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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Needle Balloon Problem (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MichaelCGM
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I just bought another "Needle Thru Balloon." This happens about every three years or so. I've been using this effect for over 30 years and I still can't figure out what happens to the needle. It just doesn't make sense to me.

At some point, it simply starts popping balloons - not the occasional pop but, rather it won't stop popping balloons. I've been told that each time it's used to pop the balloon at the end of a routine, it causes microscopic damage to the tip and eventually ends up creating a burr of some sort. That kinda makes sense.

I've been told to re-sharpen the needle - which I do - and it still pops balloons. I've been told to use a fish-hook sharpener, a whet stone, emery cloth, etc., etc. I've used all with some success. But there comes a point when NONE of them eliminate the problem. Then, it's back to the magic shop and a new needle.

Thirty-PLUS years… what am I missing? Smile
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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bowers
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Ha Michael
its true a needle dulls every time you use it.
just like a knife dulls cutting cardboard.
friction plays a big part of this.im not sure you are really getting the needle sharp.
I use a 1/4 inch knitting needle but when I have it sharp you can just touch it to your
finger and it will go in easy.i needs to be very sharp.and of course it has to be lubercated
well so there is no friction to pop the balloon.
todd
revmike
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Annville, PA
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I have been fortunate so far. At least five years and no problems but I keep mine in the lubridated wand/holder.

Mike
The magic is not in our sleights and illusions, but instead in our ability to bring love and joy.
Mike Maturen
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Michigan's Beautiful Sunrise Side
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I think the big thing, other than sharpness, is lubrication. I don't have a lubricated holder (I really SHOULD get one) but I use a cotton ball with oil onstage (under the pretense of cleaning it) to lube it up just before I use it.
Mike Maturen
World of Wonder Entertainment
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AUTHOR OF "A NEW DAWN--Weekly Wisdom From Everyday Life"

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bowers
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I keep mine in a home made pvc pipe holder
I made. one end filled with vasoline.
works great.
todd
MichaelCGM
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Thanks for all the great advice, guys! I use a needle-wand as well. I think Todd is right, though. I picked up a new needle Friday afternoon, for a show on Saturday morning (today). When I performed the effect, the needle slid through like a hot knife through butter. It seems that, over time, I forget how well a nice, sharp needle works. Even though I've been sharpening the needle regularly, I never get that super-smooth penetration. There's always just a slight resistance before the needle clears the latex. If Todd is right - and I think he is - I need to really apply myself when sharpening the needle, from here on out. I may be just polishing it and getting by. Whadayathink? Smile
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

MagicalMichael.com Smile Laus Deo!
Bob1Dog
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I sharpen all my cutting blades for woodworking and the final finish should polish, not sharpen. As with 1500 grit paper. You might even try "stropping" the needle tip using nothing more than the back of a leather belt. Old barbers stropped their razors before each shave for a reason. The stropping removes the fine burrs on the razor sharp blade created from each shave. You might be amazed at what a simple strop will do. Take an old leather belt and nail the buckle to a workbench with the rough side of the leather facing up. Then simply hold the belt taught while you strop the tip a dozen or so times, being sure to get the full area of the tip...try to do it as flat as possible, tip to leather. Try this after each show and you won't have to resharpen as often. Good luck
What if the Hokey Pokey really IS what it's all about? Smile

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Lou Hilario
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One of the causes of the balloon accidentally popping is probably you are inflating the balloon ahead of time. I think it is best to do this effect just right after blowing the balloon. Needle must also be lubricated at all times.
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MichaelCGM
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Oklahoma City
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Quote:
On 2011-12-04 06:35, Lou Hilario wrote: One of the causes of the balloon accidentally popping is probably you are inflating the balloon ahead of time. I think it is best to do this effect just right after blowing the balloon. Needle must also be lubricated at all times.
Thanks for your advice, Lou, but I've been doing this effect for over 30 years. I know all the little tips and nuances to the handling. What I'm asking about is what to do when the actual properties of the needle cause failure. Again, thanks though.
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

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Michael Messing
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I've been doing the Needle Through Balloon for at least 25 years. Every now and then, I have to sharpen the tip. I use a super fine grit sandpaper to get it really sharp but I've never gotten to the point where I could not make it work again. I've only owned two needles (one's a backup) in that time and I do Needle Through Balloon around 125 times a year. I'm not sure why you can't get yours to work after you sharpen it back.

I do find that I have to refill the lubricant in the storage wand regularly. After a while, there isn't enough in the wand to properly lubricate the need. I pull the cork and fill it back with petroleum jelly.
bowers
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I notice Michael
that I personal get better results from
a grinding wheel than I do when just
try to sand it. don't really know why.
unless its does not leave any burrs.
just food for thought.
todd
MichaelCGM
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Oklahoma City
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Quote:
On 2011-12-04 15:18, Michael Messing wrote: I'm not sure why you can't get yours to work after you sharpen it back.
Thanks for your input, Michael. I believe that I'm just not being aggressive enough in sharpening, as Todd mentioned earlier. Not that I'm planning to touch it to my finger, as he mentioned. Smile

Quote:
On 2011-12-04 15:40, bowers wrote: I notice Michael that I personal get better results from a grinding wheel than I do when just try to sand it.
That sounds reasonable. I'll give it a whirl next time. I think I'll practice on the old needle first. Smile

Note: Lou, I took some time to view a number of your videos. I've been in the magic business for over 40 years, and met a lot of truly fine entertainers. I have to say that your entertaining skills are absolutely phenominal!
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

MagicalMichael.com Smile Laus Deo!
Regan
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Michael, I believe you have probably figured out the problem. I think it is most likely your sharpening technique. I would try using some super-fine grit sandpaper and see if that will...a...do the trick, so to speak. You can use a more coarse grit to begin with if you need to, but I'd try a really fine grit as a final step. If that doesn't do it, use try some "Finesse It II" polish. I use that as a final polish for guitar finishes, and it will make it slick!

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

Regan
Mister Mystery
MichaelCGM
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Oklahoma City
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Quote:
On 2011-12-06 15:39, Regan wrote: ... see if that will...a...do the trick
That was good, Regan!!! Since I'm using another new needle, I'll try some of your ideas, and those of the other contributors as soon as I get some free time. Thanks for the suggestion, though. I appreciate it.
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

MagicalMichael.com Smile Laus Deo!
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