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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Multiplying balls (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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JamesTong
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Eternal Order
Malaysia
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Wow, awesome and beautiful craftmanship, Michael.
TheAmbitiousCard
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Eternal Order
Northern California
13414 Posts

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Very nice, Michael, as usual.

Frank
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11161 Posts

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Thanks, guys. Frank, I missed telling the main point in that wooden balls struck together with the end grains facing each other clack like real pool balls. Easy to orient if attention is paid when first painting them. After that, the designs on the ball tell you which areas to smack together. Just don't smack them so hard as to chip the paint.

They are lighter to manipulate too! I've played with real pool balls, too, but practice sessions are MUCH shorter!

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
22894 Posts

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If the shell is shinny just put a coat of dull coat paint on it. Go lightly and this will cut out the shell reflecting.
WoodRat
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Loyal user
California
233 Posts

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Amazing work, Michael.

You are obviously an accomplished craftsman. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the pics!
Learn something new everyday.
The Great Danton
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Elite user
Westfield, North Carolina, USA
449 Posts

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I sure do wish I had time/money/expeariance to make a set like that! Maybe in a few years....

Right now I'm just trying to get my feet on the ground in manipulation magic. I love it so far, and hope to share a routine of mine very soon!

The Great Danton
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house."
WoodRat
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California
233 Posts

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Michael,

I have the same "issue" with the fakini shell. I like my german-made wooden balls better in that regard.

Also, I like the bright red color which isn't available in the fakinis. Something to do with the materials and process I gather.

But I have come to appreciate the "clinginess" of the fakinins, a guy can get spoiled using them.
Learn something new everyday.
FCpreacher
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Elite user
PA
439 Posts

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I'm starting to feel light-headed and woozy. I keep staring at the picture and have to remind myself to breathe!

Forrest
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11161 Posts

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Woodrat,

The bright red paint on the German balls is really nice. However, over the years I have learned something very basic... white balls show up better and look bigger onstage. In that regard, Fakinis fit the bill. Couple that with their other advantages, and they are hard to beat. Red balls are ok in smaller venues, and obviously for color changes, rainbow routines, etc.

I made my ballstand to match a set of white Fakinis that I have, although I will likely make others to match red balls, pool balls, etc. The first one, I am more likely to use more often.

The loose fit s***l aspect I was talking about is really only necessary for a few moves. But, there is something pleasant about knocking together two solid, hard balls. Frank gets it, too. Wooden ball manipulation is a commitment, but the rewards are nice.

For anyone ineterested, most of this info I sent this to someone in a PM earlier. It will give you a decent set of workable 2 1/4" pool balls, even without a lathe...

Start with wood balls of the diameter you desire.

These are 2 1/4", standard pool ball size:
http://www.cherrytreetoys.com/prodinfo.a......dept=266

The painting process is the same whether you turn the balls yourself, or start with pre-mades. The quality of the finish is what makes them decent to manipulate, or not. Appearance is a side benefit, although desirable.

Get some heavy duty upholstery needles and tap one into each ball that you wish to paint. Thread some wire or line through the needle's eye and tie into a short loop, so you can hang the balls for drying.

Begin with a primer, and then color coats of either enamel or lacquer (don't mix brands). When you spray, you will need to hold the needle so you can turn the ball upside down for some of the coats. Otherwise, the paint will all sag to the lowest end. Spray light coats, but MANY coats over time. The more coats that are applied the longer you need to wait for the layers underneath to cure. This can be very time consuming. Impatience will lead to paint wrinkling and then it's back to square one, so take your time. Occasionally between some of the coats, just rub a nice sheen into the ball with #0000 steel wool (fine/very fine). Then continue to add coats.

The more coats applied, the better, although as said, it will take time. Many coats will give the balls a special feel, or cling, that will make them much easier to manipulate.

You want to finish with a "wet" coat, but ultimate care must be taken that the paint does not run into drips or sags. A "wet" coat cures with a very slick glass-like finish. Dryer coats feel more like a dry powder has been allowed to settle in the paint. This finish is much easier to acheive on a level horizontal surface, as the paint "centers" itself. Sprayed on a sphere, you may have to rotate the ball while holding it by the needle to assure that it levels on the surface, rather than sagging to the lowest point.

The up side is that the actual work you will be doing is minimal once you have everything started. Most of the time is spent waiting for paint to cure. That doesn't take away from your normal life!

Solid colors are the easiest, of course, but if you want striped pool balls, then use stencils and masking to get the color effects you wish (stripes, numbers, background fields, etc.).

Clear top coats should be applied to keep balls of different colors from trading paint like NASCAR drivers.

Once finished, use a pliers to twist the needle out of the balls. Only a very tiny hole remains. Don't worry about that.

Although there are routines with solid balls, you may want a s***l. Short of owning a precision lathe and the knowledge and skill to operate one, an option is to go to a craft store like Michaels or Hobby Lobby and get some clear plastic 2-part ornaments. The positive half makes a decent s***l. Just cut the hanger tab off neatly and paint the half ball the same color as the solid balls. I have found these that will fit the 2 1/4" balls nicely. Smaller balls, and you may be out of luck, though. Stick three small green felt self-adhesive dots to the inside near the rim, and they will prevent the s***l from sticking to the ball.

Well, this is not the same as turning your own set, but it does make a decent set of balls, and a LOT less expensive than if someone turned them for you. The only thing you really must do is have the skill to manipulate 2 1/4" wooden billiard balls. That seems to be a dying art these days with silicone balls available. Most magicians don't even want to try wooden balls. The key to manipulating wooden balls begins with the finish on the balls. All you have to do is pick up a real pool ball and compare it to an unpainted wooden ball to understand the difference. The more glass-like the finish, the more they cling.

Good luck!

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Paul Jester
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Special user
UK
759 Posts

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Michael, you're a legend, thank you so so so much! I will be making myself a few sets of new balls now!
All the best,
Paul
WoodRat
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California
233 Posts

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Michael,

Thank you for the very detailed advice on painting the balls. I knew most of this already, but reinforcing the PATIENCE aspect was most helpful. Many light layers over time...

I agree with your comments concerning color. My Fakinis are white and they show up very well. I use inexpenive fun balls roughed with some 220 paper (as suggested by Kyle) for color changes. But I also like the bright glossy red of my wooden balls - they work for me as I have not performed on stage. And then there is that "Click!"

Cheers!
Learn something new everyday.
Matthew W
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Inner circle
New York
2456 Posts

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I am happy with my sponge multiplying balls from gosh.
-Matt
CaptRitz
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New user
54 Posts

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My problem with Fakini balls is the silicone doesn't sleeve very well.
*** well impossible.
Steven Steele
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Chief of Staff
Hesperia, California USA
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I like the Fakini Balls. They have their issues as stated in prior posts. But when you drop them...

Having said that, when you get to be competent (not dropping them) I would suggest moving up to the Owens' set. I never thought much about wooden balls and gave them up entirely when I got my Fakini sets years ago. However, some time back I had a chance to play with a set of Owens' Multiplying Billiard Balls. The balls handled unbelievably well. They are light, but tacky. They handle very well. They are pricey...about $60 each, but they are worth every penny. My Fakini's now sit on a shelf and are only used when trying new moves. The Owens' balls sparkle on stage.
JamesTong
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Eternal Order
Malaysia
11213 Posts

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$60 per set or each ball, Steven?
Steven Steele
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Chief of Staff
Hesperia, California USA
1904 Posts

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They run $60 for each ball. The set however is quite a bit over the 3 times $60 figure as the shell takes so much time to make correctly. It's money well spent, though.
chrisgali
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Regular user
157 Posts

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..hey..I`m new to Ball manipulation!
What about this ones?
http://www.zauber-butike.de/ks/baelle/51......dex.html

..and what Dvds would you think are the best for a newbie?
McBride?Romaine?

nice greets chris
JamesTong
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Eternal Order
Malaysia
11213 Posts

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Quote:
On 2007-07-09 23:48, Steven Steele wrote:
They run $60 for each ball. The set however is quite a bit over the 3 times $60 figure as the shell takes so much time to make correctly. It's money well spent, though.


Thanks for the confirmation of the price, Steven.
JamesTong
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Eternal Order
Malaysia
11213 Posts

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Quote:
On 2007-07-10 02:44, chrisgali wrote:
..hey..I`m new to Ball manipulation!
What about this ones?
http://www.zauber-butike.de/ks/baelle/51......dex.html

..and what Dvds would you think are the best for a newbie?
McBride?Romaine?

nice greets chris


McBride has a lot of materials in his DVDs. Good place to start first.
Mr. Ree
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Elite user
Sedona AZ
414 Posts

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I started with Multiplying Gosh sponge under advice of local
store. I agree they are easy to handle.
(One handful (4) is where I am for now).

In trying to move to something better I just received
The DMSB's and the Manipulators.

I agree with an earlier post about the sheen on the s _ _ _ _
of the DMSBs which I am trying to fix.

But the “Manipulators”? I am sorely disappointed.
Where the balls were released from the “molds” there are chunks
of silicon missing. Yikes!

I have really enjoyed "Multiplying Balls by Tim Wright".
Learned a bit about arm and hand positions and "swings" from
side to front stomach area that I would not have thought about
without seeing how well it worked.
(I'm not implementing the slight "tipsy" aspect). Smile

There is something very satisfying about handling multiplying
balls. Almost relaxing or meditating.
(Haven’t quite identified all the reasons.)
An idea can turn to dust or magic, depending on the talent that rubs against it.
---- William Bernbach (1911 - 1982) ----

(After 25 years of PCs, everything switched to Macs, June 2008)
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