Page 41                                                       Fall 1988



Some 'Prop'-er Ideas For Your Juggling Act

by Kit Summers


A juggler without props is like a cyclist without a bike, a swimmer without water or Dorothy without Toto. Since props play such an integral part in juggling, I'd like to share a few ideas on their PROPer care.


Lacrosse balls are excellent for juggling. They have a sharp and quick bounce and a superb weight for tossing. However, these balls can get dirty very easily. A quick remedy: acetone from your local hardware store will leave them spotless, and their grip will be firm and solid. Rings can also be kept bright white by cleaning them with acetone. You can also rub your rings with a piece of sand paper to get rid of dirt and marks.


If you have three cigar boxes that look as if you've used them for 2,526 shows, why not retape them and do 2,526 more shows?! If your clubs need a refreshed look, purchase some new club decorations from one of the prop makers. Clean the white plastic of the clubs using acetone, then put on the new decorative tape.


If you'd like a good set of machetes for juggling, buy a set at an Army / Navy store and modify them. First, use a grinder to take the sharpness off the blades. Never juggle with sharp blades of any kind! Remove the handles from the blades and take the blades to a chrome plating outlet to have them chromed. Buy one-piece torch handles with knobs from a prop maker. Cut the torch handles so they are seven or eight inches long and slice them down the center long-ways. Drill a hole through each side so that they will fit the blade holes of your machete.

Glue and bolt these torch handles onto the blades. Next, use a grinder and shape the blade handle area to fit the wooden handles. FinaIly, paint the handles. You can use these machetes for juggling and also for swinging because of their round­ed knobs that are easy to hold.


Now that you have these nice looking props, where are you going to put them when you perform? A good prop stand can be made simply by using a router to cut a 30-inch circle out of plywood. Cut slots

for your clubs (as in the diagram) and round off the edges, top and bottom of the plywood.


Make a hook for rings and other props that sticks out from the stand and can be removed easily. You can cut a hole in the plywood for a bag for props you've already used, and mount the whole thing on a drum stand that you can buy at a music store. FinaIly, paint the stand any color you like, but it's a good idea to have a prop stand that matches your costume.


This is just one idea for a prop stand. Keep your eyes open and see what type of stand other jugglers use! *


(Kit Summers lives in San Diego, Calif. He is a juggling lecturer, coach and author of the book, "Juggling With Finesse. ")

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