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Topic: Best ropes to use?
Message: Posted by: rcad (Aug 10, 2003 11:32AM)
Unless I missed it, I was surprised not to find any thread on the properties of ropes, what works best and where to find suppliers.

I love doing tricks with ropes but the only workable rope I found at the hardware store was a cotton rope (that's good) but they only have it in 1/4" size. I wish I could find the same kind of cotton rope in 1/2" size.

What do you guys use? Do you know of a Canadian supplier for 1/2" (or bigger) cotton rope suitable for magic tricks?

Message: Posted by: Vibono Magic (Aug 12, 2003 09:35AM)
Try the carmaidian acadamy of magic. There Elite line of ropes is the best I've used.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Aug 12, 2003 12:21PM)
This is a BIG topic. There just isn't any one rope which is "best for magic tricks." That's because there are so many different kinds of tricks and routines that magicians do.
I suppose that "most" routines involve cutting the rope during the performance. But certainly not all. If you are going to do a routine which destroys the rope and you need a new piece for every show, then cost becomes a factor in your selection.
I am going to be shooting a DVD on Magical Knots next week. I use regular cotton magicians rope, various thicknesses of hardware store nylon ropes, drapery cords, and even a necktie for different effects. The primary routine is done with a heavy piece of drapery cord... the kind you would find in a drapery supply house or well stocked fabric shop. In the past, I've also use the velvet ropes that you can get in fabric stores. None of the effects on the DVD will involve cutting the rope.
Right now, for cut and restored routines, my favorite "magician's rope" is what is being imported into the United States from India under the Uday brand. It looks good, is available in red, blue, green, yellow, and white, and is inexpensive. (The Retail is about $6.00 for a 50' hank.) Ask your favorite magic dealer about it. If they don't know what you're talking about, tell them to check with Murphy's Magic Supplies.
Dennis Loomis
Message: Posted by: rcad (Aug 17, 2003 08:50AM)
The rope sold in magic store is quite expensive compared to hardware store prices for example. Is this magician's rope custom made for magic shops or can we buy it from another source at a fraction of the price?
Message: Posted by: Backroomboy (Aug 24, 2003 05:09AM)
It's just "cored" rope. When the core is removed it is much more supple and easy to cut.

Go to home depot or Wallyworld and look for rope you can core yourself. Once you know the feel of what you work with, you can improvise.
Message: Posted by: Ron Reid (Aug 24, 2003 07:52AM)
Fun Inc. makes a very nice bright white rope. It's very similar to the Elite Rope sold by Camirand Academy, but much cheaper. I buy it from Denny and Lee; I think he sells it in 50 foot hanks (apprx $10.00) or 300 foot hanks (apprx $25.00 to $30.00). I may be a bit off on my prices.

Message: Posted by: ChrisPilsworth (Aug 24, 2003 08:28AM)
Hi Richard,

Morrissey Magic in Toronto carry some really good rope that they get from Italy. It comes in a variety of colours. The rope is cotton and just under 1/2" in diameter. This rope is less expensive than Camirand's and is rounder than Camirand's rope.

I use it all the time.


Message: Posted by: Tripwire (Aug 24, 2003 01:09PM)
I remember reading somewhere that repeatedly washing clothesline helps to make a soft "magicians rope"
Message: Posted by: BearMage (Sep 13, 2003 12:09AM)
The rope sold in most magic stores has a distinct advantage over clothesline, I find. It is not starched nor does it contain fire retardants and other chemicals that tend to discolor and stiffen it.

I whip the ends of ropes that I use repeatedly (a technique used to keep them from fraying, not anything kinky...). I use a good grade of white cotton thread for the whipping wraps. When the ropes get a bit dirty, I put them in a white gym sock, tie the top of the sock off and toss them in the laundry with my whites. The sock container keeps them from tangling up the wringer mechanism. A bit of fabric softener also makes them supple.


PS: A clean white cotton sock works best. I thought it was important to mention the "clean" part, that is unless you are doing the Hindu Rope Trick, I reckon. :D
Message: Posted by: Ricky B (Sep 13, 2003 12:14AM)
A clean white cotton sock works best. I thought it important to mention the "clean" part...
Only because you're talking to magicians, right?

Message: Posted by: Magic Tim (Sep 15, 2003 10:33PM)
Ron Reid mentioned Fun Inc's bright white rope, which I also get from Denny & Lee. The best deal is the 216 foot spool at $47.50 (22 cents per foot).

[Denny sells the Elite, too (32.5 feet for $27.50 -- 80 cents per foot).]

The bright white is fine for my purposes, and I figure it'll cost me about $2.00 each time I practice or perform Whit Haydn's Mongolian Pop-Knot Routine.

Tim :)
Message: Posted by: BearMage (Sep 17, 2003 10:24AM)
On 2003-09-13 01:14, Ricky B wrote:
"A clean white cotton sock works best. I thought it important to mention the "clean" part..."

Only because you're talking to magicians, right?

"Always perform an illusion as if you were doing so for the simplest of souls..."
Nuff said...grin :stuckinbag:
Message: Posted by: sdgiu (Sep 20, 2003 10:56PM)
My wife and daughters have what is, (I believe) called a hosiery bag that you place your hose in to wash them. It is a fine mesh bag, that has a zippered top, that works quite well to wash most rope in.

Also if you don't want it tangled, daisey chain it, and tie the ends in a square knot. If you are unfamiliar with daisey chaining, find someone who crochets (or some old army guy, as most of us have had to daisey chain something), it's the basic crochet stitch, so you can go to:


and see a picture of it. They just call it a chain stitch.

Steve :baby:
Message: Posted by: Dan Monroe (Nov 28, 2003 11:53AM)
For most of my cut and restore tricks, I use clothesline rope that I have cored. It works real well and it looks familiar to everyone, so even if you have it gimmicked in some way, people are not looking for it. I find that if you use bigger rope when not really needed for your effect, people seem to burn in on the rope a little more thinking it's gimmicked. :)
Message: Posted by: dreidy (Dec 13, 2003 04:30AM)
I've recently purchased some rope from Daryl, it's pricey ($6.00 for around 11 feet) but it's the best I've used by a long way, very soft and just weighty enough. I don't use it for cut and restored - not at that price - for that I use cotton sash cord with the core removed. The two unfortunately look different enough that I either do knots or cutting in any one performance, just so people don't suspect the rope.

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Dec 25, 2003 11:20PM)
There is another thread on this topic somewhere on The Magic Café because I have answered the question before and gotten PMs on it. My source of rope is that famous magic shop: WalMart. I use eight feet of rope each show and give it away at the end to the volunteer. (So, if you know me, it is not expensive!) The rope comes in hanks 50', 100' and 130' and I think the price is the same regardless. It is just a matter of what they have. It is cotton braid and $2.95. It is easy on the hands, easy to cut with rope shears, and very visible. There was a time when I could get the same rope in Nashville at the flea market. Otherwise I bought it from Robbins or Daytona Magic at many times the price. WalMart changed all that!

The real secret is where to look for the rope. Do not look in hardware. It is never there. Look where they have coat hangers and ironing boards in housewares. It is usually way up top in a box and doesn't even look for sale. (Sam Walton would have had someone's head for that! But he wouldn't have tolerated long checkout lines either.)

Besides, if it's rope from WalMart, your wife will never know that it is for magic. There's one less explanation


Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Darkwing (Dec 26, 2003 12:34PM)
The rope from Doc Hailey Gospel Magic is quite good for C&R rope because it is very inexpensive. Steve Varro carries agreat deal of secular products as well as the very best and most complete line of gospel magic. His web site is http://www.gospelmagic.com.
Message: Posted by: Ashkenazi the Pretty Good (Dec 28, 2003 10:29PM)
Bob, I'll look in the San Francisco area, and tell you what I find. I too have a hard time believing that "magicians' rope" is that different from something that one can commonly find.

But you and I are in a noted minority!

Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Dec 31, 2003 12:48PM)
The best rope I have ever found is made in Japan. It has more core strands than any other I've found, it has more threads to each outer strand, and has more outer strands than any other. It would be best for rope sets and gimmicks. Too expensive to hack up. Don't know where to get it other than Tokyo, and the kinkier Japanese like to use it for bondage...that's the easiest way to find it, but also the most expensive, as it is in shorter hanks. Meander around in one of their sex-stores till you find it. Well worth the investment as it NEVER wears out. Maybe someone who travels to Tokyo can bring back a ton or two...It is also avaiable in the Restaurant area of Tokyo...you need to hunt for the right stores, but that's an afternoon well spent.

Yo might ask if the elite line is made in Japan.
Message: Posted by: mysticuk (Jan 2, 2004 10:59AM)
Practical Magic sells good rope and I think in large quantaties too.
I used to do a complete rope routine for magicians in my lectures. It used to be my best seller.
Those who saw my lecture with Ropes being part of the lectures will remember.
Message: Posted by: Ashkenazi the Pretty Good (Jan 4, 2004 11:38AM)
OK Bob, here's the scoop.

I went to a large (is there any other kind) Walmart neer Vacaville, California, and bought two kinds of rope:

1) mainstays home "Cotton Clothesline," 3/16" x 100'

2) Lehigh "Synthetic All Purpose Clothesline," same stats.

Lehigh also makes "Premium Quality, Plastic, and Solid Braid Poly," but the only one they had besides this one that I bought was the "Premium Quality," which I thought was more rather than less nylon.

Are one of these the one you meant, or yet another?

Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 7, 2004 01:13AM)
After checking the trunk, the Lehigh is the one I have nearly 2 dozen hanks of this week. I use it a lot. Since I only use it once and give it away, it works fine. The size has just never really been a factor to the audience. Vendors will tell you it matters. But they are rarely measuring things from the audience's view. They have another interest. If I thought for a moment that it mattered to the audience, I would change. I haven't changed my rope routine in over thirty years. It appears to be working well for me. It wins contests and gets bookings. I certainly don't mind investing in my show, but I don't put just spending in the same category. It is a magic show, not a hardware show.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Laffski (Jan 11, 2004 08:29AM)
Hey Bob, I took your advice and got the rope you mentioned at my local Walmart. It does handle very nicely. My main difficulty is figuring out the best way to bind the ends. I've used Elmers, rubber cement and even PVC bonder, but they all have their drawbacks. Just wondering what you use.

Laffski :patty:
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 11, 2004 08:45AM)
Abbott's is a good supplier of rope. The can sell a how spool. They have 2 sizes. This is where I by my rope for C & R effects.

I find the stuff at Wal-Mart and such have paint on them and sometime wire or nylon running thru the center.

You can use the fraying to your advantage, I seen an English magician Paul Daniels fray the ends of his Professor Nitemare rope and it looked very good on stage.

With magician rope use Elmers Glue. Just dip it into the bottle and hang it over a chair to let dry, you can from a nice end. After it is dry, trim off with a razor blade.

Nylon can be melted. You have to be quick or the material will turn black.

Bill :fyi:
Message: Posted by: cat26 (Jan 11, 2004 10:04AM)
If you need ropes for effects like Professor's Nightmare, Jumping Knot, or Tabary's rope routine, you can make your own rope like I have done. Go to store's that deal with children's crafts and purchase a knitting ring (an old children's knitting effect). You can knit rope with string, small cord, acrylic thread, etc. You can also knit together different colours such as required for Jumping Knot. It takes some time, but then again, it becomes YOUR ROPE, that you are using. Cheers...... :rainbow:
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 14, 2004 02:39AM)

I hope you enjoy the rope and especially the price. I use tons of it.

It would be wonderful if I had some elegant answer for you about how I prepare the ends, but the truth is, I do nothing. At the end of the routine, I either give it to the volunteers (break up the set of three) or put a rubber band on the bundle and toss them into a gloves to dove and move on with a dove production.

Sorry, but when your name is Bob, fancy just comes hard.

Just Bob

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: actorscotty (Jan 29, 2004 12:46AM)
I also use a lot of rope, and will probably sound very cheap, but I get macrame cord, in a hundred yard spook for about 2 dollars, I use that for all the cut and restored routines, I do a tabary type routine that doesn't require cutting, the rope I use for that is huge, about an inch and a quarter, sorry I can't remember where I got it, except, I did a google search for magicians rope and found it online, the cost was 20 dollars for 25 feet, but was enought for several of the ropes I need for that routine, and I sold 2 of them, so mine ended up being free.
Message: Posted by: Magic.J.Manuel (Feb 26, 2004 02:39PM)
The magician's rope for cut_restored is fairly well covered here already, tape the ends or whip them like a good scout. But, Like Dennis said you may want a different rope for other effects. I use nylon rock climbers rope for ring and rope, toss a knot, and juggling type rope tricks since it is heavy but very supple and often comes in multicolored patterns. Find it at a good camping/backpacking outfitters and get several 4 to 6 foot lengths. You get a good choice of different diameters. Melt the ends together with a lighter.
Message: Posted by: Dave V (Mar 2, 2004 08:54PM)

Nylon can be melted. You have to be quick or the material will turn black.

Bill :fyi:

One way to avoid the blackened ends is to hold the rope [i]under[/i] the flame of a match. The radiated heat will do the job with less risk of actually burning the rope.

(It also works on nylon guitar strings to create a ball on the end to prevent slippage, that's where I learned it first)
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Jan 23, 2005 09:07PM)
Things change. When they do, we have to adjust accordingly. Perhaps years ago I reported on The Magic Café that my source of "magicians' rope" was WalMart. That was true. I have used hundreds of dollars worth of WalMart rope over the last three decades.

However, things change. This month, I noticed that the rope I use and recommend is no longer available there. The replacement is smaller in diameter and much darker in color. As a consumer, I am on a search again myself. I do not use or recommend the current offering at WalMart. Cotton braided rope may be a going away thing in the USA. The brightness of the white is critical on stage. The darker color appears much smaller and is just not appropriate for our needs.

I felt it was only fair to correct my recommendation when the product changed. WalMart is still a great place to shop. They just quit being my rope supplier.

Enjoy your rope magic.

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: mysticalmike (Jan 24, 2005 10:57PM)
Some one tell me what the Tabary type routine is? I would like to find out about it and get it.
Message: Posted by: Gideon Sylvan (Jan 26, 2005 11:09PM)
I buy my rope from magicwarehouse.com 50 feet for $10, it is good quality and I am pleased with it.
Message: Posted by: rmoraleta (Feb 10, 2005 11:47AM)
Elite Ropes or Japanese Ropes
Message: Posted by: respho (Feb 10, 2005 01:46PM)
I have the rope from FUN inc and the Elite rope from Camirand. Both are worth it.
Message: Posted by: Joshua Lozoff (Feb 15, 2005 08:53AM)
What is the purpose of coring braided rope?
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Feb 18, 2005 12:32PM)
Now Hear This! Now Hear This! Cheap rope is back!

I can't tell how much fun that was for an old cowboy sailer. In the Navy, we weren't allowed to say "rope" because they called it "line". I was ranch raised. There wasn't a piece of "line" on the place. (The "place" was 52 sections. That's 33,280 acres!) There was a lot of rope!

The new source is Big Lots. The price is $2.99 for 100 feet. The product is cat. No. 71001, cotton clothesline 7/32". It feels and looks exactly like what I used in the 60s. If you can beat $.03/foot, go right ahead! For me, that is less than a quarter a show. I won't have to raise my price!


Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Andy Charlton (Mar 15, 2005 03:34AM)
On 2003-12-26 00:20, Bob Sanders wrote:

...............Besides, if it's rope from WalMart, your wife will never know that it is for magic. There's one less explanation


er.......surely that would raise MORE questions :)

Message: Posted by: Bill Douglas (Apr 30, 2005 02:42AM)
Bob and all,

Try the dollar general type stores. I purchased 50 foot hanks for 1 dollar of white cotton 1/4" clothes line. The color was bright white and looks good/ handles well (one has to core it, but if cut in 6-8 ft lengths this is easy enough). The 1/2" white cotton "magicians rope" is nice for shows on platform/stage and looks really good/ handles well too.

My thinking is to use the cheaper stuff (clothes line) if you give it away or cut it up alot. The thing I do is buy the cheap for practice, rehearsal, and experimentation. I have some lengths of the pretty, expensive stuff laying around for practicing knots and P.N./ring moves (but always cut up the cheap stuff). I don't particularly feel I need to practice the action of cutting the rope with the scissors (kind of like spitting on the floor-I never miss).

This topic is sort of like asking what the best cards are-Bikes,Hoyels,Bee,Aviator.....What one likes and is willing to spend is always an issue. I enjoy hearing the other opinions though, so now I have ideas for other things to try and places to look. Thanks everyone.
Message: Posted by: DoctorAmazo (May 3, 2005 09:36AM)
Coring: It makes the rope more supple (limp). There are two advantages in that. One, it is easier to manipulate; and, two, you can use a larger diameter rope and stiffness won't limit you. That is, the larger rope looks bigger than it feels.

End treatment: I use braided rope. After the core is removed, I tuck the cut ends into the core area. I use a toothpick with one point broken off. Tuck with the blunt end, then as the void gets full, use the point to make more room. Tuck in about 1/4 to 1/2 in (depending on rope diameter). When finished, roll the rope between fingers (or under your hand on a table) to make it round and a consistent diameter. It will look like the rope just ends--with no treatment--but you can easily feel the hard "nub" at each end so you know exactly where it is in your hand without looking.

Gluing gives a similar feel, but doesn't look as good. Whipping is just...well, painful! lol
Message: Posted by: Steve Oxford (May 17, 2005 01:05PM)
Both Ron & Tim mentioned it, so I'll third it, get the Fun inc. rope from Denny.
Message: Posted by: harris (Jun 9, 2005 01:27PM)
Thanks for the big lot tip.

I will be checking the rope out soon.

The Big Lots store is a great source for themed show dressing.

You are all appreciated by,

Harris Deutsch
Message: Posted by: Jay Are (Jun 26, 2005 08:19AM)
Try to get ahold of some "sponge core rope" beautiful stuff.
Message: Posted by: Mogwai II (Jul 22, 2005 05:32AM)
The best rope I ever found was in a boating Store, where they sell everything releated to boats, yachts etc. Just ask for a soft cotton rope with no core. In europa I found it everywhere, guess in the US it should also be availible. And its very cheap.

Actually it was Mr. King of the Street, Jim Cellini himself who gave me that tip.

Try it out
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Aug 30, 2005 10:01PM)
A funny thing about magicians' rope. I recently returned from a magic convention where one of the dealers sold high priced "magicians' rope". His source was the reliable $3 rope from Big Lots! His defense was, "But I charge less than $10. So it's still the best deal around."

Is this a trick?

Message: Posted by: Cory Gallupe (Sep 4, 2005 06:24PM)
I like magicians rope more than any other kinds
Message: Posted by: RicHeka (Sep 26, 2005 09:37PM)
Yes! Doctor Amazo,after coring 'most'types of rope,finishing the end by tucking them in with the tip of a blunt scissors is ideal.Just slowly keep tucking the end in and give a twist with the scissors until you have a tight nub on the end.As you said it looks great,and has a nice feel. Rich
Message: Posted by: h_A_Z (Mar 18, 2006 12:44PM)
Does anywhere else aside from Hank Lee sells Elite Ropes?