Card maintenance.

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Corneilius Jay » 01/20/12 08:10 PM

Hello there.
I'm an aspiring amateur magician in the making with a couple of basic questions.
I have been reading a lot of books lately on card magic which I am currently studying And loving every minuit of it.
I keep hearing about cards "wearing out" but nowhere have I read or seen anyone explain excactly how to differentiate between useable cards and worn out cards.
I'm aware that oily hands and moisture make a deck bow and become too soft to use, Is this what is meant by worn out?
Also while I'm on the subject could anyone please give me any good tips on card maintenance please. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Kind regards
Neil
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Reason: Spelling mistake
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/20/12 08:26 PM

Welcome to the Forum, Neil. Cards usually get "worn out" when they become too sticky to use. The edges get dirty and it's hard to spread them and do good work. Softness isn't a problem--it's something people who do certain types of work strive for. The cards I use get "buttery." There's no other word for it. Stiff cards make it very difficult for me to do most Passes. Gene Maze always had well broken-in decks for his false dealing. But I know there are lots of false dealers who can work just as well from a new deck (they have to).
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/20/12 08:27 PM

Oh, and here's a tip on maintainence I don't think I've mentioned before, and have never really discussed with anyone. When my deck starts to get sticky, I rub each card against the leg of my jeans: three times on the front and three on the back. Go through the whole deck that way. You'll be surprised at how nicely the deck spreads afterward.
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Postby Michael Close » 01/20/12 09:11 PM

This only works because Richard naturally secretes lanolin.
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Postby Corneilius Jay » 01/20/12 10:08 PM

Thanks for the kind welcome!
I have been enjoying reading your forum now for a couple of weeks and thought I'd brave a post or two.
I've Been interested in magic for a long long time but have literally been at it for about three months. I'm working my way down the royal road and I'm having a blast! I bought about seven different decks and have had mixed results. When they are brand new out of the box they tend to float like silk then they "calm down" then they sort of get soft, I then put those back in the box and practice with another fresh deck. Is this practice correct or am I being anal about my cards? ( my wife seems to think I am cause even when one of my cards gets bent up I moan about it) :)
Kind regards
Neil
Regards.
Neil.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/12 12:40 AM

Don't be anal about your cards. Let them get dirty and beat up, then wipe them on your pants and keep going.

You should be able to do your work with any deck that is handed to you. It may not be the best your Pass will ever look, but it should be good enough.

The only guys who don't like to use a nicely worked-in deck are the poor Joes who've built their reps on opening a sealed deck of cards with every performance. Because the cards are so stiff and slippery, they're limited in what they can do. It's hard to work in a relaxed and artless way if doing difficult sleight of hand when a deck is stiff and very slippery.

I always have half a dozen decks in various stages of being worked in. And I also keep some really beat-to-hell decks around for practice as well. The only thing I avoid practicing with is a new deck, but I can afford that luxury as a non-pro.
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Postby Corneilius Jay » 01/21/12 08:52 AM

Point taken, thanks
Another question, define what it means for cards to be "worked in" and when do cards cease to be "worked in" and become "worn out"?
I'm just trying to understand what the different levels or states of repair there are for a deck of cards and which of these are optimal for what types of techniques?
Is there any literature on this issue that I can research? If there is I haven't come across it yet.
I understand now that it isn't as important as I once thought as your point about being able to work with any cards handed to you is a valid one I hadn't considered fully but I'm a perfectionist at heart and I would really like to know more about cards in a more technical way
Thanks again
Neil
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Postby El Mystico » 01/21/12 02:19 PM

I don't know of any literature on this; I suspect it is down to the individual and what you are trying to do with the cards; if your effects depend on perfect faro shuffles, you'll probably need to switch packs more often than if yoou are doing overhand shuffles only.

I'd add this; years ago I used to work regularly in pubs; my experience then whas that Bicycles were best at absorbing beer, and so had a longer life.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/12 03:11 PM

If you're a perfectionist, then perfection would dictate that you could do anything with any deck, new or old, stiff or soft. The only way you learn this stuff is by both performance and practice, and more practice, and more practice, and more performance.
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/21/12 04:01 PM

1+ to Richard.

Please don't give excessive worry about your cards: just purchase a decent deck and practice your sleights and routines.

This sounds dumb, but you'll automatically know when the deck is broken in because you will get to a point where certain sleights become easy. You'll know the deck is worn out because things will start to stick and become sloppy.
(It's very much like how you know when a pair of running shoes is worn out). As Richard says: just keep practicing--there is no substitution for experience!

Parenthetically: I remember when I was a kid, I didn't concern myself with such things because money was hard to come by; therefore, it didn't matter if cards were worn out or not. I just used them until my next birthday or Christmas came along! :grin:
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Postby Corneilius Jay » 01/21/12 05:52 PM

Thanks for all the info guys.
I appreciate the time taken to post and the patience to answer the questions of a newcomer to the scene. I'll take it on board and apply it to my studies.
Thanks again
Neil
Regards.
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Postby IrishMagicNews » 01/22/12 10:49 AM

Neil,

You might like to check out my website which has all the up to date info on the Irish magic scene. Or perhaps join a society. I am a member of The SIM in Dublin and we meet once a month.

You can check all the info out on my site. Link in my sig below.

Brendan
Brendan

News, Lectures, Societies & Magic in Ireland
http://www.IrishMagicNews.com

Shenanigans the irish magic convention 2-4 May 2014 Dublin
http://www.IrishMagicConvention.com
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Postby Corneilius Jay » 01/22/12 04:31 PM

Thanks Brendan
The next thing on my agenda was to find some magicians to chat to alright however I'm living I'm county Mayo and it's pretty hard for me to get down to Dublin at the moment also as far as technical skill and performance goes I'm a long long way from joining SIM.
What I would like to do is try to get in touch with some magicians over my side of the country for practice and support, if you know of anyone PM me, I'd appreciate it.
Thanks for the link to your news site it's been bookmarked and also I got to get a subscription to genii ;)
Kind regards
Neil
Regards.
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