The Best Linking Rings

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Rick Schulz » 10/13/04 08:13 AM

I would like to post a question to the readers of this forum: in your opinion, who makes the best linking rings commercially available today? What makes them the best?

I have spent several months practicing with an inexpensive set of 10" rings purchased from the local magic shop, and I want to "upgrade" from the steel & nickle plated set to a professional 12" set - lightweight with a "crystal bell" sound when tapped together. I am looking for recommendations.

Lately I noticed an ad from a company named Proline Magic offering a set of 13 1/4" x 3/8", lightweight aluminum rings for $250. Does anyone have any experience with these?

Thanks in advance for your replies!
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 10/13/04 08:25 AM

Rick--I don't own the Proline Rings-but I've read in other postings from the eminent Mr. Biro that you can't go wrong with Owens Magic on the West Coast or Joe Porper. :)
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Postby Steve Mills » 10/13/04 03:47 PM


They caught my eye also - lightweight and a bell-like ring - nice combination. Unfortunately, for me, they are only available as a set of eight and since I only do 3 rings that would be overkill.

Good luck with your hunt....

Life is tough. It's tougher if you're stupid.. – John Wayne
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/13/04 04:03 PM

Having tested and owned most of them all, including stainless steel rings custom made in the shape of stars...

I can tell you one thing.

You cannot beat the Owen 12-inch or the Porper Rings.

You can buy 1 or 30 just contact alan at or joe at

If you want to go overseas Auke Van Dokken makes excellent rings as well.

I would avoid a locking key, but if you must have one Porper's is the easiest to handle.
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Postby Guest » 10/13/04 06:41 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:

I can tell you one thing.

You cannot beat the Owen 12-inch or the Porper Rings.
Pete knows best!! Owens is a great set.

Postby David Alexander » 10/13/04 11:46 PM

This is the second time in a few months that this same topic has been discussed....with the same result: Owen or Porper.

I've used a set of 12" Owen stainless steel rings...hollow...for some time. Wonderful to work with. Before those I used an old set of Merv Taylor Orb Eternal 10" rings that belonged to Gene Gloye - solid stainless steel, weighing in at 6.5 pounds for the set of eight.

The biggest rings I've heard of were used by Faust in his large stage shows in Japan in the 1970s, 15"....solid stainless, they are VERY heavy, which gets a great laugh when one is handed to a spectator. These were, of course, custom made.

Buy a set of Owen 10" or 12" rings and you'll have a set that will last a lifetime.
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 10/14/04 05:39 AM

Yep,I use 10' Owen rings for my bigger shows.
But be careful when I first got them I did a number of shows at Mackanaw Island ,MI. And the ring hit my head then blood ran down my forehead. The audience thought it was cool.Those bloody rings. :D
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Postby Guest » 10/14/04 02:09 PM

I've had a set of Owen 12" rings for a couple of years and couldn't be happier with them. They look big and thick and heavy.

One piece of advice. Make sure the rings thickness is appropriate to its diameter. There are so many rings that look like wires especially the 12" rings that are cheaply made.

The extra thickness adds a lot to the look of the rings.


Postby Guest » 10/20/04 06:13 PM

I bought a used set of Owens at the Magic Castle sale last year and it was one of the best investments I've made. The sound they make when they hit is great. :)

Postby gulamerian » 12/19/04 01:11 PM

I own a set of rings by Joe Porper. I perfer them over Owen.
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Postby Guest » 12/23/04 09:05 PM

Add another vote for Owens. I learned with and used Rings and Things 10 inch for a long time then saw Bob Kohler use Owen. It took me a while to get used to the thickness, but now they are incredible. Haven't seen Porper rings first hand, but every thing he makes is beautiful.


Postby Guest » 01/25/05 12:52 PM

I help out from time to time at Denny and Lee's in Baltimore and we recently got in a few sets of the pro-line rings... There not bad, They ring really nice, nice thick rings. My only concern is they seem to mark up easily... I was told if you use the cleaner they recommend for aluminum they clean right back up. (most rings will show some wear over time) I can see buying them if you can't afford the Owen.They seem to be a Good mid range ring. But for my money I'd still go Owen. (which Denny and lee's also carrys)

Postby GayLjungberg » 02/18/05 04:15 PM

We offer a set of 5 Linking Rings made from stainless steel. They are about 12 inches diameter, key ring, chain of 2 and 2 single oversized rings. The oversized rings enables you to do very easy and convincing switches. There is also a close up sized set. Comes with Tonny van Rhees routine on cd rom (film clips in PDF-format) or you can buy a dvd with the routine.
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Postby Guest » 03/24/05 05:04 AM

Hi All,

Individual rings are available direct from me.

Let me know If I can assist.

Cliff Wiggs
Proline Magic

Postby Pete Biro » 03/24/05 11:32 AM

Unless aluminum rings are a "hard" alloy, I would go with the hollow stainless steel.

And, unless you are working HUGE theaters or arenas, 10-inch is the biggest you really need for club dates, etc.
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Postby Bill Palmer » 03/24/05 11:06 PM

I have a set of 12 inch Owen rings that I used for 20 years on the Renaissance Festival circuit. I messed up the locking key and had to get it repaired. Gertrude took care of it very quickly. She even offered to polish the rings, but I talked her out of that.

I'll explain why. If you are working on a stage with a follow spot, when it shines down on a set of brilliantly polished linking rings, you can't see the rings. Instead, each ring looks like two points of light. The audience loses the effect.

If, on the other hand, the rings have a matte finish, such as old stainless steel, the whole ring shows up. But they still look good from the stage.

I learned this watching other performers.
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Postby Pete Biro » 03/24/05 11:32 PM

Bill's right about the glare. Shiny looks SMALLER on stage, er THINNER that is.

If you want a 3 ring set with the only locker I really like, see a clik on rings.

I have it with the spinning ring feature... what a killer effect.
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Postby Jim Riser » 03/25/05 12:13 AM

I have a nice old 10" set of stainless steel rings made by Clark Fonda. I would have bought then in the mid to late 1960's. They have a very well designed locking key which happens to be "right handed" (easy to work in the right hand and difficult to work in the left hand). Even though I am mostly left handed, I always used the right hand for the key ring and never had any problems.

Since I picked up set, I have noticed that several other makes of locking keys are right or left handed - perhaps not an intentional design.
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Postby Guest » 04/02/05 06:14 AM

I have enjoyed performing my three ring, close-up,routine for many many years. Mine are a standard set of steel rings. I am guessing that they are nickel-plated intsead of chrome-plated (though I am not certain)because the finish (happily) does not seem to wear off.

I perform the Roy Benson silent link move and often the silent drop to disconnect. The key is ungimmicked, and I prefer this.

I am considering the possibility of switching to the larger,more beautifully crafted Owen or Porper rings. However, I am concerned that because they are hollow, when I perform my crash links (and I often do this with gusto), the rings might be prone to damage.

Also, I sometimes like to bang a ring on the table, or encourage the volunteer to do so, to prove that they are "solid". In this way, I am very "physical" and highly interactive with my ring routine.

Will this banging cause the hollow/Owen of Porper rings damage? They sound much too delicate and "beautiful" to handle in such a physical way.

If my particular style is not suited to the use of hollow rings, can anyone recommend a set of steel rings and the type of finish (ie. nickel, or stainless steel) that thay should have to withstand the wear and tear of frequent performance?

To execute the Silent Link and unlink, I believe that the added weight of a solid steel ring might be helpful. However, I may be wrong. Do the hollow rings allow these silent moves easily?

Auke Van Dokkum at:
offers what appear to be a very nice looking set of stainless steel rings that are described to be "very light, but can withstand all of the professional stage or street-performers demands".

He can make them 3/8 inches thick or 1/2 inch thick.

Any comments on the Van Dokkum paticular set of rings in comparison to the Owens or Porper? Also, any comments on which thickness is preferred and why?

Any comments or advise on any (or all) of the above would be much appreciated.


Postby Joe M. Turner » 04/02/05 06:55 AM

I use a set of Van Dokkum rings. They are stainless steel, 11" in diameter and are beautiful. They are not overly polished, having the matte finish that Bill Palmer was describing. They are hollow and thick (3/8"), not wiry. They are the best rings I have ever owned.

That said, their one deficiency is sound, which in my view is an important part of the overall effect. While beautiful, these rings do not have the resonant, melodious tone I had hoped they would have. I will buy Owen rings the next time I make a purchase.

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Postby Guest » 04/08/05 07:57 PM

I was fortunate enough to try out my friend's set of Owen's rings yesterday. They look, feel, sound and respond to sleights wonderfully.

All my questions were answered and my concerns alleviated within minutes during this trial run.

I will definitely be purchasing the Owen Rings (ten inch),

Many thanks to all those who shared their thoughts and experience on this Linking Rings thread.

Special Thanks Pete Biro who answered my e-mails with reassurance and thoughtful insights, and to my friend Mike for meeting me in person to show me his beautiful set of rings.

Postby sundar » 04/09/05 10:33 PM

Has anyone tried out the 12-inch rings from CapstoneMagic ? They seem to meet Owens specifications (at least on their web-site) but are about $75.00 cheaper than the Owens for a standard set of 8-rings. Would welcome any comments from one that owns a Capstone set and uses it frequently.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/10/05 12:05 AM

Yer welcome... glad you got the ten inchers.
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