1. HERE's A MAGIC BALL that will slide swiftly down a cord, or slowly if you give the magic word, and it will even stop on your command to mystify your friends! In addition to the magic word, of course, you tighten or slacken the cord unnoticed by your audience. It passes through a "gimmick"-as magicians call the secret device on which a trick depends-that is left in the hole as you insert the cord.
Use a solid wooden ball, one that can be turned from light stock or cut from an old ball-top newel post-or a square block may be substituted if you have too much trouble getting a suitable ball. Bore it through the center with a 7/8" bit; then carefully widen it from one end to the taper shown, using a large rattail file.
Two handles may be turned in the lathe or cut from whip or file handles. They also taper, as shown, so the gimmick attached to one with two tiny dowels will not be noticed. This lets the gimmick stick in the hole and enables you to control your trick.
Bore the handles and gimmick as shown, thread the cord through all three, knot the ends, and glue the cord to the handles. Paint the ball orange and its hole and the bandies and gimmick black.
2. THIS TRAPPED HEART is a puzzle that will keep your friends racking their brains, yet it can be freed easily and without force-when you know how. Make the pieces from coat-hanger wire, scraping off the enamel and polishing it before forming the parts. Loops B and E will not pass through C and D, but C will just slip over loop A of the heart. Pull C over A as far as you can and push B all the way through A. Then remove C from A, and the heart will be free! To replace the pieces so the heart is again trapped, reverse the steps.
3. THIS ONE FOR CHILDREN may also fool grown-ups, at least for a time. It should provide many hours of delight for youngsters of around kindergarten age. The object is to free the cord and button from the rest of the gadget. Simply push the cord through the ring and up the slot until it can be brought over one side of the handle and pulled free back through the ring. In fitting the 1/4" dowel in place, be sure it is in two pieces and does not lock the slot, or the trick won't work.
1 DEFY GRAVITY with this variation of a common trick. Rub the mouth of a ridged tumbler on emery cloth to get a rough, plane surface and drill a hole with a brass tube and valve-grinding compound, as shown at left. Hold your thumb over the hole, fill the glass, cover it with the previously dampened cardboard and celluloid, and invert it. The water won't spill. Now slide the square off, leaving the invisible disk. The glass stays full. Then, over a sink, utter a magic word, move the thumb, and theglass empties.
2 ;TO ASSEMBLE A T from four pieces, as shown in the drawing, requires more concentration than you would believe. Saw the T out of 3/16" wood stock as indicated, making all edges straight, and drill each piece to fit over a peg in a companion T that serves as an ornamental base to hold the puzzle when it isn't in use. Enamel the base and each piece a different color, or shellac them. In the latter case, vary the grain to avoid giving away clues.
3 ;HOW TO REMOVE THE CORD from the slit leather strap is a real brain teaser that will make most of your friends give up. Then they will feel foolish when you show them how simple it is. Of course, you pull the 1/4" wide leather strip through the 3/8" hole, and don't try to force the 3/4" buttons through! Use a strong, pliable leather, and dress it occasionally to prevent drying out.
4 ;ODDLY BENT LOOPS joined as in the bottom drawing provide an interesting problem when you try to separate them. Make them of coat-hanger wire, and have bend A small enough to fit into loop B. To solve, slip A into B as shown, work spiral C through A, and draw A back through B.