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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » Small shells or large? Copper or plastic? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

caubeck
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I have been practicing with the Vernet and now want to use better quality props for the 3 shell game. I have two doubts, however: my hands are large (though not fat), so should I tend towards Vernet-sized or sfs-sized shells? If the latter, I can purchase either copper or "street shell" plastic. Do either have disadvantages? I can't try anything out before I buy it. I can't afford the Maggiore set right now. Thanks for any advice you can give me!
BeThePlunk
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West of Boston, East of Eden
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I can share my experience for whatever it's worth. I also have larger hands, and I also started learning on the Vernet shells. The problem I found in moving up is finding something I could grip as well as the Vernets. I found SFS too small, but I also found some of the larger ones hard to grip as well because they are too smooth. I've ended up with Black Fox Superior Shells, but I gave them some help by spraying them with something to make the grip easier. Also, if gripping is the problem, then a lighter shell (resin rather than metal) might help. I understand the problem of having to spend money just to experiment, but unless you have a brick and mortar shop near you, you're kinda stuck.
MikeDes
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Montreal
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I also found the SFS shells a little small. Some say that the pea is the "star" of the show so you should use the smallest shell that you're comfortable with but I prefer a larger shell. They are easier to grip. Some of the Black Fox shells are a little too big for my taste as they do not fit under a shot glass.

I also found the copper shells to be too slick. It makes it very difficult to do any one handed moves.

You may also want to check out the shells at www.3shells.com
jakeg
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I think that working with the SFS street shells depends on the type of skin you have. During certain times of the year, I can only use them after applying moisturizer to my hands, other times, they're no problem. I would have preferred to see them a little larger, but it's no big deal. I have a set of mags which I like. The easiest ones to work that I have are the shellbark (?) which are tiny, but a joy to use. Phil Cass uses the Verne on his DVD.
By the way, you might want to try making your own, get a bag of walnuts, find 2 that look the same, thinly line them with wood filler or with epoxy. The ones that I had lasted forever. I should have stuck with them. Right now, they make the most sense to me.
E.S. Andrews
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For me, the critical feature of a good-handling shell is a high vertical wall in relation to the size of the shell. The Vernets have it, as do La Maggiore and the Shagbarks (my favorite everyday shell; sadly no longer available).

3shells.com advertises two promising designs: the high tops, top shelf, and collosal (I'd get them without the bottom ridge). They're the same price point as the La Maggiiores, though.

In your situation, caubek, I'd probably take jakeg's advice and make your own set from real walnuts. As he said, find two whole walnuts that look identical, with a size and shape you'd like. Pry them open, scoop out the contents of the three best halves, and line the interiors with a bit of wood putty for strength. Use some fine grain sandpaper to finish the interiors and smooth rough bits on the rims. Apply a flat or low sheen varnish, polyurethane, lacquer, or shellac to the exteriors and you'll have a beautiful set of shells ala Frank Garcia.
caubeck
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Thanks for all the great advice! Food for thought (as long as walnuts are your thing). If I made my own, could I work on tabletops as the sfs sets apparently can or will I be limited to close-up pads?
jakeg
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Quote:
On Dec 7, 2016, caubeck wrote:
Thanks for all the great advice! Food for thought (as long as walnuts are your thing). If I made my own, could I work on tabletops as the sfs sets apparently can or will I be limited to close-up pads?


The key is not shell, it's the ball that have to work on the surface. just about anything that you can cover the pea with will do its job.
shellgame-al
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California, USA
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Caubeck,

If you decide to make your own set of shells, I would recommend looking for some nice size black walnuts that match well. These type shells are easy to grip.
The problem you will find with most English Walnuts they will have that low inward curve on the shell and this is what makes the fingers slip off the shell.
I have been making shell sets for over thirty years and it is not as easy as it sounds here to find three real walnut shells to make a good set.

Most all the shell sets I make do not have this low inward curve on the shell and are easy to grip. The shells I have made molds from I did not find them at the store when shopping.
It takes a long time to find a good working real shell and the only way all three will match is by making a mold to get a matching set.
Every shell is different, even the top and bottom of the same walnut are different

If you decide to buy a set.
The set I would recommend is the "Game Taker Shell set". http://www.3shells.com/walnut--peanut-shell-game-sets.html
These are large shells that are very easy to grip and so are the peas.
This set is without the bottom ridge.
Manufacture of the Bottom Ridge Shells & 3 Disk Monte
3shell.com and magicswindles.com
caubeck
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Thanks again, I'll make a careful purchase in the coming days and also toy around with making my own. There is an elegance to the 3SG that I hadn't expected to find, I sense this is going to be a long-term interest.
sgiandubh
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Caubeck, if you fall in love with the shell game like me you will end up with many shell sets! I have many from Al and SFS they handle differently and are of various sizes. You will through trial and error find the perfect shell for your hand size, the way you grip the shell, how your skin is ie dry. However with practice you can make all shell sets work wonderfully I still have my first set of plastic shells that only cost a few pounds and they still fool people down the pub, and because they were so cheap I don't mind getting beer on them!

David
LeoH
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Caubeck:

It is indeed a long term interest, and if you fall in love with the game I would be very suprised if you only purchase one set. If you have trouble gripping shells, may I suggest a product that Al at 3shells.com carries. I am not sure of the name, but helps me grip the shells better. I have found that after I have used it in practice, it helps me grip the shells better when performing.
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