(Close Window)
Topic: Silk Sizes Explained
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Nov 30, 2008 05:08PM)
It is normal for me to get several emails a week about silk sizes. Much of the confusion is the result of descriptions on Internet dealer sites and auctions like eBay. Don't overpay for smaller silks! Actually hold and look at them when you can before buying.

Here are some simple guidelines to help you read between the lines of the ad or ask meaningful questions of the vendor before making your purchase.

1. [b] Silks are ONLY measured by the hemmed edge regardless of shape. [/b] This is the measure used by importers, reputable manufacturers, and dealers when buying/selling silks. (This does not change for squares and diamond cuts. Diamond cuts just appear larger.)

2. [b] If diagonal measurements are given, reduce the size by at least 1/3. [/b] (Thus, 18” diagonally is probably smaller than a 12” square silk, 12” diagonally is probably an 8” square silk and likely too small to even use in walk-around magic.)

3. The Nominal (Named) size of a square silk is not the same as the finished (Actual) size.

Nominal ***** Actual
Size ********* Size

36” ********* 34.5”

24” ********* 22”

21” ********* 20”

18” ********* 17”

15” ********* 14.25”

12” ********* 11.25”

9” ********** 8.25”

6" ********** 5.5"

4. [b] There is no such thing as a 36” diamond cut silk. [/b] (The cloth does not exists!) All four sides of a diamond cut silk should be equal and the length of the side is the size of the silk. (A 24" diamond cut silk looks like a 36" silk.)

5. The most popular size silks for performing magic are 18” and 24”. (A man’s handkerchief is about 21”.) Most quality professional props are made in these two sizes. Smaller sizes typically are toys made to expose how the trick works but are not satisfactory for use in a magic show. (They are also seldom real silk! although real silk is available in small sizes.)

6. [b]The silk momme is a measure of mass and not quality. [/b]


Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Sep 2, 2009 04:14PM)
Here are the sizes in cm for the Europeans (like me)

36” ********* 90 cm

24” ********* 60 cm

18” ********* 45 cm

12” ********* 30 cm

9” ********** 22,5 cm

6" ********** 15 cm
Message: Posted by: Beppe (Jun 27, 2011 11:02AM)
Thank you Robert
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jun 27, 2011 12:39PM)
Bob,
I think you mean it is measured from the unhemmed (raw) edges. Hemming can take off aware from 1/2" to 1" in the finished size.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jun 27, 2011 04:48PM)
Richard,

I think #3 covered the difference between finished size and raw cut size

3. The Nominal (Named) size of a square silk is not the same as the finished (Actual) size.

Nominal ***** Actual
Size ********* Size

36” ********* 34.5”

24” ********* 22”

18” ********* 17”

12” ********* 11.25”

9” ********** 8.25”

6" ********** 5.5"

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Jun 27, 2011 07:19PM)
Yep, it was just the wording that threw me off.

Richard
Message: Posted by: louisemond (Mar 16, 2012 07:33AM)
Is there any advantage/ disadvantage to using diamond cut silks? Less bulk? Less surface to conceal a production item? Cost? I'd like to read some opinions on this.
Thanks
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Mar 16, 2012 08:24AM)
That is a very good question!

Cost is not an advantage! The best diamond cuts cost more to make than the best squares. (Otherwise they hang like a bath mat instead of a flowing silk.) We have had a real learning curve there over the years and the market is still loaded with leftover mistakes that should have been burned. (Instead, poor uninformed customers are getting burned!)

Think of a 12" diamond cut silk as being cut and remade from an 18" square silk. Consequently, there is no such thing as a 36" diamond cut silk since a 24" diamond cut silk could be cut from a 36" square silk (the widest magicians' silk fabric made today).

There are many advantages to good diamond cut silks. They look like the next size up and take the cargo space of the next size down. In other words, a true 12" diamond cut (always measured by the hemmed straight edge) should cost about the same as an 18" square of the same quality plus extra labor. It should look like an 18" square held by a corner. It should fit where a 9" square would fit. All four edges (sides) should be the same length and the corners in the middle and actually equal distance from both ends.

Not only will they take less space but another major advantage is that the lack of bulk in the center, means that it works much better in canes, wands, and candles that appear or disappear. (This is also works for silk to rope and/or rope to silk.) Many of the embarrassing mistakes caused by "drag" are avoided.

Diamond cut silks are a gimmick that have many uses. Get good ones and enjoy them.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander

PS --- Check out this thread too
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=76915&forum=54&start=0
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Oct 2, 2012 06:09PM)
Silks are measured and bought by dealers by the hemmed edges. Think twice when diagonal measurements are quoted.

Nominal ***** Actual ***** Diagonal
Size ********* Size ****** Measurement

36” ********* 34.5” ****** 48”

24” ********* 22” ******** 34.5”

21” ********* 20” ******** 30”

18” ********* 17” ******** 25.25”

15” ********* 14.25” ***** 20.5”

12” ********* 11.25” ***** 16”

9” ********** 8.25” ****** 12”

6" ********** 5.5" ******* 7.25”
Message: Posted by: greggtheballoonguy (Mar 9, 2014 02:31PM)
Can't seem to find the 15" silks anywhere aside from the set from Laflin. Any suggestions?
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (May 12, 2014 07:53AM)
The 15" and 21" silks are mostly replacements for very old magic props. As the magicians's silk importer, I do still stock some and try to keep them available. According to Tony Slydini (who was actually a tailor by trade) it is suggested that magicians 5'5" and under use 21" silks rather than 24" silks. This is relative to sleeve size!

There was a time prior to the 1980s when silk was available in 42" widths. Therefore, 21" silks were simply a "Split". Today 90 cm is the maximum width of magicians' silk made.