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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » If right you win, if wrong you lose... » » Making my own shells (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Paulbmx12345
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Hello I am making my own shells for the 3 shell game. Are there any tips anyone could give me like what I should use to give them durability and what would make them look nice? Thank You
" Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why, why do you do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something, for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is, do you even know? Is it freedom or truth, perhaps peace - could it
Dave V
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I haven't tried making any yet, but you should expect some troubles. As they are organic, you will have a problem with humidity changes causing them to crack. Since they don't last forever, find a method that doesn't take up all your time so you won't be disappointed when you have to say "good bye" to a set.

Wood putty, epoxy, clay (the kind that hardens) can be used to smooth the inside of the shell. Sculpt it smooth enough that it operates smoothly in all directions, paying particular attention to the "stem" area at the back where most of the "work" happens.

A good pea can make all the difference, even with a poorly made shell. http://www.schoolforscoundrels.com makes the "Perfect Pea" and from what I've heard they aren't exaggerating.
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bishthemagish
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Split the shells dig out the nut and the extras and sand the inside to be a smooth. Put some wood putty in the shells to give them a nice inside. If you want a groove sand the back bottom part to make the exit of the pea easier when you push the shell forward.

Spray all the shell with a clear plastic spray.

Buy a pea or cut up a sponge ball or sponge rabbit and you are in business.

I do not like the real shells because they are organic and some restaurant managers might have a problem with that.

That is the reason I do not load fruit into the cups and balls in a restaurant venue.

Or you can use three bottle caps because I feel it is not the set it is the routine... And you can get both a great routine and a fine set of shells at the School for Scoundrels from Whit...

I hope this helps,

Glenn Bishop
http://www.mrhypnotist.org
Glenn Bishop Cardician

Producer of the DVD Punch Deal Pro

Publisher of Glenn Bishop's Ace Cutting And Block Transfer Triumphs
Pete Biro
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Good advice. I have shells like that I made 40 years ago that are still great, but I like the Scoundrel shells better.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Paulbmx12345
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Yeah I just want to make my own because it is a lot cheaper but I did order the golden shells from Brad Burt and by the way I love the free shipping that he offers. Another question I have is I need a good way to split the shells without them cracking. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you
" Why, Mr. Anderson, why? Why, why do you do it? Why, why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something, for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is, do you even know? Is it freedom or truth, perhaps peace - could it
Dave V
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You're making shells because they're cheaper, yet you are buying some of the most expensive ones on the market? Smile

The Street Shells, or the Black Fox could have saved you a bunch of money, enough to buy all the bags of walnuts you'll ever need.

But for sheer class, you couldn't do much better than a set of gold plated shells.
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Whit Haydn
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The Golden Shells are from the School for Scoundrels. The other gold-plated shells, by Brad Burt and Magic Makers are entirely different in design and have different names.

Hate to keep bringing this up, but it is important that people not get confused about these products.
Tom G
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I used to make my own shells, but found the LM shells
handled much better. If my hands were a little dry it was tough to handle the real shells. As for the golden shells, for me (meaning my opinion-not anyone else's)it takes an old scam with something basic like walnut shells and turns it into a magic prop.
Tom
Dave V
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Perhaps, but for me (living in Las Vegas) I have to perform "magic" not scam anyone. They have professionals to do that, who am I to compete?

So, any gambling game I do must be a demo and be obvious to anyone watching.
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Tom G
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I meant that (hopefully) people were going to demo the old scam, which is what the 3 shells really are.
Like I said and it's only my opinion when showing an old gambling game/scam to bring in gold colored shells or spun aluminum "shells" detracts from it looking like an old style gambling game. That's all.
Dave V
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Finally! Something good came from alt.magic!

Someone just posted this link on how to cleanly crack a walnut Click here
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Whit Haydn
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Dave: Any of the methods described in the article you posted will leave fineline cracks in the shell, which will expand with humidity, and cause cracking in the shell or the putty later. This is one of the most common causes for a shell set to start falling apart.

You should not use any kind of pressure on the shell to separate the halves. It is best to saw the shells in half using a moto-tool with a round saw blade.

By sawing just slightly all the way around the shell join, the shell can be opened cleanly without any pressure on the sides that will cause cracks.

Tom: Spectators seem to understand the shell game immediately no matter what kind of shells--metal, walnut, bottle caps, turtle shells, brass caps, potato halfs, etc.--are used in the game. They immediately focus on the game itself, and rarely do they suspect anything about the equipment.

They understand how the game works from the beginning--the operator steals the pea and puts it somewhere else. Their job is to try to follow the pea in spite of the deft sleight-of-hand of the operator.

The scam has been played on the streets using many different types of equipment over the years, and of course was originally done with thimbles rather than shells--the shells being a purely American invention.

If you are doing a character from the Old West, it might be better to use real walnut shells for the props in order to achieve "authenticity," but even this is hardly necessary.

"Lucky Jim" Thornton in the 1840's to the 1850's used small round brass cups the size of walnut shells on a tray slung around his shoulders. This was probably before the walnut shell came into popularity in the States and surplanted thimble-rig.

Years later, after the walnut shell became the "universal" tool, in the 1880's "Nutshell Jim" (last name unknown) of Leadville, Co used "walnut" shells cast from solid silver that he had won from the miners.

Soapy Smith, Bat Masterson, and Bob Ford (Jesse James' "Dirty Little Coward") the most prominent gamblers in the town, and the real "juice" who ran the town of Leadville, would have known Nutshell Jim.

His psychology was great, as the miners would see the silver shells knowing how he had won the metal from other miners, and it would make them want to "get back" some of their own.

It would be easy to make a similar story up about a gambler who cast shells out of gold in the mining days of 1890's Gold Rush. In fact, such things were more common than you would expect.

There is a beautiful watch fob on display in a Jewelry store in Skagway, Alaska. It is made entirely of gold nuggets won from miners in the 1890's. The gambler loved to flash the nuggets he had won from the miners, it made them want to "get even."

He also used it to hock whenever he was short of funds himself. Eventually, he was unable to reclaim it, and it went into the collection of the store owner who's family now owns the jewelry shop. It is worth a fortune today.
Dave V
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Whit,
Thanks for the grinder tip. I have a moto-tool and some of those cut-off wheels. It looks like my next trip is to the grocery store!

I also liked your stories about gamblers and their "winnings" All of this makes for some great background stories in case someone asks.

I'm also the proud owner of your "Mongolian Pop Knot" video, and the routine is great, but I think the best part for me is the "Pixie Dust" line. It'll take some practice to be able to say it with a straight face. Smile
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Whit Haydn
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The stories are great background material, and that is why we included so much history and so many funny or interesting stories about the old masters in the Three-Card Monte book. Those who only got the DVD missed out on some very important info that is in the book on these characters and also on pages of authentic patter that are taken directly from history and from the streets.

Our book on the shells will contain the same kind of history and stories about the shell game.

We will talk about Nutshell Jim, Lucky Jim Thornton, Doctor Bennett, "Umbrella Jim" Miner, "Clubfoot" Hall, "Ol' Man" Taylor, "Soapy" Smith, and all the other fascinating characters who plied the shells and applied the ax to the suckers "where Nellie wore the beads."

Even Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson (who were both known to fiddle with the shells) figure into the story.

We will have some of the original patter from these guys of the period, and even some of Soapy's best moves and ruses. We will also have patter from the streets in more recent times.

Soapy Smith's great grandson, Jeff Smith, will be contributing as well.
Dave V
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I'm looking forward to seeing it.
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TheAmbitiousCard
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I looked at the shells from MagicMakers.
In particular I looked at the underside, where the shell touches the close-up pad.

They are a joke.

Get the La Maggiore shells or get the School For Soundrels shells.


All the others are a joke.


A joke.

If your'e thinking ... "well, it can't be that big a difference", you're very wrong. There is a world of difference.


go to http://www.threeshellgame.com if your'e wanting info on the differences.


Frank
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
Tom G
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I had a macaw that would quite often split a walnut shell perfectly. Better than I could do.
Tom
Dave V
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My wife and I enjoyed an evening together splitting and eating walnuts. I dusted off my moto-tool and knocked off all the rough edges and membrane from the inside and applied a thin coat of wood putty to the insides. About a half hour later, all but one of them had cracked! Most started at the point opposite the stem. It's amazing for how hard they seemed to be when I was cleaning them to see them literally fall apart in my hands. I guess it had something to do with the moisture in the putty?

Oh well, they were cheap, and my wife really loves walnuts. Back to the drawing board (or rather, kitchen table)
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Whit Haydn
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Did you open them with the saw, or by cracking? The cracks may have already been in the shells from the opening of the halves.

It also may be that the wood putty caused the shell to crack as it dried and shrank. Wood putty shrinks as it dries. Durham Rock Hard Water Putty does not.

You might try using a water-proofing formula, like used on outdoor furniture and decks, and then a light varnish before putting in the putty. This will keep the moisture in the putty from causing the shell to expand.

Otherwise, you need to change your putty.

Wood putty is not good, because it is not very hard, and it can cause cracking.

Try FIMO clay, from hobby shops. It hardens in a kitchen oven.

I have used Durham Rock Hard Water Putty successfully, but you need to use it with as little water as possible-a thick, clay like putty.

I have not tried, but have heard that Bondo works well.
hkwiles
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Forgive me for sounding a bit stupid but it seems a bit of a waste of time and money..if you actually costed it out, including your time , wouldn't you be better off just buying Whit or Andrews shells ? Waht is to be gained by making your own?

Howard.
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