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curtgunz
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Hi everyone,

I am hoping this is a simple few questions about making a breakaway prop that will be child's play to you pros.

I am working on a "Breakaway Wooden Spoon" and I think it should be straight forward. Let me tell you what I am planning and see if this sounds right.

I'll get a regular wooden spoon, cut the handle into 1 inch sections. Drill a hole vertically through each section and string a cord through each one leaving just enough slack so that the spoon "breaks" when I hand it to my helper.

That is the basics I'm planning. Here are my questions.

1) Most plastic breakaway wands have a cupped end and a rounded protrusion on each section

Image


Is this really needed for my breakaway spoon; if so, how can I do that?

2) What is the best type of cording to use to string the breakaway spoon? I would guess it needs to be strong, durable, and have a minimum amount of stretch. Any suggestions?

3) Plastic breakaway wands simply have a knot on the last section of each end that is covered by a screw-on white tip. Since there will not be a covered end section on a breakaway wooden spoon, how would you attach the cord?

By the way, I am not planning to make the one section that has a groove in it like breakaway wands have to hold it rigid. I never use it for my breakaway wand and don't plan to for the spoon either.

Thank you in advance for your help.
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hugmagic
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This was made several years ago for cooking acts. Go for it. You are on the right track.
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Michael Baker
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Cool idea!

1. The cupped end and rounded protrusion serves to quickly align the pieces, theoretically with just the one hand holding the wand. You should be able to easily align the pieces of your spoon with the other hand as you are tightening the slack. If you do want that feature, the pieces should probably be made on a lathe.

2. Personally, I would use nylon cord. Check Lowes, Home Depot, maybe even Wal Mart for the correct thickness. Braided cord would be better than twisted cord, but either should work.

3. A knot at the end of the spoon will still work, but to attach the bowl to the strung-together handle, I would probably drill a hole in the end of the bowl, of a diameter larger than that in the other pieces. Then I would drill a tiny hole perpendicular in from the side so that it intersects the larger hold. It should reach the hole, but not go clear through the wood on the other side. It's use and actual placement will be clear in a second.

Before any other pieces are strung onto the cord, tie a nice tight knot at one end. The knot should be able to be pushed into the hole drilled in the end of the bowl. Prior to pushing that knot into the hole, fill the hole with glue (any kind should be fine). Then, push the knot into the glue-filled hole as far in as you can get it. Finally, hammer a small brad through the tiny hole mentioned earlier. This brad should go through the know and into the solid wood beyond it. This will lock it in place. Just be aware that this is a permanent joint. You won't be able to change the string later.

One additional idea... You might even use a heavy mono-filament for the cord. If so, tie a small loop at the end going into the bowl, and make sure the brad goes through the loop. You could probably skip the glue.

Hope this helps.

~michael
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Bill Hegbli
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Okay, I had the Supreme Magic Break-a-way Spoon, they simply made the spoon with out the nubs for alignment. Here is a way to make the spoon. Buy a long drill bite, 10" or 12" long. Drill the spoon down the center of the handle from the end, exiting in the upper part of the bowl. Now cut the handle in 1.5" or 2" lengths, depending on the length of your handle. Supreme just ran heavy twin string through the holes. If the wood splinter in the bowl area just touch up with wood filler and sand. They dimpled the end of the handle to make it easy to drill down the handle. They just knotted the string at both ends. Yes the knot was visible at the top of the bowl, but really did not notice much or really matter, after all it is just a gag prop. The knot in the end of the handle went into the recess.

The one I had worked great, and aligned almost perfectly every time.
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Matthew W
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Perhaps instead of a visible knot on the end of the bowl part, you can drill a slightly larger opening around the hole you drilled all the way through the spoon. This way, the knot kind of gets pulled into the spoon, making the knot less visible. The same can be done for the other end so when you hold the spoon solid both knots get pulled nside.
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Bill:

Have you ever tried to drill a thin hole though an 8 inch wooden dowel?

I will guarantee you that it will come out the side of the handle at one point or another.

it's better to set up a jig and drill the holes 2 inches or less at a time..
hugmagic
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You can chuck in a lathe and drill short sections perfectly centered very easily.

He is correct in that a drill bit tends to drift on long depths.

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Bill Hegbli
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Yes, I have drilled down a dowell the center by hand using only a hand drill and a 10" drill bite. I clamped the dowell to a table. Maybe I was just lucky.

Lathe? I don't think spending that kind of money to drill a spoon is worth it.

It is possible to drill the small sections, but more time consuming to get the exact center of each piece. If doing by hand, the process requires gradual drilling, using several different size drill bites. Just don't jump the sizes or it will not be centered. Again very labor intensive. If you are only makeing one then it is okay.
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Mr. Woolery
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It looks like you are planning this for clown work. In that case, if you paint each section a different color, any misallignment of the sections will be a lot less obvious if you don't decide to bevel the sections to fit just right. A rainbow spoon might be extra fun, actually.

Just a thought.

Another thought is that you might cut the head off of a spoon, paint it white, and sacrifice a breakaway wand to be the handle, depending on your use of the prop. I like silly wands like the plunger with the handle painted black with white tips, so that's the direction I tend to think on things like this.

-Patrick
Michael Baker
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Don't try to drill the entire length at one time. You'll find it much easier to drill short sections. It won't take long if you do this properly... and if you use a wood worker's favorite shop tool... a jig. In this case, you'll need a drilling jig, and you can make yourself a simple one in about 30 seconds.

This can be done with a hand drill, but a drill press would make this much easier. To center the bit and make drilling a little easier, make the drilling jig, as follows...

Take a thick piece of wood like a length of 2 x 4, and drill a hole large enough into which you can insert one section that you plan to drill. Make sure enough is sticking up enough that you can grab with a pair of pliers. Wrapping the jaws of the pliers with tape will prevent marring the surface of the workpiece. This will hold the piece from spinning as you begin to drill, but also makes it easier to remove the piece from the jig when done. If you are using a drill press, each piece will be perfectly plumb and each hole will be as well.

Centering the bit will be easy. If using a drill press, just center where the bit will be, and clamp the jig to the table. If drilling by hand, center a nail at the end of the piece, and tap a slight indent. The drill bit will find that easier than if it has to skip around on the flat surface. If you try to do that by hand, you'll exert too much pressure and that is a dangerous way to manipulate a power tool on such a small piece. Without a drill press, you'll have to have a good eye to keep the bit aligned as you drill into the piece though, but it can be done.

Trust me... I do this stuff all the time.

DO NOT try to hold and drill small pieces like these by hand!!

The lathe is however the best way to do this, as Richard mentioned, but it can be done with less expensive means, as Bill suggested, and as I have described above.

~michael
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gimpy2
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I have a piece of plastic rod 1/2" thick with an 1/8" hole. I bought it when I was building a prop that needed a bunch of 2" pieces like you need for the spoon. Made a ton of them out of dowel rod with a jig and drill press like Michael said. Then I found this material. I think they sell it to make plastic bushings it comes in all sizes but the shortest length they sell 5'. It is very cheap stuff I would be happy to send you a piece just send me a PM with your adress. I would think it would be easy to add the end of the spoon to one of the 2" pieces. Then paint eveything to match.
Stanyon
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Does the spoon have to be wood. If not you could probably adapt a plastic mixing spoon bowl to a break-away magic wand.

Just a thought!
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AGMagic
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As always, lots of good ideas above. If you decide to go with tubing I would suggest phenolic tubing. A quick search on the internet will give you dozens of sources. The advantage of phenolic is that it looks like wood as it is made of paper and resin. It is quite strong and won't come apart on you.
You can probably dimple one end of the tube sections with a drill bit in a drill press. Round the other end by chucking the tube in the drill press and turning it on (fairly slow speed) and hold a piece of sandpaper against the end of the tube.
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David Garrity
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Great ideas, but it seems that most of the suggestions are going to require a lot of tools that the average home craftsman might not have.

My suggestion would be to take an existing breakaway wand and just glue the spoon bowl to the end of the last section and paint the whole thing a light brown color or use wood-grain contact paper on each of the sections.

Good luck and let us know how it ends up!
Chance Wolf
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I may take a shot at manufacturing some of these when I return to the shop this coming Jan.
Looks like a cool idea and I have a few ideas to make it even better.
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Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2011-11-07 10:54, Chance Wolf wrote:
I may take a shot at manufacturing some of these when I return to the shop this coming Jan.
Looks like a cool idea and I have a few ideas to make it even better.
Chance

Then I will yield to you, sir! Smile

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P.S. - - Good to hear this since your most shocking announcement.
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Chance Wolf
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Michael,
I did not know you had an interest in producing this.
Hey, it is a fair game situation so do your thing and maybe we can compare spoons when all is done!
Just a couple months to go and I will be back in the sawdust, plastic dust, glue fumes and cussing at parts that do not fit proper Smile
OK...time to get back to drawing my book so I can get back into the shop after my little hiatus.
Chance
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Michael Baker
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Quote:
On 2011-11-07 14:34, Chance Wolf wrote:
Michael,
I did not know you had an interest in producing this.
Hey, it is a fair game situation so do your thing and maybe we can compare spoons when all is done!
Just a couple months to go and I will be back in the sawdust, plastic dust, glue fumes and cussing at parts that do not fit proper Smile
OK...time to get back to drawing my book so I can get back into the shop after my little hiatus.
Chance

Hi Chance,

It was a passing thought for down the road, but I have no intention of jumping on this to serve the immediate demand. I have enough projects in the works as it is, without even mentioning a huge list of things I'd like to one day tackle.

~michael
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Leland Stone
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I admire the idea of adapting a Breakaway Wand to a spoon bowl, which -- to me -- makes the most sense for anyone with limited tools and more Magic skill than woodworking ability.

If I were to make a wooden Breakaway Spoon, I would proceed as noted above, cutting the spoon handle into segments prior to drilling. I would then mill each recess using a properly shaped cutter in my drill press, and for the 'nub' simply purchase a bag of wooden beads (which are sold in various diameters and pre-drilled), aligning and gluing them on the segments.
Pedro Nieves
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I would have to agree with both David Garrity and Leland Stone. The most practical way to do this would be to modify an existing break-away wand:
Cut the bowl part off a wooden spoon, but leave about 1/2" of the handle. Hollow the "stump" out for about 1/4" and screw a tiny "eye screw" into that recession. Remove the end piece of your wand and attach it to that screw eye (it might be easier if you attach the cord to the screw first, and then screw it unto the bowl). Spray paint the whole thing white.
I would recommend using this easier-to-build prototype for a while, and if necessary, improvements will suggest themselves. If the time comes when you feel like you need to make a better break-away spoon, you will already have a working knowledge of the prop. Remember that even stage illusions go through a prototype / testing phase. Why not use the same care with our other props?

Pedro Nieves
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