(Close Window)
Topic: LINKING RINGS: Seeking advice on buying a good 10-inch set
Message: Posted by: dariuswind (Feb 3, 2013 10:37AM)
I would like to obtain a set of good quality, 10 inch, seamless (to eye and touch) rings in the $100 range, for Richard Ross routines. They need to be shiny, and preferably with good weight / heft. 3 rings would be fine to start with, (although I might want a 6-ring set with magnetic locking ring in the future). I assume I need stainless steel rings, although I would use chrome, hollow, etc., as long they’re shiny and seamless, and allow me to effectively do Richard Ross routines.

I have read several good discussions here on the topic, which left me confused. So before I invest time and money in trying out different ring sets, I would be very grateful for input on the following:

MY SITUATION: I have been using a stainless steel 8-inch set of 8 rings, which I’ve had since I was a kid in the 70’s. The rings are absolutely smooth and seamless to eye and touch, and they are still in pristine, sparkling condition (40 years later!). This is the quality I’m used to. Any seam that I could see or feel would ruin the fun and the magic for me.

I recently bought a set of four 10-inch hollow rings on Amazon (from The Costume Shop, I believe) for around $50. Although they were advertised as “top professional quality, they were total junk – No shine, and bumpy seams.

My rings from the 70’s were definitely under $20 at the time. That translates into maybe $100 now? But the rings I’ve found on-line in that price range brag that the seams are “barely visible”. And the discussions I’ve read here say that you have to pay a lot, up to $1000, for the “highest quality rings”

MY QUESTION: How do I find the quality I’m used to for $100? Who makes affordable seamless 10-inch rings, in a set of 3 or 6? Am I just really lucky to have the old set I use? I don’t trust any advertisements now, and I would be very grateful for some unbiased advice.
Message: Posted by: magicians (Feb 3, 2013 11:28AM)
I would suggest using the sales on facebook and themagiccafe, and wait. Or make a personal call to dealers that carry rings and work out a satisfaction.
I was selling rings in the 70's, and $20 did not really buy a good set. I have some of those, and they are seamless but the welds start a little tarnish after 10-12 years.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Feb 3, 2013 03:01PM)
Jay Marshall appeared 'round the world and on TV dozens of times with an EIGHT INCH SET. Do you really need to go bigger?
Message: Posted by: jimhlou (Feb 4, 2013 03:07PM)
Check out Uday rings. Good quality for the money. I use Klamms (about $20 each), and even they have grinding marks at the seams.

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 4, 2013 08:19PM)
PETE! Jay told me that he had made his own rings (in his "early" days in NYC). He actually made them 9"--so he could do the "nose" bit. (ring went "down" easily, but "up" more difficult (got caught on his nose). I handled them many times. They were well made. He never told me who welded them together, etc.

I never did rings as a youngster. I wasn't "excited" about the routines that I saw. Jay came back from Iowa with an estate that included a set of Merv Taylor 10" stainless steel rings. He gave me the 'friendly' price. I hauled them along on the road, and played with them. Finally, I worked up a 5 ring routine, I waited for an "extra good audience" and tried it. The High Schoolers went nuts! Within a week, I could close with it! I used it for 3-4 seasons. Then Karrell showed me his 3 ring routine. (2 less rings to carry!) I searched for a set of Merv's 8" rings--no luck.

In NYC (SAM conv. 1978) Abb Dickson walked up and told me that a dealer had a good set (not MT's)but good. I bought and have used them ever since. They still look good. I thank Karrell every time I do them. When Karrell died, I inherited his (for a spare set).

You are correct!!! I've used mine for high school audiences of 1500 to 2000 and there have been no problems of visibility.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Feb 4, 2013 10:04PM)
Jasper told me he had a blacksmith make his rings. I know he sized 'em for the nose gag.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Feb 4, 2013 10:12PM)
@dariuswind: I agree with the comment made by Pete Biro above: 8 inch rings will work just fine.

However, to answer your question, I will suggest a few different things.

1) Contact Owen Magic Supreme - they make one of (if not THE) best sets of rings in the industry and they may be able to work with you to make you what you want. Requesting a "custom" set of less than eight rings may or may not be over your $100 range (a set of eight 10-inch rings runs about $650/USD and worth every penny); the size of the rings will also effect the price. The best thing is to call them and ask. This is a way to guarantee you are getting exactly what you want.

2) The next thing I would suggest is to just buy a "standard" set of eight rings from Jeremy Pei (Redefine Rings) if you can find them (though they run closer to $299/USD for a set of eight 12-inch rings) OR a set of Mikame rings (this is a set of nine 11-inch rings, runs about $200/USD). I know the prices of these sets are well above your $100 range, but both sets are very, very well made and very nice in both sound and appearance. In my humble opinion, they too are worth every penny.

3) As was already mentioned, call around to various dealers and see what you can find. Believe it or not I have even seen cheap 8-inch and 10-inch sets (running somewhere between $50 and $70/USD) with invisible seams and a high polish that lasts. Of course if you take this particular "left fork" in the road, you are taking a chance because you cannot see the rings in person and hold them in your hands until they are shipped to you.

As for finding a set of 3 rings or 6 rings, you are not likely to find the latter. The most common 3-ring sets that are available in magic shops vary in quality and a majority of them do not use a standard *** ring but rather a l*****g version. Also, most of the sets of 3 (either 8-inch or 10-inch) that I have come across are under $100 but again, the quality varied.

I know Daytona, Hocus-Pocus and Tannen Magic all carry a decent variety of sets and sizes of rings.

I hope this information is useful to you.
Message: Posted by: dariuswind (Feb 6, 2013 11:12AM)
Thank you very much, everyone, for your feedback. I apprectiate it very much, and will look into all your suggestions. I met with Chris Capeheart after a show the other night, and he suggested Denny and Lee -- He says he gets his rings from them, the "cheapest ones", and they work great for him. He let me try his 10 inch rings, and they seemed perfect. Any thoughts? Thanks again!
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Feb 7, 2013 08:16AM)
I would agree that Denny & Lee (www.dennymagic.com) also has some great sets available. I am familiar with the rings that Chris Capeheart uses and I have seen them in a few different shops. Denny, Matt, Scott, Bill and George are all great and knowledgeable guys to talk with and will give you excellent service.

As for the rings needing to have a certain weight or thickness to them - they really do not. That is all personal preference - but to the audience it is, of course, what you do with them that makes them magical and mysterious.
Message: Posted by: videoman (Feb 10, 2013 05:32PM)
I bought this set of rings from Denny about a year ago.


They are not Owens quality but actually are surprisingly good and certainly very usable. If you don't get a good reaction with them it won't be the rings' fault. Can't say how they hold up over the years because I haven't had them long enough but my feeling is they will hold up fine. They have the standard key.

Good luck,
Message: Posted by: dariuswind (Feb 10, 2013 06:59PM)
Thanks for the link, Bill -- I am considering chrome-plated, since it's a cheap way to go "seamless". Klamm also seems a possibility for that. Anway, thanks for the advice!
Message: Posted by: Lawrence O (Feb 10, 2013 08:58PM)
The rings are liftime companions: go for Joe Porper's ones. They're worth the additional money you pay for them : just cut on other marginal purchases you would have done otherwise.
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Feb 10, 2013 11:06PM)
On 2013-02-10 21:58, Lawrence O wrote:
The rings are liftime companions: go for Joe Porper's ones. They're worth the additional money you pay for them : just cut on other marginal purchases you would have done otherwise.

I am not sure why I forgot to mention the Porper rings - they are indeed absolutely fantastic! While they may be above your $100 budget level (as were my original suggestions), they are very much worth every penny. Every piece you ever buy from Joe will very extremely high quality and craftsmanship. Besides, the Ghost set (either size) comes as a three-ring set.
Message: Posted by: Quentin (Feb 11, 2013 06:48PM)
I've been using a ten inch set of six rings since the mid-seventies. I bought them used but believe they were either Harry Stanley's or Ken Brooke's and possibly made by George Hammerton. They handle wonderfully.

While it is true you can use any size rings, if you are heavily set, I'd recommend ten or twelve inch rings. Jay Marshall was slim and I suspect the size of his rings was more to do with the gag and the fact that he carried them under his jacket.

The Rings are a great trick for many reasons.

It is up high and noisy. Great for drawing a crowd.
The audience can follow the effect regardless of what part of the routine you are at.
The audience can follow the routine even if they don't speak your language.
You are reset to go as soon as you are finished.
The Vernon routine, which is what I use, is especially baffling because even if you know the method it is very difficult to follow the key position.

In his cabaret shows Richard Ross did pass some rings to audience members but didn't when performing at magic conventions.

Dick, I did see Karrell Fox do the rings a number of times, but I recall him using four rings. Am I imagining that?
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Feb 11, 2013 08:05PM)
Hello Quentn!
Yes, it's entirely possible that you saw Karrell somewhere using four rings. --He was always trying out "possibilities". He never mentioned four to me.

I was his house guest in the early '70s, when I was playing a shopping mall. He gave me his routine. It took a year to find a set of rings and I've used them almost every show, since.

In his vaudeville days, Jay could carry everything in his act on his person. (The stage hands loved him.)The rings were in a cloth holder under his tux jacket on his back. At the finish, he tossed the rings into the wings. Hey, that rhymes!

I think your criteria for the rings, are good.
Message: Posted by: Quentin (Feb 12, 2013 03:35AM)
Hello Dick,

You might consider publishing Karrell's routine as I'm not aware of it being in any of his published works.

As I recall he did the routine with a little girl from the audience and it was a delightful performance. I saw him do it a few times, the first being, I believe, in 1978.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Feb 12, 2013 11:47AM)
Karrell contributed a lot of material to by book, [b]The Real Secret of the Chinese Linking Rings.[/b] AS did Kaps, Koran, Levent, and many, many more.
Message: Posted by: Quentin (Feb 12, 2013 02:13PM)
On 2013-02-12 12:47, Pete Biro wrote:
Karrell contributed a lot of material to by book, [b]The Real Secret of the Chinese Linking Rings.[/b] AS did Kaps, Koran, Levent, and many, many more.

I was unaware of that. I will look out for the book at Blackpool next week.
Message: Posted by: Rainboguy (Feb 12, 2013 06:22PM)

I just now had a nice 4-hour lunch with Dick Oslund here in Green Bay and one of our topics of conversation was The Linking Rings.

Long-time pros like Dick Oslund and Pete Biro have a LOT of information, stories and bits of business regarding Magic, and The Linking Rings is a Major Player in Magic performance.

I mentioned to Dick that my first set of rings was an original RNT St. Louis 3-ring, 12-inch set and that's the size I like to use and tend to stick with, but 10 inch rings certainly would do the job on stage.

I have a ten inch set of 3 Tannen's Hollow Locking Rings that I used to use, and they were fine for visibility.

One thing that you mentioned, Dariuswind is your need for a good weight and heft to the rings....I'M WITH YA THERE!

I like the spectator to know that they're holding a real-deal solid steel ring and I have found that the weight of the rings makes a big difference to the spectator.

Even though I haven't handled one, I'm pretty convinced that I were in the Market for a set of rings today, I'd go with Joe Porper's....If you own any of Joe's props, well.....you know what I mean.
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Feb 12, 2013 06:40PM)
Quentin: I don't know if anyone at Blackpool will have any. I hope so... if so, let me know. Most are at http://www.stevensmagic.com
Message: Posted by: dariuswind (Feb 12, 2013 08:26PM)
Thank you, Rainboguy. Joe's rings look great, but they're definitely out of my price range price range at the moment. I will keep them mind for the future.
Message: Posted by: IpswichRich (Mar 7, 2013 04:12PM)
Hi, I would like some feedback/opinions on the Owen 10" linking rings. I have recently purchased a set of 3 from Owen's only there is a questionable difference in the weights between the singles and the key.
Alan Zagorsky states that the difference is only because of the gap, but the difference is too much for this to be possible with the set I received. Alan's quote of the weights support this. They have been accurately weighed and would not pass to be a perfect set. Is this normal from such a quality company? I would please like some neutral feedback. I was expecting better...what are your feelings? Do we have to settle if we are not satisfied?
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Sep 24, 2013 08:09PM)
I use a 12inch chrome set about $150-works well and is heavy & very visible