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Postby dat8962 » May 1st, '08, 20:31

I'm sure that you're all be familiar with the chop cup and for those who have been on TM for a while you may realise that I have a passion for chop cups which is beginning to turn into an obsession :lol:

A sorry state I know but for a while now I've been hunting for my perfect chop cup for a while now and the collection is still growing.

At Blackpool earlier this year I was torn between a number of cups, one of which was £200 but couldn't make up my mind so bought none of them. Another was from Five of Hearts that I asked to be demo'd a number of times (they must have been getting fed up with me :lol: )

Anyway, I've now bought a number of cups from Five of Heart through Mike Danata and will review them here.


The Effect

The first isn't a standard chop cup - it's a cup as the cup isn't gimmicked - it's called Gin & Tonic which is based on a routine by Wayne Dobson. I so nearly bought this at Blackpool and regretted not doing so ever since.

The cup begins on the table and a number of different cards are shown to the spec. The cards are printed on Bike stock but the faces have different spirits printed on them such as Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Brandy etc.

The spec shuffles the cards behind their back and one is seemingly selected at randon which will be Gin.

The cup is lifted to reveal a miniture bottle of real Gordon's Gin and replaced on the table. The spec is asked what they would drink with Gin and the answer will be tonic (99% of the time anyway) and the cup is lifted to now reveal a miniture tin of Schweppes tonic water and the cup is again replaced on the table. Finally, the spec is asked what would go with the G&T, the cup is lifted to reveal the lemon as the final load.


£60 for Gin & Tonic with free postage if ordered through Mike at

(1=easy to do, 2=No sleights, but not so easy, 3=Some sleights used,
4=Advanced sleights used, 5=Suitable for experienced magicians only)

2 - this is a nice easy routine


This is a nice routine that particularly works well in a bar as well as the usual venues such as table hopping etc. There's not too much to add about the routine itself other than it's different to the majority of other chop cup routines as it doesn't use any balls and the loads are definately unexpected.

What does need to be talked about is the quality of the props. The cup itself is about five inches tall and is specially made for this routine, turned out of a really fine piece of week that has then been finished to a very high standard indeed. The miniture is a real bottle Gin rather than a cheap replica as is the tonic which has been gimmicked, also to a very high standard indeed. This can't be opened but the Gin can be opened and used if you can get a supply of minitures that are the same size (and size does matter here).

The quality of the cards are also top drawer and supplied in a standard plastic packet trick case which I aim to replace with a leather holder.

Brandy Barrell Chop Cup with Loose Change Gimmick

The Cost

£75.00 for the cup and I don't know how much extra for the loose change gimmick :oops: and again, ordered through Mike Danata.

This one is a standard chop cup that sits approximately three and a half inches tall and is turned from a piece of oak in the shape of a brandy barrel. It's then polished and finished to an incredibly high standard.

The loose change gimmick is degined for a coin production but can be used for a number of other loads including rice, pasta etc. (not you standard loads :shock: )


Ever since I saw Gary Jones ( at a function last year and saw his wooden short chop cup I've wanted and have been looking for something similar. I'd met Gary previously at a convention but minus his cup so when we met up again we had a good chat about his routine which was superb.

Anyway, seeing this cup was similar in size I took the plunge and bought of Mike. I had to wait a little over a week for it to be made but it was well worth the wait, not that a week is that long for something that's bespoke.

The cup itself is a gem and has perfect weight for my needs but the loose change gimmick that attaches to the cup isn't as pleasing. I've found this to be very hit and miss to be honest. Itt's either too heavy for the magnet (despite it being strong) or it doesn't drop all of the coins. I've found the ideal to be seven £1 coins but these can fall out at the wrong moment if not handled correctly or only three of four will release which is a nuisance. I'll give it a while longer but ay ditch this in favour or ore traditional loads that will fit a cup of this size (plum to lime etc.).


Whilst these are two totally different cups with different routines, what they do share is quality and craftsmanship. I can't imagine the quality being bettered and if treated well these will last a lifetime and longer, so you're also also buying a heirloom within the price.

If you want something that stands out as being a little different when out working then these fit the bill to a tee. You get what you pay for and you shouldn't be disapointed.

I've ordered special commission today of a matching solid barrel for a Don Allen style routine to end with a solid cup and it's been guarenteed for the weekend. That's what I call service.


There can't be much mark up on these for Mike as he's charging the same as Five of Hearts advertise on their web site but the effort that he has put into ordering these, and then checking the progress right up to delivery has been truly exceptional and I've very much appreciated this. Mike doesn't keep any stock of these items because of the value and risk of not selling and Five of Hearts only keep a limited stock available for the same reasons.

Whilst I know Mike personally and count him as a valued friend, I can say that he goes this extra mile for all of his customers so if you're interested in ordering any of these then please do speak to Mike first. I know that some already have and have been equally pleased.

We need to keep shops like Mike's going with regular orders instead of leaning towards the online suppliers all of the time.

And just in case you're wondering - I think at long last that I've found my perfect chop cup.

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Postby Stephen Ward » May 1st, '08, 21:58

Five of hearts make some lovely props, i notice they make 'this is your knife' as well.

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Postby dat8962 » May 2nd, '08, 00:31

The only issue with 5oH is their web site as most of the stuff on there is no longer made but they still display the images and descriptions. It can make ordering a little confusing.

However, I agree that they make some pretty nice stuff and I think that I will be buying more of it.

I didn't mention that the attention to detail even stretches with the storage bags which are top quality courderoy with no loose stitching and a nice little heart sewn into the cord. It's nice touches like these that are the icing on the cake.

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