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Mike Powers
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What's the consensus on whether or not to explain the bumps on the end of the ropes for a Fiber Optics type routine. I think it's important that the ropes be quickly examined. But if the ends are treated i.e. have a bump due to pushing the fraying ends back in or have been glued or sewed etc. A spec might call you out and say, "Hey -what's with this thread" or "what's with this bump" etc.

I think that once someone questions this, you have to answer. Obviously the real answer should be satisfactory. Should the magician simply "disclose" that s/he has prepared the ropes so they won't fray? Or should you wait for someone to call you out and then explain. Or should you simply ignore an "examiner" who notes something strange.

Maybe one approach is to simply tell the "examiners" to pull on the rope and say, "No strings, magnets, etc. The rope doesn't stretch" etc. and then move on. Generally the examiners would likely not call attention to the ends. But inevitably someone will. What's the best course of action here.

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New Jersey
1740 Posts

Profile of 0pus
Ask if there are any boy scouts in the house. Explain that one of the requirements for the rank of Tenderfoot is that you know how to whip and fuse the ends of a rope. See requirement 4.a. here:
Tell them ever since you made that rank, you always treat the ends of your ropes and lines.
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Cleveland, OH
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Profile of yachanin
Hi Mike,

I don't mention the ends unless someone asks (and that has happened a few times). I simply tell them it's so the ends don't unravel and move on. They've always been satisfied with my answer.

Regards, Steve
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Teacher and Legend
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In truth, I don't think I have ever had the need to be concerned about the ends of my rope. My routine cuts and restores, then I throw out the rope.
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.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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I haven't changed anyone's opinion in
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Profile of Mr. Mystoffelees
I have always felt that the bump you get from tucking the ends looks suspicious. Here is my formula for more natural looking rope ends:

1. I generally use white rope, sometimes cored, sometime not according to the effect. Good magicians rope works for most cored needs, and braided boating rope otherwise.

2. I then use "Sobo" Premium Craft and Fabric Glue (Delta Creative) or, as an alternative, white flexible tub caulk.

3. Both types of rope are cut about 1/2" longer than the final length.

4. For the non-cored rope, pull out 3/4" of the inner core and cut it off.

5. Carefully fill the last 3/4" of the rope with the glue or calk. Be careful not to squeeze the rope, just fill the core (better if you have the time to do it gradually).

6. Let the rope set overnight, with the ends pointed down, so the glue does not run up the rope (use newspaper etc. to catch any drips).

7. With sharp scissors or an exacto, cut off the last 1/2" of the rope.

8. You should end up (no pun) with a rope end that looks completely natural and, although it will feel harder than a freshly cut rope (which is good) it is perfectly normal for passing out for inspection.

Hope someone finds this helpful!


Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Mike Powers
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Thanks all for taking time to make suggestions. They have been quite helpful.

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Eternal Order
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Profile of Dynamike
I recently started using nylon rope: A light burn with fire will seal the ends. It makes it slightly harder, but little noticeable.
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670 Posts

Profile of JTW
Hey Mike, I do just what you mentioned...Check out the ropes, make sure they aren't stuck together in the middle with glue, magnets or a hidden showgirl.

I find by adding "In the middle" forces them to concentrate there. Regardless if someone asks about the ends or not I explain about fraying point out that the ends have been glued and then ask them to make sure the ends don't stick together.

I always felt this was using the Tamariz concept of cancelling methods.

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York ,PA.
1412 Posts

Profile of manal
I use nylon rope too. Get mine at the Big K-Mart.
Life is too important to take seriously.
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Profile of echojet
Dip the ends in white Elmore's glue. I,ve never had anyone mention the ends. If they did I would simply tell them the truth. It's so they wont fray and then ask them to examine both the rope and it's glued ends. I'm sure the audience would laugh at that moment after a friendly rolling of the eyes.
Tom Lauten
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Profile of Tom Lauten
I remove about 1" of the core, tuck in about 1/2" of that hollow section and then gently sew up the end. It doesn't bulge and better yet (for me) it also doesn't have a hard and crunchy cut end. That works for me, the rope looks tidy and it stays soft and pliable.
Living at and loving Loch Ness!
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