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Topic: What is the best chair suspension
Message: Posted by: AnthonytheMagic (May 7, 2009 07:46PM)
I have done a search but it really did not answer my question.
Hocus-Pocus has the European Chair Suspension? Then there is the Harbin one and then there is Mak?
What do you all think?
Anthony
Message: Posted by: Matthew W (May 7, 2009 08:27PM)
Don't forget the Sommers version which is very good, too.
Message: Posted by: Loual4 (May 8, 2009 08:14AM)
I think the more accurate question would be "which chair suspension is the best for you...?"

Do you plan on using adults? How is your budget? The Bill Smith chair suspension is widely regarded as THE best... But it does have a price tag...

If you do not plan on using adults, a cheaper model might be good... Again, depending on your budget, and usage...


Louis Jutras
Message: Posted by: akolodner (May 8, 2009 08:47AM)
The European chair is the the most secure and innocent looking. I have used Sommers & Bill Smith.
Message: Posted by: Mad Jack (May 8, 2009 10:44AM)
I have the Mak version which I have used for many years without any problems. I always use a child of 7 or 8 that weighs about 80 pounds or so (never over 100). I also have the European version for adults that is great (although heavy). I agree that the European and mak versions look more inocent than the Bill Smith version. As others have said, it's all in who you want to float!

One note: Always check your rivets in the chair hinge for integrity and check the gimick for stress cracks and movement before each use!

MJ
Message: Posted by: Don (May 8, 2009 12:05PM)
I have a custom made Bill Smith model that was made from european chairs. The chairs are real chairs that were beefed up by him per Harbin plans. It holds 125 pounds.

It is different from what he make now.

In the case it is 111 pounds total. The models Bill Smith makes now are even more heavy .The gimmicks will last several lifetimes. I would not use it in a typical Birthday Party, to much to set up (bulky).

It's the best version commonly available. If you plan to use adults or children.

The above post are correct.

Don
Message: Posted by: deliveryboy (May 8, 2009 12:15PM)
I own the european version sold by Hocus Pocus it works great for kids and adults
I fell much safer when I use kids knowing it will hold someone who weighs 150 lbs.
John
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (May 8, 2009 01:23PM)
I brought park chairs home from England and John Gaughan made them into a Harbin version. None Better. I'm sure Bill Smith's are just as good. Be safe.
Message: Posted by: magicians (May 8, 2009 08:54PM)
I had a Jack Hughes Chair suspension, probably the most natural looking and effective. Mine was owned by Jeff McBride when he was 12 yrs old.
Message: Posted by: AnthonytheMagic (May 9, 2009 12:01AM)
Very nice of all of you to comment. Thanks for all the insight. It makes my decision much easier!
Anthony
Message: Posted by: eb02 (May 9, 2009 02:07AM)
All the versions are doing the job, however the European chair suspension can hold an adult which give it a great benefit.
The chairs are made from wood and they look like regular home folding chairs.

If someone is interesting I have a set in a very good condition for sale, PM if you are interesting.
Message: Posted by: MagicbyCarlo (May 9, 2009 05:33AM)
I have a Bill Smith chair suspension that I am selling. The chairs are custom and have been painted tho look like wood, it comes in 2 ABS cases, the board is aluminum. It's very nice. This cost me close to $3000 to have built. If anyone is interested PM me and I'll give you a price.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 9, 2009 07:26AM)
Hi all,

Great question and one in which many performers are confused about when looking into this illusion. llow me to describe and explain the models and types that are oput there in hopes it may be of benefit to you. My pleasure.

Louis is correct. The first thing you must realize is not whcih model is the best but what you plan on using the chair suspension for. Each model type is built for a very different purpose. All of them work well but they work well based on a specific need.

The main question to ask is if you plan on using it with a child (as in a birthday party or family show situation) or do you want to use an adult? The answer to this question will direct your path to which one is best suited for your needs.

Models:
1) mak magic and sommers: These models are good and are about the same. The difference is that the mak model uses a more metal folding chair where as the sommers model chairs have the heavy plastic back and seat. They both sell for around $450 US. The main point about these models is that they are intended for use of a child only. You would never want to use this model fopr an adult. If yoour goal is to add this into a kid's show, then this model is all you would ever really need. I own a sommers currently and have had it for years. It will serve you well.

2) Bill Smith model: This model is mainly used for adults. if you want to be able to use an adult or adult assistant, then this model is the correct way to go. It is heavy construction and ways a lot more so take that into consideration. This model is also the most exspensive model chair suspension out there. if using it for adults, then this is ideal and is also ideal for larger style shows.

3) European model: this model is relatively new to the chair suspension models. it is a sort of middle of the road model between a mak or sommers and a Bill Smith. It can hold an adult if you need it to and should do a good job for you. It also does not cost as much as a Bill Smith version. I still would not use an audlt all the time on this model. However, if youwant to use an adult or adult asisstant, this can handle it.

I hope this helps. I can go into a lot more detials on this and any other question you may have. it would be my pleasure to do so for you. Just simply ask.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (May 9, 2009 01:24PM)
There is another difference with the Bill Smith prop apart from its ability to handle significantly more weight. It's subtle, but it's something that really facilitates the illusion that the person is actually floating and not simply being held up by some sort of support that can't be seen. It involves the design of the gimmick, and Harbin was very specific--and emphatic--about this aspect of the illusion in his book.

I don't want to say more on an open forum, but if you have the "10 Years of Steve Spill" DVD then check out "The Making of Magicopolis" bonus section where you'll find a video clip of Penn & Teller taking full advantage of this feature in their performance of the illusion, and you'll see what I mean.
Message: Posted by: dahih beik (May 9, 2009 02:43PM)
I have tried and seen all it is an illusion wich I like a lot , from my experience bill smith is the best it is heavy but it has some feautures that fools and when you perform it you feel totaly safe .
Message: Posted by: papachico (May 9, 2009 02:52PM)
I had 8 pairs of the original puchinger levitation chair, my first pair is dated 1987 I has to say after more than 4000 performances with this chairs is top, its the best and most commercial illusion I ever had, I have 60 illusion in my possesion and still its stays one of my preferees !!!! papa chico belgium
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (May 9, 2009 04:15PM)
I use an Abbott's Chair Suspension. It could be used on someone weighing up to about 110, with strength to spare, but they'd be hanging off the edges of the board. When I pull out the chair, I want to be able to lift the board, slightly. That's why I prefer to keep the weight limit to about 80 pounds.

The volunteer's head doesn't hang in an uncomfortable position, because she rests on a visible board.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 10, 2009 10:14AM)
Well the proper positioning of the suspension is to indeed have the helper's head positioned slightly off the board and resting downwards. this gives the appearance that she is suspended from her neck outward and adds to thr proper look of the illusion. It also helps in the balance point and the head and hair covers the "secret" area better allowing you greater angles.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (May 10, 2009 02:27PM)
As I'm not familiar with the in's and out's of the various chair suspension models I was wondering which ones do and which ones don't allow/involve the removal of the board the 'suspendee' is lying on?

Neal
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (May 10, 2009 05:02PM)
BTW, I added an aftermarket accessory to the Abbott's Chair Suspension, to make it more deceptive. When I refinish it, there may be some more changes. I simply prefer a model with a visible board, rather than a removed gurney. Even if it would support my weight, I wouldn't get on it if my head were hanging off of it. That's painful!
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 10, 2009 06:56PM)
Alan: I am not sure I get what you mean. Are you saying that the end of your illusion routine, the audience still sees a board under the person when the chair is removed?

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Alan Munro (May 11, 2009 07:37AM)
Kyle,

In the Abbott's Chair Suspension, there one visible board and it is never removed from under the spectator - there's also no need for a cloth to wrap up the spectator. It's not like the Sommers or MAK models where a board is removed from under the spectator, after they're suspended.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 11, 2009 07:57AM)
Aww ok. Now I recall what you are talking about. It is a good illusion but I personally never liked the fact that a board was always stll avisible to the audience. It still works, but becomes more of a balancing act to the audience and never felt like a greater illusion to me. I preferred it to really look like the helper was being suspended from the chair by thwe power of their neck and a little bit of magic and imagination. Now this is just me personally. I just always felt the removal of any board just really helps sell the illusion for an audience. It really does come down to what works best for you though. Thanks Alan for clearing that up for me.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: kendavis (May 11, 2009 05:23PM)
I have used all three suspensions. No doubt Bill Smith's is the greatest. I borrowed one for a while after seeing Penn and Teller use it. I hated to give it up. The European is definitely the second best. You can hold an adult assistant (assuming she is of average weight-no heavies like me). It is made much better than the Mak. Some of the Mak boards have a tendency to drop a little if the person is not exactly balanced!

Great suggestion by Magic4u02. Never did it. Just borrowed a neighborhood teenager and tried it. He's right! It DOES look more realistic and the neighbor said that it was not uncomfortable. Thanks for the tip.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 11, 2009 08:20PM)
You are most welcome. My pleasure.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (May 18, 2009 03:56AM)
So...which versions allow you to remove the board and which don't?

Neal.
Message: Posted by: mumford (May 18, 2009 06:29AM)
The Harbin suspension is the desogn that all removable board versions buit from.
Message: Posted by: Kevinr (May 18, 2009 08:55AM)
They all move the board.
Message: Posted by: MagicMichealMan (May 18, 2009 12:36PM)
I am going to order a european chair suspention from hocus pocus. It looks like its what I need. I can levitate a kid or adult and I really like the look of the whole thing.

magic mike
Message: Posted by: stephane_arnow (May 18, 2009 12:57PM)
I have one from PARIS MAGIC ; really strong and safe.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 19, 2009 06:14AM)
The European version is not bad at all and yes you can use an adult with it. However, keep in mind it is still not as stong or stable as a Bill Smith Model. With this or any model, safety is still a number one priority as is checking all connections and knwoing how to properly place a helper onto it. Do not allow yourself to feel too relaxed just because you have a model version you feel is much stronger. No matter which you have, there are still rules and procedures you will want to learn, master and utilize at every performance.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: stephane_arnow (May 19, 2009 12:48PM)
PARIS MAGIC version : Strong and stable. Safe with adult from audiance member. I bought it 800 euros , 6 or 7 years ago
Message: Posted by: MagicMichealMan (May 25, 2009 08:53PM)
I just got my european chair suspension today and I already love it, its sturdy, nice looking.

now all I need to do is purchase kyle peron's e-book.

magic mike
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 25, 2009 09:20PM)
Mike: Congrats on your purchase. I know you will love performing this illusion. If I can be of any help to you at all, please just let me know. I would be happy to assist as you begin to work and rehearse with it.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: MagicMichealMan (May 25, 2009 09:25PM)
Hey kyle,

thanks a bundle! I have had so many people tell me right away to get your e-book as you are the master at the chair suspension! great to know I can go to you for help!

magic mike
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (May 25, 2009 09:45PM)
Thanks Mike. I guess I have a lot of people to thank for their referral. That means a lot. =) Please let me know how I can be of help.

Kyle
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 2, 2010 05:40PM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-18 09:55, Kevinr wrote:
They all move the board.
[/quote]
The boards are not removed on all of them. Abbott's board is non-removable.
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 2, 2010 05:48PM)
[quote]
On 2009-05-09 08:26, magic4u02 wrote:
Hi all,

Great question and one in which many performers are confused about when looking into this illusion. llow me to describe and explain the models and types that are oput there in hopes it may be of benefit to you. My pleasure.

Louis is correct. The first thing you must realize is not whcih model is the best but what you plan on using the chair suspension for. Each model type is built for a very different purpose. All of them work well but they work well based on a specific need.

The main question to ask is if you plan on using it with a child (as in a birthday party or family show situation) or do you want to use an adult? The answer to this question will direct your path to which one is best suited for your needs.

Models:
1) mak magic and sommers: These models are good and are about the same. The difference is that the mak model uses a more metal folding chair where as the sommers model chairs have the heavy plastic back and seat. They both sell for around $450 US. The main point about these models is that they are intended for use of a child only. You would never want to use this model fopr an adult. If yoour goal is to add this into a kid's show, then this model is all you would ever really need. I own a sommers currently and have had it for years. It will serve you well.

2) Bill Smith model: This model is mainly used for adults. if you want to be able to use an adult or adult assistant, then this model is the correct way to go. It is heavy construction and ways a lot more so take that into consideration. This model is also the most exspensive model chair suspension out there. if using it for adults, then this is ideal and is also ideal for larger style shows.

3) European model: this model is relatively new to the chair suspension models. it is a sort of middle of the road model between a mak or sommers and a Bill Smith. It can hold an adult if you need it to and should do a good job for you. It also does not cost as much as a Bill Smith version. I still would not use an audlt all the time on this model. However, if youwant to use an adult or adult asisstant, this can handle it.

I hope this helps. I can go into a lot more detials on this and any other question you may have. it would be my pleasure to do so for you. Just simply ask.

Kyle
[/quote]
Let's not forget about Chair Suspension Professional. It is a strong and sturdy chair suspension required for adults and teenagers. The chairs have a lawn chair design to make the chairs look lighter. Instead of pulling the chair away first, the board is pulled away first. The chair is pulled away last.

The photo shows how it looks after the board is removed:
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 2, 2010 05:49PM)
The next photo shows how it looks after the chair is removed:
Message: Posted by: dahih beik (Feb 2, 2010 11:50PM)
There is a seviere bend downwards that doesn't happen in the bill smith version and the positioning is not correct .
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 3, 2010 06:59AM)
The man (second photo) weights over 200 pounds. The fabric will not even fit fully around him.
Message: Posted by: Magic Enhancer (Feb 3, 2010 11:53AM)
I'll definitely 2nd Kyle's Chair Suspension e-book for any performer who uses this effect or is thinking of purchasing one. It covers every detail about it and is written by someone who's performed it nearly 1,000 times (or more!).

Robert Haas
Message: Posted by: Dynamike (Feb 3, 2010 12:08PM)
I have been doing it for about 18 years. I was not interested in his e-book at first. After I received my new chair suspension, I did ordered Kyle's e-book.
Message: Posted by: dahih beik (Feb 3, 2010 02:22PM)
This bend wount happen in bill smith version , also the one you have is not bad at all
Message: Posted by: Don (Feb 21, 2010 10:15PM)
Dynamike,

Nice Harbin chair suspension.
Your chair suspension is great! It is probably equal in quality to Bill Smith's. I think yours was made by Gunther Puchinger of the cube zag fame. In any `case yours is hands done in the pro quality league. Great Purchase!! Congrats!!

Two hundred plus pounds is extremely heavy and there really is no downward curve. I feel it is better to keep the person at about 125(a women).It is easier to adjust person so their position is correct.

I have a Bill Sith custom model that has a weight limit of 125lbs but it is heavy twice as heavy as the Mak and Smmers models and it is also in a ATA case which makes it even heavier.

All chair suspensions that carry heavy weight the gimmick is usually steel and the chairs are heavier. Also if you put something up their heaier than load amount it will bend if it is steel or break if something else(MAK,Summers models).

Don
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Feb 22, 2010 04:39AM)
I hear Bill Smiths is really good from speaking to Cruise ship workers Iknow
and having seen a really solid Harbin version built exactly from his plans-
It doesn't move at all with a full weight adult


My Vote-Harbin

Cheers

Brent
Message: Posted by: dahih beik (Feb 22, 2010 09:34AM)
I am still byest to bill smith version , I have seen all and yes bill s is the heviest and you need to be fit and strong to work with it it is bilt for an adult and is verry practical and elegant , the chairs look like simple ordenary chairs while they are made from scrtch for the illusion .
Message: Posted by: BAGWIZ (Mar 5, 2010 01:44AM)
Where do you find the Bill Smith version?
Message: Posted by: Donal Chayce (Mar 6, 2010 12:08AM)
[quote]
On 2010-03-05 02:44, BAGWIZ wrote:
Where do you find the Bill Smith version?
[/quote]

http://www.magicventures.com/
Message: Posted by: Hayre (Dec 19, 2017 12:58PM)
Is the Abbott Chair Suspension built the same as a Jack Hughes Chair Suspension ?
Message: Posted by: Sparda (Dec 30, 2017 07:16PM)
Where can one purchase the Sommers version?
Thanks
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Dec 30, 2017 07:40PM)
I had a Harbin made by John Gaughan, but had to sell it to raise money thanks to a divorce. It was fantastic.
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (Jan 16, 2018 03:33PM)
I'm interested in the Mickey Hades rising levitation, I don't want to try building it myself from the Osborn plan.
Message: Posted by: mixman (Jul 14, 2018 12:40AM)
Anyone have any opinions on the Zuban Wladimir version?
Message: Posted by: TomB (Aug 4, 2019 10:08PM)
The Wladimir†chair suspension looks amazing. Performance wise, it is very impressive.

The house of enchantment chair suspension also looks very solid.

I would be interested in opinions on how these rank as well.
Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Aug 6, 2019 11:52AM)
[quote]On Aug 4, 2019, TomB wrote:

The house of enchantment chair suspension also looks very solid.

I would be interested in opinions on how these rank as well. [/quote]

Hi TomB -

The Chair Suspension from House of Enchantment is mentioned on many threads, with positive reviews. However, to find those posts, most of the time people say "Jay Leslie" instead of "House of Enchantment". So, try searching with Jay's name as the keyword in areas like "Grand Illusion" or "The Little Darlings".

- Donald
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Jul 21, 2020 04:32AM)
Thank you. Iím still alive and making them by request.
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Jul 21, 2020 09:59AM)
A lot of good suggestions above about the model of chair suspension to purchase, Jay Leslie's or Bill Smith's , both have a solid reputation. But if anyone is researching this illusion I'd suggest going back to the source to study the presentation of [b]Robert Harbin[/b] (same with Zig-Zag).

The other one I'd look at is Penn & Teller's presentation.

In both Harbin's and P & T's presentation there is [i]real dramatic tension[/i] created around the moment when the board is removed and the person is suspended , the repeated admonitions to the person to "hold it ... hold it..." give it a slight feeling of danger ... and that special "moment" does not linger very long , it is over very quickly, so no one is given a chance to dwell on it. It's a more dynamic and mysterious way of presenting this effect, imo.

Harbin, starting around the 19:44 mark - to - 22:23 in this video:

https://youtu.be/6n862JxiN0k?t=1184

[youtube]6n862JxiN0k?t=1184[/youtube]

Penn & Teller at the 7:07 mark here:

https://youtu.be/StZYM30QJ88?t=427

[youtube]StZYM30QJ88?t=427[/youtube]
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Jul 21, 2020 06:07PM)
What a great find! I didnít know there was video of Harbin performing the chair suspension. He had a better presentation written for it in his book.. but Iím guessing this was modified a bit for tv.

Penn & Teller are masters with it. Iíve seen it live and itís just soooo good.

Itís amazing... Penn & Teller are one of the highest paid acts in magic and when you go to their show in Vegas you see...
Chair Suspension, Linking Rings, Chinese Sticks, Egg Bag.... itís not about the tricks! Itís all about the presentation!
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Jul 21, 2020 06:59PM)
[quote]On Jul 21, 2020, thomasR wrote:
What a great find! I didnít know there was video of Harbin performing the chair suspension. He had a better presentation written for it in his book.. but Iím guessing this was modified a bit for tv.
[/quote]


Here is another performance by Robert Harbin, much later in his career :

https://youtu.be/F8Y0wPzh0_8?t=103

Chair suspension starting around 1:45 mark - to - 5:36





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