View Cart | View Account | Help
Order by phone: 800-880-2592
Check out our favorite NEW ARRIVALS
Need it fast? Order before 4pm Eastern and your order ships SAME DAY.

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Conjuring Arts Smith Back No.2 Bee Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:44 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
M.D. Smith Back No.2 (Blue)

Where to buy: http://conjuringarts.org/
Price: $3.99 (Non-Member) $3.49 (Member)
Attachment:
smith1.jpg
smith1.jpg [ 106.8 KiB | Viewed 670 times ]

For more information about my reviewing methods and a list of other reviews: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156760&p=1224367#p1224367
If you are interested in my Buyers guide
check out this link: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=159568 http://forums.theory11.com/showthread.p ... yers-Guide


Attachment:
smith2.jpg
smith2.jpg [ 106.67 KiB | Viewed 670 times ]


Initial Impressions: The key word on this one is “Hybrid.” This is an attempt to make a card that will perform as well for a gambling demo as it will for card magic. My initial thoughts….Success!

The Look:
The Smith Back, like the Acorn back I have previously reviewed( see: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=159668 ) uses the artwork in Expert at the Card Table as inspiration. Covering the white back is a series of four different blue silhouettes of hand positions that are illustrated throughout EATCT. You can read the Acorn Back review for specifics which illustrations from EACTC were depicted on the back. You can also see that review for specifics on the face designs as all of the add cards, Jokers, Ace of Spades, and court cards are the same. What is different is the overall color and look of the backs. Gone is the centerpiece SWE and the bordered green back with white silhouettes has been replaced with a simple white back with blue silhouettes. There is a border on the Smith back but it is not clearly defined and this gives the deck a look somewhat similar to a Bee Stinger design. This can serve as a nice balance between a bordered design, preferred by most magicians, and a borderless design, preferred by demo guys. Overall a nice simple design that gives a nod to “the Card Bible” without screaming “I’m a magic man’s deck!”

Attachment:
smith3.jpg
smith3.jpg [ 140.09 KiB | Viewed 670 times ]




Card Construction:
The Smith Back uses the same stiff Bee Casino Grade stock that was used for the Acorn Backs. It is a nice stock that measures about the same thickness as a Bike 808(15.5mm Out of The Box) but provides a much stiffer card. Though it won’t beat the European manufacturers (Fournier and Piatnik) in terms of stiffness it easily matches the venerated UV500s and, considering it comes it a few cards thinner that the hefty UV’s, I would say it is the best “Stiff” stock USPCC has ever produced. Upon opening the box the Smith Backs had the tell tale signs of a traditional cut card, the Smiths also seem to faro better face down, so I think that the Smith backs are indeed a traditional cut card. This should cheer up the Demo guys!

Handling:
Though it handles close to the previous cards from the Conjuring arts and it is using the same stock they do feel a tad different. For one these are a cambric finish and the feel stiffer than the cambric finished Acorn Backs. They also did not feel quite as “slick” as the acorn backs though I couldn’t tell the difference in a blind fold test. I could just be fooling myself but as I went through my various tests these did handle slightly differently than the Acorn Cambric and the Acorn Ivory decks.

Fanning: OOB: 9
1st Week: TBD
2nd Week: TBD
3rd Week: TBD
4th Week: TBD

No substantial difference from a bike.

Spring Energy: OOB: 8.5
1st Week: TBD
2nd Week: TBD
3rd Week: TBD
4th Week: TBD

A nice stiff deck that should do well for aggressive card handlers.
Dribble: OOB: 8
1st Week: TBD
2nd Week: TBD
3rd Week: TBD
4th Week: TBD

The added stiffness of the Smiths won’t be appreciated by those wanting to do long flourishes but it should be quite adequate for sleight of hand purposes.
Crimp Hold/Recovery: OOB: 6
1st Week: TBD
2nd Week: TBD
3rd Week: TBD
4th Week: TBD

Just as noted with the Acorns this seems to be the Achilles Heel of this deck. The low crimp recovery never got bad enough to prematurely end the Acorn back review but time will tell how it effects the Smiths.
Single Card Glides: OOB: 8
1st Week: TBD
2nd Week: TBD
3rd Week: TBD
4th Week: TBD

An good deck for one handed glide work. The stiffness and smoothness of the cards is just about perfect.
2+ Card Obfuscations: OOB: 8
1st Week: TBD
2nd Week: TBD
3rd Week: TBD
4th Week: TBD

More high marks here. All the doubling moves I test with performed better than an 808 except for the Derek Dingle(Knock-out) DL which performed about the same.
Gaff construction and availability: Homemade only.
XCM Flourishing: It should be a good deck for cuts and aerials, average for fans, and a bit lacking for long dribbles and springs.

Who Should Buy?: If you like stiffer decks or want to try one this would be a top recommendation.

Who should not buy: I can’t think of a reason not to buy the Smith Back.

Final thoughts:
Get These NOW! These are a limited run and Conjuring arts is selling them to members and non-members alike. I had to pay $8.00 to get my Acorns when they hit the secondary market and these are available for $4.00 to a non-member. Furthermore, if you’re a member! $3.50 is the average retail of a Tally Ho. You would have to be nuts not to buy a brick of these. In all seriousness I was planning on giving this deck a “Good” review before I considered the price of these. At the stiffness I rate this deck at I put the Smiths in the “Workers” category and quite frankly the “workers” category has some seriously stiff competition(pun not intended but I’ll take credit anyways.) Would I feel more confident doing a grueling sequence of moves with a Piatnik than this?….yes. But the Smith back will do those moves better than just about any USPCC card and when factoring in the price there is no contest. If you want a high quality stock, printed with high a quality press, you will not find a better card. Indeed the cheapest “high quality” decks from other magic companies rarely come in cheaper than $5.00/deck. One final feather in the Smith Backs cap is its’ ability with gambling demos. This deck, stiff as it is, is surprisingly good at gambling moves. A combination of, what I believe to be, a traditional cut and art design make this deck work quite well for demos. Would I still prefer the softer Aristocrat for a gambling Demo?...yes. But then again, the cheapest high quality Aristocrats sell for $5.00/ deck and I wouldn’t dream of using an Aristocrat for a tricky “Silver Surfer” sequence. So all in all, when you factor the price, the quality, and the versatility of this deck you have a deck that is very hard to beat. Jack of all Trades…master of none?....but pretty darn good at most!
Attachment:
smith1.jpg
smith1.jpg [ 106.8 KiB | Viewed 670 times ]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Conjuring Arts Smith Back No.2 Bee Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:02 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Attachment:
smith6.jpg
smith6.jpg [ 149.98 KiB | Viewed 670 times ]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Conjuring Arts Smith Back No.2 Bee Deck Review
PostPosted: Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:52 am 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Final Update
I have been very busy over the last month so haven't had time to do the blow by blow updates as usual but I did keep my records so hopefully this will give you a good idea of what to expect as this deck ages. In the end the deck lasted about 3 and 1/2 weeks before I decided to put it to bed. Not quite as long as the Ivory Finish Conjuring Arts deck but still an excellent overall performance for a Cambric finished deck(Indeed the only cambric finish decks to outlast this one were the Bulldog Squeezers and Propagandas!)

Fanning
2nd week:8.5
3rd week:8
3&1/2 weeks:8

This deck always matched the performance of the Bike 808 but the stock was generally to stiff and thick to quite match the Bee Aristocrats. Never the less, I never experienced any clumping. For those who like various fan techniques and are looking for a long lasting deck to boot the Cambric Smith backs will be a deck to look into.


Stiffness/Spring energy
2nd week:7.5
3rd week:7
3&1/2 weeks:6.5

The Bee Casino grade does not soften up as quick as other USPCC stocks so for those who like cards with pop and snap this one is a good choice.

Dribble
2nd week:9
3rd week:9
3&1/2 weeks:9

As soon as this deck developed its convex/concave shape(depending on how you shuffle) it became a very smooth dribbler provided you dribble in the direction of the bend. Indeed it is probably the best dribbler of the stiffer decks I have tried.

Crimp Hold/Recovery
2nd week:6
3rd week:6/5
3&1/2 weeks:5/5

There is always a "but" in every review I do. In this case it is the crimp/hold. This really ended up killing the review just shy of a full month. I probably could have pushed it another 1/2 week but currently I am doing a lot of work with one handed faro shuffles and, while i can still manage the technique, my need are for a "close to perfect" faro and the crimps are just getting in the way of making that happen. The crimps are also beginning to effect riffle stacking and pinky counts. All those are pretty high end techniques and depending on whether or not you use those you may decide to endure these failings in favor of enjoying the other benefits of this deck.

Single Card Glide
2nd week:8
3rd week:8
3&1/2 weeks:8

This deck started with a rock solid glide and ended with one as well. Not much more to say about that.

2+Obfuscations
2nd week:8
3rd week:7
3&1/2 weeks:7

As the stiffness of this deck faded away so was it's above average performance for doubling techniques. No matter, by the time I retired it could still match an 808 so unless you are used to decks that hold doubles exceptionally well you will not be disappointed with this deck.

Final Thoughts


Well I have already mentioned it before in this review and elsewhere in various posts. A deck of this quality being sold for $4.00/ deck....and that is the non-member price! Members pay $3.50! Other than the Bulldogs(however long those last) you will not get a better deal if you compare price to quality. Furthermore, the characteristics of this deck, stiffer than average stock, web press production quality, and traditional cut, all ad up to a deck that performs well for almost any flourisher or magician. Overall I prefer the Cambric stock from the Conjuring arts decks a little more than the Ivory. The basic reason for that is that the Ivory stock is an average performing card for a smooth finish but for the cambric finish Smiths will match almost all custom cards with a dimpled finish. Definitely a card to get.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2009 Penguin Magic, Inc.