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Topic: Invisible Thread Reel...What is the best? Please help.
Message: Posted by: LegendaryEgos (Jan 23, 2007 07:34PM)
Please help...

What is the best Invisible Thread reel/device that is under $100? I am so sick of having to surgically take a apart my reel (I have the Thread Boss) and try to reload the thread and then put the reel back together when the thread breaks or when I need to reload. The only good thing is I think I have developed surgeon like skills from doing this all the time! So...

What is the best ITR or devise that is under $100? I'd like something that you can hide inside the collar of a shirt or maybe a breast pocket. Or if there is some other reel that doesn't hook up like the thread boss, I'd be interested in it.

And lastly, what brand of IT due you use and do you like the elastic better and if so what brand? I currently use regular invisible thread that I just keep stripping. It's pretty good. I don't know the brand though as I have had it forever.

Oh and what is your favorite routine using IT?

Thanks in advance for any info you can give me!

Message: Posted by: PRINCE (Jan 24, 2007 04:42AM)
Spider Pen all the way :ohyes:
Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Jan 24, 2007 10:02AM)
Hi Marc:

I know exactly where you're coming from. I have two spider pens, it takes both to keep one in working order. I bought the Kevlar pen reel, which I REALLY liked, but it only lasted a few weeks. I haven't taken the time to take it apart. I guess these devices are just not designed for "every day" use. Thread work can be very frustrating.

I'm now stripping single strands, like you're doing, but I hate all the "setup". I also carry a loop, but it's rather limited what you can do with it.

Message: Posted by: LegendaryEgos (Jan 24, 2007 04:41PM)
Thanks Prince and jimhlou. I appreciate the input. I was thinking about a Spider pen but now I am not so sure. I guess all IT reels can be a pain in the @ss. I guess I need to use the one that is the least pain in the @ss.

Anyone else have any suggestions?


Message: Posted by: randirain (Jan 24, 2007 10:45PM)
Most definately the spider pen.

Here is why...

Being a female magician, I don't wear shirts with pockets.
So I actually put hook the cap, which contains the reel, to my bra strap and bring the thread out the neck whole.
I can turn it on through my shirt.
The thread is strong enough to take all the tension.
But if it brakes... here is what you do.
Take the spool off of the pen...
Roll the wax into a little worm...
Run the end of the wax worm around the spool...
And it will grab the thread.
Put it back together and you are done.
I can do this sitting at a table, without looking, and no one knows.

As for just thread.
There is some thread called Spider Web thread.
You can get fine or strong.
The strong stuff is great.
It is a pain to learn to use though.
If you get some, separate the strands in half.
This will help in stripping a single thread off.
It doesn't have any stretch to it.
So if you are used to a little stretch, it may take a little getting used to.
Once you know what this thread is...
You can actually find it at some fabric stores.
And it's not wooly nylon, it's better.

Personally I hate loops.
They are expensive and break all the time.
Plus, I can see them and I feel others can too.

Message: Posted by: LegendaryEgos (Jan 25, 2007 01:12AM)

Thanks for the info. I can't imagine resetting my ITR at the table with no one looking. When I try to reset my ITR it's like a surgery where I have surgical instruments, a well lit area and a lot of patience. I have actually got it down pretty good but it still sucks the life out of me everytime I do it. I love the idea of the wax worm to find the end of the thread...I am going to try that. Anyway, thanks for the info and I will be getting a spider pen now as I have gotten a lot of good info on it and if I could reset it sitting at table with people and no one is any the wiser, I am sold.

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: truthteller (Jan 25, 2007 01:32AM)
I have heard good things about Copin's system,but have not seen it.
Message: Posted by: PRINCE (Jan 25, 2007 12:39PM)
Hi again gobrownstd54, hope we have helped a bit. It may be worth doing a search on the spider pen and reading all the posts. You will get a better idea of what it is all about, workings, gimmick etc - and I betcha after reading them, you will be sold :)
Message: Posted by: David Nelson (Jan 25, 2007 08:20PM)
I prefer the ITRs with the rubber band setup over the spider pen. The method to turn the spider pen on can also lock the thread, preventing it from spooling in or out. This us annoying but with some modification it can be fixed. Other than that and its tendency to get a little tangled when there's no tension it's a pretty good device.

At one time, the ITRs were well made, professional quality products. However, I've heard that the quality isn't consistently good anymore.

The thread boss and the kevlar pen both can be difficult to deal with if/when they break. The thread boss was created as an answer to Mark Allen's thread manager so, if you like that design, you could look for the TM 2 which is his latest iteration. However, the TM has a lower tension and requires a bit of finesse to deal with.

At the moment, I use the Lighter than Air Device from http://www.grandillusions.com. It is about the perfect combination of size, strength, tension for me. It's also well made by a man who's been making the best quality ITRs for over 15 years. When he stopped doing the manufacturing for Sorcery, he started making them for Grand Illusions.

If you really want he easiest ITR to deal with then you might call the nice folks over at Sorcery and see if you can still get a pager reel. The pager reel's design allows you to pop the front off and access the core without having to take everything apart. Unfortunately, with the design of most ITRs it's difficult to get everything back together properly once it has been taken apart.

In the end, thread work requires a light touch. The ITR can make it easier but only if the ITR won't tangle or break the thread. The better ones should give you a decent retraction distance without having the core bouncing all over the place which is what seems to cause the tangles and broken thread. I've had ITRs that I've used for years and the only work they needed was the occasional puff of air to get the thread out when it broke.

Good luck,

Message: Posted by: LegendaryEgos (Jan 25, 2007 10:22PM)
David Nelson,

Thanks so much for the awesome info. At this point I am going to look in depth at the Spider pen as I have rec'd a lot of good PMs and posts on it. I am also going to look into the Lighter than Air device that you spoke about. I really want something that works, doesn't break easily and then if it does break (which it always does) I can reset it without doing surgery.

Thanks so much for the great info,

Message: Posted by: LegendaryEgos (Jan 26, 2007 05:28PM)

I just want to thank you!!!! I don't know how I never thought of this but I didn't. My thread broke today between performances and I was about to switch to my older, not near as good, ITR. But I did what you said....I took a piece of tacki grip (instead of wax) and make a little worm with it. I pushed it into the whole where the thread should come out and walllahhhh....I pulled out the end of the thread. I then reattached the wax and I was back in business! It literally took me about 1 min! Thanks so much...you just made my life a lot easier!!!!!


PS. I want to shoot myself for not thinking of this earlier...I would have saved myself hours and hours of cussing and yelling!
Message: Posted by: randirain (Jan 26, 2007 07:17PM)
Glad to have helped.

For all out there...
Here is a link to the thread I am talking about.
This is to Mak magic, and they do not sell to the public.
But just to let you know what you would be looking for...

I know you can get this stuff some how.
A friend of mine, an old man that used to give me stuff all the time, gave me a whole spool of this stuff.
I don't know what it's called, where he got it, or what.
But it's as strong as kevlar and more invisible.

Message: Posted by: Silvio Solaris (Jan 27, 2007 03:36PM)
I second Spider Pen. The best. I tried them all and it's the best ITR on the market right now because it gives you the right tension and it is strong enough to pull the bill up without giving you that strange wobble you get from a Boss.
Plus it is the easiest to fix. What I also noticed is that with the slightest backlight at the wrong angle you'll get a kick off. I will definatively look into the one Randi mentioned. That sounds really cool.
Also consider the emergency kit. I don't know much about it but check it out at hocus-pocus.com
Message: Posted by: LegendaryEgos (Jan 27, 2007 05:08PM)
Spider pen wins...I am ordering one today. I am also getting the batteries and the extra thread spool. (even though they are probably just regular watch batteries, seems like a good price for 6 of them) The best price by far is on http://www.penguinmagic.com. Check out the prices below:

Spider Pen (Electric) 37.95
Spider Pen Thread 8.86
Spider Pen Battery 5.34

Thanks for all the great information everyone.

Message: Posted by: randirain (Jan 27, 2007 05:46PM)
Yes... the batteries you can get at any drug store, wal-mart, etc.
They are just your typical small toy batteries.

Most people don't know...
On the bottom of the pen, ther is a secret compartment.
It has an extra spool of thread in it.

I'm not sure if they even tell you this.

Message: Posted by: Silvio Solaris (Jan 27, 2007 06:39PM)
Thanks for that info Randi. You are the Queen of ITRs !
Where can I order that Spider-Web thread? Do I just call Mak Magic?
That inside a spider pen would make it a killer reel.
Besides, watch out for Sean Bogunias invisible PTS this year. :)
Message: Posted by: randirain (Jan 27, 2007 08:16PM)
No Mak only sell wholesale, not retail.

Marc said he got his here...

Only thing...
You have to separate the thread, which is hard.
Spider web thread is not easy to get a single thread off.

You first need to cut the twine to the length you like.
Then separate it into equal halfs. Take your time, it's not easy.
So now you have two half twines.
Now... it's pretty easy to take out one single thread.

But to do this with a really long piece to wind onto the spider pen...
that sounds tough.
I suppose it could be done, but it would take time and patients.
Which I don't surely don't have.

Message: Posted by: Silvio Solaris (Jan 27, 2007 10:43PM)
Patience is the mother of all good IT work :)
Message: Posted by: LegendaryEgos (Jan 28, 2007 01:55AM)
Thanks for all info!

One more question.

How hard is it to use a different thread with the Spider Pen? Randi says above that it's hard to use the thread she is talking about. Does that go for all thread? I have some thread I like and wondered if I could load it into the Spider Pen.

I just bought the Spider Pen and I will let you know what I think when I get it.

Thanks again,

Message: Posted by: Silvio Solaris (Jan 28, 2007 11:35AM)
You can use any thread you like Marc. Reading past reviews on that spider-web stuff Randi mentioned I am not sure if it's the best with the spider pen.
It's very 'stiff' and breaks fast unless you know how to really handle it. Also the longest strand is, I believe, only 8 feet. That one is probably better for Fearsons Cigarette Levi. For my bill routine from anchor to myself I need at least 15 feet. I would like to try that Silk Worm http://www.precisionmagic.com has for sale. It comes single strand in black and clear on a 500' roll for 14.95. They claim it's the best there is. Worth a try...
Message: Posted by: Silvio Solaris (Jan 28, 2007 07:19PM)
And in terms of breaking thread in the middle of the routine check this out:


Hope that helps.
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (Jan 29, 2007 07:43AM)
I have heard nothing but good about the sorcorer brand kevlar reels. If I was to buy a reel, I would buy one of those.

They have also gone down signifigantly in price, too.
Message: Posted by: Silvio Solaris (Jan 29, 2007 12:36PM)
Yes they are not bad but I just love how the pen releases and retracts the thread. Soooo smooth
Message: Posted by: LegendaryEgos (Feb 7, 2007 03:22PM)
Well I just rec'd my spider pen after a long wait and I am so disappointed. For one, it said that the battery was included. Well I had no battery. Well luckily I ordered some. Well one of the batteries had acid coming out of it, so they are probably really old. I called. http://www.penguinmagic.com and they said they'd send some new ones at no charge. So I was ok. Then I put at battery in, careful to put it in the correct way and pulled out the thread and pushed the button....and...nothing. Didn't work at all. Every now and then it will pop on for a second but I had to wind it up myself so I could put it away. I am hoping its just the batteries but I think its the pen. I will find out tonight when I get another new battery. (I'v tried 2 batteries from the 6 I rec'd)

Is there something I am missing and the pen works? Or did I just get a bad one?

Message: Posted by: rikbrooks (Feb 7, 2007 10:34PM)
Mine worked a few days and died. I changed the batteries, changed the reel, never could get it to work again. I tossed the thing.
Message: Posted by: dbolan (Feb 15, 2007 09:51PM)
If you really want he easiest ITR to deal with then you might call the nice folks over at Sorcery and see if you can still get a pager reel. [/quote]

Is Sorcery in some sort of financial difficulty? They are currently posting 'questions' to all eBay listings for Invisible Thread Reels that trash sellers and advertise for Sorcery ITRs.

it appears to me classless at first glance.
Message: Posted by: David Nelson (Feb 15, 2007 11:11PM)
Part, a very small part, of the story can be seen here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=190185&forum=177&20

There is a lot that's happened behind the scenes over the last 15+ years but I believe that Sorcery is still trying to recover from some mistakes after their early success.

I do hope they recognize that innovation was what led to their initial succes and build their product line instead of trying to be the only manufacturer of elastic band based reels. That hasn't been the case since Mark Allen put out the Thread Manager and the field has only gotten more crowded since then.

Message: Posted by: Carrie Sue (Feb 19, 2007 09:53AM)
Thread work is what I consider "High-Wire Magic" (pun intended).

It's stunning in the right environment, but there are very few of those in the normal magic enthusiast's working life. You have to have a specific variety of lighting, dark backgrounds, and the right sort of manure presentation to pull it off.

But I've done it, both with the Spider Pen (personal fave) and Loops (which I make myself from elastic thread off a spool.

It's great when it works! Keep working at it!

Message: Posted by: markis (Feb 20, 2007 11:27AM)
Speaking of spider pen's I heard they are poorly built. Is that still the case?

Message: Posted by: Mediocre the Great (Feb 20, 2007 04:00PM)
IMHO they are cheaply made.

The first spider pen I ordered was broken right out of the package. I returned it and they replaced it no questions asked, but I don't think they are particularly well made, and the people I know who actually use them have two - as an earlier post suggests, you need two to keep one running.

I have not yet had the patients to use it. IT work requires a tremendous commitment of time an patience. Granted, the payoff is there, but you really have to dedicate yourself to this specfic branch of close up magic and stick with it.

Personally I prefer the "low tech" approach and use the Jon LeClair hookup. He has an excellent book, DVD and website. Anyone who has at least one ear can do is equipped to use the hook up.
Message: Posted by: Silvio Solaris (Feb 20, 2007 04:57PM)
It's true that they are poorly made and I would pay a little more if they would be made out of metal or a stronger plastic material. Nevertheless I am happy with the pen and reel. I always perform at a distance between 10-15 feet from the anchor.
I remove the batteries after each performance.
Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Feb 23, 2007 02:03PM)
Hi Marc,

now you know why I have two of them.

Message: Posted by: mysto59 (Mar 1, 2007 09:57PM)
I've bought several of the "cheapie" thread reels and was not pleased at all. The price was great but the quality was REALLY bad. I also have the spider pen which is pretty good but the quality on the one I have is not so good. After only a few uses, and I AM careful with my reels, the clip broke off, the top cap fell off and then the motor quit. I may get another one in the future if they can make one a little more durable. My current favorites are the Thread Boss from Sorcery and the Thread Manager Generation II by Mark Allen. These are quality thread reels. I was using my TMG 2 the other day floating a dollar for a co-worker. I was right up in his face, maybe 1 or 2 feet from him and he was blown away. Actually so was I because I couldn't see the thread either and I knew it was there!
Message: Posted by: Sabrina (Mar 10, 2007 11:45AM)
I know a magician in Dallas that made a private line of thread reels for magicians until Sorcery sent him a lawyer's letter to cease and decist. They were far better operation than even the decent quality Sorcery ones. Had a nice retraction feel. Still had the pain of disassembly and reassembly though. Sucking quickly through the hole worked most of the time for me...just wasn't something you could do at the table without people wondering. The other tip to try if you can't use suction to get the thread is to take a needle threader like they sell in the sewing notions (loop of small gauge wire) and wiggle it in through the hole to free up the end and do the suction method.

I got a spider pen and even though it worked out of the package, it was unreliable between uses. Even if I unscrewed the battery compartment, the battery would usually be dead the next time I tried it. Taking the battery out completely seemed to be the only way. I'm thinking of making myself a metal version with a better switch and battery compartment...maybe one that uses AAA batteries.

Anyone have or know anything the Ultimate Float Controller? Not sure who makes it or sells it. I think I saw it on some Japan Magic store website with videos. It seemed to be an advancement in the technology of (non-computer) IT.
Message: Posted by: Silvio Solaris (Mar 17, 2007 02:14PM)
I heard from a reliable source that the UFC is not that eay to operate plus you get a wobble when the anchor is 10-15 feet away. Sean Bogunia is working on a 3D Invisible PTS at the moment.
Message: Posted by: en2oh (Feb 20, 2008 05:54PM)
On 2007-01-26 20:17, randirain wrote:
Glad to have helped.

For all out there...
Here is a link to the thread I am talking about.
This is to Mak magic, and they do not sell to the public.
But just to let you know what you would be looking for...

I know you can get this stuff some how.
A friend of mine, an old man that used to give me stuff all the time, gave me a whole spool of this stuff.
I don't know what it's called, where he got it, or what.
But it's as strong as kevlar and more invisible.


Hi Randi,
Great website!
The thread you're thinking of might be Vectran which is a high performance themoplastic said to be 5 times stronger than steel and 10 times stronger than aluminum. I have some on order (100 ft multifilament) and will be testing it shortly. It sounds like each fibre is about 5 denier in thickness. I'm interested in the fact that it's said to be significantly stronger than Kevlar. But, like Kevlar, there is no give to this stuff. It virtually doesn't stretch. I can see changing over my Kennedy reels to this stuff. How it will be under various lighting conditions remains to be seen.

Wish me luck!