by Laird Wilcox.
In this column let’s talk about my latest adventures in making a deck of Svengali cards. This is no easy task!
The first card trick I was introduced to at the age of 10 was “TV Magic Cards” by Marshal Brodien. It was basically a Svengeli Deck!
So, for the heck of it I made 72 decks. A Svengali deck is a deck of 48 cards, with every other card being the same card. It has the advantage of being able to show the deck as having all different cards or showing the deck to all have the same card. In reality, the deck has only 24 different cards and 24 cards different making it a 48-card-deck. The thing that makes this deck work is the fact that the identical cards are shaved 1-2mm with 1.5mm being optimal. They are then stacked together with every other card being identical and every other card being different.
Oh, did I mention this is a gaffed deck? The possibilities of such a deck are enormous!!!
Now, if you’re going to pursue this endeavor of making your own Svengali decks, I recommend you establish a good relationship with your local printer. And I don’t mean Kinkos! Find a nice little independent mom and pop print shop with a paper guillotine and edge rounder.
Having said that, you can also buy a paper cutter/trimmer, and corner rounder such as a Fiskars or Swingline brand, and do one card at a time. The problem with doing one card at a time is, if you mess up one card, you mess up the whole deck.
My experience is to trim 24 same cards all at once, making them all uniform. After having shaved 24 “same” cards, place one face up. Then place a different card face up on top. Then, repeat this 23 times until you have used up all the cards and you have a Svengali deck.
There are no less than 20 tutorials about the Svengali Deck on YouTube. It might also be helpful if you learn a deck switch. Also on YouTube!
More to come,