Bertram's Ring on Stick

Discuss the tricks and sleights which appear in Genii.

Postby Dave Shepherd » 02/19/03 09:42 AM

In another thread on the wonderful Ross Bertram issue, someone commented that the Ring on Stick description alone would have been worth the cost of a year's subscription. I am inclined to agree.

I have a mechanical question for you all. In describing the props, David Ben writes that you need "a handkerchief with a wedding band concealed in the center of the fabric."

Does anyone have any thoughts as to how to construct this DECEPTIVELY with a man's silk pocket handkerchief? I wouldn't so much be concerned about any bulging of the ring, but it seems that any seams at the edge of a secret compartment would be visible.

Should one opt for a patterned piece of cloth? Should one construct a pocket using an adhesive other than stitching?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/19/03 10:13 AM

Dave, it would seem the most straightforward way to construct this would be to use TWO hankies sewn together at the hem. The ring would be sewn between them in the middle with a few stitches. Needless to say, a hanky with a pattern should be used.
Perhaps David Ben will enlighten us?
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Postby Jim Riser » 02/19/03 11:11 AM

Dave;
One acceptable way to do this is to use a patterned hank with one corner folded up just enough to make a pocket to conceal a duplicate ring. It is folded from the edge not straight in from the corner. Very little cloth is required for this. This is then stitched to seal in the ring. A hank prepared in this manner is only one layer thick. The corner with the ring is folded into the center when needed. After the vanish, the hank can be rather freely shown by holding the corner with the concealed ring. It is very deceptive and easy to make/use.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 02/19/03 11:56 AM

Richard:
The first thought I had was to sew two handkerchiefs together. But you still have the problem of visible stitching somewhere. I guess it does seem obvious that you should use a patterned hanky, but I wouldn't want something extremely garish.

Jim:
I think your suggestion is sound. This is similar to the Tarbell method for card-to-orange (which I perform regularly using a cotton Hav-a-Hank), except much more deceptive under fire, I would imagine. I think the key sentence in your reply is:

"A hank prepared in this manner is only one layer thick."

With a silk cloth, you could certainly give the impression of openness and flowing silk without having a ring in the center. This method would seemingly avoid another problem I wondered about from the description: how to avoid banging the duplicate ring against the wand when the silk is swept away.

Thanks to you both. Curious to see whether anyone else has ideas. (David Ben? Are we on the right track?)
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Postby Guest » 02/19/03 05:55 PM

Forgive me for asking as I do not have the Bertram Genii Issue, but is "The Bertram Stick Move" included which appeared in The Looking Glass
Winter 1996 issue page 12? Ever since reading this method I have thought it one of the best ring and stick moves ever invented.

Take care all,
Vernon Almond
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 02/19/03 06:41 PM

It certainly is described in the Genii Ross Bertram issue Mr. Almond. :)
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Postby Pete McCabe » 02/19/03 06:56 PM

Just a thought, but you don't actually have to sew the ring between two folds of the hanky, do you? You could just sew it to one side of the hanky (obviously a pattern will hide the stitches) and as long as you are holding that corner of the hanky it shouldn't matter that the ring is exposed from the back side. When the spectator holds the ring through the hanky it will be concealed all around.

Just a thought.
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Postby Guest » 02/19/03 07:15 PM

Thank you Leonard, I appriciate the information.
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Postby Dave Shepherd » 02/19/03 08:14 PM

This evening I received an e-mail from David Ben in response to my question. He invited me to post it here on the Genii Forum.

I use a handkerchief made in the manner suggested by Richard Kaufman in this thread. I selected a very fine fabric - one with an elegant pattern for the prop. My wife - a talented seamstress - made it for me over a decade ago. The ring is secured to the center of the fabric with a loop of fabric - not thread - so that there is 'give and take' to the ring inside thefabricbut I need not fear that thread will breakand the ring will tumble inside the chamber formed by the two hankies. The loop of fabric is anchored to the center of the hanky with a couple of stitches.

I prefer this method than the one suggested by Mr. Riser because the drape of the ring over the stick is more effective if all four corners hang rather than three with one corner tucked up beneath the centre. It is a subtle difference but one that exists nevertheless. (This is not meant as a criticism of Mr. Riser as I am a big fan of his work and use some of his props in my own work. They are superb.)

Also, I have never - ever - had a spectator examine or want to examine the handkerchief. It's a handkerchief! Besides, they get to hold on to it during the course of the routine. (I use the same handkerchief in other routines in my program - noteably the Charles Bertram Cups & Balls, and in the Conjuror's Dream - see an earlier of issue of Genii for a full description - without fear or incident of discovery.)

You can avoid the ring hitting the stick if you take hold of the corner of the handkerchief and whisk towards you as the spectator release his or her hold on the stick. Don't worry if the ring does hit the stick, however,because either the spectator will be so startled by the penetration that they will forget or they will assume it was the sound of the ring that they dropped (which, in fact, it was) penetrating the stick.

Be confident.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/19/03 09:25 PM

Ahhhhhhh, it's all rendered so clearly when the knowledgeable and experienced speak. :)
Thank you, David!
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Postby Jim Riser » 02/19/03 09:41 PM

David;
The loop of fabric for the ring support is a nice touch. Thanks for sharing all (and the kind words). The "be confident" is all too key to such effects. Again, thanks.
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Postby mark » 02/22/03 06:49 PM

Oh, man that feels good. I was just sitting here reading the thread, thinking,"the heck with all this fancy stuff, just one loose stitch in the middle would do it without looking goofy." Thank you Mr. Ben, for allowing me to feel as if I am thinking 'magically' now and then ;)
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Postby David Ben » 03/13/03 06:15 PM

Okay, I was wrong.

Upon close examination it turns out that the loop of fabric that holds my ring in the center of the double handkerchief is attached only to one side of the double handkerchief. This raises the question of how then do the sides not billow out or separate if they are not sewn together in the center.

The answer is because the fabric selected by my wife was a silk/rayon blend that naturally attracts static. Hence, the two sides do not separate. They are held together by static electricity.

Now, for all you history buffs, it turns out that the ring sewn in the corner of the fabric is explained in J. Prevost "Clever and Pleasant Amusements" (or was it "Pleasant and Clever Amuseuments") published in 1584, months before "Discoverie of Witchcraft". (Purchase the Hermetic Press reprint.)

What I find interesting is that the handkerchief was spread out on a table, with the corner holding the ring falling over the edge. Brilliant. It means, of course, that the handkerchief is flat on the table. (No ring in the center.) The ring is borrowed and placed on the center of the fabric on the table and then the corners are brought forward, the ring stolen in the process. The spectator is instructed to hold the ring and the handkerchief.

This is probably the origin of the method of stealing a coin placed on the center of a handkerchief. Same motion, just no duplicate object concealed in the overhanging corner. The important point, of course, was that it was performed originally - at least in this book - from the table. The blocking of the routine in this manner certainly makes a great deal of sense.

I also find this particularly interesting because years ago when I first started performing the Charles Bertram Cups and Balls from "The Modern Conjuror", and did not have pochettes in my trousers, I used to drape a small table cloth over my table. The table cloth had extra balls hidden in the hem hanging over the rear of the table.

Everything comes full circle.

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Postby Dave Shepherd » 03/14/03 06:40 AM

I've bought some great silk fabric in the past week or so, and I've already cut the two pieces to make the gaffed hanky. (I will also make a duplicate ungaffed hank to switch in and out for things like Expansion of Texture and so on.)

I'm interested to read, David, that your wife selected a fabric that has natural static cling. I don't know how my silk will behave when assembled, but the solution I came up with to the problem of billowing was a bit different.

If the ring/loop of fabric is sewn onto only one side of the double hanky, then it should be picked up through the side to which it is NOT attached. Does that make sense? In other words, the spectator will actually be holding the ring through one layer of fabric, and thus hold the other side of the hanky in place by virtue of the ring's being attached to it.

It will take careful folding and unfurling so that the "attached" side is the one that lands on my left hand, but that's just careful rehearsal.

Thanks very much for the further details, David.
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