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Topic: Best linking rings?
Message: Posted by: stormchaser (Feb 1, 2006 04:16PM)
What are, in your opinion, the best linkings rings to buy? I'm basically looking at the chinese linking rings, ninja rings, and three ring circus. Here's why I can't decide:

Chinese linking rings
Upsides: Classic, good effect, looks easy and fun, cheap
Downsides: only two rings are examinable, key ring might be visible

Ninja rings
Upsides: Spectacular effect, small portable rings
Downsides: Is it examinable? Looks like it might be hard?

3 Ring Circus
Upsides: Cool effect, examinable, comes with DVD
Downsides: I don't know any, but I'm sure there are some.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Feb 1, 2006 04:33PM)
Don't put too much weight on exam-ability. All of the rings you speak of are apparently shown separately, and the spectator holds them linked and unlinked. I've never been asked to see them.

Chinese tends to have longer routines and more displays, and is visible from a large stage. But when you say cheap you must mean the kind with the big weld mark, nice ones are more expensive.

I do Ninjas strolling and small platform. The full set fits in a cargo pants pocket. Some of the standard ninja moves require a table. If you get these rings, study traditional ring handlings. I've added some great moves from Tarbell and Vernon to my routine.
Message: Posted by: stormchaser (Feb 1, 2006 04:35PM)
I'm looking at royal magic's chinese rings. They're twenty bucks canadian. Would they have big weld marks?
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Feb 1, 2006 04:45PM)
Yup. Sorry.
Message: Posted by: stormchaser (Feb 1, 2006 05:35PM)
Boww... my magic shop doesn't even sell any others. >:(
Message: Posted by: dark kard (Feb 1, 2006 07:39PM)
Hank lees sells a nice set for about 60 dollers. They do have welds but they are nearly invisible. you whould realy need to look hard to see them. A very nice set and well wated. Also if your looking for a routine check out McBrides stage videos.
Message: Posted by: 61magic (Feb 2, 2006 10:22AM)
I have been doing rings for a very long time. I have been in magic for over 30 years, and been doing rings for most of that time.
The best advice I can give is this, buy a "good" set of rings in what ever size you choose. The money will be well spent, and the set will last years.
A standard 8 ring set is as versatile as you can get. You can use the set for a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 ring routines.
Learn more than one routine for variety especially if you are working where you need to perform over and over.
Using a different combination will help fool the people that watched your routine just a few minutes ago.
A good all around ring size is 8", good for closeup, and visible on stage. I personally don't like the small close up rings. The Ninja routine is very good.
If you do choose to go with the small rings for the Ninja routine stay away from the Adams, or Royal magic rings. They are really low quality made for magic sets, and volume sales. The visible weld marks really draw negative attention.
Several of the dealers carry, or can order a set of quality Ninja rings.
Message: Posted by: The Great Dave (Feb 13, 2006 08:10PM)
REVISED 12/15/2000 by David Reed-Brown illusion@snet.net

NOTE: I have gotten a lot of response from my recent post of this guide, so I thought I’d get more precise information from my catalogs for everyone. Web sites are included as well. (By the way, Tannen’s web site is nicely updated http://www.tannenmagic.com )

Regarding linking rings, I just went through this process, and here are some “key” factors to ponder as you make your decision.

WARNING: Whatever you do, make sure you try the rings out first. Make sure they're really what you want because you'll probably have them for life. At least make sure you get a money-back guarantee if you're going to purchase a $250-800 set of rings.

KEY RINGS: Do you want to do crashing links or some of the spectacular silent links and unlinks like Richard Ross? If so, then a standard key ring would probably be necessary. The locking keys seem to work better with a fewer number of rings and more close-up - say with a 3 or 4 ring routine. Some key rings are magnetic and others are offset. The latter require different amounts of pressure that vary with the make and ring size.

THE AFFORDABLE 12” OPTION: For 12 inch rings under $250, I believe the only option is Klamm. Bob Klamm sells a 12" set of 8 rings for $75. They are solid stainless steel - not coated with chrome or anything. They look and sound great. I used a set for a couple years with much success. His locking key is about $35 and is the side-notched style. The rings are a bit heavier as they're solid 12" rings, and at times I had to work on keeping one ring completely horizontal in one hand for a couple moves, but it was fine. The 12” locking key is easier to operate than the 10”.

WEIGHT: The total weight of the rings in your hands is an issue. It depends on how much you practice with them and how often you perform with them in a given day, or even where they are in your program, depending on what physical exertion you've been doing in the show thus far. After a 2 hour practice session with my Klamm rings, my arms begin to get a little tired, and I regularly play an hour of racquetball.

SIZE: Keep in mind the total length of longest chain you make in your routine. Do you really want to use 15" rings if you're making a 7 ring chain? Jeff McBride recommends going with 12" rings for visibility from stage. Eight inch rings are generally too small for adult male hands, unless you're doling a comedy routine. The smaller size might be funny in the right routine - so might a jumbo set, for that matter. Generally though, for stage work, I wouldn't go less than 10".

STEEL OR ALUMINUM?: Steel. There that was easy. Hold on though, size and weight are both related. Aluminum doesn't ring very well, but they make handling much easier. Because they're hollow, the rings tend to be thicker and easier to handle. Hollow steel is more difficult to manufacture and therefore more expensive, but they sure look and sound great, and they handle well. Steven's Magic Emporium has a nice set of eight 11 inch aluminum linking rings with a locking key for around $80. That seems like a deal, and it's only $80. Adam's has their aluminum Feather-Light (or something like that) hollow linking rings that were quite popular years ago, but they are manufactured differently now than they were then. The price is moderate – I think somewhere in the $250-350 range.

SOUND: If this is important to you (and it is to me), hollow aluminum rings just don't cut it. While hollow aluminum does make the rings nice and light, the sound of the rings is key for me. Other than the sheer visual beauty of the illusions, my major purpose for doing the rings is to add acoustic and visual variety in my show. I portray them as an ancient Chinese mystery, and throughout Asian culture, the ringing of bells is very important (secularly and religiously). In my routine I contrast the crashing sound of rings linking to the quietness of silent linking and unlinking. However, if I were doing a three ring routine and not going for the sound contrasts, I could see using aluminum.

SHINE: Cleaning the rings with Windex before the performance makes them sparkle - especially steel rings.

THICKNESS: Thicker rings are easier to handle. Thinner rings give a better illusion of slow unlinking if you ask me. With the right lighting, though, thicker rings can be slowly unlinked (in the standard side-by-side figure eight pattern) just a few feet in front of people. Make sure you rehearse quite a bit when you change ring thickness – it makes more of a difference than you realize.

SUMMARY OF PRODUCTS (prices are from memory, ~ means approximately)

Bumper 10" - About $50, still not a bad option for under $100.

Klamm 12" - under $100, locking key is around $25. It's the only 12" set for under $300 that I have found. The steel welds are visible upon examination, but it's minor. They look and sound good. http://www.klamm-magic.com/

10” locking key is $32 and apparently matches the Bumpers.
12” locking key 3 ring set is $34 and is EASIER to operate because of less tension.
12” set of 8, standard key, is $75

Steven's Magic Emporium has a hollow 8 ring aluminum set, 10" in diameter with a magnetic locking key for $85. That's a bargain if you want to try out inexpensive hollow aluminum with a magnetic key. Hey, you can always sell them on e-bay. Three rings $55, eight rings for $85. http://www.stevensmagic.com/

Tannen “Super Locking Rings” Hollow Aluminum, $130 for three rings, $240 for 8 rings. These are 11” and are hard anodized for shine and durability. Comes with the locking key – apparently seamless from just a few feet away.
http://www.tannenmagic.com/ NEAT LOOKING NEW SITE!

Abbotts - Featherweight rings, hollow aluminum, $235 for 10” $350 for 12”
No locking ring available. http://www.abbotts.com

Owen Professional Lightweight Hollow Rings (Eternal Orbs) – These are the best linking rings in the world if you ask me. They are seamless. They shine beautifully. They are hollow and light. They ring like bells. They're about 3/8 inch in diameter - very easy to hold, and every time I perform with them it feels like Christmas! $350 – 450 depending on size. The locking key in 12 inch is $250; the 10” is $200. They come in 8” (solid steel) and 10”, 12” and 15” (hollow steel). Various combinations of rings may be purchased. http://www.owenmagic.com

As you can tell, I saved up and went with a standard set of 12" Owen featherweights, and I'm not sorry. In fact, I'm thrilled.

Denny Haney at Denny & Lee believes the only professional stage option is Owen Rings. Otherwise, stick with 10" Bumpers for $50 and save your nickel plating until you can get the Owens.
Message: Posted by: John Bowlin (Feb 14, 2006 01:23AM)
I just received my Klamm rings. I got a regular set of 8 12" and a locking key. I was satisfied with the regular set. The welds are ground down so that they are not obvious. The grinding is not buffed out and can be determined upon close inspection but from performance distance it is fine. The tonal quality of the rings is nothing to get excited about. The thickness of the rings is 1/4" so they are good to a moderate distance but def not suited for large stage. The 12" size handles very nicely and is the most easily worked ring of any size that I have handled. The large ringe diameter coupled with 1/4" thickness makes these handle very easily for linking. The gripping aspect is a bit more difficult as a tradeoff. I have a set of 12" owens that are so much easier to grip but not as easy to link. There is always a tradeoff. These rings do not sound, feel or look anything close to my owens but I paid less than one fourth the price so... I got these rings for a different type act and for outdoor busking(would hate to introduce my owens to concrete). I got the locking key because it opens up a whole new realm of routine possibilities that my owens don't allow due to their larger width and difference in locking key mechanism. I am very happy with this purchase and would recommend them to anyone looking for a modest cost ring set of a stage size and somewhat professional look. The 8 ring set plus locking key ran me $158 with shipping. If anyone is looking at something more professional and substantial in visibility and tonal quality I would have to recommend proline 13" rings at almost double the cost of the Klamms.
Message: Posted by: Chicagomagi (Feb 14, 2006 10:43AM)
I'm a novice and have no experience with stage size rings as I prefer closeup effects. So, I'm not one to give you much advise on the larger rings.

I did however purchase 3 Ring Circus as it seemed the best of both worlds - classic effect with a really practical prop. I have to say that I love it. It's a really cool - in the spectator's face/hands - effect. Clearly the most glaring difference between the rings you describe above is distance from your audience. 3 Ring Circus is probably not going to play more than 6 feet from your spectator. Ninja rings probably are not going to be as visible/interesting from over 15 feet, and so on.

You also need to determine what you want to do with them. I use the 3 Ring Circus rings for a couple of other ring on string closeup effects so I can routine them. However, if you're going to do stage or parlor magic your motivation/routining may dictate other considerations. For instance, if you're looking for a comedy routine with audience participation you should check our Whit Hayden's routine for the larger rings. (I doubt it would work with Sankey's rings but I could be wrong.) Whit's routine is the comedy standard from what I can tell, and having seen a video clip of his performance, agree. But there are many other great routines that use the large rings; just do a search. Sankey, on his 3 Ring Circus DVD credits Chris Capeheart with a great routine although I've never seen it.

So beyond the size of the rings you may have some other things to consider. Hopefully this gives you a little more to think about as you're making your decision.
Message: Posted by: The Great Dave (Feb 15, 2006 06:16AM)
Whit uses the Owens Magic Supreme 15 inch set in his four ring comedy routine. One linked pair, one single, one key ring, and one single for a trade out at the end. Singles at Owens are $120, key ring is $140. So the 5 ring set is $620. Enjoy.

Best Wishes,
Message: Posted by: jdbach (Mar 8, 2006 11:39PM)
I use a set of 4" rings that I purchased at Hank Lee's several years ago. Great for parlor magic and or close up.

Thanks for the opportunity
Message: Posted by: JJP161 (May 28, 2006 01:37AM)
I tried a search looking for the 10" Bumper rings and didn't find anything, anyone know where I might find these. Thank-you.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Dec 15, 2006 12:49PM)
I've used the Owen rings for a very long time. Here's a hint. If you work on stage, do not polish the rings.


Yep, you read it correctly. If you work on stage, do not polish the rings.


Thought you would never ask. If you are working with a follow spot, and it hits the shiny rings, all the audience will see is a pair of glints off each ring. The ring, itself, will become invisible. If the rings are not shiny, they diffuse the light coming off of them, and they are much more visible.

I discovered this watching a series of magicians do the rings at a magic convention.
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Dec 15, 2006 11:25PM)
I have a set of the Proline aluminum rings. They are 13.5 inches in diameter, look good and becuase they are aluminum they are easy to handle despite their size. I think they are around $250 US. They also make a locking key, although I don't know much about it.
Message: Posted by: BCaldwell (Dec 17, 2006 11:47AM)
On 2006-12-15 13:49, Bill Palmer wrote:
I've used the Owen rings for a very long time. Here's a hint. If you work on stage, do not polish the rings.


Yep, you read it correctly. If you work on stage, do not polish the rings.


Thought you would never ask. If you are working with a follow spot, and it hits the shiny rings, all the audience will see is a pair of glints off each ring. The ring, itself, will become invisible. If the rings are not shiny, they diffuse the light coming off of them, and they are much more visible.

I discovered this watching a series of magicians do the rings at a magic convention.

That is a great piece of advice! I am a close-upworker but I occasionally get asked to perform at larger events, and I recently dusted off my linking rings. I NEVER would have thought of that!
Message: Posted by: CJRichard (Dec 19, 2006 09:34AM)
Magictricks.com sells a set of seamless, stainless steel 12" rings for $69.95.

Are these okay? Anyone have experience with this set of rings?
Message: Posted by: marty.sasaki (Dec 20, 2006 09:05PM)
The large rings take a lot of room. I was doing most of Whit Haydn's 4 ring routine after Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house. There was just enough room at the end of the room, but I did feel a bit cramped. As I said I use the 13.5 inch proline rings.
Message: Posted by: SeanD13 (Dec 22, 2006 07:59AM)
You can see Chris Caphart do his 3 ring routine on his GIGMASTER page


Thank you,
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Dec 22, 2006 06:26PM)
Recommend Proline aluminum rings.

Great advice on not polishing Rings from Bill in above post

Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Dec 22, 2006 07:03PM)
I can only speak to 3 Ring Circus. This effect is really great, but even if all the rings are "examined," the specatator's can only be left with one possible explanation and it's correct: one of them has a hole in it. I stopped using this routine several months ago just because I didn't find it was a strong a piece of magic as the handling was worth.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 23, 2006 01:36AM)
Is that really stopping you, Brian? With that logic you shouldn't do cups and balls because after all, the magician HAS to be hiding a ball somehow. Or we shouldn't do zig-zag lady because the lady's body can't REALLY be in three pieces.

No Brian, the magic is not you convincing your audience that you are doing the impossible. The real magic is in transporting your spectator to a different place for a moment. In other words, entertaining them. I shoot for nothing else and I've discovered that if you give the audience half a reason to believe that magic really happens then they will follow you on your merry journey.
Message: Posted by: MattWayne (Dec 23, 2006 03:44AM)
I agree with RikBrooks;

It seems you're saying (and I could be very well wrong) and I've been there; that you're having doubts on a particular effects impact, based on the simplicity of the effect?

In context I noticed that you said, 'because one of them has a hole in it.' Pretty simple. A ring that has a hole in it- base it around an a presentation that's well rehearsed and choreographed- and then you'll have a good piece of magic.

Seems like your prejudging your audience. Thinking that they would automatically jump to the conclusion that- 'oh he's using a ring' that has a hole.' You could easily put in false shows; to rule out those possibilities.

If the handling as described for the effect didn't seem natural for you- that's the point where you make the effect yours. Create a new presentation or handling. I think some of the best pieces of magic are simple in nature. The methods used in magic; most are a piece of cake. Sword box comes to mind. All is a matter of perception in my thinking.

If it's not the handling that you could change- change the presentation. As Rik mentioned- it's about the moment. Entertainment.

But anyway- I probably took that way out of context and all. Back to the original post question though- I put in a vote for the Owens Linking Ring set. Best there is, the ones I use, and you'll never have to get another set most likely. Highly recommended! The quality is amazing!

Spend good money now; so you won't be disappointed later...

All the best and happy holidays,
Matt Tomasko
Message: Posted by: BrianMillerMagic (Dec 23, 2006 07:24AM)
I agree that magic is all about the entertainment. What I meant was that in a close-up environment, I do not find the 3 Ring Circus to be a strong enough piece of magic to be worth the effort and the switches etc. Other ring sets such as the Ninja Rings which I do not own but I have used and seen performed, and of course stage linking rings are an entirely different story. There's something beautiful about the classic linking rings that I find missing with 3 Ring Circus. It might be the nature of how small they are. Still, just one man's opinion.
Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Dec 26, 2006 08:46AM)
Well Brian, I misunderstood you entirely. Based on what you just said I encourage you to try the Ninja Rings. In fact, I do very well with a normal 5" set of rings. They only cost about $15 or so but I've not found anything with the Ninjas that I can't do with those. In fact, I can do more with those because there are more rings.