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HenryleTregetour
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Hi All,

Can anyone recommend a good book for building props?

I am specifically interested in building small boxes for vanishing or transformations.

Thanks,

HLT
jimgerrish
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East Orange, NJ
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The Magic Nook has e-Books on several small box projects - but they aren't all in one book. However, if interested, you might want to check out:

Wizards' Journal #1 - Tarot Box

Wizards' Journal #6 - Poltergeist (a clatter box variation)

Wizards' Journal #8 - Tying the Knot

Wizards' Journal #10 - Houdini Seance Trunk

Wizards' Journal #11 - Elevator Box

Wizards' Journal #12 - Telematic Prediction Box

Wizards' Journal #16 - Tangerine Box

Wizards' Journal #24 - Wrong Ring Revisited

Wizards' Journal #27 - Fernando Flea's Teeny Tiny Trunk

Wizards' Journal #29 - Val Evans STOP Card Trick Revisited

Mini-Mysteries Book 1 - Thayer's Forceit Box

Mini-Mysteries Book 3 - Jamison's Production Box Revisited

Mini-Mysteries Book 3 - Flying Quarter Mystery

Mini-Mysteries Book 4 - The X Box

The above are all SMALL boxes you can hold in one hand and usually operate in one hand. There's another bunch of larger boxes that are held in both hands and which are operated with both hands, but that's another list.

If you order any ten or more of the above from the above list, I can give you a discount price on the collection, but you would need to arrange that in advance by PM or by e-mail.
HenryleTregetour
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Thanks Jim.

I am really looking for a manual, perhaps something written in the 1800s or early-mid 1900s, if such a thing exists (a reprint would be sufficient--I am definitely on a budget). I actually have a book (which I had forgotten about) dating from the nineteenth century (a reprint) which includes a good deal of information on prop building, but it is fairly generalized. I am currently reading through Tarbell, and it has a lot of information on building boxes.

I will keep your list handy.

Thanks,

HLT
Cliffg37
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Long Beach, CA
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Have you seen this book by Gary Darwin?

https://www.amazon.com/Inexpensive-Illus......08Z22YIQ

Not sure if you want a magic book or a woodworking book or both, but Darwin's book is inexpensive.
Magic is like Science,
Both are fun if you do it right!
Bill Hegbli
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They did not expose magic in the 1800's, they made and sold them secretly. You would enter a magic store, tell the merchant what you wanted, he would go in the back room. Then come out with something wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. You gave him the money, and left. No demo, only maybe a written short description of the trick, or the shop owner would tell you about the effect.

Exposure came later, for greed of profit. There are not any books for the construction of magic props. Some expose secrets, but not how to build them. Magic props sold at places like Abbott's Magic, do not even have plans for what they build, the craftsman may have a mock up, or his own notes.

They are in the business of making props for profit, so it is reasonable that they would not run themselves out of business by producing workshop plans.

Most buy the original or find a prop, then recreate it to their liking.

You can search for the Science and Mechanic's Magic magazine, that has a few plans in them for box tricks. 1962 I believe. It is on the Internet, I found it once, but have lost the reference.
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
HenryleTregetour
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Thanks Cliffg and Bill for your suggestions.

As for "Most buy the original or find a prop, then recreate it to their liking," I am already there.

Thanks again,

HLT
Michael Baker
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This question comes up all the time. The short answer is that there is information out there, but you are unlikely to find it all in one place. Everyone wants to put the cart before the horse. Anyone wanting to build magic must first acquire general workshop skills, This will allow them to make use of what magic prop information is available. Refining this and learning the specialty skills is something that can only be learned over time.

The Hoffmann books (Modern Magic, More Magic, etc.) all have comprehensive descriptions of apparatus, although these are not actual building plans. A competent craftsman can easily decipher the information and cobble together their own dimensions, cutting lists, etc. It's just kind of how it's done.

There are many books through the years that are similar. The mechanics are explained, but few go much further. A comprehensive book of apparatus is not likely to ever happen because of the sheer volume of work. Albo's Classic Magic with Apparatus series is loaded with info. So are the Jack Hughes books, Eric Lewis' various books, and hundreds of others, mostly smaller publications. Some props may only be described in one obscure place. But there are tons of these obscure places. It's basically a treasure hunt. The info is there, but you just have to look for it, and know what to do with it once you find it.

This is good reason to start a library and continue to build it. I've been in magic over 50 years, and have been building props since I was a kid. Still, I discover new information every day.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Dan C
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Is the Albo series available as a reprint or e-book that anyone knows of? Did some searching but couldn't find any source for these. I totally realize it may not exist but am hoping.....

Dan
HenryleTregetour
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Hi Michael,

Thanks for your comments. I am definitely compiling my own library.

HLT
Djin
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Without getting too deep into it, this is a field I have some experience in. Not specifically magic props, but small shop production.

Long story short, if you think through your project (I mean really think it through well) and have the skill to execute it at a level that makes the user look good, don't be afraid to fill that niche. It's a rare bird that has all of the skills to make good magic tools all in one brain. If that's you, embrace it and be the maker of magic boxes.
Dick Oslund
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Quote:
On Mar 9, 2017, Dan C wrote:
Is the Albo series available as a reprint or e-book that anyone knows of? Did some searching but couldn't find any source for these. I totally realize it may not exist but am hoping.....

Dan


The ALBO BOOK(S) was very expensive (VERY --HUNDREDS OF $) IIRC, is's now OP, and, will not be reprinted.

I was in San Francisco about 25 years ago, and Buma Burger told me that Dr. Albo had an exhibit somewhere down town. I went. It was FANTASTIC! I can't begin to describe it!

To apparently add "color" many old lithographed posters were displayed. A THURSTON 'THREE SHEET" which I had sold as a bunch of pieces, had been restored, and was displayed.

Maybe someone can fill you in on Dr. Albo's book!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Dan C
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Hey Dick,
Thanks for the info. Do you know if the exhibit was a permanent installation?
I am actually heading to California at the end of the summer.
And yes I found a couple of editions that I will keep in mind if I win the lottery! sigh.

Thanks again,
Dan
Dick Oslund
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Hi Dan!

IIRC, it was a temporary exhibition. It was a fabulous display.

I didn't buy the book. I appreciate the history, and the beauty, of those props, but, my show is, basically, generic props.

My west coast friends are constantly suggesting that I "move out there"! I tell them, "You have mud slides, forest fires, and, EARTHQUAKES!

My New Orleans friends, suggest, "move down here"! I tell them, "You have tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes!

Be sure to plan an evening at the Castle! I sold Bill Larsen a stack of the window cards that were the "salary" of a bunch of pro's. who worked one of the EARLY IBM conventions. They're on display, somewhere in the castle, or were, the last time I worked out there. Jay Marshall's line was, "Yes, I've worked the Castle, and, when I can afford it, I'll do it again!

Dick
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
jay leslie
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Professor Hoffman's shows how trucks work then it's up to you to figure the sizes if you want to make them. Then there's the locked books and others but a good start is hoffman's .
Michael Baker
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Quote:
On Mar 31, 2017, jay leslie wrote:
Professor Hoffman's shows how trucks work then it's up to you to figure the sizes if you want to make them.


Yep! Too many put the cart before the horse. If you start with a step-by-step set of instructions, you don't learn anything, except maybe how to follow instructions. Without an underlying knowledge of building, you won't know if you're on the right or wrong path until it's too late. If you learn shop techniques first, you won't need step-by-step instructions. You can take something as simple as a sketch on a napkin and make it work. You can also customize sizes. Step-by-step rarely allows for that.

Regarding the Albo books, I hope they are never put in a downloadable form. If they are that important to you, you'll find a way to save up to get them. I did, and I haven't yet been able to buy them all. The information is too good to stick it out there for the merely curious.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Mr. Woolery
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A good place to start with build-it-yourself box magic is Bill Severn's Magic Workshop. No kidding. And often available for a few bucks used on Amazon.

If you are trying to make very particular magic tricks from the older books, you do need some skill as a craftsman. This is actually well worth learning, but you are best off learning it from someone who has those skills. The ability to make a straight cut, a square corner, and a clean joint will make the difference between a nice prop and something that looks like you constructed it yourself in your garage...

Part of it will also depend on what you are wanting to build. Some of the older box magic is absolutely exquisite because of the precise work. Well, a lot of the newer stuff is, too, of course. But if you just need a basic box that nests in another box, that's not too hard. Measure twice, make a mock-up out of stiff cardboard, and don't be afraid to do it. Paralysis of analysis will keep you from learning the skills you need if you think everything has to be perfect before you can start.

-Patrick
Michael Baker
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The Mark Wilson book has some good and easy building projects.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Julie
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Quote:
On Feb 28, 2017, Bill Hegbli wrote:
...They did not expose magic in the 1800's, they made and sold them secretly. You would enter a magic store, tell the merchant what you wanted, he would go in the back room. Then come out with something wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. You gave him the money, and left. No demo, only maybe a written short description of the trick, or the shop owner would tell you about the effect...

...You can search for the Science and Mechanic's Magic magazine, that has a few plans in them for box tricks. 1962 I believe. It is on the Internet, I found it once, but have lost the reference.


There is one listed on e-bay now.

J
GS121002
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Quote:
On Mar 9, 2017, Dan C wrote:
Is the Albo series available as a reprint or e-book that anyone knows of? Did some searching but couldn't find any source for these. I totally realize it may not exist but am hoping.....
Dan


There are no re-prints or eBooks, thank God! They are considered to be some of the finest works on magical apparatus in existence. I have 5 or 6 of Dr. Albo's books that I am considering parting with. We can discuss offline if you are really interested but I warn you, they are a bit expensive but will only go up in value.
Gary Salisbury
San Diego, CA

IT'S A FACT! - Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
CREDIS QUOD HABES ET HABES! - What you believe is real, is real!
WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN AND WHAT IS HE ALL ABOUT? - https://www.pinterest.com/garydsalisbury/
Anverdi-museum
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The Albo books are very detailed in every respect...not just the workings and drawings but the routining as well. I have a Bogart Tube effect packed away for many years, got it out of the closet and was not sure of the working so I referred to Albo...below is a brief clip I made showing this to other collectors and anyone who may be interested in the hystory of magic:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=is89yS5zfLM


Chuck Smile
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