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Profile of fortasse
Why do they generally make these so light? Heavier balls are so much easier to manipulate and control than these featherweight balls that are issued with most sets. Don't the makers of these balls understand that? They do have the advantage of not talking but boy at what a price.

Incidentally, are the leather monkey fist balls beginning to take over as the ball of choice for magicians or are the crocheted balls still reigning supreme?

What's your own preference?

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Profile of Jerrine
I haven't monkeyed yet. Was going to and then got sidetracked, rationalizing with "Why fix what's not broken?" Currently leather baseball stitched mouse balls.
walid ahumada
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Profile of walid ahumada
I like to use crocheted marbles, if you want to find out what other people like go to here:
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Profile of SpellbinderEntertainment
While perhaps Crocheted Balls still reign supreme,
the Mike Roger's style leather baseball-style are a dream to work with,
and I've had good times with mouse-balls, covered or just dyed.

I own leather monkey-fist, but have not worked extensively with them.
Along with weight, and roll, is my desire for maximum size in a given cup.

I think every set of cups, and every routine, dictate the best to use.

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Profile of magicorik
I like leather balls but they tend to cling and to stack into the cups. I have Roger's and they are fine.

My favourites are crocheted balls especially when they are heavy like the Sherwoods.

Very interested in monkey fist balls and will buy the one Frank Starsini ( is selling.

My favourite size is 1' or 7/ least for my hands.
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Profile of lint
I WISH I could find some heavy crochet balls. If someone used a smaller core and thicker thread I think chatter could be minimized.

What about these balls sets with the hollow plastic shell inside? I have cracked so many of those with just normal handling.

"There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip..." -English Proverb
Harry Murphy
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Profile of Harry Murphy
Why are they so light? I didn’t notice that they were! I guess they are light because they are constructed over cork balls. Cork balls are easy to find and in more sizes than almost any other medium out there. And cork is cheap! That helps keep the cost down.

I like them as they are. I guess it is what you get used to.

As to “chatter”? I don’t find the thin thread, cork center ball talking anymore than say a heavy yarn covered cork ball ,or a heavy yarn covered mouse ball, or a Mike Rogers leather mini-baseball.

If you want a heaver ball, simply find the weight of ball in the size you want (less maybe 1/16 to 1/8 inch for the thread/yarn covering) and take them to a person who can crochet. You find dozens of the dears in local elder care programs.

I’ve had several of custom color and size balls made for next to nothing (actually the cost of the material and visit with lunch for the dear lady doing it for me). I simply called the elder center in my town and explained my need. I was hooked up to three ladies (youngest was 75) they enjoyed meeting with me, seeing what I wanted, seeing a cups and balls routine, making me what I needed (in one day!), and having lunch with me. I got to show off and hear some wonderful stories. I had a tendency to look them up and take them to lunch on a regular basis. I even had them make me more balls than I needed (sold them to a local dealer for resale with the money going to the girls).

Like SpellbinderEntertainment above I tend to use the right ball for the venue and cup. Lighting, pad color/working surface color, costume, and clientele, are all considerations for when deciding on which set of cups and which sets of balls I’ll use. In bright stage lights I don’t use shiny steel cups! I don’t use red balls on a green pad (yellow or white shows better!) etc.

I have dozens of Mike Rogers base balls (in every size he made and chopped versions and his less than regulation size final load balls) but find that I don't use them that much. I like them, use them often when they are best fit and they are best fit a lot!

I have a shoe box full of crocheted versions in all sizes (up to 4-inch final load balls) and all colors. All are cork center, most are over 20 years old (my oldest set is over 40 years old and came with my first set of cups), and are all sizes. I have bags of chopped Crocheted balls of different sizes and colors.

One accumulates this stuff over almost 50 years of buying, trading, and doing magic!

I used to make Monkey Fist balls in leather. Lately I find it easier to buy them than to make them. I don't have that many sets but it is what I am using to perform outdoors (fairs/festivals) as they tend not to roll off an uneven table.

What do I like? Whatever works! I am not opposed to tearing bread up and rolling it into balls and using them with paper cups to do an on the spot cups and balls routine.
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Profile of kentfgunn
Brett Sherwood makes inch and a quarter crocheted balls with heavy rubber balls in the center.

They're pricey but very very nice. You can find pictures and descriptions on his website.

matt kemp
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Northern California
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Profile of matt kemp
Do the monkey fist balls from The Ambitious Card "talk"? I have been thinking about getting some.
James Adamson
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Profile of James Adamson
I use the Monkey Fist Balls and have found them the best to control.

The Mike Roger baseballs are good also because of the control of the rolling problem. Also, they are very popular because of the inherit Baseball story line and a endorsement by Michael Ammar never hurts either.
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Profile of MinnesotaChef
I've used a turkey injector syringe to fill a plastic hollow core ball with epoxy for more weight.

An odd side effect occurred when I had a little epoxy left over and filled an extra ball only about half way: It turned into a kind of Weeble-Wobble. The odd weighting preventing it from rolling at all. This made for some interesting possibilities, some of which I'm still exploring. The most obvious one being that I could give the ball a pretty good tap when lifting the cup following a penetration to give it that little motion that helps sell the illusion. Something to play with, I suppose.

Another labor intensive option is to replicate the way they used to make leather golf balls: wet leather and wet feathers. One shrinks and the other expands as it dries causing a tight little ball to form. I've made two sets of these and I think they would work especially well for renaissance workers. They still roll enough, but look a little rough for classy shindigs.

Brother Paul the renaissance fair magician uses little sand bags that do not roll whatsoever. I found them hard to palm, but he makes them work.

The latest thing I've been tinkering with is some dice that a friend gave me. They have something like 20 or 24 sides and are almost round, but not quite. I'm working on a covering that will deaden the sound of the hard plastic and cover the numerals, but retain the geometric qualities that set them apart.
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Profile of scottjenkins
I've got the leather monkey fist balls from Ambitious Card and the cord wrapped ones. I prefer the leather -- they've got a good weight, they're quiet, and (for me) a heck of a lot easier to palm.
Scott Jenkins
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Mad Jake
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On 2008-02-02 22:20, lint wrote:
I WISH I could find some heavy crochet balls. If someone used a smaller core and thicker thread I think chatter could be minimized.

What about these balls sets with the hollow plastic shell inside? I have cracked so many of those with just normal handling.


we use either rubber core, cork or in general, Maple cores, this allows a number of applications to be accomplished when done in Maple, you can machine wash our balls and it also allows us to create the adjustable Gaffed ball with no fear of cork crumbling when adjusting the ball strength.

If you want, let me know and I'll send you some to try out.

For quality Paul Fox Cups spun on Danny Dew's Paul Fox tooling visit us at
David Bond
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Profile of David Bond
I learned to crochet so I could make a crocheted ball out of any material. It is not difficult to learn, though there is a knack to getting it started. My favorite core material is wooden balls - nice weight but not too heavy. If you want very light you can use styrofoam balls at the core, but they will not last long. I haven't tried marbles or ball bearings but I think they would be too heavy for my taste.

- David Bond
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Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
On 2008-02-03 14:12, matt kemp wrote:
Do the monkey fist balls from The Ambitious Card "talk"? I have been thinking about getting some.

Sometimes I talk to them like.. "now you get under that cup young man" but they do not talk back. Not even once. Hand Crafted Magic
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Pete Biro
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Profile of Pete Biro
At a craft show there was a woman crocheting small balls out of thin stainless steel wire. Like a dope I didn't buy any. Man talk about chop ready! Smile
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Profile of BSutter
Many alloys of stainless are not attracted by a magnet. You would need to verify the alloy in use.

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Profile of professorwhut
Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't these balls knitted, not crocheted?
My mother and wife can crochet, but they do not knit.
I told my wife that she should learn to knit, she said no. Can you believe that?
After much soul searching about a signature, I decided not to have one.

TG Pop [aka ProfessorWhut]
Don Sautter
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Flagstaff, AZ
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Profile of Don Sautter
I have recently acquired the cord monkey fist balls from The Ambitious Card and they are fantastic. Sitting next to my old crochet balls they look fantastic as well - and they make my old ones look dull and boring.

I think the monkey fist balls are easier to grip and certainly roll less on my close-up pad. I have not tried the leather ones though.

The cord monkey fist balls are heavier than my crochet balls as well and I think I like the weight.
Bill Palmer
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I believe they are crocheted. My grandmother made a few of them for me, and she used a crochet hook to do it. Knitting requires two needles.
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