Quieting a reel

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Umpa Duze
Posts: 183
Joined: June 5th, 2008, 8:27 pm
Location: Humboldt County CA

Quieting a reel

Postby Umpa Duze » February 23rd, 2014, 10:48 pm

Hi All,
I have been working on some silk reel magic (serpent silk/penetration) with a Kirkendall reel and wonder if anyone has a tip on quieting the reel. There is such a pronounced whirring sound when the silk is passed through the microphone stand or unties itself that I am hoping there is some type of lubricant or packing that would make the operation more silent. I have heard of folks using petroleum jelly on the spring, but that sounds like it might goop up the operation. I would appreciate any thoughts or experiences you may have had that would help.
Cheers,
Umpa Duze

Umpa Duze
Posts: 183
Joined: June 5th, 2008, 8:27 pm
Location: Humboldt County CA

Re: Quieting a reel

Postby Umpa Duze » March 3rd, 2014, 4:42 am

So I have been experimenting and this is what is working for me. In my reel there is a playing card shim under the reel and a felt pad above it. I added a very thin washer under the reel with a 1/4" diameter and polished face. I used some 500 grit wet sandpaper to remove any imperfections on the bottom of the reel - there was a little dimple with a very slightly raised center. Next, I replaced the felt washer with one made from a playing card. I epoxied a very small spring to the outside port of the reel and reassembled. It is now faster and much quieter. Not perfect, but much improved.
Umpa
Cheers,

Umpa Duze

Larry S.
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2nd, 2011, 11:18 am

Re: Quieting a reel

Postby Larry S. » March 3rd, 2014, 10:31 am

I've been curious about this, while watching various "Silk Thru X" performances. Many (not all) include the magician making a masking noise at the time the reel operates - a whistle, a "Whoosh", etc. It doesn't seem to take much sound to cover - one lecture, the reel sound was quite apparent solo, but covered up nicely with a sound (he was wearing a mic, which might have helped).

Just an idea - I'd appreciate comments from others who've performed this and what they've done.

Also, the El Duco Reel I played with was, indeed, whisper-quiet. But expensive...

Larry

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Gordon Meyer
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Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Chicago
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Re: Quieting a reel

Postby Gordon Meyer » March 3rd, 2014, 10:53 am

If you have Tourette Syndrome, or your performing persona does, you could exclaim something inappropriate at the appropriate moment. This is also useful for covering a shift, by the way.

Larry S.
Posts: 27
Joined: May 2nd, 2011, 11:18 am

Re: Quieting a reel

Postby Larry S. » March 3rd, 2014, 12:00 pm

To the original poster: did you have much trouble getting your reel apart to work on it?

My Breese reel seems to be a sealed unit; I'd be hard pressed to open it without destroying/bending the case - but that may be my unfamiliarity with the right tools for the job.

Have any of the magic magazines, like our favorite Genii, ever run an article on the repair/maintenance of a reel? Seems like a good topic for a photo essay or video (although maybe a limited market).

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erdnasephile
Posts: 4129
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm

Re: Quieting a reel

Postby erdnasephile » March 3rd, 2014, 4:28 pm

Umpa:

You might consider contacting Mr. Jim Riser if you haven't yet. He's the acknowledged expert on all things mechanical as far as I'm concerned.

Good luck!

Umpa Duze
Posts: 183
Joined: June 5th, 2008, 8:27 pm
Location: Humboldt County CA

Re: Quieting a reel

Postby Umpa Duze » March 5th, 2014, 4:31 am

Hi All,
I am not sure about the sealed model you describe. The reel I have has a brake and cap that can be gently, but firmly pushed off. From my experience, I don't think a sealed reel makes a lot of sense. The thread wears out over time and breaks. You have to open it up to rethread the reel.

If you have to rethread the reel, I have found a thin florist wire folded in half like a needle threading tool works well in pulling the thread back through the little hole. If you do break a thread, I find that once the reel is open blowing on the spool will cause the end of the thread to pop up so you can use the wire loop.

Cheers,
Umpa
Cheers,

Umpa Duze

hugmagic
Posts: 271
Joined: January 20th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: OHIO
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Re: Quieting a reel

Postby hugmagic » March 5th, 2014, 6:49 am

I have never found a reel that is a sealed unit. It is just that some are fit together very, very tight. The Kirkendall and P&L reel are two of the best and easiest to work on.
George used to send instructions with every reel how to open it up and replace the thread and reset the spring. It is not a difficult job but it is a little spooky when you first open up the can.
As for the noise, a small drop of petroleum jelly can help quiet the reel action.

Richard.
Richard Hughes
www.hughesmagic.com


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