Splitting Cards

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 04/10/02 12:06 PM

Thanks to the Washington State recession, I've had a lot of time on my hands lately and have started messing around with splitting cards. I'm wondering if anybody has any tips or tricks they'd like to share. What are your experiences with making gaffed cards? Are there any good books or videos you'd recommend?

Personally, I've found two hints that help. One is that you don't have to tap the corner of the card very much at all to start your initial split. The other is that once you have a good corner going, you slowly – painfully so – use something to roll the corner back. This seems to keep the paper from tearing. Oh, and above all, you need lots and lots of patience.

I know that Don England has just put out a video that was taped at an Abbott's Close-up Convention. Funny thing is, I was at that convention and remember being more fascinated with the man than with any of the techniques he demonstrated.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Zech Johnson
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Postby Andy Hurst » 04/10/02 12:21 PM

Ben Harris has posted an excellent (and free) tutorial on his web site www.wowbound.com

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Postby Rennie » 04/10/02 04:04 PM

There is a book that came out about 15 - 20 years ago on splitting cards, I do have a copy and will check this evening for the actual title of the book and author for you.
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve is not !!
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Postby Oliver Corpuz » 04/10/02 04:37 PM

Here's what I've learned about splitting cards.

1) After you tap the card corner to get it started, look at it and then decide which way you want the split to go. (Thick - Thin or Thin - Thick). If it doesn't look like it will split the way you want... remember you have 3 more corners to try to get it started the way you want. When starting out, bang all four corners and then decide which corner looks best.

2) Always pull "thick side away from thin." I give a fairly quick pull from the start corner towards the corner opposite it. You'll have to use trial and error to discover what works best for you.

3) Flatten out the split cards overnight before you glue them. I use two glass welding faceplates and a couple strong spring clamps.

4) After you glue your gaff together, flatten the card overnight. This makes the gaffed card act and feel like any other card. Don't play with the gaff until it has been flattened overnight!

5) I like to use 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. This stuff really holds.

6) If you are making gaffs, it is easier to make a hole bunch of each card gaff at a time. For example, when I was making Hofziner gaffs, I got two forcing decks of the two required cards. This way, I didn't have to ruin a whole deck to get the card(s) I needed. Also, I had plenty of extra cards in case I screwed the split up.

7) Split cards while watching T.V. I can sit in front of the T.V. and split a whole deck in about 25 minutes. If I don't sit in front of the T.V., I get bored after about five minutes.

regards,

Oliver
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Postby Guest » 04/10/02 10:36 PM

The big secret for me was once you have seperated the lamenations by tapping the card corner on a hard surface. Very lighty pull a single lamenation enough to get the split started. Then lay the card down on a table with the single lamenation next to the table and pull the double lamenation up and away from the table while holding the single lamenation firmly next to the table.

After months of trial and error this is what I stumbled on to. It works almost 100% of the time.

Hope this helps.
Russ
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Postby Guest » 04/11/02 09:06 AM

Thanks for all your input. I'm going to have to try pulling the thick side away from the thin, as I have been doing it the other way around. Obviously, if Oliver can split an entire deck in about 25 minutes - which is about how long it takes me to split one card - then a change of approach is in order. I'll see what good Mr. Harris has to say about it.

On a related (making gaffed cards) note: What are people's experience with using rub-on transfer pips? They seem like a great idea, but what do you do to finish the card so the pip won't rub off later?

Thanks again.
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Postby Hannes Freytag » 04/11/02 12:36 PM

Hi,
i just need a gaffed card an so at the weekend i looked in expert card magic and read the artikle of card splitting. but after reading it doesn't work when i tried.
noe i looked for the introduction on the homepage of ben harris. I tried. and it worked at the first trial. i think when you do it like this it isn't that difficult.
What do you use to clue the splitted cards together in order not beeing so hard or so soft but feeling like a "real" card?

thanks for the good tips and hints
Hannes

PS: sorry, i'm german, my english is not so well....
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 04/11/02 03:43 PM

Originally posted by Hannes:
Hi,
What do you use to clue the splitted cards together in order not beeing so hard or so soft but feeling like a "real" card?
Pick up a copy of the May '02 Genii. There's going to be an article which answers that very question.
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Postby Guest » 04/11/02 07:15 PM

I haven't tried spray adhesive. But I know Elmers was a desaster.

A good Glue Stick works okay but I don't know it it is the best or not. Just be sure to get the edges glued good and if the card isn't lined up exactly you can trim it off with sissors. I was thinking of using paste like the stuff we used in school. But I never got around to it.

After you get it glued down make sure it is dried before you mess with it (like over night).

I was making double facers so instead of trying to put two split cards together I just glued the single lamination to the back of another card. This way the card won't be as warped. However the card is 1/3 thicker. You really have to look to tell the difference. It's better than having a warped card. I am open to suggestions.

This may seem like alot trouble to get a perticular double backer. I my case the closest Magic Shop is 60 miles away or hunt around on the internet for it and wait for it. Making my own seems the best option. And I can make an exceptable double in about 5 min. (not counting the drying time).

If I could buy the doubles I am looking for I would just buy them.

Hope this helps.

Russ
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Postby Jamie Badman » 04/12/02 02:13 AM

I've been making LOTS of gaffed cards recently (just ask my wife; she's at the end of her tether now, after sitting through evening upon evening of Rrrriiiiiipppp!).

Anyway, here's some thoughts that you may find useful:

1.) I started using a glue stick (blu glu - the restickable stuff). It worked REALLY well BUT it gets everywhere and you end up with dirty edges on the card etc etc. It's also hard to get the quantity right. So I then switched to a 3M spray (the repositionable stuff in a red can) and this works a real treat. Perfect.

2.) For double facers, don't stick a split face on to the back of a normal card and don't split both cards... there's another way - it's time consuming but it gives you a card with a perfect 'feel'. What you do is you split the face off the first card and then with the second card and some really fine grade sandpaper you sand off the back of the other card, so you end up sanding the top layer off. Then stick them together. By doing this, the card retains its crisp feel and is also the same thickness as a normal card.

Hope this has helped someone!

Cheers,

Jamie.
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Postby Oliver Corpuz » 04/12/02 06:32 AM

Some other tips I forgot to add:

1) When gluing, use as little glue as possible. Use a hand roller to roll out any air bubbles and excess glue. I got my hand roller at a crafts store, in the rubber stamp section. To line up the cards layers perfectly, just put them side by side, then flip one layer on top of the other like you are turning the pages of a book. And remember to press the card overnight to flatten it out!

2) There is a faster way to make double facers (if you can split cards decently). Just split a card so you have a "thin" side with the face of the card. Then split another card, where the "thin" side is the back of a card. Now you have a face layer that is "thin" and a face layer that is thick. Glue those layers together, and it is the same thickness as a normal card. (And you can take the "thin" back and glue it to the "thick" back and make a double back card.)

3) Humidity does affect how well cards split. Don't do it on a rainy day.

- Oliver
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Postby Jamie Badman » 04/12/02 08:22 AM

Oliver - I've found if I make double facers that way, I can't seem to get rid of all the small 'wrinkles' created on the splitting of the thicker 'half' despite, like yourself, using a roller, pressing the card etc. Do you split the thicker 'half' differently from the extra face part ?

Cheers,

Jamie.
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Postby Oliver Corpuz » 04/12/02 08:49 AM

Jamie,

I suspect you may be pulling the "thick" layer at too much of an angle and not pulling it in a smooth consistant pull without stopping. I also pull fairly fast, from start corner to corner opposite. If you keep stopping to re-adjust when you split the card, you will end up with a lot of wrinkles. The "thick" layer certainly will be curved after you split the card, but flattening the layer out overnight with a really strong spring clamp gets most of that curve out. And after you glue and "vigorously" use a hand roller, you again need to press the card overnight. If you play with the cards too soon, they will not have had a chance to flatten out. You need to be really patient and do not be tempted to play with the card before it has been pressed at least 12 hours. That's the hard part for me, I always want to play with it right away.

regards,

Oliver
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Postby Jamie Badman » 04/12/02 09:07 AM

Thanks Oliver; I'll try that with some cards tonight.

For me, the card wrinkles occur because I 'stop' splitting when I get near the far corner - because I find often if I just split quickly, the very far corner tends to tear - so I stop near it and do that bit slowly - but then the dreaded wrinkles set in! It's actually not TOO bad but not perfect - it'd be nice to create gaffs that look 100% perfect.

Again, thanks for the help.

Jamie.
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 04/12/02 02:03 PM

The only way I've been able to get that 100% perfect look, is to buy my gaffs from Neil Lester. I don't know how he does it. He (and Gary Plants) must have some secret method, unknown to the rest of us! I've managed to make some pretty good gaffs, but I only reach about the 90% perfection mark. Mabey it's like everything else, and just takes lots and lots of practice.
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Postby Guest » 04/22/02 07:41 PM

Actually, Zech, I have a method I use to make gaffed cards which I think is superior to splitting them. I sand them. Yep Sand Paper. I can then take the card down to whatever thickness I need, there are NO wrinkles and I think it just makes better gaffs.

For Double Backers, I take off the first layer from the face (I think most cards have three basic layers) of each card and then use a flexible 35 Aeresol adhesive. The result is a double backer that is indistinguishable from a regular deck and almost as flexible as a regular card. It ends up being about 1/3 thicker than a normal card, but I do it that way on purpose so I can tell where the card is by feel.

Surely, someone else must have come up with this idea before...

Steven Youell

Zech Johnson[/QB][/QUOTE]
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Postby CHRIS » 04/22/02 07:54 PM

I have used in the past a belt sander to remove half the thickness of a card.

Chris.... Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time
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