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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Knots and loops » » Tommy Wonder solution for rope ends (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Ron Reid
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Inner circle
Phoenix, Arizona
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Hello:

I remember watching the Tommy Wonder series (L&L) and he had a technique for treating the ends of rope. It was some type of chemical, I believe. Now I can't seem to find it on the tapes (I still have the VHS). Can someone here point in the right direction? Also, has anyone tried his method?

Thanks for any help.

Ron
Oliver Ross
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Europe
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Ron,

Wasn't it rubber cement ?

Oliver.
Ron Reid
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Inner circle
Phoenix, Arizona
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Hi Oliver:

I was thinking it was some type of chemical that froze the ends so that they could be cut with a knife or a saw, giving a real precise end.

Thanks for taking the time to help; I appreciate it.

Ron
Faster
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Texas
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Colodium. Dip it, let it harden over night, then use a razor/scalpal/X-Acto to slice through the hardened part.

However, he says he used this for inserting a gimmick so the rope doesn't misform in diameter like it would do with glue. For regular ends he used tape. So he says on his video (volume 2, "Ring on Rope")

Richard
Faster
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Follow-up to the other part of your question...

I have not tried Mr. Wonder's solution (double entendre intended). I use the Braco gimmick which has its own attachment method. I use ultra blonde shellac to keep ends from fraying. Not too much, though, as it will very quickly osmose throught the fibers and harden more rope than you intended. 1 drop to seal the entire circumference is probably too much. I dab it on using a fine artist's brush.

Richard
Ron Reid
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Inner circle
Phoenix, Arizona
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That's it! Thank you very much Richard.

Ron
Faster
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Texas
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Happy to help.

Colodium (or Collodion or Pyroxylin) is essentially nitrocellulose. Same stuff you'll get in almost any container of brush-on lacquer that does **NOT** say "polyurethane" on the label.

There's one difference, though. Nitrocellulose lacquer is in an acetone (mainly) carrier, whereas colodium is in an ether/alcohol carrier. Lacquer is a much thinner solution. Colodium is much more like a syrup. You could use lacquer but it will likely osmose along the rope and saturate far more than you intended. Colodium will more or less stay where you put it, though there is some minor osmosing.

If you don't mind innoculating your rope against bacterial infection, a ready source is NewSkin, which you can pick up in the bandages section of your Walgreen's, CVS, etc. But make certain you get NewSkin and no other brand. NewSkin is colodium with an antibacterial additive. Other brands are cyanoacrylic (super glue).

Be aware nitrocellulose yellows over time, and more quickly if exposed to ultrviolet light. Used indoors, it shouldn't begin to yellow until after about a year, even with exposure to sunlight through windows. If you'll store your rope between performances in a light-proof container it will stay clear for several years.

If you use colored rope, the yellowing probably won't ever be noticable. If you use white, the audience will be able to detect the discolored ends. Not exactly a good thing if you're using a hidden gimmick.

(I speak from experience as a woodworker and having handled nitrocellulose quite a lot, and on different color woods. I don't have direct experience with nitrocellulose and rope, but the substance will degrade/yellow the same whether applied to wood surfaces, rope, steel plating, glass or anything else. If left in direct sunlight for most of the day, nitrocellulose will become a distinct amber color in less than a month.)

Richard
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