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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Where to put it all... » » Does anyone use a "suitcase table"? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Thoughtreader
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1565 Posts

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I have a Jack Hughes Case ~n~ table which I have owned for the last 27+ years. It has seen thousands of shows and countless thousands of travel miles and is still holding up. Props get slightly jostled but since I have always carried enough for 4 shows in the table, there is not too much extra room for them to move around in.

That said, I also use an Abbott's Nite Club Table which I also love. The only extra thing I did was make some plastic tubes to protect the chrome legs. It is not as
"quick" as the case ~n~ table but they both serve different purposes. I use this one for trade shows mainly.

I highly recommend either one for use as they are both excellent.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
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MagicRyan
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NH
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I have had one of Joe's suitcase tables for over 2 years now... and it still going strong... someone sat on it and broke the piano hinge, but a drill and some bolts and it was quickly fixed... splurge on the nice "carpet" covered one... will last longer and is velcro ready for your sign or banner.
The Simply Magic Ryan Mahoney
www.simplymagic.net
Ryan@simplymagic.net
Shadow
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Akron, OH
171 Posts

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I have (what I was told) was one of the prototypes that Joe based his large table on.
It is over 20 years old, covered with formica, and holds a ton of props.
I would not do a show without it.
I take it whenever the local magic clubs have a show and everyone uses it as a stage table.

Get one you'll love it.
nums
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I have a life, or I would have more than
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Just my two cents on decorating your table, try to be unique, (just like everyone else) haha anyway, I had the MFG. custom paint my case and had a local vinyl co. cut my logos out and I applied them, in the three years I have used it I have received many compliments on how professional it looks..

JEFF Smile
DarryltheWizard
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I am very envious, for I use two small Lefler suitcase tables and one small folding side table for my birthday shows. Then there's the 3-D TV rabbit production to bring in , the mini disc music sytem and speaker to carry in, the rabbit cage, etc. I actually make about 7 or 8 trips from the car to set up my act. I even carry a backdrop frame. My set -up time is about 40 minutes. I find the smaller Lefler tables are not that heavy when fully loaded and they have served me well over the last several years. I have a Mak suitcase table with that hideous cane and tophat design. I bought a few metres of speaker material and covered it . At least now I can sleep at nights. I use the extra table if I have repeat shows on the same day fairly close . The extra table has the same props pre-set for the show. It's kind of expensive, but it saves a lot of set-up time.
Darryl the Wizard.
Someone once said ,"The smaller your magic case, the more famous you are." For magic meetings , I have a really small ATM case . Some day I'll do a a whole act out of that case; however, for the present ,I love a colourful balanced stage setting even for a birthday show. Smile Smile Smile
DarryltheWizard
"Life without mystery is like a candle
with a snuffed out flame." Albert Einstein
Erik Anderson
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Des Moines, Iowa
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I’m currently using a Jester Pro table for my larger shows that sits on a wheeled ATA case base. The table folds down and the ATA lid goes down over the whole thing for shipping. It works great.

But for doing birthday parties, I definitely subscribe to the "one trip to the car" theory. For a long time all I used was a brightly painted 3-gallon plastic bucket with dividers inside and a snap-on lid. My entire show (including balloons) was organized inside ready to go. When I arrived for the party, I asked for a chair and set the bucket on it. When they were ready for the show to begin, I popped off the lid (which hung in front as a sign) and I worked right out of the bucket and when I finished the lid went back on top. I could then collect my check without having to worry about the kids getting into my props.

It was a great way to work a living room or restaurant rental room kids party. One trip in, no set up, and it packed up just as fast. It was also an appropriate level of show for the kind of money you could expect to make.

More often than not, the parents were pleasantly shocked that my program didn’t require a lot of set up or special considerations. Having to keep the kids away while I did a lot of setup was like herding cats. Anything I could do to make things easier on the parents was earning my fee as much as any magic I did for the kids.

Besides, I’m not going to spend an hour setting up backdrops, both performance and side tables, and a full sound system with music support for that kind of show (or for that matter, that kind of money). That’s part of the reason I charge more for large parties, school assemblies, banquets and corporate gigs. They are more involved shows and consequently, cost more.
Erik "Aces" Anderson

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." ~ Mark Twain

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stephenbanning
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There are pluses and minuses to the Lefler table. I use it for many shows, but it is very heavy and the piano hinge on mine broke away and had to be rebolted. Now I don't put too much in.

There is another kind of suitcase table in which the handle comes through a hole in the top (which becomes the front when set up). This allows the weight to be distributed so all the mass is not on the hinges. The Lefler table is also awkward to travel with.

If you buy it so that you can arrive with a preset show, you will probably need to keep it upright, so you can't put in in the trunk of your car. You have to put it upright on the back seat of your car and hope it doesn't flop over and crush the dove cage. The wheels are okay, but far from being as nice as the wheels on real luggage. The wheels get old and noisey. You certainly don't want to put any liquid tricks in it if you use those.

Nobody mentioned two advantages of the Lefler table. It looks very professional and it is very stable. You can bump it and it will not flip over.

I would never take it on an airplane. It is constructed of wood and bolts and I would not trust it to the airline industry even with straps.

Stephen
Erik Anderson
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Des Moines, Iowa
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If you are going to transport a suitcase table via the airlines, an ATA case is GOLD. It's wheeled, secure, and very durable.

Can anyone tell me what "ATA" stands for? I'm assuming it's "air transport something, but that's just a guess.
Erik "Aces" Anderson

"I never let my schooling get in the way of my education." ~ Mark Twain

http://www.acesanderson.com
Chance Wolf
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Hey Folks,
While we are on the topic, can you please continue to list:
Pros & Cons of your Suitcase Tables & what you would like to have added as a features
I am developing the Mother of all Suitcase Tables. It will be designed in the Wacky Wolf Style for kids performers. I am developing a much LIGHTER yet durable table and of couse it is TOTALLY INSANE in design. We are adding the LIGHT Interior as well. You can thank George Robinson Jr. of Viking Magic for this great idea. He features this on his wonderful table. We have also added a something that will blow your mind but I cannot tip the idea quite yet. I can assure you it is the most practical addition that blew right by every other model.
My table will be EXPENSIVE as it is a Custom Prop and will be for the person who really wants to stand out from the average joe.
Given the higher price, I want to give you every dimes worth. So throw some input at me and lets see what we come up with Smile
Take care and thanks,
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
Harry Murphy
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Maryland
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Chance,

I think that the three features that would consider in building or buying a suitcase type of table would be weight, wheels, and handle.

I have the old Autro “Case N Table” Made and sold by Abbott’s since the early 50’s. While it is stable and tough (has metal trim on the corners) and large enough to hold two or three complete shows, it is rarely used. Why? Because it is unwieldy. That is, it weighs a ton, the wheels are tiny casters and are meant to be used after the thing is opened up and ready to roll on stage (not to help you get the thing from the car to the venue), and the handle kills your hand. So it sits in my dining room. It does have a fitted protective canvas cover that helps keep it safe while being transported and is easy to open and use once backstage.

So, if you can make a nice lightweight version that has killer wheels (maybe even a feature like airport roll on luggage), and a super comfortable handle then you have a sale!

I also think these things are bigger than they need to be. I know several kid show magicians/clowns that use the Joe Lefler Pro Suitcase Table and don’t even come close to needing the space provided. I don’t think the things need to be so big and bulky. But then that’s just me.

Jim Summers had a nice smallish suitcase table design in his “Build Your Own Illusions” book. The suitcase to table idea had a smaller box and legs (and a tray) dropped out of the bottom giving the height needed.

I’m looking forward to your version.
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Chance Wolf
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Harry,

Great input! All three points will be taken care of.

The weight issue is the most delicate problem. I have solved it but there is a set-back to the solution. It would not withstand as much impact as 3/8"-1/2" ply. I still have my FIRST Suitcase Table I ever built. I made it from 1/8" masonite (just like Mak Magic) and it has been dragged all over the place without ANY breaks or major dings and I never even covered it.

I do NOT plan to use masonite but a thinner and very durable substrate combination. My table will come with a slip cover as well to protect it, however, it could be a problem if you are a ROUGH on your props. The handle and wheels will be a "No-Brainer."

I will post more information as the prototype nears completion.

Thanks for the input as usual. Smile
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
KeirRoyale
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Denver, CO
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Tony Clark has a new lightweight one on the market.
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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Chance,
Did anyone ask for a drawer yet? I have built a drawer into my table (which I'm finally almost done with!). I think having my drawer is going to work out great. It's a good place to grab things from that are stored well and also a good place to drop things into a la a servant.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
DarryltheWizard
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What are the characteristics of a good suitcase table?
Wheels that can be locked for a windy outdoor stage setting.
Covered with material that is velcro- compatible, but far more flamboyant than the Lefler table.
Attachable servantes and ditching bags .
A top that can be angled towards the audiences for close-up effects .
Let me know when the Wolf magic table is ready.
Pepperwood75@hotmail.com
Darryl the Wizard
DarryltheWizard
"Life without mystery is like a candle
with a snuffed out flame." Albert Einstein
Chance Wolf
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Darryl,

Great suggestions and I will be sure to use some of those features. I will notify you when the Final Version is ready to view. Each table will be custom designed,in appearance, per customer. I want everyone to have an exclusive look per performer. Thank you for your interest.

Jim,

The drawer idea is great as well. George Robinson Jr. features that on his table already but I may add mine in a different way. We will see how it goes.

Thanks for the great input so far guys. Keep it coming. I really want this to be the ULTIMATE table in looks as well as features.

Hey folks, what is your preferred HEIGHT of a suitcase table?

Thank you,
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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I love the idea of a top that can be tilted toward the audience! What a great idea. I could really use this for a card trick of mine and for coins too.
Chance,
I like my tables to be about 35.5 to 36 inches. That's my personal height of choice. Height is so important to me that that's probably why I ended up making my own table; otherwise I probably would've bought the Joe Lefler table.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Harry Murphy
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Maryland
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Chance you can’t standardize table height off of me! I am a hobbit (a very short guy!) and like my tabletops lower than most. I work with table tops at 33 inches or lower!

Sometimes I just have to adjust my style to work with a higher tabletop. My Autro “Case N Table” is 35.5 inches from floor to work surface. If I wasn’t so lazy I could drop it two inches by cutting down the legs.

Still, thought I’d give my input for what it is worth!
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
Chance Wolf
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Harry,
I understand that it is a difficult question. I am average height, 5'-10", and have found that about 33" works great for the average prop ( including all my silly effects). I think a magician should have a relaxed stance while working his props. Some of the Suitcase Tables are way too high in my opinion.
Wouldn't a great feature be an ADJUSTABLE Height? I think so but I am sure it would turn out to be a manufacturing nightmare...but maybe not. uuugh...off to the drawing board.
I love the "Slanted Top" option stated above. I will look into that as well.
Thanks for the input!
Chance
Creator of Wacky Wolf Productions & Fine Collectibles

A DECADE of building Magic and we're just getting started!

http://www.wolfsmagic.com
cat26
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Manitoba, Canada
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My tables are home made using a music stand & another with a cymbal base. The tops are made of plywood and attached with metal plumbing pipe parts (it screws on). Everything (props & table) goes into a saleman's sample case. The case I use is approx 3 ft tall by 2 1/2 ft wide and approx. 1 ft in depth. It's made of a plastic type material with fake leather type covering (very durable). It holds the entire act. Props go back in as my act progresses, so all I have to do is pick up and leave. Start clean & end clean. Cheers..... Smile
glodmagic
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Chance, I really look forward to your suitcase table!

If I had a wish list 2 things come to mind:

A large Tube that runs the length (height) in one corner. Basically a 3 inch PVC tube with cap that can be extracted (pulled up, release with a half twist bayonet lock). Why? For all those odd long items such as Eureka table bases (for side tables), Mutilated parasols, YOUR balloon wand, Plumes, etc.
Nobody does this and we all end up hand carrying the long items in a different way. What a great option that would be.

2. An optional pull out handle like luggage uses. We look silly bent over our cases rolling quickly down a driveway or festival parking lot. Look/see, how many times have you seen this hunched over rolling look?
Remember ANY of your posts here can be Googled by your customers and Clients. Just entering your name in Google can bring up your negative comments that stay for years!
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