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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Smooth as silk » » Thick vs. Thin (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dynamike
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What are the advantages and disadvantages using thinner/thicker silk?
Father Photius
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Thicker if you are using it to cover something, like for a vanish. Thinner gives you more load space. Too thin and you replace them after every trick. Bob's silk chart fixed posted at the top of this forum, kind of covers all this.
"Now here's the man with the 25 cent hands, that two bit magician..."
Dynamike
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Thanks for pitching in Photius.
Bob Sanders
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For printed silks, the trade off for more crisp graphics is denser silk up to a point (about 8 momme). Most of the better printed silks are 5 or 6 momme. I don't import 3 momme silk. But for a magician it is too transparent and the richness of the color washes out under stage lights. Heavy opaqueness is really not a good problem to solve with real silk. The substitutes are simply too cheap to ignore.

The benefits of silk go away as you add weight. Obviously it takes more space but the real loss is the light floating delicate and transparent film of color that makes and keeps the mystery in the magical effect. (Sometimes, I think of silk as a type of smoke. It keeps the Fire Marshall happy. LOL)

One of the most common observations is that "you can't hide anything behind that". We steal loads out from behind white silks all the time. The audience looks at the silk instead of the distance between the silk and the load. IT WORKS! It certainly enlarges movement for the stage. Once silk is "over weight", it hangs like a towel and often the opposite sides don't match either. (Linings don't have to have but one good side!)

The two things that usually damage silk are stains and punctures. Tearing silk really takes some doing. But a puncture separates the weave. Higher momme usually just makes the accident more expensive (like breaking a more expensive dish). Unfortunately, momme tells you nothing about the quality of the weave. It is totally a measure of weight. Today, good hems often cost more than the silk anyway. The difference in 5 and 8 momme silk is about twenty cents a square foot. Hemming either costs essentially the same. Therefore, except for special orders, I don't even import 6 momme silk anymore. With the old sewing machines 6 momme was a little easier to sew. Technology in China solved that problem decades ago. (That is why you don't have to wash the sizing out of silks anymore before they are soft.) Americans were behind because we could not import from China! Progress waits for no magician!

There is some math you can apply. Replacing a 5 momme silk with the same size 8 momme silk will take 8/5 = 160% as much space to load. The audience will still see the same area of silk. They will not see a difference. Think of it as doing a newspaper trick with printed cardboard instead. There is no benefit to the audience.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- For opaqueness, I recommend layering silk rather than having one thick piece. This works for bag tricks and covers like in Zombie routines.
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
Dynamike
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Thanks for the TON of information, Bob. I feel like I just graduated Silk College. Smile
Bob Sanders
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DynaMike,

Thank you!

Perhaps this is the "School of Hard Knots!"

Bob Sanders
Magic by Sander
Bob Sanders

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magicians
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One of the major intrusions into the world of silk magic was the thin momme weight of the India silks. Imported by Robbins several years ago, and drawn by price rather than quality, many dealers started selling printed card silks and patterns which were only useful with bright front lighting. The weaves were imperfect and the overall silk sizes were smaller too.
The magic customers were not really impressed. At least those who had ever held and used the heavier momme weight.
I had calloused hands from some farm work, and always got my raspy fingers caught on the weave.
As far as thick silk, I had made some foulards from heavier "tie silk". They were black on one side and red, blue or green on the other. I sold them to rings and things as an accessory to Zombie balls.
You can see my silk foulards in Jeff McBride's zombie mask act, and Lance Burton on his Carson show floating ball. I still have about 3 of those left.
Illusionist, Illusionist consulting, product development, stage consultant, seasoned performer for over 35 years. Specializing in original effects. Highly opinionated, usually correct, and not afraid of jealous critics. I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pawn and a King. Free lance gynecologist.
Bob Sanders
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Unfortunately, one of the really misleading things about momme as a measurement, is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality and uniformity of the weave.

The "eyes" have it!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- Tie silk makes great special FX when you can get something that you can use.
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
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