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Topic: Chair Suspension: Which One!!!
Message: Posted by: Walking Bob (Feb 7, 2007 12:01AM)
Lately I have been bitten by the bug to add a chair suspension to my act. I was dealing on one and it fell through. I am not sure I can affort the Harbin model plus I am concerned about the weight of the props for transporting. I guess that gets me down to chair suspension by: Abbotts, Mak, and Klamm which I think is made by Jim Sommers. Can someone give me some advice on which models are better and why? Also is there another chair suspension that I should be considering. Would also be interested in any info concerning making one myself.

Thanks and Have a Nice Day!!!

Walking Bob in Iowa
Message: Posted by: Magic Monkichi (Feb 23, 2007 06:15PM)
Hey bob;

From what I hear sommers makes a great one. Mak, I've heard some roughs stories, but also some good stories. Another building is Bill Smith he makes an amazing chair suspension (used by Penn and Teller). Do a search on here, you'll find lots of threads discussing the chair suspension. Hope this helps.

Message: Posted by: ddhoudini (Mar 24, 2007 01:46AM)
I recently tried out the Klamm model. It is made by Sommers. Loved it, and they indicate it holds about 140 lbs without a problem. Sorry but I don't know about the others. Mr. Klamm is in Kansas City, where I'm from. Great guy. Very honest. Call him.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Mar 25, 2007 12:40PM)
If you ever see one for sale, get the Jack Hughes version original.
Message: Posted by: jnrussell (Dec 16, 2011 05:00PM)
I use the MAK and like it very much. Simple, no problems or issues. Plus, make sure you get Kyle's e-book on the illusion.

If you would like a new MAK one, PM me.
Message: Posted by: Mark Alan (Dec 24, 2011 01:04AM)
Just got my new one today..Made by Jim Summers very impressed and works great tested it with 100lb subject no drop if you know wht I mean..Ordered it thru Klamm Magic great service and really nice guy to deal with.. Also you might be interested in Kyle Peron's e-book on chair suspensions ..If your going to get a CS his e-book will be the best 10 bucks you ever spent..Just for the record I have no afiliations with any of the above mentioned.just my opinion.. Hope it helps.. Mark
Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Dec 24, 2011 02:41AM)
I used the Jim Sommers/Klamm suspension for 5 years - really liked it. I now have a European suspension. If you can afford the extra $200 - 400 bucks, go for the European model. I was very careful with the Sommers - careful about whom I picked, careful about putting them on, careful about removing the chair, etc. With the European Suspension, all your concern is thrown out the window. Just pick a volunteer and put them on the board. No worry, no "hitting the sweet spot", no checking for sag, nothing. done. It's a joy to perform.

Message: Posted by: Walking Bob (Dec 27, 2011 07:13PM)
Café Members

I bought the European Chair Suspension several years ago from Hocus Pocus and have been very satisfied with the purchase!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Walking Bob in Iowa
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Jan 10, 2012 06:34PM)
I too use the Mak. I use their deluxe one and it's fantastic! No sag or wobble and can levitate up to 170 lbs. Highly recommended. (You can contact me if you want to order one. I LOVE mine.)
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Mar 5, 2012 11:59PM)
Ever see an engine block on a chair suspension?
Message: Posted by: Amazing Magic Co (Mar 6, 2012 12:22AM)
Thanks Jay ... Now there's something I haven't tried yet.

Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (May 16, 2012 02:27AM)
On 2012-03-05 18:59, jay leslie wrote:
Ever see an engine block on a chair suspension?

Jay, that's not what your mechanic meant when he said you needed a new suspension.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (May 16, 2012 11:05PM)
The complete suspension is for the engine... but the gimmick can be used for a car jack.
Message: Posted by: MaxfieldsMagic (May 17, 2012 01:39PM)
Impressive. Which model is that, Jay (the suspension, not the car)?
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (May 23, 2012 03:11AM)
PM sent
Message: Posted by: Kevinr (Jun 8, 2012 05:01AM)
Most will scream out. "There is another board." when you pull the chair and board away.

Someone needs to make a more deceptive version
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jun 24, 2012 01:26AM)
The problem that this tends to happen a lot is because a lot of folks have a routine that is set up and performed wrong. Most call the illusion floating. They even have in their marketing floating and their patter is "floating". As soon as you start to head that way, it puts the wrong ideas into the minds of the audience.

As many know, this is a suspension. That is what it is. So I present it as a mystery and I never even state exactly what will happen. They do not know until it does happen.

Now they should never ever say there is another board there. If they do. it is also because of several factors.

1) the person is positioned wrong and in such a way that it looks unnatural
2) some add a head rest attachment to the illusion cause they are afraid the child's head will hurt. The head rest is never needed.
3) the cloth on the anchorage board is not attached or on correctly
4) the cloth when the child is wrapped is wrapped too tight. When the cloth is draped over it is done so that their is natural sag on it. It is gently placed over and not pulled tightly.

If done correctly with the above points taken into consideration, they will never shout out about another board. They will be too floored as to what they are seeing and witnessing.

So there does not need to be another deceptive version made. Harbin created a classic for a reaosn and it should remain a classic. It just needs to be understood more by folks before they perform it.

Message: Posted by: coollter_mik (Sep 1, 2012 02:17PM)
Jack Hughes +1
Message: Posted by: Cris Johnson (Sep 9, 2012 02:11PM)
I use the Somers version and love it. I also can vouch for Kyle's book - a lot of great info in there. Really took away any trepidation I had for doing the effect.
Message: Posted by: Kevinr (Sep 11, 2012 06:22PM)
Here is one for sale for only $250 wow!!

Message: Posted by: RSteele (Jan 7, 2013 12:10AM)
Anyone have any other great chair suspension recommendations?

PS in marketing I use the term "floating" although I know it's a suspension. I do this simply that the lay audience cannot get a good visual in their mind with the term "I will suspend someone from the audience" just doesn't have the same "ring!"
just my experience>
Message: Posted by: Amazing Magic Co (Jan 7, 2013 02:16AM)
I've been very happy with Jay Leslie's Elite Chair Suspension. There is one for sale on the Café Classifieds (you need 50 posts to access) but hopefully they might reach out to youif it is still available. I also was happy with the MAK Steele Suspension but found Jay's version even better. A number of folks speak very highly of the European Chair Suspensions.

Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (Jan 10, 2013 05:44PM)
On 2013-01-06 19:10, RSteele wrote:
Anyone have any other great chair suspension recommendations?

PS in marketing I use the term "floating" although I know it's a suspension. I do this simply that the lay audience cannot get a good visual in their mind with the term "I will suspend someone from the audience" just doesn't have the same "ring!"
just my experience>

I use an Abbott's Suspension, but they're not available new. Because of the visible board, I say that the child is "balanced" on the chair. It gets quite a reaction. I've added some minor modifications to make it deceptive, up close.
Message: Posted by: The Baldini (Feb 23, 2013 10:40PM)
I have a MAK, pretty old and very reliable, but I prefer a super X or similar, where there is no visible means of support and you can use a hoop too, this further enhances the illusion and both run about the same cost, except maybe the Blaney at about 3 Grand. and after seeing one, worth every bit.

Message: Posted by: btedeski (Feb 26, 2013 06:50PM)
>> Most will scream out. "There is another board." when you pull the chair and board away.

Interesting, Never had anyone screem that out, usally when I remove the board, the is a bit of silence than possitive reaction from the kids. I have had peaple come up and tell me that the suspentions was the best thing in the show. (next to the rabbit of course)

I bought my used, it is a heavy duty setup, much heavery than the MAC ones I have seen,

I agree with all the comments about Kyle's ebook, if your going to add the chair suspention to your act, you need to read the ebook,\
lots of tips and good information that I have not seen any were other than in one of Kyle's posts. :)
Message: Posted by: dmkraig (Feb 26, 2013 07:47PM)
On 2012-06-08 01:01, Kevinr wrote:
Most will scream out. "There is another board." when you pull the chair and board away.

I once saw a lecture where the anglo performer used a die tube that was painted black. None of the magicians noticed it until it was pointed out to them.

If someone is doing this and the audience screams out, "There is another board," I would urge that person to either:

A) drop the effect from their repertoire or
B) develop and improved presentation.
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Apr 12, 2013 05:54PM)
My presentation was as a Master Hypnotist...hypnotized the child and told them they were getting lighter and lighter, as light as a feather. That way, the suspension was proof of the Mitox, not an effect in and of itself.

I've always felt tricks are stronger when they explained or illustrated something else.

One helium balloon on a string with a large loop at the end and slipped over the feet and ankles allowed the child to BE as light as a feather.

There was NO 'Ta Daa!'moment, everything was pretty quiet because the child was supposedly in trance and I was busy with the hypnosis. The kids in the audience were flabbergasted, of course, by the kid actually being as light as a feather, suspended only by a balloon tied to their feet.

After the effect, the kids got to tell the child what had happened, as he/she was blindfolded and had no idea support had been removed. Their excietement always grew as they tried to explain, and make the kid believe that he was really hypnotised and relly floated.

The effect had about 3 stages to it, each getting more and more amazing. It worked well.

I had a Klamm, and loved it. Klamm has built in a slope to the public support-board that makes it so much easier to slide back under their shoulders.
Message: Posted by: misterillusion (Aug 4, 2013 03:34AM)
I used to have a Sommers, but sold it when I purchased Jay Leslie's Elite Supspension. His is much better built and now I have been able to suspend an adult with out any concern regarding weight. It is a bit heavier than the Sommers model, but not that much heavier. I also highly recommend Kyle's ebook on how to properly present the illusion. The great thing about adding this to your offerings is you can charge more if your client wants to add it to the show
Message: Posted by: jhard (Aug 4, 2013 04:40AM)
Walter Blaney makes the best on ever. It's expensive, but brilliant. It is the creme of the crop, so you hardly ever find a used one for sale.
Message: Posted by: john wills (Aug 4, 2013 09:01AM)
Jhard, please don't forget the chairs of Bill Smith!
Message: Posted by: marksmagiceye (Nov 11, 2018 03:01PM)
I have a Bill Smith chair suspension, I've now used it for over 100 shows.

Yes it is heavy, I had a flight case made, so it can be pushed up and down the ramp in my van.

This prop is quite tall, so the person sitting on the plank will need a small stool or box to get on to the illusion.

The weight of the plank will take some getting use to, if you suffer from a bad back, I suggest you don't get this version.

The chairs are very heavy and very strong. But they look like they are made out of lolly pop sticks, which adds to the illusion. with the assistant usually asking "will that hold me"?

Bill will make this in 2 variations.

1, This is the variation of the assistant having to hold their legs up for a matter of seconds (some audience members will fail at this and render your expensive illusion useless).

2, This one has the full support for the assistant, who does not need to lift their legs up.

I bought the first variation, but found out its easier to have the full support put in place, by an engineering company. (or ask bill when ordering).

If using full support, your able to keep them suspended for longer and allow a little more performance. The Bill Smith one isn't without issues that carful rehearsal will overcome. (I ended up using a second helper).

The biggest problem has been, women's stiletos and not been able to get the second chair back under. (advice: lengthen support or ask them to take shoes off, the first is better)
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Nov 20, 2018 08:57PM)
Mark, thanks so much for posting your experiences with the Bill Smith Model. Very helpful.
I'm still trying to decide which suspension / levitation is right for my show. I've considered Bill's chair suspension, along with the Blaney Ladder, and Steinmeyers paranormal.
Lots of things to consider.
Message: Posted by: FasciN8 (Nov 28, 2018 05:30AM)
If there is a version of this that can support a 250 lb guy I would be interested. I see that an engine block can be placed on the European model. What model is this?
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Dec 10, 2018 10:46PM)
Why do you want to support a 250 pound man? Any chair suspension depends on balancing the volunteer if not a little then a lot - and no, the euro does not hold an engine block exactly.
Message: Posted by: FasciN8 (Dec 11, 2018 05:06AM)
Why wouldn't I want to levitate a big ol dude!?! It is a great mixup from the traditional views and can make for a good comedy moment when you declare you want the tiniest, lightest volunteer, then proceed to pick the biggest guy there!
I found a picture of someone with an engine resting on the European model. Oh that was you LOL
Im just researching different levitation devices. Ya know
So Whats with the engine block post then lol?
[quote]On Mar 5, 2012, jay leslie wrote:
Ever see an engine block on a chair suspension? [/quote]
Message: Posted by: marksmagiceye (Apr 11, 2019 04:12PM)
I feel the Bill Smith chairs could hold a bloke quite easily. But trying to lift the board and sliding the second chair back into place would be very difficult.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 11, 2019 10:26PM)
The proline suspension advertises up to 175 lbs. that’s higher than most.
Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Apr 17, 2021 10:41PM)
I’ve been doing this the past 12 years. Don’t get a Mac or Sommers, you’re just wasting your money. If you can’t afford a Leslie or European model, don’t buy one. Believe me, the cheaper models aren’t worth the worries. Although it’s my least favorite illusion, people enjoy it - especially the younger crowd