Best Chinese Stick

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Guest » 10/13/03 02:16 PM

Looking for opinions...

Who makes the best Chinese Sticks?
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/13/03 02:31 PM

Depends.

If you want the best looking? Owen Magic.
The smoothest working? Kovari

Why? Owen is thicker and best paint job.

Kovari took my idea and put TEFLON inside the tubes so they are slicker than snail snot.

Worst? Mikame.

Medium: Zanadu.

However if you want FUNNY... get my Plumber's Sticks (www.stevensmagic.com)

They are no tilt comedy version of Pom Pom sticks.

There may be other sticks that are good, but I have not seen them (I have not seen them all).

One of the faults is they require too big a tilt, and often the tassles are too small and too heavy. Make your own tassles with wool thread.

I also have modified Owen and a Kovari set so that one requires NO TILT at all by putting a reel at the inner end.

If you could ever find a rare set of Loyd's (Enochs) they were very good, but small.

Scotty Hooten made an incredible set with linked cords from one to the other that allowed some very funny bits, but I double if there are any out there to find.
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/13/03 02:32 PM

FIRST and FOREMOST... I suggest you get the Stevens Video on the Sticks... all you need to know and more at a low price.
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Postby Guest » 10/13/03 03:36 PM

Pete's version, like all his stuff, is very, very funny.

I also highly recommend the version in Martin Lewis' video Making Magic. The sticks are made by rolling gift wrapping paper around a short dowel "end," and are torn up and tossed to the audience at the end of the routine, ending completely clean. It is fantastic.
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Postby Guest » 10/13/03 08:15 PM

Pete,

Is the Kovari set the one that allows you to pull one of the sets of tassles so you have a cord about five long and then retracts back into the stick?

I seem to remember a set like this that had silver mylar tassles and were incredibly smooth to use.

Pete (The other Pete) Mills
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/13/03 09:04 PM

Yes, Kovari made two versions... standard and the "Himber style" that got longer and longer.

Kick me hard next chance. I had Himber's personal set of sticks and sold 'em to Bob Little (I didn't know what I had at the time).

Anyway, Kovari makes "fake" bambook sticks now. He may still make real bamboo ones, but they tend to split with time.
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Postby Chance Wolf » 10/13/03 10:14 PM

My personal opinion is the Owens for looks and the Kovari for smoothness as well as the extra length bit of business. Payne had shown me the Kovari set which had the extra length and the gimmick is unreal!! I am looking for a set for myself as I was so impressed with the additional effect as well as craftsmanship.
Pete,
I have a new spin on the Chinese Sticks that adds humor and a REASON why you even have the darn things. I think you will dig it. I want to discuss using some of your tips/methods with this new set but ONLY with your permission and due credit in the instructions. Seems that few people like to ask these days. If you agree, then we all be happy but if not. I will figure my own methods with no hard feelings :)
Sorry I can't tip the idea but email me and I will give you the inside scoop! God, I hope this hasn't been done already :mad:
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Postby Guest » 10/14/03 08:34 AM

Thanks for the info gents (Pete, the other pete, Whit, etc.)

Looks like I'll be giving the Kovari sticks a try (Owens paint job pushes the envelope on the 'cheese meter') Kovari's look simple and if they're the smoothest, that's for me.

I had bought a set of Zanadu... and I think Pete's "medium" rating was a bit high. They have the right 'look' but don't slide worth a damn (which was what lead me to post this Q.)

Curious: I did a search for the Kovari sticks, but did not see any bamboo style... can someone gimme a clue where these are available?

fyi: I plan to use Kaps (typically brilliant) finish, so no need for the extra length 'bit.'

thanks again to all,
Conn
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/14/03 11:17 AM

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Postby Wolfgang » 10/14/03 12:01 PM

D.Conn it is interesting to me that you have problems with the Zanadu sticks. I recently took over the Zanadu line of magic tricks and I am well aware that Zanadu produced many good ideas but in some times really bad quality, however the Ming Dynasty Sticks (Zanadu;s Chineses Sticks)have always gotten good remarks. The ones that I saw always run smooth and the "rotating" gimmick makes sure that the cords did not get tangled. The only thing that I felt could be improved were the tassels, which in my opinion should be bigger.
I am going to bring back many of the Zanadu items in good quality in the near future and I am always open for improvment.
If you want I would be more than willing to look and tweak your set of Zanadu Chinese Sticks (even they were bought from Zanadu when they were still active). I feel it is a good product and maybe your set is just the exwption of the rule......
Email me at illusions1@earthlink.net and we can discuss the proceedings. Of course there will be no charge.
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Postby Guest » 10/14/03 12:37 PM

Wolfgang,

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the offer! I bought a pair of Zanadu / Ming Dynasty sticks (about a year 1/2 ago) on the recommendation of another magician (so, you have magi-fans out there that think your sticks are good.)

I LOVE the way they look (though one stick is slightly bigger in diameter than the other.) It's just that they stick... and when they do work, It takes an extreme angle to get them to do so.

I'll send you an email (and the sticks) and maybe we can work something out.

Your willingness to correct the prob is VERY impressive. Thanks for your time.
I'll send you a note.

Regards,
Doug Conn
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/14/03 01:37 PM

If there is any way to "teflon" line them try that.

Also... IMHO the BEST tassles are made this way.

Take knitting wool, the color you want (I prefer white for best visibility)... and cutting pieces about 12 inches long - get about 30 pieces. Now at midpoint tie a piece of nylon fishing line around them with a couple of feet of cord (to run into the sticks and cut to length later).

Now about an inch below that center (you have pulled the ends down) tie a piece of cord around them... this gives you a ball shap at the top and the rest of the wool hangs down forming the tassle. This is the thickest, biggest looking with the LEAST WEIGHT.

NOW...as far as the Xanadu sticks... if you can get them open and get some thin teflon sheeting to put inside you will gain speed and less tilt.

Also, you might try silicone lube in a spray can IN ADDITION.

HOWEVER, my opinion... they are too skinny and dark. You really need thicker and brighter on stage. If in parlour maybe they are OK.

Get the Stevens Chinese STicks video!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/14/03 04:52 PM

Just got a flyer in the mail today from Stevens Magic touting the "Haenchen Sticks" (now made by George Robinson/Viking-Haenchen/Collector's Workshop).

I would guess they are very good. There are advantages to square sticks. Kaps used square sticks.
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Postby Guest » 10/15/03 06:59 PM

For D. Conn:

The reason I really liked the Kovari sticks, other than the extended thread length gag was the tilt required was very slight to activate the gimmick.

I worked in a magic shop (Magicland in Dallas,TX) and would demo the Addams set of sticks (quite serviceable in a parlor setting by the way) and then use the Kovari set.

I really had to be careful or the Kovari set would have the tassles retracted before I'd get the patter line out.

In a word "Schmoove"!

Ah those demonstrator days :) days!

I wonder if Ken Brooke had a routine with the sticks?

(Cheap attempt to get Pete Biro to tell more Ken Brooke stories)

Pete (the other Pete) Mills
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Postby pduffie » 10/16/03 06:21 AM

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Postby Pete Biro » 10/16/03 09:35 AM

Kovari's son was manning the stand at the FISM.

If you do order the sticks, DO NOT get the long version, but the standard. The L O N G version, IMHO is for magicians... for laymen the standard is the best.

If you do the Kaps routine you will need a spare extra (you may have to buy two sets).

If you really want to do the Kaps routine, then the Haenchen sticks just advertised at www.stevensmagic.com

Tell 'em I sent you. :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/16/03 09:38 AM

Now... if I can (A) get my act together, and (B) find the needed hardware, I will be manufacturing a new kind of sticks... similar to the Plumber's Sticks (Pom Pom stick style after the Histed design) that are Chinese Stick style-2 sticks, but with the NO TILT version as I have shown in my lectures.

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Postby Guest » 10/16/03 12:36 PM

For the Kaps version:
Instead of using a 3rd stick, I was just going to put an extra tassel on a reel inside my jacket. One less thing to tote around... hopefully it will "play" as well.

Thanks for the Kovari info (yo Duffie... you were late. Pete Biro had already shared the site info. What's a cardman doing butting in on a chinese stick discussion anyway?) ;) Perhaps you just wanted to join in with all the other 'Pete's'?

Joking aside:
I also found a good deal here: http://www.magicmgmt.com/magicshop/chin ... ovari.html (only $54.00)

Thanks again for the all tips... double thanks to Biro (man o man, am I glad I posted here... I was going to go with Mikame, assuming the most expensive was the best.) I'd love to hear a hands on review of the Viking sticks... anyone?

regards,
Doug
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/16/03 02:37 PM

Not sure if Kend Brooke sold sticks or just the manuscript... but Dany Ray (a top French magician) did the routine with an extra tassle on a reel. (It may be in one of the Ken Brooke books)??? :confused:

I will email you the best all time gag finish (in my act, of course) for the sticks. If you promise not to to in Southern California or Portland, Oregon. :cool:

Let me know. :confused:
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Postby Earle Oakes » 10/16/03 04:27 PM

Pete,

Ken did make a set of Sticks.15 inches
long and 1 inch square. Grey perspex
with white tips. White cords with white perspex balls. The instructions were clipped from some printed booklet (the only time that happened that they weren't Ken's original thoughts on the effect). Don't have them at hand but I believe only an additional cord and ball hanging from the inside jacket pocket was used at the end. No third stick necessary. Fred Kaps on the Sullivan show used three sticks. I don't think they were square.

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Postby Pete Biro » 10/20/03 10:44 PM

Thanks Earle.... I vaguely remember the gray sticks... but I do know it was Dany Ray routine, with an elastic and tassle out of the inner pocket.
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Postby Earle Oakes » 10/21/03 04:07 PM

Pete,

I'll go to the garage and find the instructions Ken sent to me with the sticks and post the findings. I don't think Ken advertised the sticks and made just a limited number of sets that he sent out to some of his regular clients.As you know he posted to you what the cost was and you sent him the money or if you didn't want the item you could send it back.Did anyone ever?
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Postby Rick Schulz » 10/22/03 01:49 PM

This has been one of the more helpful threads, and I just wanted to thank everyone who took time to share their knowledge. :D

The website Doug posted has great prices but requires a $150 minimum purchase - makes it a little harder to take advantage of the 25% savings. :(
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Postby Guest » 10/23/03 12:15 AM

Agreed, great thread w/ great info.
Double thanks to all (especially Sir Biro!)

Excuse the site recommendation, I didn't notice their min. order $$$ (...I guess I should tell that to my 'better half' ; I was hoping for the Kovari sticks as an upcoming Anniversary present & 'conveniently' left the web site info laying around... she'll need to shop elsewhere... or maybe I should just rack up $150 wish list and see how much she really loves me ;) )
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Postby Rick Schulz » 10/23/03 05:40 AM

Hocus Pocus lists the Kovari sticks for $59.95 - a little more but no minimum purchase! :D I haven't purchased anything from them (yet) but a friend of mine speaks highly of them.
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Postby Guest » 10/23/03 06:20 AM

I'm having trouble bringing up the hocus-pocus site/catalog... is it just me (or perhaps the magi-dealer community is banning us from obtaining the good stuff!?!)
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Postby Guest » 10/23/03 08:07 AM

As to the extra tassle on a reel, to the best of my knowledge, this was first done by Bev Taylor, of Town House Magic in St. Louis.

In 1954 he marketed his New Chinese Sticks, which were sticks made up like magic wands, i.e., black with white tips. He also included an extra tassle on a reel, which was to be pinned on the lapel. This was used at the finish.

Bruce Hetzler
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Postby Rick Schulz » 10/23/03 09:08 AM

Doug -

You are correct: it is a secret and vast (right wing - left wing - buffalo wing) conspiracy to lock you out of such websites. :eek: :D

If you can't pull up the Hocus Pocus website, you can call them directly at 800-407-4040.

Rick
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Postby Guest » 10/23/03 09:55 AM

One alternative that I have always loved was Gaeton Bloom's Potty Bicycle Pumps.

PSIncerely Yours,
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Postby Earle Oakes » 10/23/03 04:20 PM

Pete(and others that may be interested),
Ken Brooke's instructions for his Chinese Sticks outlined two routines.
No.1 Stuffelpump's Invention,which
used meteorology as the theme and No.2
O Poo's Barometer which tied the Sticks to the pattern on the once popular Willow Pattern china.

Ken also mentioned The Chinese Wands that Silent Mora made. I have a set that were made in 1953.Real Bamboo.
Beautifully handpainted on natural bamboo.They work silently and smoothly.
They are as true today as they were 50 years ago when Silent Mora signed them and inscribed each wand with a Chinese proverb.Beautiful detailing and the tassels with beads are handsome.
They would make the list of anyones Best Chinese Sticks

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Postby Pete Biro » 10/23/03 04:50 PM

What patter did "SILENT MORA" use? Heheheh... thanks much... that is one set of early instructions from Ken...I thought I had 'em all, but not got .... tsk...
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Postby gfajuri » 10/24/03 06:00 AM

Hi All,

FYI, FUN Inc. distributes the Kovari sticks here in the US. It is packaged with the Danny Ray routine, which includes the extra tassel on the elastic cord, as some have mentioned.

Best,

Gabe Fajuri
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/24/03 09:09 AM

Note: Here is a tip for all C stick users.... a small piece of velcro at each end, to keep them together makes 'em much easier to handle.
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Postby GAMOLO » 10/28/03 04:23 PM

Arlen Studios makes a set with dragon heads on the ends which is a nice update on the real & simulated bamboo sets.
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 10/28/03 08:45 PM

Who came up with the chinese sticks??
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Postby Guest » 10/29/03 07:33 AM

I'm not sure who came up with the the chinese sticks.
Though, In a related note:
"I do know why they're called the chinese sticks ... It's because there's two of them... if there was just one, it'd be a chinese stick ."
ba-da-boom :p
....
thanks...
I'm here all week! :D !
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Postby Pete Biro » 10/29/03 10:42 AM

A version shows up in Discouverie of Witchcraft, like the Thayer Prayer Sticks...

It could have been Silent Mora, but he wouldn't talk about it :D :D :D

Pom Pom Sticks were probably Histed (England) as written up in "Magic Circle Magic".
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Postby C. Hampton » 11/06/03 05:50 AM

You can find the Kovary Chinesse sticks at $55.00 at the www.themagicwarehouse.com

Tell Howard I sent you. ;)
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Postby Guest » 11/06/03 10:18 PM

Gen Grant has a very nice very classy set out... all brass with precision silent movement... they are really cool he has an extra little something added to his that will give you a really cool addition to your routine.... he also engraves your name on the side of the sticks if you want... they come in a velvet carrying bag and work like real magic

Im not sure who carries them.. if you want them it might be best to contact Gen or Martini but do it fast because I believe the sticks are limited and are moving pretty fast
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Postby Tabman » 11/07/03 09:26 AM

the late david price sr had a nice collection of mora sticks at his museum. many years ago i would visit him and bring small items from his collection needing repair out here and try to fix them up. he loaned me a set of mora sticks for awhile and i "copied" them from some old bamboo that i found. the real key to getting a good finish on bamboo is to let it age considerably before painting it. id love to find more hundred year old bamboo but i gave up looking for it years ago. theres a photo here at aka tabman
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