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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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Pekka
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Finland
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Sorry but being outside of US could somebody tell whether the bottle caps used are the metallic ones or the plastic ones (that are used in the 0.5l bottles).

Oh dear, without internet I would actually have to try. Scary thought Smile

Thank you
Pekka
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Quote:
On 2004-04-24 06:11, hkwiles wrote:
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.


Pride in your accomplishment and personal satisfaction!
Vietnam Veteran 1967, Sgt. E-5

Graduate of Chavez College of Prestidigitation and Showmanship

"Magic With A Twist Of Comedy"
sleightly
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New Hampshire
500 Posts

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I will admit to a certain amount of personal satisfaction at completing a really nice set of shells... I've made over a hundred sets in the years since I began performing the shells (although not since I released La Maggiore)...

As Whit pointed out, FIMO clay can be used, but you might also try Sculpey or Super Sculpey. This also hardens in the oven. Be aware that adding heat to the equation dries out the shells (making them more brittle) and the clay expands slightly then contracts as it cools. I have had about a 50% success rate with Sculpey.

For help on stabilizing the shell and minimizing breakage I might suggest that after stripping the interior of the shell you air dry over night and then apply a couple coats of spar (marine)polyurethane to the interior. This seals the interior from absorbing more moisture (and minimizes loss) and has the additional benefit of putting a "bandaid" over any minute fractures that will split open when you heat it. Be advised that this may cause fumes when heated so be sure to cure the clay with the windows open...

After curing the interior, you might apply some of the spar polyurethane to the exterior of the shells as well. This makes them a little more durable as well as adding some "grip" to the shells... It might be tempting to wash the shells after they have been so prepared, believing them to be water-tight, but avoid this, as it will surely cause almost immediate self-destruction.

Besides, after you see how much work is involved, you will appreciate the synthetic shells even more!

Andrew
hkwiles
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Howard Wiles
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As I intimated and apparenty confirmed by Andrew, with the cost of all these materials and hassle, you could buy a nice set of Golden Shells.

Howard
Dave V
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Inner circle
Las Vegas, NV
4825 Posts

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Quote:
On 2004-04-24 07:15, wmhegbli wrote:
Quote:
On 2004-04-24 06:11, hkwiles wrote:
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.


Pride in your accomplishment and personnal satisfaction!


Exactly!

For the record I already have a Black Fox set that I bought from SFS. This was an experiment purely for my (and my wife's)enjoyment. My total cost so far: $1.75 for putty, $1.00 for walnuts. I have a long way to go before I reach the cost break point of Golden Shells.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Paulbmx12345
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Thank you sleightly that was a very comprehensive answer I learned a lot too.
" 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
ursusminor
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Norway
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I made 4 sets 8-9 years back, and I covered the insides with an Epoxy-putty called "Milliput".
The shells are still going strong, NO sign of cracking!
Milliput is a two-component putty, can be formed like plasticine for 2-3 hours before it hardens (at roomtemperature). After it hardens it can be carved, sanded and polished. It is hereby recommended!

Oh, and Frank, the Black Fox shells are not a joke, I think!
My favourites are the Maggiores with a mat
and the SfS Street-shells with or without...

I totally agree with you on MagicMaker's "Gold shells" They are obviously not designed by a "Thimblerigger" Absolutely FLAT, no Chanindip, no "stem-hole".
Useless, useless...
Bjørn
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
- Winston Churchill"
Dave V
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Quote:
Oh, and Frank, the Black Fox shells are not a joke, I think!


Bjorn,
Since Black Fox is sold by School for Scoundrels, I too think they are not a joke.

That makes Frank's post still hold true. If it's not La Maggiore or something carried by SFS, don't bother.

Construction update:

My second try was much more successful. On my first attempt, nearly every shell started splitting at the tip, opposite the stem hole. This time, I left extra material at the tip, let them dry, and then applied putty lightly to the back half only (drier mix this time). Once it set up I added layers until I finally had the entire surface covered and the back built up into a nice taper. After it hardened, a little sanding and they're done! Smaller than SFS, not nearly as consistent between shells, but they work and they make a handsome addition to my collection.

My two main mistakes were:
1) Preshaping them too much before the putty, leaving them too thin especially at the tip. It was no big deal to finish the shaping after the putty had set.
2) Applying the putty too wet, and too thick. The moisture was absorbed by the shell walls causing them to soften and split.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
ursusminor
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Norway
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Quote:
Bjorn,
Since Black Fox is sold by School for Scoundrels, I too think they are not a joke.

That makes Frank's post still hold true. If it's not La Maggiore or something carried by SFS, don't bother.


Agreed!
The jury will kindly disregard my last statement...

Bjørn
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
- Winston Churchill"
Scotchandsoda
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Pittsburg, KS
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Well, it seems my post comes a little too late, but a method that I had some success with was coating the shells with a two-part epoxy mixture, the kind that is found in hardware stores everywhere. Then, after the epoxy dried, I was able to do just about anything that I wanted. Just another thought and idea.

-Paul
Whit Haydn
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Great thread. Any one tried using Bondo as filler? Thompson's Water Seal is also good for treating the shells before applying the putty.
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
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Cost means nothing... it is how much you can steal on the streets with a set of shells that matters. Smile

GO LAKERS
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
TheAmbitiousCard
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Eternal Order
Northern California
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Gotta disagree with Pete on this one.

Go Kings!!!
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
Trophy Husband, Father of the Year Candidate,
Chippendale's Dancer applicant, Unofficial World Record Holder.
ursusminor
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Norway
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I don't know if milliput is sold in the USA, I ordered it from somewhere in Wales, I think. It's quite a few years ago. At the same time there was an american product called A+B-putty, which was supposed to be similar.
I originally used it in model-building, and these things can probably be found in places where they sell plastic model-kits or model-railway accessories.

Oh, and Whit, I can hardly wait for the book on the shell-game!
Please give us a Heads-Up when it is released!

Bjørn
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
- Winston Churchill"
Hamilton
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Maine
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Milliput can be found in the U.S. at some specialty stores or online hobby suppliers. However, it is pretty much the same as any two part epoxy putty you can get at your local hardware store. I have used various types including milliput for modeling projects over the years and although I have not made a set of shells using it I would think it would work well.
MinnesotaChef
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Minneapolis,MN
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There is also a way to make silicone molds that can go into the oven if you want to make Fimo or Sculptey shells. The kits are availible online or from a catalog called Micro Mark (WWW.micromark.com) for under $30. These molds will also take low temperature metal or Resin castings. The molds can be reused indefinitely.
"Great restaurants are, of course, nothing but brothels.There is no point in going into them if one intends to keep one's belt buckled."- Fredric Raphael
jezza
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Surely a gold plated shell just looks like a prop and would suggest gimmicks , real walnut shells surely is the way to go
Dave V
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Las Vegas, NV
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Jezza,
Read a little deeper into some of the threads here. For some, a gold plated shell, or even solid silver shell is just perfect. Ask Whit Hayden. He has some stories about how "operators" would taunt the miners into playing the game by using shells made from the gold/silver won from the miners.

Real walnuts are good, and I use them too, but the modern synthetic duplicates are more structurally stable and reliable.

That said, I don't use the gold shells as they don't suit my performance style, not because they look like a "prop."
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
Harper
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Years ago, I went through a bag of walnuts and found a number of good matches. I used a coping saw with a fine blade, cutting around the perimeter of the nuts by hand. The shells were held securely, but not too firmly, in a vise while nestled in a leather work glove.

I ate the nutmeat, sanded out the empty shells, then applied urethane varnish and epoxy putty. They've been fine ever since.

I think it doesn't really matter what you use for your props, as long as you practice with them and follow the basic principles that make the scam work.
ursusminor
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Norway
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Quote:
On 2004-08-14 16:51, Harper wrote:
I think it doesn't really matter what you use for your props, as long as you practice with them and follow the basic principles that make the scam work.


Agreed, Harper!

Bjørn
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them
pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
- Winston Churchill"
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