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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Sponge ball size (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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MikeHolbrook
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USA, Angier, NC
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I have never worked with sponge balls. What size should I start with?

Mike
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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2-INCH SUPER SOFT GOSHMAN'S
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Dr_J_Ayala
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Most sponge workers seem to use the 2 inch balls, but I think the 1.5 inch ball would be a good start. It is still visible from a distance (especially the Goshman red sponges) and the size will give you a close enough approximation in feel/handling as if you were using the larger sponge balls, should you ever decide to go up to the next size. I use both sizes myself, but you also have to take into consideration your hand size. Yes, even with sponges, this matters.

The other thing to take into consideration is Regular vs. Super Soft. They both have their positives and negatives, and every performer has their preference. Here are the main attributes of each:

Regular sponge balls are a bit stiffer, though you can still get them to compact quite small. They have a bit of a different feel/texture to them, and for some people that allows for easier handling. They also retain their shape very well, even after having been compressed for a short amount of time.

Super Soft sponge balls are exactly that, and they can be compressed to a much smaller size. They also tend to lose their shape over time, which can easily be corrected by wetting them down, wringing them out thoroughly and allowing them to dry. They have a different texture/feel (almost slippery) compared to regular sponge balls. They also hold creases when compressed for a period of time, say, in a pocket. That can also happen to the regular sponges, but not as easily. In my experience, these types of sponges also have a little more spring in them; by that I mean that if you compress them between your fingers and open rapidly, the ball pretty much immediately springs back to full size.

In my opinion, all sponges should be pre-treated after you purchase them. Get some warm or hot soapy water and soak the sponges for a couple of hours or overnight. Rinse them well and wring them out, gently enough, and allow them to dry. This makes both types a little more workable, it gives them a little more 'give' (especially the regular sponges) and also helps bring back their original shape and gets rid of any creases that may have formed from storage/use.

If you have the ability to play around with both types at a local magic shop before you buy them, that is best as you will pretty much immediately be able to tell which type you like better. If you cannot, order one of the two types to start, and if you do not like that type, then get a set of the other. Afterall, they are not really that expensive.

I hope this information is useful to you, and that it is not too confusing. If you need further clarification, please let me know and I will be glad to help.
Rainboguy
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What Pete Biro said.....

Just be sure to moisten your 2 inch supersoft Goshman sponge balls in water and squeeze 'em hard to get 99.9% of the moisture out prior to performing....they expand more this way.
Pokie-Poke
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2" unless you have very small hands.
I have med. size hands and use both 2" and 3" with out problems
www.pokie-poke.com
The Adventure cont...
MikeHolbrook
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USA, Angier, NC
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Thanks for all the advice. When I can get by the magic shop, I will check out 1.5 inch and 2 inch balls.

Mike
Father Photius
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As others have said, use the 2 inch. I use 1.5 only with smaller children's hands when teaching them. Adults , regardless of size should have no trouble with 2 inch. They do compress.
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snowpuppy
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I have small hands,...I use 2 inch Balls with no difficulty.Mike
ade
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I have SMALL hands. By small, I mean asian small + female. I still use 2" spongeballs, but I'm way more comfortable with 1.5". Comfortably to start out with, I'd go with 1.5", still big enough to see, not that big to be a problem.
atinczor
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2" works for me better than 1.5".. A little misdirection solves any problems you might have if you have small hands...
steve j
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I use 2" however I have used as large as 3", I feel that you're methods of making them vanish should to an extent determine the size of the sponge ball you use. There are many methods, I suggest you find references on a few, the magic shop I worked at when individuals came in interested in sponge ball magic I would guide them in the right direction to start but as you get more advanced you can go larger which can increase the impact of the magic in certain venues.
CardC
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San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
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I agree with the rest 2-inch seems to be a great size. I was also wondering about the soft vs. more firm set. I guess it is just a matter of preference however the super soft ones feel so comfortable, and I feel might feel more ambiguous (undefined) in the hands of a spectator.
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David French
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I prefer the two inch regular goshman. I started with them in 1979 and never switched. I use them for close up and stage and they can be seen.

David
curtgunz
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Quote:
On 2011-07-11 15:11, Dr_J_Ayala wrote:
Most sponge workers ....I will be glad to help.


That was a great, detailed post. Thank you.
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Bill Palmer
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If you want to really understand how spoiled we have all become, see if you can find a set of sponge balls from the 1950's. The sponge was rubber instead of polyfoam. It was much stiffer in consistency. And it didn't keep its flexibility.
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Dr_J_Ayala
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Quote:
On 2011-09-16 05:42, Bill Palmer wrote:
If you want to really understand how spoiled we have all become, see if you can find a set of sponge balls from the 1950's. The sponge was rubber instead of polyfoam. It was much stiffer in consistency. And it didn't keep its flexibility.


I knew a guy that had a set from when he was first starting in the 50s. Those things were horrible! Still, to any practiced sponge ball worker, they were still very much useable - but as Bill pointed out, nowhere near as nice as the modern versions.
kOnO
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1.5 or 2 inch?

I like the 2 inch

I might have small hands but I like my big balls(super soft)

kOnO
:)
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Alan Munro
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I tend to use the 1 1/2", mostly because I perform for kids a great deal. The routine that I perform stand-up just begs for a smaller ball, when performing for kids. It would be impossible to do the routine, much of the time, with 2" super softs.
magicians
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While you are on the subject, I have a nice transition effect. Go from 3" to 2" to 1" to 1/2" and back to 2"
You can do routines by stopping at your favorite size. Super soft, matching dye lots.
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Bill Palmer
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Let me ask a parallel question.

What size shoes should I wear?

While MOST people can use 2 inch sponge balls without any problems, this is not true for everyone. If you have trouble with 2 inch sponge balls, get 1.5 inch balls.

BTW, they don't HAVE to be balls. Look at "And Then There Were Four" by Goshman.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

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