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Regan
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Hi everyone.

A few weeks back I was searching for a prop to do certain things for a certain routine. I ran across plans for an Egyptian Water Box in M.U.M. Magazine. I started thinking about it, but it still wouldn't do all I needed it to do. I made a post here about an Egyptian Water Box, and I would like to thank all those that responded. I also would like to thank Ron Reid who answered a lot of my questions. I owe him and others here a debt of gratitude in developing and building this prop.

I didn't know what to call it, because it is somewhat different than an Egyptian Water Box, so I just simply call it my Butterfly Box. I can make several productions with this box, plus I can vanish or transform silks if I want. Like the Egyptian Water Box, it will vanish liquid also. You can show my Butterfly Box to be empty with the same method as the Egyptian Water Box. However, I can turn my Butterfly Box upside down at anytime, even after pouring the liquid inside of it. I can also open all the doors while the prop is upside down (with the liquid inside).

I added doors to to top, mainly to help with the overhead angle problems. I also made it wider to help with the side angles. I added knobs on the side to make holding and executing the moves easier, and the front and back doors latch magnetically.

Another thing I like about my Butterfly Box is that when the audience first sees the back of the door as I show the box empty, it will just be black. Then, after they have seen the box opened a couple of times, the last time they will see the colorful Butterfly (pic #3). I thought the Egyptian Water Box is a little easy to figure out if shown empty too often, so I thought my addition of the appearing butterfly would help with this. Even if someone thinks they have figured out the method, when they see the butterfly at the end, my hope is that they will wonder. I hope it will make them think they are looking at the back of the other door, and that they have seen both doors forom behind, therefore making the box really baffling. If not that, maybe it will at least make them wonder how the butterfly appeared on the door.

I think I made some improvements to the Egyptian Water Box. In fact, about the only thing that is like an Egyptian Water Box is the way the front and back doors open.

The routine I am using it in is one that is dedicated to my daughter. I hope it touches people's hearts, because it means a lot to me. I miss her being little and being my magic assistant, and that was really what inspired me to create this routine. She loves butterflies, and if you could see the routine it might make more sense to you.

Anyway, here are links a few pictures. I'd love to hear what you all think about it.

Thanks!

Regan

http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff127......2008.jpg

http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff127......3902.jpg

http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff127......3907.jpg
Mister Mystery
chill
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Nice looking prop. box looks sturdy. bright primary colors grab the eye. the butterflies are well done. are they decals or...?

great innovations. the upside-down move particularly good.
how do the top doors stay closed when you roll the box over?

bob
I spent most of my money on magic and women, the rest i just wasted
The Drake
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Beautiful finish! Nice Work.

Best,

Tim

Day 8
Michael Baker
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Bravo!!!

~michael

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~michael baker
The Magic Company
Regan
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Quote:
On 2008-03-08 08:49, chill wrote:
Nice looking prop. box looks sturdy. bright primary colors grab the eye. the butterflies are well done. are they decals or...?

great innovations. the upside-down move particularly good.
how do the top doors stay closed when you roll the box over?

bob


Thank you Bob. The butterflies are waterslide decals. I sprayed clear lacquer over them to protect them. Ron Reid helped me find a source for these and answered a ton of my questions pertaining to them.

The top doors do not latch magnetically like the front and back doors. It is an easy matter to hold them shut with the fingers of one hand while rolling the box over. I actually need them to open when I tip the box before I open the front and back doors because the big doors will not open when the small, top doors are closed. Well, they will open, but not without making contact and raising the top doors slightly. If I roll the box in the direction away from the audience, holding the top doors shut is not really even necessary, but I prefer holding them shut momentarily, then letting them fall open.

I still haven't had time to practice with the box much yet. I'm sure I'll find different and better ways to handle it and use it as I progress.

Thanks Tim and Michael!

Regan
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silverking
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It's a beautiful box Regan, but being the father of a 10 year old daughter who's also MY "magic assistant", I liked the reason you built it and to whom it's dedicated even more than the box itself Smile
Regan
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Thanks Silverking. I hope everyone will "get it" when I present this routine. It sure means a lot to me. I think parents will be touched, if they care about their kids.

I have been planning this rotuine for months. I have researched a lot trying to find out how I could pull this off. Some things just were not available, so I had to build 2 props to make the magic happen the way I wanted it to. I'm really glad it turned out that way though, because now it seems even more personal.

I still have to buy a couple of more props. I hope to have the routine ready to perform next month. My daughter is planning on attending some of my April shows, and I hope to surprise her with it then. I can tell you one thing, I'm pretty sure it will be one of my favorite routines.

Thanks again, and enjoy that daughter of yours while you can. She won't stay little very long. Smile

Regan
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nucinud
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Fine job, great finish. You should be very proud, thanks for sharing.
"We are what we pretend to be" Kurt Vonnegut, jr.



Now U C It Now U Don't

Harry Mandel

www.mandelmagic.com
Regan
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Thanks Harry.
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magicgeorge
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Wow! Looks great. Superb work. I'm jealous, I wish I could put something that beautiful together.

George
Regan
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Thank you George.

You never what you can do until you try. I have built some props before, but this one turned out better than the others. You might build a masterpiece if you got inspired and determined as I did. I tried to find something on the market first, but there was really nothing I could find that would suffice.

I really tried to do a good job with this prop because of the special routine I will be using it in. The other props I have built are stained for a more elegant look, but the Butterfly Box will be used in a visual, colorful routine so I painted it to match the color scheme. While planning this, I was afraid the colors might be too loud and overpowering, but I thought the box should match the color scheme because of the nature of the routine.

Regan
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sobrien
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Very nice... Please let us all know how it goes...
Regan
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Thanks Sobrian!
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MickeyPainless
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Beautiful job, looks like expert craftsmanship!
Tony Thomas
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Hey Regan,

Great work. I agree with everyone's comments about the nice finish. Can you describe the process you used to sand, paint, and finish the prop?
From the Encouraging Magic of...
Tony Thomas
www.magictonythomas.com
Regan
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Thanks Mickey and Tony!

I will be glad to share my finish process, but I did not keep any exact records of it so it will have to be from memory.

First of all, I prepared the plywood. This is a most important step! I used Miniwax wood filler to fill the grain, edges, holes, and imperfections. Once the filler is applied it has dry and then be dry sanded. I used a variety of 3M sandpaper(#220, #320, #400 grits).

In some places multiple coats of wood filler needed to be applied so the process had to be repeated until it was satisfactory. Drying is pretty quick with the Minwax. Sometimes I allowed it to dry overnight, but on smaller sections just an hour or even less was enough. By the way, I have used Elmer's Wood Filler on other projects and it works well too.

When the wood was ready for the paints, I used Bulls Eye Shellac as a sand and sealer. I would not use this again, as it was very difficult to sand. I sprayed 2 light coats and lightly sanded between coats. I refinish vintage guitars, and a product called Fullerplast is my sand and sealer of choice. Leo Fender used it back in the sixties on Fender guitars. It works great, but it is expensive and difficult to obtain, so I tried the Bulls Eye on this project.

Next, I sprayed a couple of coats of B.I.N. Shellac Base Primer, sanding lightly with #220 grit between coats, and sanding smooth with #320 after the last primer coat.

Some of these first steps that can be ignored, but if you are using lacquer paints the grain needs to be sealed really well. Lacquer will sink into the grain. With the grain filler, the sanding sealer, plus the primer, the chance of the lacquer sinking is greatly reduced or eliminated. Also, the first coats of sand and sealer will usually raise some of the wood fibers. This will cease after this process and will not be a problem once you get to the later finishing stages.

Now, after all that, I painted all the box parts black. I actually used a Satin black, but the clear lacquer made it kind of shine. I lightly sanded between coats with #320/#400, and made sure all dust particles, imperfections, etc, were taken care of before the final coat was applied. I ended up spraying 2-3 coats of the black.

I allowed my black Butterfly Box to dry for more than 24 hours at this point. Having said that, drying time between coats and before sanding will depend on what product you use, and that goes for any of the painting steps. Read the labels, and allow more than ample drying time if you are going to have to handle the part a lot. Anytime you need to sand or mask, allow plenty of drying time!

Next, I masked the box with Scotch-Blue Painter's Tape. I used the medium adhesion, 14 day removal type. This is a tedious process, but care needs to be taken with this step for a good finish.

Now it was time for the color. I sprayed 2-3 of coats of Krylon paints. I began by spraying the frames red, and everything else yellow. Again, I lightly sanded after the first coat with #320/#400 grit making sure to eliminate any dust particles, imperfections, etc. before I sprayed the final coat(s). Some of the parts needed only 2 coats of color while others needed 3. The yellow was lighter and therefore needed a little more to insure coverage. This was the reason I sprayed the blue on top of the yellow and not the opposite.

After the paint dried for 24+ hours, I masked the square rectangle (it's not exactly a square, but it's close enough to look like one....LOL) on the front of the large doors and sprayed a 2 light coats of blue. I let this dry overnight and then I removed the masking tape.

All that was left to do now was to apply the decals, pinstripes, and clearcoating. The decals are waterslides, and the nature of them made it difficult to get them on so they matched, but with care, a tape measure, and a ruler I got them pretty close.

After getting the decals on I sprayed on several a very, very, very light coats of clear lacquer. The lacquer dries quickly so this didn't take too long. Before the final coat I allowed a little extra drying time and sprayed the final coat a little heavier.

By the way, I had thouroughly tested several types of clear lacquer. Some types I tried reacted to the decals, and one type even reacted to the paint. I chose Valspar because I was told it resists yellowing/fading, and it did not react. I was still careful, and by spraying very light coats initially, the chance of a reaction was reduced. I did not want to mess things up at this point!

After the clear lacquer dried overnight, I applied the red pinstripes. I actually found some that the lacquer could be sprayed over. I thouroughly tested this too, because I have heard that lacquer will melt and ruin some pinstripes. After I applied the pinstripes, I thought it looked good and I decided not to clearcoat over them. I figure it will be easier to change or repair if the pinstripes ever were to get damaged. Although they are very thin, thay still protrude slightly and may have more potential to get caught, pulled, and damaged.

Anyway, that's it. It was time to put it all together and install the hardware. I had even considered wetsanding some after the final coats, but I did not think it was necessary. I wanted my Butterfly Box to look good since it was for a special routine for my daughter. She is a big fan of butterflies, by the way. She had them all over her car windows and her license plate at one point (until she crashed that car! Smile ). She had better appreciate all the work I have put into this prop....and the work and expense that's going into this routine!

Regan
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Tony Thomas
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All I can say is Wow! I'm copying your description of the process into a special word document on my computer labeled - "How to Finish Something Right". You have the patience of a ninja! Much respect...

Day 10
From the Encouraging Magic of...
Tony Thomas
www.magictonythomas.com
Regan
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Well, Tony, I don't know about the patience of a ninja, but thanks.

Finishing/refinishing guitars really does require a lot of patience. If you use nitrocellulose lacquer and finish them "vintage correct" then a certain amount of timeand patience is required. There are waiting periods that need to be followed. The longest of which comes after the final coat of lacquer is applied, because the longer you can wait before you do the final sanding/polishing, the better off you will be. The lacquer is soft and if you try to sand and handle it too soon you can get imprints and mess it up.

I recently refinished my old 1965 Fender Jaguar and after the final coat went on I let it hang for 30 days before I got it down, sanded and polished it. Then, I was really careful with it for the next 30 days. I would not let it stay in the same position very long. I would keep it in it's case for a day or two, move it to a stand for a day or so, lay it the bed for a while, etc. Even terrycloth, denim, and similar fabrics can imprint the finish. I have seen colors from the plush lining of cases fade into the lacquer also.

Usually the lacquer will cure in 60 days and be about as hard as it will ever get. Of course with the Butterfly Box I was using a different type of paint and lacquer than I am used to, so I was unsure about some things. I had to experiment and learn as I went along.

Good luck with your next project!

Regan
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Decomposed
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Real nice Regan....
Regan
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Thanks Candini!
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