The case of the vanishing vanishing cage!

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Postby Jim Riser » 07/15/05 05:10 PM

A couple weeks ago I bought a National Magic Lindhorst style vanishing cage off of the Martinka auction. (Very professional auction - BTW).

I wanted the National Magic brand of cage for its construction characteristics and to modify for an experiment. This was quicker and easier than making a new cage to modify. When the cage arrived, I immediately noticed that it had not been properly taken care of by the previous owner(s). The aluminum cage frame had been allowed to become extremely pitted due to contact with perspiration from the performer. I bought an old Owen cage with the same problem about 25 years ago. If left unchecked, the aluminum will completely disappear. Now, that's a real vanishing cage!

Fortunately, I am in a position where I can refurbish such a cage and this corrosion, if caught early enough, really is not an insurmountable problem. I was able to completely clean up the cage and remove virtually all traces of this mistreatment with only one broken brass bar. I'll replace that later. Cleaning up such a cage is not a fun project.

The purpose of this posting to to alert magicians to this problem and provide a suggestion which will help to prevent your expensive cages from being eaten away and prematurely vanishing.

If the performer will (now and then) either wax or polish the cage with something like Flitz, this potential problem can be avoided. Cages are tedious to make and hence costly. Do yourselves a favor and "baby" those cages. They will serve you well for years with the proper care.
Jim
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Postby Lou Leventhal » 07/16/05 10:33 AM

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the great preventive suggestion! Knowing how busy you are, it just shows your character in wanting to help others avoid costly damage or repairs. Thanks again for taking the time to share advice that can only come from a craftsman who "knows his stuff!"

Warm regards,
Lou
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/17/05 01:09 PM

I think my olde cages are nickle plated... whew!
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Postby Jim Riser » 07/17/05 01:20 PM

Pete;
The National Cage I just cleaned up was originally nickel plated too. Nickel plating is not permanent. It tends to oxidize away into nothing over the years - thus exposing the bare metal underneath. Polish or wax those old cages, Pete.
Jim
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Postby Guest » 07/24/05 08:34 AM

Howdy Jim,

The trick I have learned even with nickle plated props is that if they really get used, it shows. Replating is not expensive and will really keep things working better. The best contact I made in the business actually claims to be in the "Coffee Pot Resilvering Business"! Most major cities have one. Music stores can also help you find a good one. (Music stores use them to refinish horns!)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
The Amazed Wiz
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