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Topic: New Balls for the Johnson Chop Cup
Message: Posted by: BCS (May 12, 2008 10:26AM)
I am returning to magic from a long absence, I am so glad that I came upon The Magic Café. I did my research and purchased a Johnson Chop Cup (thanks for the recommendations). My question is this: What balls do you suggest that I purchase for the “Multiplication Cup” routine, as found in “The Chop Cup Book (Mark Wilson Publication). The balls that came with the Johnson cup are rather small. I have tried to use some balls from an old combination cup set that I had. They are proving to be too large and don’t quite work with the secret something. I have done a search on The Magic Café, but have not found my answer.

Thanks in advance,
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (May 12, 2008 10:45AM)
I use nylon monkeyfist balls with those cups. they work great.
Message: Posted by: BCS (May 12, 2008 11:57AM)
Thank you for your suggestion, I looked on line and I believe those would work. While doing a search I also came upon balls offered by Brett Sherwood. Do you have any thoughts on those?
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (May 12, 2008 12:05PM)

Click on the link in Frank Starsini's post above yours. He'll get you some good monkey fist balls. He will make exactly what you want in monkey fists.

If you'd like conventional looking crocheted balls, both Brett Sherwood and Jake at RNTII will hook you up with custom sets.

That's where I've been to get balls. I use Sherwood's in my own routine. NO FAULT of the other two manufacturers! All three have good pix on-line. All three shipped quickly and delivered what had been agreed upon!

Message: Posted by: BCS (May 12, 2008 04:03PM)
Thanks for validating Frank’s suggestion. I didn’t catch the link in Frank’s signature. Yes those balls will do and I will be placing an order soon. I also saw some other items of interest.
Message: Posted by: shaneking (Aug 1, 2010 10:04PM)
I am thinking of buying the Johnson gold chop cup but I had a quick question. If they are made of brass then won't they tarnish and get stain marks on them? Whenever I buy brass magic items such as "Bill thru tube" I always find this to be an issue. Given that the Johnson gold cups are so expensive are they lacquered or something so that this doesn't happen?
Message: Posted by: dcjames (Aug 1, 2010 11:20PM)
Hi Shane -

I have the JP Gold cups and matching chop cup. While they will form a patina with use, I am not aware of any issues with the staining that you mention. I have never had a problem cleaning mine back the their original luster when desired. To my knowledge they are not lacquered or coated with anything to inhibit patinization.


Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 1, 2010 11:27PM)
No, they aren't. Instead, they are highly polished. The bill tubes that you usually find are usually not highly polished in the first place. They also normally have a brushed finish which has a tendency to patinize more easily than a really highly polished brass surface.

Lacquer does not work well on metal cups. As you use them, the contact points, i.e. the rim and the top of the shoulder bead, will bang against each other, causing the lacquer to break at those points and flake off. Then the open air will cause the patinizing effect only on the parts where the lacquer flakes off. Of course, this problem does not exist with a chop cup unless you are using it with other cups as well.

To restore the original shiny finish, you would have to remove all the lacquer, then polish the cups, degrease them and relacquer them. It's a tedious process.

Most good metal polishes such as Flitz, Maas and Simichrome have a wax component built into them so that as the surfaces are polished, the wax works into the microscopic pores of the metal. This prevents but does not eliminate tarnish.

You can do a couple of things to prevent tarnish. One is to wash your hands thoroughly before practicing the cups and balls. This will help, but as you perform, the acids and oils in your skin will cause the tarnishing process to start. However, if you wipe the cups down after you finish, you can stop this from developing too much.

A second is to wash the cups thoroughly with ordinary dishwashing detergent, then apply Renaissance Wax to them. This is a wax used in museums to preserve the surfaces of things that are on display. Renaissance Wax is expensive, but a little goes a long way.

The third option is to allow the cup to patinize.

If you are planning to use this strictly as a chop cup, there may be better options. This cup was intended primarily for use in a Johnson regular set for combo purposes. The Roger Nicot bar cup is about the same price, maybe less expensive, and looks like what it is supposed to be -- a cocktail shaker. It's stainless steel, so you don't have to worry about tarnish at all.

There are other chop cups available from RnT II that are also excellent. The Don Alan cups are about the same price or less, depending on the metal/model you get.
Message: Posted by: shaneking (Aug 2, 2010 07:16AM)
Hi Bill,

Many thanks for taking time out to answer that. It is very much appreciated!
I have sent a request to seek permission to see the cups and balls collection. I do look forward to seeing them


Message: Posted by: Dougini (Aug 2, 2010 03:13PM)
I have a question perhaps Bill could answer...

If the cups are gold plated, there IS no patina, am I correct? Gold does not oxidize like brass and copper. Or am I mistaken?

Message: Posted by: Donnie Buckley (Aug 2, 2010 06:34PM)
Gold can tarnish depending upon its purity.
Gold plating has the additional weakness of the fact that the underlying material can have an effect on it if the gold is too thin. We plate with silver first and then put a layer of gold over that.

Technically though Dougini, you are correct. It's not really the gold that is tarnishing, it's the other metals that are mixed in it or that it is contaminated with (in the case of plating).
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Aug 2, 2010 09:54PM)
Oh..OK...thank you Donnie! I learned something new...again! Awesome!

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 3, 2010 01:05AM)
The Johnson cups are not gold plated. Gold refers to the color, not the metal.

The chief disadvantage of gold plating is that gold is very malleable, and therefore tends to wear.
Message: Posted by: Dougini (Aug 3, 2010 04:48PM)
Thank you, Bill!

So it's gold COLORED, and that's the reason for the "patina" so to speak. I like the Renaissance Wax idea! Wow...two days in a row, I learn something...I feel like a school kid again! LOL!

Message: Posted by: Dougini (Aug 5, 2010 03:08PM)
On 2008-05-12 11:45, Frank Starsini wrote:
I use nylon monkeyfist balls with those cups. they work great.

I just checked out your site! WOW! Class "A" stuff! When I recover, I'd love to buy some of your stuff!

1. The price is right

2. Shipping is also fair

'nuff said!

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Aug 5, 2010 11:03PM)
Frank is good to do business with.