Today Jim finished the prelimiary work on the Hippity Hop Whatevers (I think he's planning to use the wiley coyote and and the roadrunner as his characters). If you are watching his progress on the Table of Contents page, keep in mind that the order is subject to change. For example, he decided at the last minute to combine the Chimney Screen with his Collapsable Well Table, so they have merged.
Message: Posted by: ChrisG (Oct 15, 2006 07:00PM)
You might try "PRO Tapes & Specialties" website. Search for PRO-GAFF gaffer tape. From their site you can find a local supplier.
Message: Posted by: jsilk7 (Oct 24, 2006 04:59PM)
U.F. Grant's Victory Carton Illusions is a great little book
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 24, 2006 06:55PM)
On 2006-10-24 17:59, jsilk7 wrote:
U.F. Grant's Victory Carton Illusions is a great little book

True. And the point of this post in connection with the title of the thread is...?
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 24, 2006 10:43PM)

My JAP Box with the red duct tape hinge only lasted about 30 years! Then the whole prop disappeared. Who knows where it's working tonight?

(I haven't seen it since we moved to a new house in 2000.)

Of course, duct tape is only temporary. Right? (If it were only durable!)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 25, 2006 05:13AM)
According to my crystal ball, your wife is storing recipes in it. Look in your kitchen. That's where I find everything that is missing.

I agree that duct tape is not very durable stuff, only lasting ten or twelve years before needing replacement. The good news is that duct tape has gotten less expensive over the years and now comes in a wide variety of designer colors.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 27, 2006 07:43PM)
Well Spellbinder, I do know where my Temple Screen is now! Thanks!

But as for that battered up JAP Box. It just looks like it hit the road without me. Come to think of it, I think the red duct tape on it was painted that color with airplane dope. (I'll bet you can't say that in an airport in the USA anymore!)

I wonder what HomeLand Security does with duct tape. My guess is that you can have the duct tape but you can't have the hole in the middle of the roll. It just sounds governmental. (And all government is mental.)

Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Oct 27, 2006 09:41PM)
Bada-Boom! Where are the drum beats when you need them? They would be more useful than smilie faces.
Message: Posted by: Silver_Fang (Nov 3, 2006 11:40PM)
I really like that Idea of using hardwood and duck tape for makeing magic. I think I am going to build a take apart vanish or a see thru temple screens.
Message: Posted by: Spellbinder (Nov 4, 2006 09:36PM)
One of the nice things about this book, as well as with Jim's previous book on PVC Pipe Illusions, is that our customers are reporting back (via e-mail) of the changes and adaptations they are making as they go through the construction process. So you might be following (for example) Jim's plans on building the Chimney Screen and come up with a completely different finish/slant/take/solution. We enjoy getting such feedback, especially if they are accompanied by photographs of new directions the plans have taken magicians.

The nice thing about working with such inexpensive building materials is that you feel free to change and experiment, because it doesn't cost very much. There aren't many magicians who are skilled enough to take apart a professional (expensive!) commercial prop and make changes without regretting the decision and ending up with a pile of junk. This just opens up new possibilities for magicians who are willing to take the plunge into inexpensive Do-It-Yourself Magic.
Message: Posted by: kaytracy (Nov 8, 2006 02:08PM)