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Profile of Beetroot
Not sure if this should be in the beginners' section, but it's card-specific so here goes...

I've just bought Vol 1 of Jeff McBride Card Manuipulation series and have been experimenting with fans/productions and the like.

I have a myriad of questions of which I shall ask but two right now.

1. I've been trying to do a decent fan on and off for the past 15 years and still get about 5 blocks of cards rather than a smooth curve of singles. What am I doing wrong? Fanning powder gets a mention on a lot of sites but is it really necessary to produce a fan which is at least acceptable (which mine are definitely not!!!). I seem to have trouble with most flourishes which require the vague separation of single cards (I'm not a flourish fanatic, I'd just like to be able to perform a half-decent fan).

2. Re: card productions. I notice that Jeff specifically uses a Bee make of card on the DVD for back-palming. I think I can see why and I'm happy to opt for this as well. My question is, however, relating to size of cards. I have a number of packs of cards in my household, one of which is a lot wider than the others. Looking at other info on this forum I imagine one is of type "poker" and the other of type "bridge" (I think). Am I right? If so, which is which, and is the larger width generally used for back-palm work or doesn't it matter?

I've had a lot of fun trying out Jeff's stuff and I can't help but laugh when even the more simple moves cause me to unintentionally throw my deck across the room. It's just as well I'm a patient man.

Finally, I also bought Bob Kohler's Black Envelope DVD which, on first glance, looks like excellent fun - but I'll chat about this in another thread.

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Inner circle
Yorba Linda, CA
3469 Posts

Profile of S2000magician
Speaking on the only subject you mentioned at which I have some expertise, the narrower cards are bridge cards and the wider cards are poker cards. Bridge cards are 1/4" narrower than poker cards because you hold 13 cards in a bridge hand whilst you hold only 5 in a poker hand. I know of no magician who routinely uses bridge cards for anything; in particular, back-palming would be much more difficult with bridge cards unless you have extremely (EXTREMELY! In Spades!) small hands. Even for "gambling" routines which involve the dealing of perfect bridge hands, magicians use poker cards.
Rod Lages
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Brasilia, Brazil
250 Posts

Profile of Rod Lages
I don´t know if I can really help you. I´m not a flourish guy, but I´ll give it a shot!
I don´t have any trouble to produce a fan using a new deck. Brand new Bicycle deck works for me. Bridge size deck is the small one. Maybe if you have small hands, bridge size would be better for a card productions.

Don´t lose your head. Keep working!

Best Regards,
Rod Lages Smile
"Confusion isn't Magic" - Dai Vernon
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Bay area
830 Posts

Profile of LeConte
In McBride's The Art of Card Manipulation Vol 2, powdering and breaking in the cards is explained. He rubs every card with a ruler's edge several times and then treats the cards with fanning powder and places them in a special clamp (never inhale this stuff, I recommend one of those little white dust masks that carpenters wear).

Jeff also talks about many different brands of cards. He does use Bee's for many manipulations. They are well made and hold powder. Fanning a new deck right out of the box should not be too difficult. You don't even need to use a pressure fan really. Keep practicing to McBride's tapes and good luck.
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Jeb Sherrill
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Profile of Jeb Sherrill
Fanning a deck is more of a nack than anything. Use a new deck for starters and it should fan easily. If it doesn't, then just play with it until it does. There's no great secret to it; you just keep doing it until the fan is even. Mine were all clumps to begin with too, and so were everybody elses. Smile

Bridge cards are great. You'll find that most production cards (cards made for card pruductions) are usually bridge cards. I use both all the time, but suggest that you start with poker size. If you can use poker, then you can use anything.

Bee backs, or anything like them are usually good. You're going to scrape the finish off anyway, so the brand doesn't matter all that much. I use cheap casino cards myself. If you get deep into card productions, then production cards are wonderful. They are very expensive though, and you'll have to really want them. The good things are that they have flesh backs and are very thin, so you can back palm about three times as many. Many magicians just stick to the old Bee backs and that's fine too (and much less expensive). For the record, production cards are usually about $15.00 a pack.

Check out the Manipulation section in under the stage forums for more information on Card Productions.

Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
I don't believe in reincarnation, but I may have in another life.
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488 Posts

Profile of CharlieC

Like Jeb posted, fanning is a knack. I was not able to do a decent pressure fan for a long time. I went through about 6 or 7 written sources, and a couple of video sources. I finally gave up but would play with the pressure fan every now and then until one day I was able to do it. It may take a long time to develop the knack, but it's worth it!

Look at things like how much pressure you are applying, how deep you are holding the cards (with both hands), how fast your wrist is turning, etc. I also found that older decks were easier for me to learn with, since they "bend" more easily.
"Whenever he gets in a fix he reaches into his bag of tricks.
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267 Posts

Profile of Beetroot
This forum is great! I asked the questions just before going to bed and got all of the answers when I got up this morning.

Thanks everyone. I'll be ordering a few packs of cards Bee/Bicycle etc. to hammer with. I don't think I'll go for production cards as I'd just like to be competent with a standard deck.

I'll probably buy more of Jeff's series and perhaps some of Daryl's as money permits. (Christmas is coming though, and I've got a very generous wife!!!)

Cheers all
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