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Topic: RNT II Cups vs. Johnson.
Message: Posted by: Sir Richard (Jul 20, 2008 08:41AM)
In the opinions of the veterans out there, how would you compare the Johnson cups to the RNT II Paul Fox cups? I know that the PF cups are wider, but there have been "testimonials" from both Bill Malone as well as Michael Ammar (who now also markets the Johnson cups from his web-site) as to the "superiority" of the Johnson cups over the PF Cups; what say you? I'm currently using the "Chevy" model cups (cheapies) and am looking to upgrade sometime in the future. Thanks! S.R.
Message: Posted by: kentfgunn (Jul 20, 2008 09:44AM)
One set was turned by a machine. CNC tools cut a slab of brass into the Johnson product cup. You get one slab-o-brass-o-matic cup that way. No soul, no imparting of individuality by the spinner. No soul.

The cups from RNT II are hand spun by human beings. (Unless Jake is spinning that day, but he's close to being human, darn it!!) This continues a tradition of hand-made cups. If you want your magical tools to continue a tradition get Jake's cups. If you want to save a couple of bucks and get cookie-cutter cups, get the Johnson's.

As for which set will make for a better cups and balls routine, for you: It just doesn't matter. The magic isn't in the cups. Hopefully the magic is in you.

If you're attached to some diameter of final load, get a cup big enough to hold that load.

I only answered because you asked for responses from the veterans. I was in the military.
Message: Posted by: Josh the Superfluous (Jul 20, 2008 10:06AM)
Well although I haven't served in the military, I'll vouch for the heartless Johnson set. It's served me well for years.

I hadn't even considered buying another set, until some Bay area ex-military magician let me mess around with his Sherwoods. Dang him!
Message: Posted by: Tom Fenton (Jul 20, 2008 10:19AM)
I do not own a set of Johnson cups but I do own a few sets of RNT II cups.

I cannot say which cups are "best", I don't really think anyone can say what is best for someone else.

I can say that the RNT II cups that I own are quality products and are made and supplied by a great, great bunch of people in Virginia.

I can also say that if you go with RNT II you will not be disappointed.

Btw, I too was in the military ;)
Message: Posted by: BCS (Jul 20, 2008 10:23AM)
With the Johnson Cups you just have to activate their souls with constant polishing. They have served me well over the years.

When you purchase Cups from RNT2, besides getting more than what you paid for, you get Jake and you can’t put a price on him.

Message: Posted by: rannie (Jul 20, 2008 10:55AM)
I have both cups and more. At the end of the day what's best for me is what gave me pleasure and which set I created magic with. There are days/performances where in my Paul Daniels Plastic colored cups seem like my best cups. Cups are like cigars...as Tom said, what is best for you is the best. I am aware that Sir Richard posted the question because he is deciding on which set to purchase. In order to help you, let me try to breakdown the strength of both sets.

The Johnson set! If you like combo cups routines...The Johnson set seem to work best for me, especially if you do the Mendoza routine. The mendoza move is 100% easier compared to all the combo set I own. If you like using sound, The Johnson cups give one of the most distinct ring (Sound) when doing the cup through cup move. I have performed my cups and balls using the Johnson set in theaters and the sound cuts through all the way to the back seat. The weight is also great as well as the balance. Since they are readily available in brass....the only downside is that it does not patina as fast as the copper cups and you either wait a long time till it evens up or you end up cleaning the cups all the time. Al schneider has some thoughts about using the patina and the perils of using a gleaming cup.

The RNT cups are beautiful cups. Function wise these cups are top notch. YES they are far more expensive than the Johnson cups, but it really depends on how far you want to go. The weight depends on which particular set as they do have a wider array of cups. The foxy combo are great and if load size is not a factor for you...I strongly suggest the foxy 2. The mendoza Cups are excellent cups but you might want to experiment with other balls if you are to do combo stuff. The straight Mendoza cups are just fantastic and so are the balls that come with them. They patina evenly and it does not take that long. It has an earthier feel is there is such a thing. Perhaps because it was hand crafted. If load size is your thing... these cups take a tennis ball.

I hope I was able to help you in one way or another.

Oh....I did perform several times over the years for veterans. A vet in a way!

Best from Manila,

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Jul 20, 2008 11:41AM)
Being a veteran (I was on our side)... I was involved in the design as a consultant with the Johnson Cups. However, as mentioned above... they don't have that "soulful" feeling that a spun cup does. The size and shape are perfect, but again... something in the [b]feel[/b] isn't right? Could be the weight or the thickness variants due to being CNC turned.
Message: Posted by: rannie (Jul 20, 2008 12:00PM)
Probably because it was too perfect Pete. I'm no expert but I would not say it was the weight or the thickness or the CNC thing. All CNC does is make it consistent. The feeling that I get when I use my Johnsons is that I am picking up the same cup again and again. Its like doing a chop cup routine with one cup. Pretty surreal but that's as close as I can explain the feeling...or better yet the "odd feeling" I think its pleasantly odd and It remains to be one of my top3 working cups.


PS. Pete....talk about feel....your Indian Cups has it all packed inside.
Message: Posted by: walid ahumada (Jul 20, 2008 01:21PM)
I would like to mention word by word what Pete Biro wrote in other forum:

Frankly I have yet to see a CNC cup that handles well, there is something about the balance that doesn't work. Although the Johnson and Porper cups come close as they were able to cut the inside surface closer.
Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Jul 20, 2008 01:26PM)
First thing you want is a set of cups that will work for you, i.e. feels right in your hands and handles the size balls and final loads. The rest is incidental.

RNT II vs. Johnson, if you can afford either of our cups don't rule out checking Brett Sherwood Smooths http://www.sherwoodmagic.com or Jim Risers Jumbos, they take a baseball http://www.jamesriser.com both are only a few shekels more than either Johnson or RNT II.

You are obviously ready based on the comparison of Johnson and RNT II to make a good financial commitment to a set of working tools, take the time to explore the Jim's Jumbos and Brett's smooth cups. In this day and age with the economy the way it is, you are probably only going to want to make this investment once at this point.

I personally would rather see you get the "Right" set of cups the first time even if it's not RNT II cups. It's not so much who makes the best cups, those mentioned here in this thread all do a [b]great[/b] job, but we all know there is plenty of junk out there to stay clear of.

Message: Posted by: mballen11502 (Jul 20, 2008 03:16PM)
I have several sets from RNT2 and they are all top notch. I think it's really a personal preference thing. I also own Sherwood and Gary Animal cups and both are superb. The Sherwood cups are just a thing of beauty in my opinion. I don't use them I just like to look at them. The Gary Animal cups are practically indestructible and in that regard, are probably the most durable cups I own. For the moment though, my favorites are a set of copper Jim Sisti cups by RNT2 - they are small but not too small (they take a lacrosse ball) and the feel is just perfect for my hand. I also have a set by Owen magic that's a tad bigger than the Sistis that I really enjoy handling.

Definitely go for something with "soul" though.
Message: Posted by: spcarlson (Jul 20, 2008 03:19PM)
No Soul:

I know what you mean about this gentleman, however what they might be lacking from a craftsman creator they can receive from their magical handler!

Take for example coins; they are stamped out on machines and playing cards run off a press but how many of us feel a real connection to our favorite coins or cards?

I know I have some Morgan’s that have, through shear osmosis ‘soaked up’ part of me. They have been handled so much and been through so many performances they have become ‘familiar friends’.

Then again maybe I just spend way too many late nights working with them ;o)

What I like about the Johnson cups is their heavier weight and their sound is like a fine bell. They also have a very unique sound and feel when they are stacked. All that said Johnson cups are not the ones I use in performance I have a set of R&T bronze Monti combo cups I acquired 35 years ago that I have a hard time putting down for anything else.

Message: Posted by: Hayre (Oct 3, 2008 03:44PM)
Johnsons are ....top-heavy to me.
Message: Posted by: snushy (Oct 3, 2008 04:03PM)
RNT cups rule.
I have Sherwoods...and they're magnificent...but my workhorses are my RNTs. I have also worked with Johnson cups. They're really good, but they don't hold a candle to Mad Jake.
Larry Zaslow
Message: Posted by: Turk (Oct 3, 2008 04:05PM)
On 2008-07-20 12:41, Pete Biro wrote:
Being a veteran (I was on our side)... I was involved in the design as a consulatant with the Johnson Cups. However, as mentioned above... they don't have that "soulful" feeling that a spun cup does. The size and shape are perfect, but again... something in the FEEL isn't right? Could be the weight or the thickness variants due to being CNC turned.
I agree. Never having handled a hand-spun cup, I've always liked the Johnson cups. But, recently, I went to a friend's home and he is an afficando C&Bs man and C&Bs colletor. He let me handle (and compare) lots of his cup models--Gary Animal cups, many RNT II cup modles, Sherwoods, Von
Dokkums (?) Risers, etc. I loved the elegance and subtle beauty of each of these sets-and the craftsmanship. And then, after all of those handlings, I picked up his Johnson set. I instantly felt the difference. The were heavy and felt "off-balanced" Great for the "on the table cup tipping turnover move" and great for durability--You could probably use these cups as jack stands under your car as you go to change the car's oil (They are that stout!!) But, after handling the hand-spun cups, the Johnson cups lost much of their subjective appeal for me. I still like the Johnson cups and would never turn down a set (hint-hint), but, if I had my choice of the Johnsons or one of the quality hand-spun sets, I'd go with the hand-spuns.

Just IMHO, your mileage may vary.

Message: Posted by: Dave McFarland (Oct 3, 2008 04:22PM)
I own the Johnson cups and several sets of RNT II cups. I like them all. It's true that the Johnson cups feel "cookie cutter"-ish. However, they don't feel cheap at all. They're sturdy and heavy and handle well. The one think I really like about them--Rannie mentioned this--is the sound they make. They're like bells when you tap them and it's really beautiful. I don't own any brass RNT II cups, so I can't comment on what sound they make when tapped, but copper cups don't ring when tapped (at least mine don't), and my brass Sherwoods don't have a melodic sound when tapped. Of course, the sound may not matter at all to you.

I have a set of stainless steel RNT II Paul Fox cups and I personally like the shape better than Johnson cups--not in how they handle but just by appearances.

The fact is you won't go wrong either way--anything from RNT II is great as are the Johnson cups. The nice thing about RNT II cups is you can get them in copper, which is a really great material. It feels good and looks great as it ages and the patina darkens. In addition, if you branch out beyond the Paul Fox cups you can pick up cups that take a bigger load--the RNT II foxy 2.5 cups, I believe, take a tennis ball load (i don't own a set of these cups--I wish I did!), as do the Mendoza cups (which are combo cups and are fantastic.)

My 2 cents.

Message: Posted by: Levity (Oct 3, 2008 07:25PM)
On 2008-10-03 17:22, Dave McFarland wrote:
I own the Johnson cups and several sets of RNT II cups. I like them all. It's true that the Johnson cups feel "cookie cutter"-ish. However, they don't feel cheap at all. They're sturdy and heavy and handle well. The one think I really like about them--Rannie mentioned this--is the sound they make. They're like bells when you tap them and it's really beautiful.


I agree, Dave--a lovely sound. If you're into the thermos shape for your cups, these are fine.

Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Oct 3, 2008 07:39PM)
Auke's cups have beautiful sound to them as well.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 3, 2008 08:41PM)
There is nothing in particular wrong with the Johnson cups. I generally prefer a spun cup to a CNC cup, but actually, in the final analysis, to call one cup inherently superior to another is to leave out the operator factor.

This reminds me a lot of discussions I read on some of the banjo forums. There is always some guy who wants his banjo to sound like Earl Scruggs', or Sonny Osborne's, or J.D. Crowe's. The fact is that even though these instruments have certain acoustical characteristics, it's the player who brings out the sound.

My recommendation -- try out several different sets of cups. When you find that one set that fits your hand, then get it. That's what Michael Vincent did. I know, because he did it at my house!
Message: Posted by: Levity (Oct 3, 2008 08:50PM)
As usual, Mr. Palmer's advice is excellent. I only had to purchase 11 sets of cups before I realized that the traditional styles suited my hands and presentation, and the overall atmosphere of my performance, the best.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 3, 2008 11:11PM)
Sometimes that's what it takes.
Message: Posted by: MickeyPainless (Oct 3, 2008 11:38PM)
***I generally prefer a spun cup to a CNC cup***

I prefer a "spun" cup maker! ;)
Message: Posted by: magicorik (Oct 4, 2008 09:49AM)
I much prefer spun cups (copper my favourite metal): Sherwood, RNT2, Riser.....they are all excellent!
Buy all of them....but don't tell your wife...
Message: Posted by: fortasse (Oct 4, 2008 02:29PM)
For that certain indefinable feel, "spun" trumps CNC in my book....... and yet there is something so aesthetically and visually pleasing about a set of CNC cups, like Auke's stainless steel cups for example.

Truth is, there are so many variables when it comes to cups. If you want a particular set primarily as a collectible, the feel of the cups is obviously less important than if you're going to be handling them/performimg with them regularly.

Cup size is a big factor when you're looking for a set to perform with (size relative to the size of your hands)....... size again relative to the type of loads you want to produce.......size yet again depending on whether you'll be doing close-up for a few, or performing on stage for many more to see.

When all is said and done, though, there are no rules other than picking cups that works best for YOU, based on what YOU want them for.

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 4, 2008 03:04PM)
A lot of people think that CNC is better because the work is easier on the operator. That's not completely true. It takes less time to machine a single cup than to turn it, but the polishing stage is still done by hand.

CNC is also a rather wasteful process. Generally, you start with a solid block of metal, and the machine cuts away all that you don't need. This is one reason you don't see many sets of sterling silver CNC cups.
Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Oct 4, 2008 06:49PM)
Depends on what you are cutting on the CNC machine. Copper has to be done very very slowly on CNC and is a dangerous process as you manually have to make sure the fall out copper is removed completely as the milling bits cut. Delrin is the same way. Last quote I saw for 110 machinable copper 1 linear foot was 792.00, the waste factor in most cases does not go below 79% of the stock material.

There are a lot of additional costs for making CNC cups vs. handspun. Just to name a few are custom jaws, milling bits and collets, all of which can be job specific and very expensive. All this adds to the cost of the final product.

The current machine shop rate ranges from 75-125 per hour shop time plus materials. This is one reason we won't make anymore Delrin cups or CNC cups period.

There are other CNC methods, spinning, vertical punch even hydroforming, again all high cost factors. The one nice thing about hydroforming, no tooling marks to polish out :)
Message: Posted by: Levity (Oct 4, 2008 06:55PM)
On 2008-10-04 00:11, Bill Palmer wrote:
Sometimes that's what it takes.

...and I have no regrets about all those purchases, none whatsoever. Variety is the spice my magic needs.

G :cups:
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 4, 2008 07:24PM)
That makes those copper Johnson cups a much better bargain!
Message: Posted by: Mad Jake (Oct 4, 2008 07:39PM)
Bill, indeed it does, I can't imagine what the blocks cost for those cups today. Not to mention the the time to make them. The outside milling is a breeze, it's the boring of the interior. I'm still somewhat amazed at what Johnson can offer thier brass cups for in relation to the size of the cup vs. the amount of machinable brass they need.

The Copper JPs are treasures in my collection. A lot of dedicated machining went into those and the price on those too at the time of sale were a steal.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Oct 5, 2008 12:32AM)
If we don't get a handle on inflation soon, $300 sets of cups will be a thing of the past.
Message: Posted by: MickeyPainless (Oct 5, 2008 01:32AM)
***the waste factor in most cases does not go below 79% of the stock material.***

It breaks my heart to see all that waste when turning wood cups so seeing 79% of expensive metal hitting the floor might do me in!
Message: Posted by: BobMc (Oct 5, 2008 03:01PM)
Out of curiousity, what will a Johnson cup take as a final load. A billiard ball? A lacrosse ball?
Message: Posted by: L Trunk (Oct 5, 2008 07:49PM)
Lacrosse ball.
Message: Posted by: BCS (Oct 5, 2008 08:21PM)
Yes it will by the skin of its teeth.
Message: Posted by: Bill Thompson (Oct 5, 2008 10:13PM)
Be very careful when sizing lacrosse balls for Johnson cups, if they are just a smidge too big then they can get lodged inside the cup and won't come out easily or worse get stuck tight inside.
Message: Posted by: L Trunk (Oct 5, 2008 10:41PM)
When I looked up the regulation size of a lacrosse ball, I was surprised at the large acceptable range. Maybe it's not that different to other sports (I've never looked up other sizes of balls)??

Message: Posted by: ekins (Oct 6, 2008 12:32AM)
It's possible to cut down on the waste significantly when CNC'ing any part. They do they by creating a casting of the part that is close to the final size and then use CNC to machine it to the desired size and finish. This is how all of the parts in your car's engine are made. They're cast and then machined only where needed.

I don't know if Johnson is actually doing this or not. I don't know the costs involved and maybe it would cost more to do the castings in limited quantity than the money that is lost in the extra machining time and material waste. And the waste isn't totally wasted but can be sold as scrap.