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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Finger/stage manipulation » » Fan Powder (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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rikbrooks
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I'm a little embarressed to be asking what must be such a beginner question, but I've always avoided card tricks because it seemed EVERYONE could do one. A magician friend just showed me a couple that blew me away and I realized that there is a new day in card magic. I learned a few effects and I can tell that I'm getting hooked. As I sit here I have four decks on my desk, one of them a stripper deck.

I've been studying the Wilson book hard on card manipulation and can do a good pressure fan, not perfect, but good. Then I was told it would be better with fan powder and I could practice with baking soda until I got regular fan powder.

1) What is the fan powder for? What will it do? You know what I mean? Why do people use it?

2) How is it applied to the cards? One at a time, front and back?
Steven Steele
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Fanning powder is a compound known as zinc sterate. It is essentially unscented talcum powder. You can buy fanning powder from most magic dealers for a modest sum. You can get it cheaper at the local drug store, if you don't mind your cards smelling like a baby's bottom.
Bill Palmer
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Zinc stearate is no longer used in baby powder. And it is not unscented talcum powder. It is a zinc compound. Talcum powder is powdered talc stone and has a completely different set of characteristics than zinc stearate.

Talcum powder has a drying effect. Zinc stearate actually coats the cards with a soap-like finish.

There are other ways to prepare cards for fanning. But you should be able to learn to do a good pressure fan with a regular deck of bikes.

There are lots of ways to apply fanning powder to cards. One is by applying it with a cotton ball. You can also drop the cards into a paper bag, add a bit of the powder and shake them around in it. Then give the deck a series of faro shuffles to set the powder into the cards. After that, rub the cards with a cotton ball to get rid of the excess powder.
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bodiddly
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You don't really need fanning powder. Only when you are doin card manipulation
magic4u02
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In a nutshell:

- Fanning powder coats the cards so that it makes it much easier for fanning the cards easily since there is less friction on them. It is often used a lot by manipulators for stage work.

- Easiest way to apply fanning powder is to take a plastic bag, put in a very small amount of powder and then drop the cards in. Then close the bag and shake the cards around for a while. This gets them all evenly coated. Then take them out, spring them a few times to get the excess powder off and then place cards in a card press or under a few heavy books over night

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rikbrooks
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Thank you all very much. I feel better now that I know this. I guess it's something that I might consider once any deck starts to get older and less slick.
kregg
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I believe it was Walsh who first started using zinc stearate to add a friction layer to a fanning deck. There were loyalist who would claimed that you didn't need fanning powder, all you needed was the appropriate deck of cards. I don't think Cardini used powder.
I think the point was made to only use powder on a fanning deck.
Not for card effects or split fans.

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Werner G. Seitz
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Quote:
On 2004-08-04 03:47, bodiddly wrote:
You don't really need fanning powder. Only when you are doin card manipulation
I don't agree with that Smile
I always -ever since around 1959- prepared every single deck I used for *normal* cardwork/close-up with fanning powder, as well as *softening* them by use of the well known methods, like riffle-shuffles/one hand shuffles, bending face-up, face-down, etc.

A such deck is much easier to handle for anything..use a brand new deck out of the box and se how your double lift fails?
Or for that matter any other advanced sleight too..even your *invisible* riffle-pass is *stiff*
Just try it!
Brand new cards are far to *slippery*..
Learn a few things well.....this life is not long enough to do everything.....

( Words of wisdom from Albert Goshman ...it paid off for him - it might
as well for YOU!!!- My own magic is styled after that motto... Smile )
Steven Steele
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Thanks Bill for the correction. My wife tells me I never read labels...must be true. Anyway, I know that the info I read came from a very very old card magic book; things must have changed. I have tried baby powder in an emergency and it does seem to work, but I've stuck with fanning powder.

And Werner, I tried to use fanning powder on my cards once for close-up and it was a disaster. It helped at the very beginning, but after an hour or so of heavy performing, they really gummed up worse than I had ever experienced. So now when I take out a new deck, I just work them for a few minutes and life is good for a long time. Just my experience.
Werner G. Seitz
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Quote:
On 2004-08-04 12:02, Steven Steele wrote:
...And Werner, I tried to use fanning powder on my cards once for close-up and it was a disaster. It helped at the very beginning, but after an hour or so of heavy performing,....

Hehehe..don't worry Smile

After an hour of performing with cards, nobody is awake anymore..so np..

I know it is a bit diff. in the States, where the interest in cards is greater then in Europe, but TBH, I try to avoid cardwork as much as possible..BUT, if and when I do some, I'll keep it very, very short, most certainly not more then 10 min.

I never had any probs with cards prepared with fanningpowder after playing/practising for an hour, but you have to be aware of, that you have get most of the power off again before using the cards in praxis, by use of riffles, shuffles and deslike..a deck prepared with too much powder IS a disaster..

I still admire those ppl who can take a brand new deck out of an unopend box and do their sleights..
IMHO (for me) it is impossible..the new cards are far too slippery and stiff..

Also, I have tried to eliminate the powder and just *worked the cards in*, but in that case the cards got sticky after some use, whilst the powdered ones still did work nicely..
I really would like to get comments re this from anybody doing close-up cardmagic..I'm NOT talking about cardmanipulations on stage, but about *normal* cardhandling and normal routines, though of course, sleight of hand stuff, like riffle-passes, double lifts, palming aso...

For me a decent powdered deck works best...
Learn a few things well.....this life is not long enough to do everything.....

( Words of wisdom from Albert Goshman ...it paid off for him - it might
as well for YOU!!!- My own magic is styled after that motto... Smile )
yanyak5
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Never be embarressed to ask questions. If you feel the need to use fanning powder or want to know what its like, and don't have a local magic shop around, try a local hobby shop. Most Hobby Shops Sell Zinc (the exact same thing that fanning powder is made of). People use this for the Pine Wood Derby Cars, and other models that have wheels.


Dump your cards into a large plastic trash bag. put about a table spoon or less of powder into the bag. Make sure you fill the bag with air(So you get a nice bubble) and twist the top of the bag to keep the air in. Then shake. After about 1 min, take the cards out and square em up. Slap them a couple times to get all the extra Zinc out. Then produce a fan for all to see!

Oh and do this outside, because the powder will get everywhere.


Some people like the powder, some don't. It never hurts to try!
Bill Palmer
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Quote:
On 2004-08-04 07:48, rikbrooks wrote:
Thank you all very much. I feel better now that I know this. I guess it's something that I might consider once any deck starts to get older and less slick.


One thing you can try is polishing your cards with a silk. This is especially effective on things like the ID that use the R&S principle. When you think the "R" has given out, chances are that the "S" is dusty. Some people apply more "R" to the cards. I used to do that, myself, until I read a column about using a silk that was written by Eric Lewis.

Zinc Stearate can have an adverse effect on some people.

Howard Campbell, who owned Howard's Fun Shop in Houston, where I worked when I was a kid, used to powder every deck he used. He would use a paper bag -- sometimes he used a cigar box or a shoebox -- and after he had the cards powdered completely, he would faro shuffle them a few times to spread the stuff evenly. Then he would riffle the cards outside a few times to get rid of the excess.

Then he would square the cards up in a block and do a series of very heavy "rosettes" with the deck, cutting it between "rosettes" in order to work the powder into the surfaces of the cards.

The deck would last him about a month or so, then it would get gummy and it would be useless.
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Blackpool
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I find that fanning powder irritates my eyes. It is a soap, after all. Sometimes if I scratch near my eyes while performing, they get all red and dry, and even powder thrown off by riffling can get me. I'm in the camp that some things are made more difficult with powder, but it is essential for a nice, even fan like you need to do a smooth Blank Deck move.
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dynamiteassasin
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Fan powder is for added slick to your cards. People in the WW2 era used corn starch as a substitute..

:)
Werner G. Seitz
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Quote:
On 2004-08-12 09:08, dynamiteassasin wrote:
Fan powder is for added slick to your cards. People in the WW2 era used corn starch as a substitute..
:)
Hehehe..adding *slick*????

I wouldn't look at it this way..actually IMHO it is the opposite, depending on how one interprets *slick*..

*Slick* cards are not behaving like *we* want them to behave, they have a life of their own..fanning power makes the *adhere* more to each other and so one can do *slick* fans, that without powder, would split at diff. sections..
Also, a simple but expert double lift could be ruined by brand new and too slick cards..the powder makes the card adhese/adhere (?)- don't know if that's the correct word)- to each other, instead of they have a tendancy to spread.

Just try to do a normal/relaxed double lift with a brand new deck..and let me have the result..
I've done this double ever since 1958 and I still miss when doing it with brand new cards..and my technique re this -I assure you- doesn't fail anything Smile..
I use 3 or 4 diff. methods and all are indetectable when done with a deck that is NOT brand new..with a such deck, the cards simply can separate..not every time, but far too often..and I don't take any chances..

A *used* deck has similar -but not quite- behaviour like a powdered deck..there are no probs there..but a brand new deck...to h*ll with it..
BUT, I also have to mention, that the quality of decks from the United States Playing Card Company is changing constantly..I had brand new decks that worked fine, but I had more that didn't..

One can almost see it at the structure of the material used when looking at a card at an angle..
The *good* ones have kind of fabric pattern/grid on it, the bad ones are almost plain slick..

Just my thoughts on this..

I prefer to powder them and then remove (by riffling/one hand shuffles) as much of the powder as possible, the reward, after *softening* them is that any sleight can be done without problems...
Learn a few things well.....this life is not long enough to do everything.....

( Words of wisdom from Albert Goshman ...it paid off for him - it might
as well for YOU!!!- My own magic is styled after that motto... Smile )
Partizan
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Fanning powder (zinc sterate) is not used to make the cards slippy or sticky.
It is to give ALL cards in the deck the same performance characteristics. All treated cards will have the same slip/stick factor and thus behave in a uniform fashion.

If your deck don't fan correctly note the cards that are snagging (card infront and behind could be suspect too), and give them some extra coating.
The powder is just a means of creating a uniform deck.
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Werner G. Seitz
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Quote:
On 2004-08-13 00:15, Partizan wrote:
Fanning powder (zinc sterate) is not used to make the cards slippy or sticky.
It is to give ALL cards in the deck the same performance characteristics. All treated cards will have the same slip/stick factor and thus behave in a uniform fashion.

You did explain it better then anybody else..you are entirely CORRECT!
The term is *to give ALL cards in the deck the same performance characteristics*..not to make them sticky or slippery..
I didn't explain that well at all myself, of course I ment not, the powder has to make them stick together....but make them *equal* in sticking/slippery so they don't slip OR stick when f.ex. fanned..in short exactly how you described it..giving them the same performance characteristics..
Thanx for explaining this as well as it can be xplained..Smile
Learn a few things well.....this life is not long enough to do everything.....

( Words of wisdom from Albert Goshman ...it paid off for him - it might
as well for YOU!!!- My own magic is styled after that motto... Smile )
Harper
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Correctamente! Fanning powder is excellent for providing a uniform feel and behavior to your entire deck.

For manipulation, I break in a deck using the tried & true pencil and tabletop method. Next, I apply a very small amount of powder on the side of the cards, then shuffle and mix them well. I riffle the cards to remove excess powder and break them in a little. (Do not go overboard, as too much powder is not good. It usually takes a little breaking in to get optimal benefits from the powder.)

I repeat the powdering a little bit if needed. The effect on the cards lasts a very long time.

I suppose itn is all up to your personal preferences and what you feel comfrotable doing.
Magic.J.Manuel
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Just to add my two bits to this discussion. I was looking for fanning power, and found it at Nielson's web site along with excellent decks for manipulation, some with it already embedded.

I did not find any hobby dealer that carried it, but I see how a Pinewood Derby specialist would have this. I used graphite on my derby car, but one other kid always had a faster car. I understand it is also available in a spray.

Upon further research, I found out that Zinc Stearate is an industrial lubricant used in the rubber industry, among others, to keep raw rubber from sticking together before it is formed and vulcanized. Being in Cleveland, Ohio I was able to track down a rubber mixing company in Akron that told me of a poly-chem distributor, and when I talked to them they informed me that there are several various Zinc Stearate products, would I like a sample?

Sure, which one? Well, they connected me with their chemical engineer, and he described several style of pellets and powders, then suggested ZN Stearate D, a fine powder.

Fine. A few days later a quart of the stuff shows up on my door step from Ferro Inc., a company within five miles of me. Small world! The smallest amount they sell is a 25-lb. bag.

Anyhow, I think it acts like dry grease, making all the cards slip consistently as stated above. Some slippery characteristics, some clingy, like grease. I took a year old practice deck which would only fan in chunks, and it now fans much better. Then I took a deck of newer Black Tigers, very slippery out of the box, and it made them more controllable, for some things.

For manipulation the cards also need to be flexible as said above. Nielson makes some extra thin cards. I was taught to take a razor and lightly score both sides of each card in a diamond pattern, two ways. Then work the powder in. Then work the cards until soft enough.

Also, it is not a soap, but, like most metallic powders can cause mild irritation when in contact with the skin, so wash up after getting it on you or even use rubber gloves. Ferro sent an extensive data sheet with the sample. Nothing very dangerous or toxic.
Nothing would get done at all, if man waited so long that no one could find fault with it.
Nachtzehrer
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Well, instead of fanning powder, I use candle wax. Don't laugh, it's true. I was taught that by the Japanese manipulator Maka Tendo (sp?).

You just take a candle and rub it on the card on the Café and one the back. Do that to all the cards. The fans are a bit harder to do than with fanning powder, but a lot better for me. Fanning powder gets sticky in humid environments. Candle wax does not. You can do card manipulations with wet hands. It's great for people who sweat a lot on theory hands.

Try it hand let me know your toughts.

Alex
Alex
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