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Topic: Heavy weight silks?
Message: Posted by: sterlyn (Nov 7, 2004 12:04AM)
Does anyone know where to get silks that are heavier weight than the ones that are normaly sold at magic shops?
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 7, 2004 12:47AM)
I have recently made a few custom 12mm silks up for some guys doing coin work. I might be able to find heavier silk.

A lot of the shops are selling only 5 momme silk. I make 6 and 8 momme. The difference from 5 mm is considerable.
Message: Posted by: sterlyn (Nov 7, 2004 07:34PM)
Thanks for your reply.

What is 5 momme silk as opposed to 12mm silks?

I assume it has to do with thickness.

Is 12 mm silk like a mom's silk scarf?
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 8, 2004 09:17PM)
Yes the smaller the number the thinner the silk.

Most women's scarves are at least 12mm or more.
Message: Posted by: sterlyn (Nov 9, 2004 01:04AM)
I really liked your site, although the navigating panel on the side would sometimes vanish. Probably just my browser or maybe it's magic.

I downloaded the PDF catalogue and looked at your stuff with great interest. Obviously you sell good quality top end props.

I only wish the show I am in could afford them.

I am playing the part of Herr Drosselmeyer a magician in the Nutcracker.

It is much hard work, but fun.

I am still working on trying to figure out some of the effects they want.

I am doing a Fantasio cane to silk to flower and found on your site that you sell the flowers for a cane to flower production. I only wish they would afford it. Around $450 right?

The reason for the question about the silks is that I have to produce a nutcracker doll and I was thinking along the idea of a trick called "this!", but the silk that come with it are not the right colors and too small.

... but anyway it is nice knowing you're out there and maybe one day I or the people I work for will afford you.

That would be so nice.

Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 9, 2004 09:55PM)
I did effects for two different nutcracker last year. One had a large poinsettia bouquet and another had a poinsettia bouquets and a large streamer.

If you did the "This" effect but used a 24' streamer in red, green, and yellow it would make a good display as it produced.

I understand the budget problems but realize it is an investment that you will probably make one time and you know the stuff will hold up for you.

I have also made cane to bouquet with the poinsettia flowers. I can also make the wand to flowers with a single poinsettia bloom.
Message: Posted by: Magicman1319 (Nov 11, 2004 08:44AM)

Have you tried P&A silks? They make a really heavy silk that lasts longer and looks better then the thin stuff the dealers get from China.

I think there website is http://www.PASILKS.com

Try it and let me know.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 11, 2004 11:26AM)

Coming from China does not make a silk bad or light weight. You can get whatever your want. The good stuff comes from there too.

Silk is made by insects that live in that part of the world. The diamonds in Africa are not worth much. It's after they have been processed that they become valuable. Not everyone processes the same.

Think of it like a dye tube. Some dealers are lucky to make $2 on one. Some magicians have made many thousands of dollars from one. It is important to get things into the right hands.

I've had some bad champaigne made from grapes too!


Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Magicman1319 (Nov 11, 2004 12:23PM)

You are Absolutely correct. I was just implying that unless you ask for something different the dealers are going to give you the thin stuff.

There is a big difference in the types and quality of the silk you can get from magic dealers as apposed to going to some on who specializes in silks. Is there a true difference between how one handles compared to the other? I think that depends on the individual's preferences.

In your statement about Africa and the diamonds you prove my point that it does matter whom you obtain your silks (or any other prop for that matter) from. If you want high quality you will pay for high quality (and the immense amount of work that goes into getting that quality) if not you can pick from what ever dealer has a box full of silks on "sale" at the next magic conveniton.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 11, 2004 01:51PM)
Wow! Magicman1319, I'm crazy about folks who agree with me. They are so smart! (You may need to see a doctor!) But I thank you.

There are silks from India that are seldom up to snuff. Quality control is lacking. Coloring is even worse. When someone tells you his or her silks came from Italy, go read a biology book.

Silk quality is usually easy to observe. Momme is a measure of density. By feel you can tell the ďsubstanceĒ of the silk increase as the momme number rises. (They will also appear more opaque.) You also want to look at the consistency of the weave. Once flawed, itís too late to do a good job. (The squareness of the silks when folded is a quick way to judge this. Silks that wonít fold square arenít.)

For a magician, one of the most telling differences is the hem. Flat hems cost more. In fact, as an importer since 1969, I will tell you that more silks are rejected because of the hem than the fabric. For silk fabric 3-12 momme there is little cost difference in the fabric itself. The difference is in the hem. (Do not confuse loose threads with bad hems. Bad hems are inconsistent, crooked, and leave visible edges of the fabric that will become unraveled. Good hems donít come loose. The very best ones (seldom used by magicians) have mitered corners. Magicians apparently like the ďknotĒ or ďlumpĒ in the corners where both boarders are stacked. (I do too! It holds a pin better.)

Coloring is the other thing to judge about silks. Solid colors should be just that, solid. Beyond that, by the time you own the silk it is too late to deal with coloring that fades. Assume that it all will, and save yourself a problem. Donít mix colors in storage. Today, most colors stay put within reason. The test is worse than not knowing. (Like a test for real pearls: put them in vinegar. Real pearls dissolve!)

I do encourage you to use the right weight for the job. The thinnest silk normally available to magicians is 3 momme. An 18Ē with good hems should fit into a TT. They are easily torn and easily subject to developing runs. They are seldom any cheaper than the heavier silks.

The weight I use most is 5 momme. That is also what is normally expected from a reputable magic dealer. (And there are times when you can get at great deal from a good dealer at a convention.) Although, they are not completely opaque two layers are, and even in one layer they are fine for steals, if you are not back lighted. Zombie, devilís hanks, etc. need to be 8-12 momme. Art on silk is an investment and needs to be on at least 8 momme silk.

You can buy silk up to about Ĺ inch thick for carpet, luggage, mats, etc. Thatís not useful information to most magicians. Silk rope can be made to cut through a wooden box like a cable saw. It is strong stuff. It ties better than cable. But it also cost a lot more than steel.


Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Magicman1319 (Nov 11, 2004 02:15PM)

Thank you for your insite on this topic. It appears that you have a lot of experience with silks. Where did you get all this knowledge from? You said you have been a importer. What do you do with the silks you import? A side business?

If you were not using the silks you import where would you prefer to get your silks? What do you think of Rice, P&A, and Laflin?
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 11, 2004 03:26PM)
You named all good guys! Don't forget Richard Hughes too. Iím sure that I have bought things from all of them. (Harold Rice and I both did time at the University of Alabama. The others I have met and done business with over the years either as dealers or at conventions.) We havenít named one I donít like, trust and recommend. Each has a little different business. Ruth (Harold Riceís daughter) is the Rice connection today. Richard I see at conventions. Both are on The Magic Cafť often. Duane, I see at conventions (because we live at opposite corners of the USA) and Peter (P&A) and I have been friends since the early 80s and began with a wholesale dealer relationship. Pete and I also share an interest in music.

For many years I owned a small chain of retail import stores (6) and several wholesale businesses (primarily in the Atlanta Merchandise Mart, but I also had some businesses in Texas and Mexico). I have even been a diamond importer. Remember the example? Over the decades the products and sources changed but the more things change the more they stay the same. Most of that has been sold off over the years as Pier 1 grew and good managers in the USA became harder to find. My kids have trust funds. Why work that hard anymore? Life I enjoy with Lucy, writing, traveling, and doing magic. (OK, I still enjoy being a lobbyist too.)

Currently I have a company with Robert Blair that does screening for the entertainment industry. The silks that I import are essentially as printing stock to match the solid silks sold by the dealers mentioned. Trade show magicians in particular can use them for their sponsors with the sponsorsí logos, etc. (Screened ones would typically belong to the sponsor rather than the magician.) Since Iím also an old university marketing professor who taught advertising too, commercial applications of magic appeal to me. Over the years I have done some TV commercials using magic. But there have been few with silk. That is odd isnít?

So the direct answer to your question is that life asked me questions and Iím still working on the answers. Iíve been in love this business a long time. (Of course, I love Lucy too!)

Dig in!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Richard Evans (Dec 13, 2004 03:03PM)
I hesitate to give away this secret in such illustrious company but...

I too have been frustrated in the past about the poor quality of some magician's silks. Sometimes you need the lightweight silks for vanishing, dye tubes etc. But sometimes you need a silk as a straightforward prop (for cover, for ball silk & cone, etc).

I have obtained excellent heavyweight silks from an online store selling traditional western (as in 'wild' west) clothing at VERY reasonable prices. Service was good too. Check out the plain 35" silk scarves for $10: