Making Some Take Up Reels…

One of the magic products that I put out and that I’m the most proud of is the Take Up Reel that I created. What a Take Up Reel is used for is to shorten a length of string and was popularized by Billy McComb and Tommy Wonder in their Vanishing Birdcage routines.

As far as I know I’m currently the only person / company that makes a Take Up Reel for sale. I’m working on a batch of them this week. It takes about a full week to make one from start to finish. Here’s one of the locks coming out of my 3D printer:

Magic is being revolutionized by 3D printing, especially stage magic. It allows you to affordably make soo many custom props that would have cost tons of money to have fabricated 5 or 10 years ago.

If you’re not out printing stuff, I highly recommend learning how. It’s pretty easy, and you don’t even need to own a 3D printer as there are companies you send the file to and they’ll make it for you.

Click here for more info on my Take Up Reel!

Vanishing Bird Cage…

Every now and then there are tricks that you can’t get out of your head. One of them for me is the Vanishing Bird Cage. I’ve revisited it several times over the years, and in the past hit stumbling blocks with it. The birdcage is probably one of the most difficult tricks I’ve worked on. There so much you need to overcome, it’s not as simple as the old magic catalog ad makes it seem.

One of the issues that’s easy to overcome is the issue of doing the birdcage later in your show. This was solved by Billy McComb with the use of a Take Up Reel. It was popularized by Tommy Wonder in Volume 2 of the Books of Wonder. By popularized, I mean people became aware of it. After that book came out, there were still not many people used one, simply because of price and availability. If you could find one or get someone to make you one they’d cost you somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000 or more!

One day I was driving and an idea hit me for a way to produce the second lock of a Take Up Reel on my 3d Printer, I pulled over and drew it on the back of an envelope. After using it and having some other people use it and gotten their feedback, I’ve finally decided to offer them to other magicians.

Here’s the promo:

When something’s in your head, if you keep chipping away at it, eventually you’ll come up with a solution!

Click here for more info on my Take Up Reel or order one!

On my flight home yesterday I started reading an ebook called Building An Act by Tommy Wonder that you can get on Tom Stone’s Website. I had bought this ebook a long time ago and hadn’t read it. I’m only about a dozen pages into the book, but so far it’s great! One of the … Continue reading “”

On my flight home yesterday I started reading an ebook called Building An Act by Tommy Wonder that you can get on Tom Stone’s Website. I had bought this ebook a long time ago and hadn’t read it. I’m only about a dozen pages into the book, but so far it’s great!

Building an Act by Tommy Wonder

One of the things that he mentions, that you build up enthusiasm for what you are creating and that enthusiasm carries you, but also inspires others to help you. Thinking back on things that I’ve created, and the help I’ve gotten from essentially strangers. I’ve gone into industrial shops tell them what I’m trying to do and they go out of their way to help me or teach me how to make something, usually for free. I always offer to pay, it’s amazing how many are fine with just me buying the few bucks in materials.


Another thing he does is puts a time limit on it. This is something I don’t do, however when I’m creating something new that I’m passionate about, I tend to get in done within the time limit that Tommy Wonder mentions in the book. I really like the idea of imposing a time limit to get at least a basic, version of the trick done.


I fly again tomorrow, and I’ll finish up reading it on the plane.

No Outs and Snagging…

Honestly, I’m not sure how I used to do the vanishing birdcage. I think I was very lucky in that years ago it never really hung up on my sleeve in a show. I also think that I’m currently more aware of failure without an “out” in tricks that I do in the show. Billy … Continue reading “No Outs and Snagging…”

Honestly, I’m not sure how I used to do the vanishing birdcage. I think I was very lucky in that years ago it never really hung up on my sleeve in a show. I also think that I’m currently more aware of failure without an “out” in tricks that I do in the show. Billy McComb in an interview on the Greater Magic Video Series says, “…there is no out when the cage is hanging out of your sleeve.

Currently I’m following Tommy Wonder‘s advice. Every time the cage snags on something, I’m trying to figure why it snagged and what I can do to stop it from snagging. It’s a smart approach, and one that’s a lot of work and will end up with a fairly altered jacket.

The last year or so I’ve been working with the vanishing bird cage trick. I used to do it a long time ago, and at one point even did the Tommy Wonder version with the sleeves rolled up. The vanishing bird cage is one of those tricks that I keep revisiting. Currently it’s in the … Continue reading “”

The last year or so I’ve been working with the vanishing bird cage trick. I used to do it a long time ago, and at one point even did the Tommy Wonder version with the sleeves rolled up. The vanishing bird cage is one of those tricks that I keep revisiting.


Currently it’s in the show and I’ve been doing essentially Billy McComb’s Slow Motion Vanishing Bird Cage. The main difference is that I’m doing it fast, just under the cover of the sheer scarf. I think the scarf adds a little bit to the vanish. Yes, it takes away from the instant vanish, but also adds a bit of other options as to where the cage could have gone.


Last night I stumbled upon a video of Tommy Wonder doing his vanish with the scarf:

I like this better than when he does it uncovered.

One thing that the scarf does is that it gives the audience a moment to process what’s happened while you show the sheer scarf empty and let’s their brains get caught up.