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 Post subject: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 10:06 pm 
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I get a newsletter from magicvault.com, and this one was on coin gaffs.

I DID NOT WRITE THIS, MARK M. REED DID. I suggest signing up for his newsletter at http://www.shopmagicvault.com/ or check out his blog at - http://magicvault.net/blog/ where this was posted as well

This is what was written up:


The differences in commercially made coin gaffs.


With so many makers of coin gaffs, new magicians often find themselves wondering "who makes the better gaff?" or "What are the differences between all these guys?". With exception to the high end custom makers such as Schoolcraft or Lassen, most coin gaffs are commercially produced using precision metalworking equipment in a mass production approach. Schoolcraft and Lassen are focused on custom work where each set of coins is treated as a unique process and even greater focus is given to the finer details. While custom makers offer the absolute best in quality, be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on your gaffs. But what about those of us that just want
an affordable gaff set to practice and learn with... do we need to give up quality fit and finish? The answer depends on which manufacturer you choose. We will highlight the most common makers of commercial coin gaffs and try to give an honest opinion of the pros and cons of each...

Johnson Precision Magic
Johnson is considered to be the best maker of commercial coin gaffs. They have been around for a very long time and have a commitment to quality that surpasses any other commercial maker. The fit and finish of their coins are so close to the custom makers that unless you are looking for special coins (antique silver dollars for example) Johnson is the way to go. I think you would have an incredibly difficult time finding any magician with something bad to say about Johnson products. The downside to Johnson is that not every magic shop carries them, and they are usually priced higher than most other makers. MagicVault is proud to be a Johnson dealer and can supply you with any of their items.

Tango
Tango is an Argentinean company that has recently gained more of a presence in the U.S. They offer a very wide selection of items. In fact, in addition to the common gaffs, they offer many unique items and gaffs that are exclusive to Tango. Many times these unique items are common gaffs tweaked in ways that the founder of Tango feels adds more value or ease of use. The quality of Tango items is very good. Not quite as good as Johnson. The fit and finish of the gaffs are of quality, but if you place them next to a Johnson, you may notice a slight difference. Sometimes the edging and milling is a little more rough, or there is a little more gap in a shell. Nothing major, but still a difference. Where Tango does fall short is the included instructions with gaffs. They are horrible. They are written in very broken English that often leaves unfamiliar magicians unclear about the use or method of handling. If you order a Tango item, either know how to use it, or know that you can work with a fellow magician to get the handling down. MagicVault does carry various Tango items we feel are of merit. We do not carry the entire line as we suggest magicians purchase Johnson when possible. Pricewise, Tango is very close to Johnson - usually about 10-20% lower.

Roy Kueppers
You occasionally find gaffs made by Kueppers. Kueppers is actually a custom maker but supplies gaffs commercially as well. These gaffs are well made. Kuepper also makes various coin utility items such as coin benders. Kueppers is on par with Tango and priced similarly. If you cannot get a Johnson or Tango, Kueppers is a decent alternative.

Sterling
You do not see Sterling too often these days. Due to the dominance of Johnson and Tango, Sterling has become a lesser known maker. Sterling offers a decent quality - but again a definite noticeable difference when compared among Johnsons. We have heard of sporadic past quality issues. They are much lower in price, and do have a narrow product line that is mostly limited to shells and nested coins. Scrutinize the coins when you get them to make sure they are ok. MagicVault does not carry Sterling. We suggest sticking with one of the better makers.

Sasco
Sasco gaffs are where you start getting into the low cost economy coins. Sasco, while inexpensive, often lacks the quality and detail fit and finish that working professionals and picky amateurs require. They are perfectly fine for beginners looking to get a few gaffs to learn and practice with, but in all honesty we suggest taking that money and putting towards one of the better made gaffs. The prices are not that much lower that it creates a huge spread. Consider Sasco a novelty level gaff maker. Not for the professional or serious amatuer.

No Name Makes
These are usually gaffs made overseas. They are made in bulk lots in a very quick and sloppy manner. They often have rough edges, gaps in milling work, sloppy fit, etc. They look gaffed and spectators will notice. Stay away from the coin gaffs that are no name brand. You will be wasting your money.

Schoolcraft or Lassen

As we mentioned at the start of this article, custom makers are the absolute best in terms of quality fit and finish. Schoolcraft and Lassen are the premier makers of custom coins. Be prepared to spend a great deal of money - however you will have a gaff set that holds its value and performs flawlessly. If you are a working professional that relies on coin work and are making a good living doing magic - these are for you. Amateurs with some extra cash and desire to have the best - take a look at them also. Anyone else - stick to Johnson. Johnson will not disappoint you.

Keeping your coins in good condition...
Keeping your coins in good working condition is critical. Shells with dinged or bent rims can be the death of an effect or at the minimum serve as a strong exposing point. Nested coins such as Scotch and Soda can become very loose and not maintain a hold or just the opposite - a small ding in the edge could result in the set not coming apart even with a bang ring. You spend a great deal of money on coin gaffs and you should allocate money towards protecting those gaffs. There are a number of style of coin wallets and cases to help accomplish this. In addition, these cases help you keep your gaffs organized and make them easy to carry. In all of the styles, we tend to favor the roll type or folding cases. These are long strips usually made of leather and a soft interior with many slots to hold your coins. It folds up nicely allowing many coins to be carried. We have seen a number of cases where coins are carried in a single pouch. We do not suggest this approach as the coins tend to hit and contact each other and could result in dents and dings - especially with your shell coins. ALWAYS keep your shells stored with the proper child coin placed in them to avoid damage.


Last edited by ayli on Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:29 pm 
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Great stuff. This should definitely be a sticky.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:32 am 
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I second the Sticky motion... this article would be invaluable for those new to the coin scene looking to make a purchase.

Thanks for sharing,
Kyle


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:27 pm 
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I agree. Questions about quality of coins comes up all the time. Let's make this easily accessible.

*Stickied*


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 5:26 pm 
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exodus wrote:
I agree. Questions about quality of coins comes up all the time. Let's make this easily accessible.

*Stickied*


Very helpful,t hanks! Where is schoolcrafts website? I can't find it anywhere.


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 Post subject: Re: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:56 pm 
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Try this link


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 Post subject: Re: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:27 pm 
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born to perform.

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DaveV wrote:
Try this link


that was cool.

could you make one of those that would show me how to google how to make one of those?


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 Post subject: Re: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:11 pm 
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Assuming it's too late to avoid damaging my shell, is there a way that it can be repaired? There are no visible dents or dings in my walking liberty expanded shell, but all of my coins except one stick in and will not come out easily. Is there a way that this shell can be repaired, or am I boned?


Thanks,

Josh


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 Post subject: Re: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:03 pm 
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Joined: 25 May 2009
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Location: Nashville, Indiana
I remember an entry by Todd Lassen on his blog re: repairing small dings in s>>>ls.....

He said to try using a wood dowel or the butt end of a bic disposable lighter, set the sh??l on edge perpendicular to a hard surface and use the dowel / lighter to gently press the inside lip against the hard surface while "rolling" the gaff....

Hope that makes sense.....have also heard of putting the real coin inside and rolling the gaff on edge with gentle pressure against a hard surface....

Hope this helps some. So far (knock on silver) I've been lucky enough not to have dinged any of my gaffs.......Also, it may take a magnifier to actually see what the problem is, it doesn't take much to screw up a sh>>l....

Is it an expanded or unexpanded???? With some of the older coins you can have quite a difference in size between coins also. Could be you need to look / try different Walkers until you find more that fit.... Did your other coins fit previously????

Take care.


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 Post subject: Re: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:47 pm 
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My coins used to fit, then somehow I messed them up and they didn't. I followed your advice and it fixed it. They work just fine now. Thanks for all the help!


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 Post subject: Re: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:12 pm 
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Cool....It would suck hard to have to purchase a replacement for something that can be fixed.

Do you carry your gaffs loose in your pocket? Do you keep the "real" coin nested when carrying / storing the shell???

I ALWAYS keep a coin inside the shell and carry the gaff in a coin wallet, never loose in a pocket or purse......

Have dropped a couple but always on a soft surface (another reason for coin guys to use a mat besides ease of picking up a coin, especially when practicing) and have never dinged one......

Take care.....


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 Post subject: Re: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 5:16 pm 
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I always carry my shell with a coin nested inside it which is in a plastic coin wallet from a scotch and soda set and I keep that inside a large coin purse in my pocket. I keep the shell as safe as possible but I'll bet it got dinged from getting ditched in my back pocket. I do that a lot. I have never sat on it, but sometimes I need to leave it there for a while before I can retrieve it so that would probably be the best opportunity to damage it. I am getting a decent coin wallet here real soon.


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 Post subject: Re: The differences in commercially made coin gaffs
PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Keep your coins in good condition is critical. The tanks on wheels can be folded or rang the death of an effect or at least serve as a strong point to another. nested parts such as Scotch and Soda can become very loose and does not maintain a warehouse or just the opposite.


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