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Topic: Home-made dancing canes: balancing?
Message: Posted by: Covernton (Apr 22, 2003 05:26AM)
Heh. Are we at one million dancing cane question posts yet? Here's another in the bucket.

The other night I renewed my quest to make a home made dancing cane, since my store bought one suffered an untimely death. This cane is of a somewhat irregular shape, being made of a dowel that's been roughly carved and has yet to be painted. There's also something at the top which I won't go into since it's in desperate need of remaking. But it's a weight at the top. So how does one go about balancing the gaff on this thing? I read it's about one inch above the balance point. But every time I perform it for the camera, I see that it's tilting in one way or another. Can anyone offer some suggestions for getting this sucker ramrod straight? My store-bought version of questionable quality was impressively straight when it floated. I'd like to achieve the same effect here.

I'm trying to find the proper place by sticking a tack in the side with the gaff attached, moving the tack up or down by small measures, but still no luck.

Any help would be a great asset.


Message: Posted by: boltt223 (Apr 22, 2003 11:29PM)
I just recently made one myself. I probably went the long way, but what I did was drill and drill again until it danced the way it was suppose to. :smiles:
Message: Posted by: RandyStewart (Apr 22, 2003 11:42PM)
Right boltt223. I don't recall coming across plans offering dimensions which provide a perfect balance.

I think it's best to purchase a quality product. :)
Message: Posted by: Covernton (Apr 23, 2003 01:01AM)
I was initially looking into products, but I reasoned that it would be more interesting to have one that I crafted. Really in no way does it resemble a cane other than the length. I wanted it to take on the properties of a rod or short staff and have a somewhat unique look.

Boltt2233: Would it make any sort of difference if I drilled as opposed to tacking the gaff to the front (as a test)? Maybe this is what's throwing off the balance...?


Message: Posted by: delpfin (Apr 23, 2003 02:55AM)
Problem with balancing? Why???

Some months ago I saw a show with Polish magician Assan. He rolled newspaper on spectator's eyes and go with classic dancing effect. And no problem with balancing. ;)
I think, all is in magician's hands, not in accessories. ;)

Message: Posted by: Covernton (Apr 23, 2003 04:53AM)
I agree to some extent, that there is a degree of control one needs to keep the cane looking magical, but an improperly balanced cane is more difficult to work with. And the less I have to consider keeping the cane straight in front of an audience, the more fun I can have with the actual performance. Plus, working with an improperly balanced cane... well... it's like saying it doesn't matter whether the trapdoor works or not. :)

Message: Posted by: boltt223 (Apr 24, 2003 12:00AM)
I too thought it would be better to find the balance point with tacks but it just would not work properly. I made the one and it works just fine. I agree with Randy though... purchase a quality one. I own two others and I am thinking about purchasing one with the lights inside. :smiles:
Message: Posted by: Magique Hands (Apr 24, 2003 11:11AM)
Here's how to find the balance point on any cane:

1) Lay the cane over the edge of a knife blade at approximately where you think the balance point may be.

2) Adjust the cane (very slightly) to which ever side will cause the cane to remain completely balanced (not swinging to one side or the other), so that it balances on the blade, and so that both ends are suspended straight. This is the most tedious process and takes patience if you want to find the correct balance point.

3) Very carefully, push the cane onto the knife blade slightly (creating a small mark on the cane).

4) Use a ruler to measure up from the knife mark (toward top of cane) 1/2"... and make a small mark there. This is the mark you will want to drill the hole at. One last note: The cane should dance in a vertical position, AS IT IS MOVING, as centrifugal force is what helps to maintain the cane's vertical properties.

I have been making my own canes for 10 years now, and my cane design and routine will be available on the market in the near future. The best part about my canes, is that each individual cane is meticulously hand-balanced, to ensure true vertical dancing of the cane.

Hope this helps,
- - Troy
Message: Posted by: Covernton (Apr 24, 2003 01:43PM)
Thank you all for your help with the cane! I'll let you know how it turns out when it's all painted up and working!

Thanks again!

Message: Posted by: Magique Hands (Apr 24, 2003 03:39PM)
One last thing I forgot...

It is best to find the balance point AFTER the cane has been sanded, painted, and the tips have been put on. The SLIGHTEST bit of weight on either end of the cane will throw the balance point off.

- - Troy
Message: Posted by: boltt223 (Apr 25, 2003 12:27AM)
Thanks for the tip. I am in the process of making a strobe light type dancing cane. Your tip will help a great deal in this endeavor. :smiles:
Message: Posted by: Bill Citino (May 8, 2003 11:23PM)
Isn't there a way to balance the cane by just drilling a hole about a half an inch from the center of the cane?
Message: Posted by: Magique Hands (May 9, 2003 01:53PM)

I suppose you could drill the hole there, but keep in mind... the balance point is NOT the center of the cane. Not each cane has the same density from cane to cane. Balsa wood, other woods, aluminum, etc... each vary in density. One section of the wood may be more dense than other sections, which is why your cane should be painstakenly balanced correctly (if you want it to float vertically true).

Because of this density factor, is why each cane should be individually and meticulously balanced. If you've ever performed with a Creekmore, then you'll know the difference, as their balance point is so precise, they always float in the vertical position.

The more time and effort you give to building your own dancing cane (even the smallest details), will reap you wondrous awards after the finished product.

Not only does the hole need to be drilled at the correct balance point, it also must be drilled through at precisely the center diameter and on a level plane at that, and the hole itself must be the smallest diameter as possible, without fouling up the gimmick.

- - Troy
Message: Posted by: Covernton (Jul 2, 2003 02:55AM)
I just wanted to write this as an update to my homemade dancing cane project. I finally completed (for now) a working prototype of my ghost cane. And thanks to all your advice on balancing it. I'm extremely pleased with the results!

Thank you very much all for your input!

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 2, 2003 08:24AM)
Thanks for the great tips and the time you took into sharing that information with us. I will have to keep my eyes out for your new products.
Message: Posted by: Magique Hands (Jul 2, 2003 09:04AM)
Magic4u02 (and everyone else);

I'm glad you could use this information. My products (and the products of the other three Magic Mafia members) are sold exclusively through http://www.magickits.com.

I want to thank you all for your kind words and enthusiasm.

Have fun,
- - Troy
Message: Posted by: Patrick T. (Jul 3, 2003 06:18PM)
I bought a cane from Losander here in Germany.It came with a manuscript that tells you how to balance it right and how to hide the gimmick inside the cane.

Patrick Thomas
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Jul 4, 2003 11:15PM)
Just wondering, what is the best measurement for dancing cane? How long and how big is the diameter?

If wood is not availiable, can we use PVC plumbing pipe or metal pipe/rod?


Budi Ha Ha
Message: Posted by: Magique Hands (Jul 7, 2003 12:15PM)
It will probably depend on how tall the performer is. I am 6' 3", so the cane I use is a full 36" in length, and measures about 3/4" in diameter at it's thickest point, tapering down to about 1/2" at the end.

I suppose that PVC plumbing pipe could be used, but has a few drawbacks: It doesn't taper at the end, and weighs more than you may want a dancing cane to weigh. Aluminum tubing could be used, but again, doesn't taper, unless you can get a machinist to fabricate one for you.

- - Troy
Message: Posted by: Budihaha (Jul 9, 2003 12:23AM)
Thanks Troy!

First, I thought the dancing cane doesn't taper.
So I assumed wrong.


Budi Ha Ha