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Topic: Help identifying Knives
Message: Posted by: RevJohn (Mar 1, 2009 05:01PM)
Looking to identify these knives. Here is one of them. I bought them from someone on the Café sometime ago, but forget who. Perhaps market value?


Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Mar 2, 2009 11:02AM)
Those were marketed by Jose de la Torre, to go with the Ascanio's world of knives book.
Message: Posted by: RevJohn (Mar 2, 2009 11:06AM)
From what someone told me in a PM (I deleted the PM, so can't remember the name), these are similar to those knives, but lack the Red/White finish on one of the knives (red/white on the same side).

I was pointed towards Fantastic Magic, and that these knives might have pre-dated the Mark Wilson knife set.

Does this sound correct?

Message: Posted by: jordanl (Mar 2, 2009 11:37AM)
I thought the De la Torre knives had loops for a clip on one end.
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Mar 2, 2009 04:41PM)
That is one of the first generation of knives that Gary Frank made after he purchased the Merrill knife company. Notwithstanding the fact that Jose de la Torre favored the type of knife that Ascanio used (a knife with no bolsters and a ring on one end), a three-knife set of these knives (solid red, solid white, and a red/white visible color change knife) was packaged as "Jose de la Torre's 'Kolorfusing Knives'" in the mid-70s.

I have two sets of these early Frank knives--a "Kolorfusing Knives" set (with the original instructions and de la Torre routine), and a set that has a R/R, R/W and W/R visible color change knife.

Many folks feel that size, shape and weight of these knives makes them the next best thing to the legendary Sanders knives. (I have a set of Sanders knives, and I concur.) Although you don't see these first generation Frank knives for sale very often, in the past few years three-knife sets of these knives in good condition have sold via private transactions and at auction for anywhere from $75 to nearly $200.

I believe that Mr. Frank is still making a similar set of knives in white and black "stag", however these newer knives have only a single blade and, as a result, don't handle nearly as well as the first generation. The newer, single-blade Frank knives are the knives in the Mark Wilson set.
Message: Posted by: RevJohn (Mar 2, 2009 06:37PM)
Ok... lots of history here. Now I am a little confused.

A set like the one I pictured, with a R/R, W/W, and a W/R set (not a half/half color on one side) is an early generation Gary Frank, but not a "Jose de la Torre" set?


Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Mar 3, 2009 01:05AM)
Well, the GF knives that were packaged as the deluxe set of knives for "Jose's New Kolorfusing" were a R/R, W/W and a R/W visible color change (Stanfield) knife. They came with a routine (8 half-pages of instructions) marked with a 1975 copyright notice in the name of Jose de la Torre.

There was another set of knives that came packaged with a Jose de la Torre routine--this one entitled "Color Changing Knives...And More." This set was released about the same time as the "New Kolorfusing" knives--the copyright notice on the instructions and routine for this "CCN and More" set is "copyright Jose de la Torre 1976." I've seen a couple of different online photos of the first page of the instruction sheets for this set and, while I can't be certain, it appears that the set of knives that came with this set didn't include a Stanfield knive but instead included a "regular" R/W knife, along with a R/R knife and an W/W knife. But it also appears that the knives that were supplied were not the GF knives, but rather the style of knife that is typically associated with Ascanio and Jose de la Torre (knives with no bolsters and a ring on one end).

So, if I was a betting man (and I am), I'd bet that your knives, although first generation GF knives, were not packaged as a Jose de la Torre set.
Message: Posted by: ursusminor (Mar 3, 2009 01:35AM)
I got a set of these knives from Davenports in London in 1995. That was a 3 knife set: R/R - W/W - R/W. I t came with a yellow booklet with the full text from the Merrill Knife Book, but completely devoid of any illustrations(!)

Later I got a set with the Stansfield knife, and de la Torre's routine.

The knives that comes with the Mark Wilson DVD is single bladed, and black/white, as mentioned, by Donal.
It's interresting to note that the knives mr. Wilson uses in the DVD are the Red/Black double bladed version, though...

These (Red/Black) knives, and the Scotty York knives, were my favourites, until I got the Mogar knives.
Message: Posted by: RevJohn (Mar 3, 2009 08:56AM)
This is the information I was pointed to (with the bottom paragraph reference knives that are the same ones I own). There is also a link to Frank's website:

(With the modern set of the knives he is making and not the ones I picture above).

Fantastic Magic Company, Inc.

Owner Gary Frank. Gary Frank had carried on the Merrill Color Changing Knives after purchasing the company in 1975. After production of the Merrill knives was ceased, Gary began to produce the knives seen in the top photo, which are currently available from him.

These knives have several advantages: 1) they aren't too wide; 2) they have bolsters at both ends, which makes them very symetrical and eliminates any "show" when spectators view the knives from the ends; 3) the stag/smooth handle differences make finding the correct knife in your pocket easier; and 4) they look like regular pocket knives.

The knives are 2 7/8" long and a three knife set comes with Dr. Merrill's Classic Color Changing Knives and Paddle Routines booklet (a subset of the Merrill Knife book). Gary also offers a Visible Color change knife (also in B&W) for $20. In overall handling, I still prefer the Mogar knives, but Gary's knives represent a suitable alternative.

These knives are also available from Mark Wilson, along with a short 18 minute DVD of Mark's straightforward color changing knife routine.

The bottom photo is a set of double bladed knives that were the predecessors to the above knives, but sadly are no longer available. They feature two blades, which makes them thicker and heavier. This extra thickness and weight greatly enhances the handling with these knives. These knives were of good quality and were made by the Colonial Knife Company in the USA. Highly recommended if you can find them.
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Mar 3, 2009 05:56PM)
It looks like you've gotten the rest of the story!

In addition to my set of Sanders knives and the two different sets of first-generation Gary Frank knives mentioned in my previous posts, I also have a custom set of Mogar knives. I can honestly say that as much as I like them (the Mogar knives), the early GF knives handle better. More importantly, the two end bolsters and the flatness of the GF knives significantly reduces the possibility of any accidental flashes. The sides of the Mogar knives are slightly rounded, and while that facilitates the "move", it and the fact that the Mogar knives have only one bolster makes flashing significantly more problematic.

My only real complaint about the early GF knives is that they only come (came) in red and white--at least those are the only colors that I've seen. If I'd thought I could get a set of the early double-bladed GF knives in black stag and white (or, even better, in black stag and ivory, like the color of the "white" knives in the early GF sets), I most likely wouldn't have purchased the expensive set of Sanders knives. As it is, I wanted a set of textured black and white knives, and so I had the set of Mogars made. But, ultimately, I bit the bullet and bought the Sanders knives when a set came up for sale several months later.
Message: Posted by: ursusminor (Mar 5, 2009 06:21AM)
For some reason I have written about"Red/Black double bladed knives".
Of course it should read "Red/White", not "Red/Black"...

Sorry about that!

Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Mar 5, 2009 02:45PM)
Ah, I was wondering about that. Your post had me thinking that perhaps Mark had a custom set of early GF knives.

Thanks for the correction/clarification.
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Mar 9, 2009 10:02AM)
If you are interested in getting to the next step with the Jose De La Torre concept of the knife with a side two third red and one third white, try the following which serves me well.
Instead of the one third white being cut perpendicular to the knife have it at 60° angle. Thus your right thumb can easily hide initially a larger part than 1/3 of the knife, and then, grasping the knife at both ends betweeen the first finger and thumb of the other hand, slide your thumb forward until it is around the middle of the knife at an angle (showing the same amount of white and red both in front and behind the thumb) in a much less contrived way.

Then naturally rotate the knife doing the paddle move to show it to be entirely of the new color.

It seems like a small improvement, but should you try it, you'll find that it is actually a major one.
Message: Posted by: atkinsod (Apr 24, 2009 01:20PM)
Hi RevJohn!

The website you pointed to with the info on Gary Frank's knives was mine (magicref.tripod.com). I wrote back and forth with Gary a few times to gather that bit of history.

At one time, the Mark Wilson video came with the better two bladed knives, but they ran out. Sadly, when I purchased the video, it was after they ran out of the better knives. I did come across a set of the two bladed knives however, and have to admit they are much better than what Gary is currently selling.

For a while these knives could be had in the $30-$40 price range, but I would certainly expect them to go for twice this today if not more.

Also, Donal's posts are all right on!

Doug A.
Message: Posted by: NMC Lives (Jun 7, 2017 11:38PM)
Although a bit delayed, the knife that both Jose and I used at one time allowed the performer to use most of the moves described in Dale Merrill's book. When it came to the Visible Color Changing Knife, there was one important factor. Those who asked to have the portion cut on an angle were workers in the profession. That meant, they performed the effect as a constant. Since 1960, Dale made sure the portion of the knife that appeared first would be covered without and flashing. That is the drawback on the angle cut. There are two ways of performing this idea, one is to blend the color from top to bottom and the other is from bottom to top. Both ideas will allow you to not flash and you can complete the move by the roll over. When the original Merrill Knives were not available because the manufacturer decided to 'move on', I spoke to Dale and he wanted to keep the knife simple using black and white and red and white. The only knife company who allow both Jose and I to purchase a small quantity was from a knife company not too far away from either of us. That had two blades. I continued to use them until that company decided to 'move on' too. The knife I have been supplying for the past number of years goes back to the knife Dale wanted originally after our first knife was no longer made. It is smooth on one side and rough on the other. Great idea when you're searching for it in a pocket or other dark places. Also, it has a single blade. It looks like a pen knife and one that doesn't look like a magic prop. it fits the hand well and you can perform nearly all of the old cigarette moves and Dale's moves as described in his book. The book is available in soft or limited hard copy. If you're not familiar with the book, it is the best book to have to learn the knife moves. Dale had the photographer shoot both what the performer sees as well as the spectator. The book teaches you the basics to the advanced. If you're ever at the Magic Castle Swap Meet and we cross paths, I would be pleased to see your knife moves and I will gladly show you a few of Dale's favorites from the pages of the book. Again, sorry for the delay. P.S. The knives Mark Wilson was selling and has been selling were supplied by me. I too was sorry to loose the two blade knife to "progress". Gary Frank