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Topic: Bazar de Magia Spirit Slates
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Mar 14, 2005 10:15PM)
I thought I'd do a quick review of these, as I got a set a while ago, and most dealers seem to carry them.
First off, they are, in my opinion, a nice size, with an inner diameter of about 7"x11", which is the slate board, set in a nicely stained, dark frame of about 1" width.
My guess is that it's a cherry wood stain, but I'm not that good with identifying my woods. It is very handsome, and they appear fairly "professional", and nicely made.
My set is the "magnetic" set, and here is where the problem is:
Even though the ad for these slates claims that the slates can be handled and examined by spectators, the *cough* f**p *cough* is cut much too small for this, a full quarter of an inch short on one side and nearly as much on the other axis. There is no way that even a 5 year old would not pick up on this if they were to handle the slates. This is just a sin, because everything else about them is great.
I spoke to the dealer I got mine from, who very graciously, after reviewing their stock, agreed with me and even offered to give me a refund. I thought about it and figured, what the heck, how hard could it be to make my own f**p ? So I declined their offer and thanked them anyway, and set out to make my own.
First item on the shopping list: chalkboard paint. This much is easy, the stuff works very well.
What wasn't as easy as I thought, is finding the right sheet metal, because the only metal stock I can find in sheet form is 26 gauge at the thinnest, which really is too thick - and this is after tearing apart 2 Home Depots and a Lowes. I've also contacted a number of sheet metal and metal fabrication shops in my neighborhood and got the same results - nothing quite as thin as I need, which I estimate to be about 32GA, although I'd even try 28GA if I could find it. Even the Internet searches aren't turning up anything, including eBay.
As an earlier resort, I also sent an email to Bazar de Magia explaining my plight, and might they have a slightly larger piece I could purchase from them, but alas, I received no reply, and my offer fell on deaf .. um.. eyes.

So, if anyone can point me to where I might find a sheet of steel that's about a foot or two square, that's at least 28 gauge or thinner, let me know, okay ?

In the meantime, anyone else considering these slates should consider themselves warned - from a stage perspective, you'd have no problem at all, but close-up, you have to change your handling. I was hoping to have something I could hand out that would survive a cursory once-over, but I dare not do that with these.
Message: Posted by: Carlos Hampton (Mar 16, 2005 03:50AM)

excuse my ignorance but I just don't see the purpose of having these magnetic. How would you disloge the F#### being magnetic. You will have to jerk these around to get the desired result.
With proper audience management you can give the impresion that both boards have been examined, with no one being the wiser.

My advise.... go back to lowes get a sheet of pexiglas and put that paint to work. You will be pleased with the results.

Good luck
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Mar 16, 2005 01:55PM)
The magnet isn't that strong at all, just enough to hold the f*** securely, particularly if they're being handed out for a quick examination.
When you want to work the f***, it's really not a problem.
Think chop cup.
Of course, they wouldn't survive a thorough examination, but that's where spec control comes in. They can still say they examined the slates.
Plexiglass would seem to be too thick. Interesting alternative though.
Message: Posted by: Marduk (Mar 17, 2005 09:01AM)
Dear Mystician:
I am the owner of Bazar de Magia. First of all, thank you for purchasing our products. We found the problem you mentioned after sending them. Now we solved the problem and the Flaps are much more adjusted to the size of the slates.
We never received your email. Please, write us again. We are able to change your set of slates or we can refund your money if you want. Please, contact us to: bazar@magia.com.ar
Or directly through our web site.
Quique Marduk
Message: Posted by: Carlos Hampton (Mar 18, 2005 06:29AM)
That is what I am talking about. Great customer service Quike!!!
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Mar 23, 2005 01:14AM)
Wow !!
Cool - Thanks Mr. Marduk, I don't want a refund, I really like these slates. They are, after all, beautifully made, especially considering the price. Ronjo.com also offered a refund at the time but I just wanted to make these work.
I'll resend the email. This just made my night.
Message: Posted by: RonjoMagic (Mar 23, 2005 12:38PM)
Hi guys,
Pete at Ronjo.com. Mystican, we never ever wnat our customers to be disattisfied. So the offer still stands. Contact me if you would liek a refund in full. Bye the way, we have since recieved several more sets with the same or other problems and we have discontinued the item. I see Bazzar's post and I am happy the problem is fixed. We will try them once more and hopefully see improvments in them. Thanks,Pete
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Mar 24, 2005 10:42PM)
Hi Pete,
Thanks for the offer, again. I sent an email to bazar@magia.com.ar a few nights ago, and so far I haven't gotten a reply. I'm going to try again, just to make sure they got it. There's something funny about their email if 2 of them have gotten swallowed by a black hole.
If you get any of the new slates in, can you post a review here ?
I'd appreciate it, and probably a few others too.
Message: Posted by: RonjoMagic (Mar 26, 2005 10:55AM)
Hello Mystician, I will place an order for ONE only on Monday. They will take about one week to arrive (if in stock). I will leave a post of the quality issue. Pete
Message: Posted by: RonjoMagic (Apr 5, 2005 12:16PM)
Hi there Pete from http://www.ronjo.com here. I ordered another set to give this product a second chance. I ordered it with specific instruction to only send if is from stock of a new delivery. We just got it in and the same problem exists. I am not sure if this is new stock or not. My guess is that they just pulled what they had from the warehouse and gave us an old problem. I will be discontinuing these for good unless the product does indeed get corrected. Take care. Pete
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Apr 6, 2005 06:25PM)
Well, I'm [i] slated [/i] to get a new set any day now .. (bad pun intended), I'll let you know what I get.
I do consider this important, because to me, slates aren't a stage effect, they're for close-up. Whether or not the slates are actually handed out for examination, the gap should not be visible from 6 feet away.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Apr 13, 2005 10:46AM)
Did you receive the new slates yet?
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Apr 13, 2005 02:56PM)
Not as yet, no.

([i] - but I did save a bundle on my car insurance .... okay, I've been watching too many Geico commericals )[/i] :)
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Apr 29, 2005 11:04AM)
Okay, post time. I received my slates.

This is a bittersweet situation.
The sweet part is, they fixed the flap issue, and the flap fits the new slates beautifully. They didn't enlarge the flap, it's still the same size, instead they reduced the inner diameter of the slate frame by adding an inside beveled edge to it that the original set didn't have.
This indicates, to me anyway, that they probably don't make the flaps themselves, and have no control over the sizing, therefore they modifed their slates around the flap.
This should be the end of the story, with a happy ending.

Here's the bitter part:
The new slates have a new, different problem. You can see the magnet in the one slate, it looks like a quarter stuck in there or something. Naturally, this isn't a problem while the flap is on and the writing is hidden, but once you transfer it, I'm afraid someone will notice that and go, "hey, that wasnt' there before !".
I mean, isn't the idea to keep the magnet invisible and secret? I couldn't see it in my original set.

I don't get this company - they seem to have no concept of quality control. This burdens their customer service dept to make amends they shouldn't have to make.
They went to all the trouble of sending me new slates, they fixed the flap issue, and there, plain as day, is the magnet poking through. No one in shipping or manufacturing saw that ? They let that pass ? Knowing it was going to a customer who already had an issue looking for a resolution ?

It's such a shame, because, as I've said before, they're such beautiful slates, and so very capable of being the darn near perfect slate set, but for these stupid oversights they just can't seem to get it right.
I've sent them two emails now stating the situation, and I'm just waiting to see what they say about this new wrinkle.

So, I still can't recommend these slates to anyone until I see that a slate set without (what I consider) a semi-major defect of some sort. Once they get it all sorted out, I will happily recommend these out to any one looking for a good, fairly affordable set of slates.

If they had found a way to increase the size of the flap, I could always just use it with the original slates, but since they decreased the inner frame diameter instead, this won't work obviously. I could attempt swap the set of actual slates within their frames to fix the magnet issue, but I'm worried that I'd destroy the frames in the process, so, that's out.
Message: Posted by: magicbyswh (Apr 29, 2005 11:21AM)
I am also waiting on them to replace my slates. I had the same problem of the flap being to small. They were supposed to ship them this past Monday and once I receive them I will do a review on the new set they are sending me. Mystician how long did it take to receive your slates from Bazar?
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Apr 29, 2005 03:16PM)
Hi Steve,
A little over a week, they're coming from Argentina, of course.
I hope you have better luck. I suppose some will think I'm anal or something, but.. well, they can buy 'em then I guess.
Message: Posted by: Mystician (May 5, 2005 04:02PM)
I heard back from Bazar today. (They said their guy was out for a week.)
I was filled in on some of the history here, and it makes some sense now:
Their original carpenter died, and they hired or contracted to another to make the slates - this, they say, is the source of the problem with the flaps. They've been through many carpenters, and the most recent one they're happy with but ironing out some bugs - so they said I didn't get a finished production set.
I guess good help is hard to find ? Yeesh.
So apparently, they aren't yet satisfied with the current slates either and are building yet [i] another [/i] set to send me. I'll be up to my eyeballs in slates, as so far, they haven't asked me to send any of them back yet ! Naturally, if they do, I will, but I have a feeling they don't want them back.
They also provided the alternative of a refund due to all the time involved, which is always a nice option to have, but as I've said before, I think they'll get it right eventually, and then they'll have some very classy, effective slates for a very reasonable price.
I have to say I'm impressed with their customer service, even if things do move a bit slow.
..to be continued ..
Message: Posted by: magicbyswh (May 5, 2005 06:34PM)
I am still waiting on the replacement set. Sounds like mine may not be fixed either. Once received I will reply on the quality.
Message: Posted by: magicbyswh (May 21, 2005 05:37AM)
I just received my replacement updated set from Bazar. No change has been made in the set I received either. It is really discouraging to purchase an effect and it is not made or built properly. It is apparant that these slates are not checked for quality before they are sold. The new set I received has the same problem with the set I already had. So now I have 2 sets of slates that are defective. I was hoping the slates would be corrected and the flap would fit properly but it does not. I also have the problem with the magnets being visible. I just wanted everyone to know that the problem is still there and until it is corrected Save your money. I appreciate Bazar's attempt to provide good customer service but they sure did not change the slates to work properly.
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Oct 26, 2005 09:53PM)
Long overdue for an update -

Over the months, I sent two emails to Bazar and they both went unanswered.
I never received a good pair of slates and I have no reason now to believe I ever will.
I don't see how hard it can be to make a pair of frames that fit a flap, and also not show the gimmick as well. There must be no competent carpenters in Argentina or something.
I think I've been fair and given the company every chance to communicate and fix this, but they're not living up to the product's claims, not even remotely.

If you're looking for spirit slates with a flap this Halloween, look elsewhere.
Message: Posted by: RawVoodoo (Dec 10, 2005 02:10AM)
I have a set of these slates also. Mine also have the gap around the F**p. I don't see where it matters though. It's only obvious if you 1) draw attention to it or 2) let people REALLY, REALLY inspect it. I just set it up so the writing appears on the Ungimmicked slate and when I display it I do so by turning the gimmicked slate over and p[lacing it underneath the other so the f**p is on the bottom of the whole stack. Nobody really cares about the slate with no writing so there is no problem. If the f**p were to fit much tighter then it would be harder to make it do its "thing" without binding up.

My only real problem came when the F**p got caught under a bit of the frame and bent my corner. I hammered it back into shape as best I could but there is still a little warpage to be seen....and still nobody has noticed. So I think this is Much ado About Nothing.
Message: Posted by: Mystician (Jul 29, 2006 01:17AM)
And now, time for a happy ending !

Out of the clear blue, I got an email a few days ago from Bazar stating that they were sending another set of slates and that they got all the kinks ironed out.
Wow, I'd just about given up on them. Sweet !

This time, they got it right. On all counts.

The new slates are fantastic - the flap is a beautiful fit, but there's still just enough slack to allow it to fall free (no quarter inch gap this time).
The m****t is invisible as well, and it's strength is just right.
The wood has a very nice finish to it, overall, these look like a nicely made but otherwise "ordinary" old set of slates, with a little bit of "play" within the frames, which is perfectly natural I think, and that helps to align/hide the flap even better. They thought it all out.

I can now recommend these slates -without reservation- to anyone looking for a good quality flap based slate, one that won't bankrupt you either. I think these are about $69 give or take $10.. ? That's a perfect niche.
They might not exactly be Dave Powell Spirit Slates, but at only a quarter to a fifth of the cost of the Dave Powells', you won't hear me complaining (anymore).

Not only that, but as an especially gracious gesture, they also threw in their Ultimate card index for me ! How'd they know I've been eyeballing that thing on and off, thinking about getting one ?? Oh yeah, the slates probably told them. :bwink: Anyway, that was a really nice extra touch. Okay, I'm impressed.

Thanks, Bazar !
Message: Posted by: Eddie Garland (Jul 29, 2006 03:14AM)
I just happened to pick up these slates this week and I agree! There was even a sticker on the box that said "NEW invisible m****t. I'm very happy with them.