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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Fanning the cards. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EXTREMENINJA1
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Alright here is my problem. I am trying to learn the thumb fan (Or any complete fan of the cards such as the pressure fan ect). I know how to hold the cards and how you are meant to fan them but they don't fan Smile. I can get a small fan of the top 10-15 cards but the rest is just a clump. I think I am holding the cards and doing the technique right (It appears to be correct) but they just don't fan. Is it a matter of practice? Or do the cards need to be almost brand new?
borderjs
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I am still learning how to fan myself and I found that newer cards do indeed fan much easier.
wingz
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Practice makes perfect! The technique is not something that once you know how can do it perfectly, you need practice after practice.

What actually helps is the card desk that you use. A good brand (e.g. bicycle) will fan better than dollar shop material. As borderjs pointed out newer cards can fan better do.
Kyle Elder
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Another thing to keep in mind when working with cards is to handle them lightly. To much pressure and squeezing to hard will actually make things more difficult.
rklew64
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Try dribbling the cards first then fan. Honestly, don't you think it is difficult to assess your technique without really seeing you handling them.
Can you do a ribbon spread cleanly and evenly? I find that a good pre-curser to fanning (at least for me it seemed)
It is a knacky thing.
Try using your pointing finger perhaps.
So you have used a new deck straight from the cellophane and no go?
So the long side of the deck is resting near or around the crotch between the thumb and pointing finger?
I know some use fanning powder, but I have never used it yet. Not saying I'm good, just saying never used it.
I understand humidity can be a factor.
Practice is key but then again if one is practicing wrong, then your only hardwiring bad form and habits. Stop immediately as soon as frustration is all you feel (please insert any and all Star Wars referencing here).
No magic shop near you?
Dirtytrix
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I'm a relative noob here but what I can tell you from my own experience is that many different factors can have a profound impact on the outcome of different types of fan. You can eliminate a lot of them by just using a brand new deck but obviously you don't want to be doing that for every trick, and for some fans it can actually work against you.

For example, I find a thumb fan works best with a brand new deck. After a little use of a brand new deck I find that getting a bit of air between the cards helps to retain some uniformity in the fan, so dribbling the cards or perhaps a riffle/pharoe shuffle with a bridge (but try not to bend them too much when you bridge) all helps to keep things consistent.

When it comes to a pressure fan I find that worn-out deck works much better than a new one. Not only that but a pressure fan does kinda abuse the deck more than a regular fan and so I don't do pressure fans with brand new decks - it seems such a waste when a brand new deck already fans so nicely with minimal effort. A well worn deck for a pressure fan definately works better in my experience.

As has already been said it's hard to say without seeing your technique, but cards clumping together would suggest you're applying too much pressure and loose cards would suggest not enough. Where you apply pressure is equally important. Too close to the edge can mean you have cards that pop out and too near to the middle means the radius of the fan becomes restricted.

As the saying goes "Cleanliness is next to godliness". Always make sure your own hands are clean - ie, you've not just eaten something with your hands which is either greasy or sticky. Dropping cards on the floor or placing them on a table which has had food and drinks served on it can contaminate the odd card which then really puts the kiss of death on your nicely uniformed fan.

Other factors such has how an individual card is handled, either by yourself or a spectator can change how the deck performs. If you have a deeply suspicious spectator that tries to keep a chosen card ultra-sectret and holds it very close to their chest it also means that their grip on the card can distort it horribly. Also, if you like palming cards then different techniques (particularly one handed palm techniques) can put a bend or kink into the card which alters it too.

For any fan good quality cards are important and in fact the better quality cards really show their quality the older they get, but saying that I don't tend to keep a deck in action for more than a few effects when I'm working. Forget about plastic cards and if you stick with a brand like Bicycle you won't go far wrong. There are a tonne of fanning tutorials all over the net - maybe do a search for Rich Ferguson, I like a lot of his material and had some good results with it.

One last thing - something I've found that makes a "newly ruined" deck work in your favour and to good effect. Occassionally I'll do a trick for someone that handled a single card and they had greasy fingers or the deck got put down onto an icky table and I have used this to my advantage when revealing a card. If you have a contaminated card and try and fan you can find that the rest of the deck fans beautifully but the one card is either sliding too much or is just sticking, which has the effect or causing one massive, obvious and very conspicuous gap in your fan. You can, later on, force the contaminated card in a new trick (with different people of course - producing the same card over and over clearly isn't cool) and when you deploy a fairly rapid fan it can make for an interesting reveal of the chosen card.

Hope this helps,

Phil
EXTREMENINJA1
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Well my fan is starting to improve. I think it might be me needing a new deck since I can do an almost complete fan with my current deck so maybe with a new one Smile
Dirtytrix
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Glad to hear that EXTREMENINJA1.

To be honest, if you do a lot of card tricks you're going to want more than one deck. Invest in a few decks, perhaps of different colour backs. This can help to spread the abuse around a few different decks which might help them all to last a little longer and you can save your grubby decks for practicing the pressure fan.

This would also open up the possibility of different card effects too - such as changing the colour of a selected card or even the whole deck and other staples like "The Best Card Trick In The World" (youtube search for that one).

One nice thing I found really good to practice whilst starting out are monte-style effects using small packs with different colour backs which involve really important sleights like the Elmsley count - I'm getting off topic here, but I will also say this - new decks can make your sleights easier too. When you're pushing or pulling mutliple cards together (like you would in an Elmsley count) it can make the whole process easier if they slide nice and easy rather than sticking or clumping together and end up revealing a card you didn't want folks to see just yet.

Glad to hear it's starting to work out, but get yourself a new deck or two, or three, or four and you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

Phil
EXTREMENINJA1
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I have three blue bicycle decks and three red ones. Also a black tiger deck. I like performing "catch the wind" which is completely made up of Elmsley counts and has a great effect. I get to practice and amaze at the same time Smile. I should be getting some new decks soon.
Synatics
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Watch someone thumb fan and just copy with with a BRAND NEW deck of cards. Don't press too hard but not too lightly. Pressure fans are harder so stay away from them until you've mastered the thumb fan in my opinion.
:)
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