March 30, 2011 - I forgot to mention that I've made arrangements with a great craftsman to finish the Sefalaljia Kits for you. He is due in here next week to get started with the backlog. I'm sorry that I am not in a position to offer refunds on your purchase price and for the majority of you who have expressed a desire to keep your orders in place and wait I truly appreciate it. For you others, thank you for your order and I promise to get them out in the order posted. Best to you all....
March 29, 2011 - Finally I'm back at the Tabman Digs after over a month in the hospital getting radiation treatments for these cancers I've got. The cancer is the result of moving into the pesticide belt of the southern USA. Gloria pointed out recently that three of our four dogs who moved down south with us have already been killed by cancer. There's no recourse and it strikes many. The good news for my customers is that with any luck at all I should be able to start filling my orders again. Feel free to email me at any time but please keep the pressure off. I need your help to stay as stressfree as possible.
Tabman has to stay in this position most of the time because the cancer has taken a good part of his lumbar spine making it in danger of collapsing.
Tabman says, " This is amazing news to me. I haven't even had a cold in over 15 years but I'm grateful to the magic and music communities who have given me such a great life. Let's see if we can get this train back on track. I know I will be working on it every day even though I can only take a few steps (and that's with the help of a walker). First off I plan to get The Sefalaljia Book done first while I can't move around much and then tackle the TW Boxes and Chop Cups. Thanks for everything, all in all, it's been a great life."
March 13, 2011 - So sorry to bring you bad news on such an interesting site. I've long been interested in Sefalaljia. David Ben has written a thoughful introduction to the new The Sefalaljia Book too. I am going to add a chapter this week that will flesh the book out more pages and more interesting reading. Pete Biro will be here on the 14th he tells me which I think is Monday. Hope he is having fun at the Car Show on Amelia Island. We will try to do some magic and get his and my websites updated. Thanks Pete for the mentoring, the gigs, the convention committee, just everything. I'd of neve made a go in the magic business without your support.
March 10, 2011 - What a journey I've been on since last I posted. I went to the Docs and they strapped me to a stretcher, gave me a shot of morphene and put me in an ambulance. Here it is almost a month later and I am finally getting ready to go back to the cabin near the lake and then after a few days a hike using a walker out to the shop to see where I'm at and how to pick up the pieces. The cancer I have, they say is terminal, and no chemotherapy or radiation can stop it. I have it in my skull, kidneys, porstate, lungs, neck and a big mass eating my spine.
My mentor and Pal, Pete Biro, is coming to see me next week. We can depend on Pete for a report on old El-Tab Shop doings.
February 14, 2011 -
Well, here I go. Doctor today and then hospital for tests the rest of the week then to a specialist for some surgery next week. They say there's a pretty good shot at getting me back up and running though. Gloria wants me to chance it - so there you have it. Happy St. Valentine's Day. Please hang in there with me. I'll be back soon.
Febuary 10, 2011 - You all are really wonderful. Thank you. I have a visit to Dr. Twang in Americus, GA on Monday afternoon. Hopefully, this will start me back on the road to building good magic for you. Thanks for all your emails of support and well wishing. I will definately keep you posted. Also, thank you for the pre-orders for The Sefalaljia Book and the orders for Tabman Magic. Take care.
February 1, 2011 - Here's an update for my friends and customers. Last fall when I turned 65, I decided to turn down Medicare. Not for any kind of idealistic reason or a political stand, that would be easier to explain, but for economic reasons. I simply didn't think I could afford the $125 a month they wanted me to pay for it. I decided that I would just tough it out, whatever came along but after two months of living hell I have called the Medicare people and was told that I was still in the six month period where I could sign up. I did this yesterday after I tried to do it online and got a page that told me I needed to talk to a represenative. I was on hold for almost two hours and finally got to speak with a lovely woman who helped me patiently. Medicare is on the way and I will head to town to the docs as soon as it gets here. I'm in serious trouble and will probably have to go into the hospital for a while but I want to get going again. I feel an incredible responsibility to you who have ordered props from me and wait for me to get well.
All I can say, thank you. Email me whenever you want. If I can't answer realize that I will soon. I have twelve TW Ring Boxes (please order these but realize that there's at least a 30 day wait) started. I go out to the shop (it's a dozen steps from my back door) as often as I feel like I can move a little and carve a few pieces and then back inside and down til I can do it again. The TW boxes are small and easy to handle but the Sefalaljia cabinets require more energy than I can muster right now. Believe it or not, the carved base of the Sefalalia Number 2 cabinet takes as much time to make as the cabinet itself. I will fill these orders as soon as I can and the cabinets will be even more valuable after I'm gone.
Now there's one thing you can do on a laptop while in a motionless state, you can write, and I've been tearing it up. Right now, I'm waiting for the first proof of my new magic book, The Sefalaljia Book. It should be ready for sale in about a month. If you are waiting for a Sefalaljia cabinet, I'll be sending you one as a gift. For information about The Sefalaljia Book, look here.
January 21, 2011 - Thank you all for your concerns about my health and about your orders. It looks like I will be able to start putting a few hours a day into the shop starting on Monday and to begin working on the backlog thats built up over the past couple of months. I have a half dozen TW Ring Boxes almost finished and plan to prioritize the Sefalaljia Number 2 kits. I was in the shop yesterday for a brief time to see what I'm up against and Gloria cleaned the shop up and got it ready for me to go back to work. I'm grateful for everyone who appreciates my work and for your patience. Thank you for all the book orders. The box of books I had is empty and I just ordered another to fill the last few orders. They should be here in about a week. Take care and Thank You!!!!
January 16, 2011 - It's been a rough week; a lot of pain, but I managed to mail two more TW Ring Boxes and a number of copies of Tabman Magic which I thank you all for ordering. All but one of the Sefalaljia Number 2 kits have been spoken for with paid orders and I'm grateful for your patience in me getting these kits done. So far I have managed to build and ship 24 1939 Sefalaljia kits plus the prototype kit to the Steward James Museum in Canada and nine Sefalaljia Number 2 kits. I still have to build one more 1939 kit as a proof. I hope I can get to this soon. I have to complete almost a dozen TW Ring Boxes to get caught up with those. Thank you for appreciating my work and contribution to the Art of Magic. As Pete Biro says, Stay Tuned......
CB#10 - Not packaged up yet but close to being ready. Need another coat of oil.
KD#11- Assembled, drilled for the secret trap, painted interior, sanded, base made
LK#12 - Assembled, drilled for the secret trap, painted interior, sanded, base made
RY#13 - Assembled, drilled for the secret trap, painted interior, sanded, base cut out
These have all been cut out and dovetailed.
Mahogany Ordered today, December 2, 2010
January 7, 2011 - This week I managed to ship several TW Ring Boxes, two Bamboo Chop Cups and several copies of Tabman Magic. I have a new supply of the book so please order one if you've been wanting one. I have someone coming in to start helping me in the shop soon and it's my hope to start getting the Sefalaljia kits moving along again in a few weeks. Thanks again for your emails and good wishes. Your patience will pay off. Thank you!!
January 3, 2011 - Happy New Year everyone. I hope, like me, you survived into the new year and are looking forward to me getting up to speed and start filling the orders that have been piling up while I have been down. All I can say, is thanks for your good wishes and your patience. It's made a huge difference in how I've been able to deal with this. My wonderful wife, Gloria, is in the shop right now, putting it in order and getting it ready for my return to work. I truly appreciate it. I've recently learned to use Paypal shipping and it'g great and they'll send you an email letting you know the shipping details as I start getting props out the door again. If I knew then what I know now, I would have taken a lot better care of myself. I promise to keep the blog updated regularly as I did in better times.
Additionally, I'd like to say, that if you read the letter below, you'll see that I carried through with my promise to donate the original prototype for the 1939 Sefalaljia Kit to the Stewart James Museum in Toronto. David Ben is the director. He kindly sent me in return a page of Stewart's own typing and hand written margin notes on one of his magazine columns. I'm speachless to have this and want to publicly thank David Ben for sending this to me. I have likewise promised to send the prototype for the 1980 Sefalaljia #2 cabinet to them as well.
Thanks for the recent orders for the Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes that I make. As some of you know, I made the Magicians Wand Award that Tommy received for being MAGIC! Person of the Year in the early 1990s. I was always proud to have been one of his associates. I'm starting a dozen of them tomorrow. I've got orders dating back to October 11. I didn't realize that I've been unable to do any significant work since then. I'm glad to be moving around again. I think I need to find a shop worker to do the heavy lifting for me in the future but I don't have the inclination or the time to train anyone. I'll have to play this one by ear I guess.
November 30, 2010 - Turns out I was knocked out of working in the shop for a month or so. Hard getting old sometimes and other times it's the best. Got to take the good with the bad. Sorry for the delays in updating the site but I'm always thinking about it.
Almost ready to be mailed (I have been catching and hour or so on some days even with the health issues) are a half dozen TW Ring Boxes so if you've ordered one in the past couple of months, your wait is almost over. I wish the Sefalaljia kits were as simple to make and only took 18 parts. BUT, I have been getting some work in on those too. Here's the story:
November 11, 2010 - It looks like I'm back up to speed. Yesterday and today the shop work was fun and my shoulder never bothered me at all, today too. Whew!! It felt good to get a lot done after two weeks on the mend. All the machine work on the next four Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets is done. I'm excited about getting these finished and shipped - then - six to go. Thank you so much for your participation. I will be sending the Sefalaljia Number 2 prototype to the Stewart James Museum in Canada when this is wrapped up. David Ben emailed me a few days ago and thanked me for the prototype 1939 Sefalaljia Kit I sent them a few months ago. He told me to watch the mailbox for a letter from him. I'll share it with you when it gets here.
Let me show you a picture of a nice piece of magic workshop art I finished up a little at a time over the last six months (sound familiar?). A magician in Scotland got in touch with me and asked if I would come out of "retirement" and make a Train Table for him. He said that he would really appreciate it if I'd make him one since I originated the Erdnase Train Table with Jeff Busby several decades ago. He agreed to allow me sufficient time to slowly let it take shape. The post office was closed today but tomorrow I have to let it go. I loved making it. Thank you!! If you decide to order one, be aware that there is at least a 60 day wait.
November 7, 2010 - If you've wondered where I've been the past couple of weeks, here's the answer. I've been laying a little lower than usual. I hurt my right shoulder and it made it tough to breathe and even use the arm for about a week but its mostly better now and I've started back working in the shop. I'm behind by several Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes, the Sefalaljias, and a few Bamboo Chop Cups but I'll be back up to speed this week. My plan right now is to cut off all ordering at the end of this month so I can get caught up. After the first of the year I'll pick it back up. I have an exciting project with another historic bent I will be announcing when I get back. I hope to produce a working prototype during the holidays. I also promised my granddaughter a special drawer box. It's taken awhile to design it but it has four drawers. Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets and props will resume shipping this coming week. Thanks for the emails and most especially for your patronage.
October 23, 2010 - If you're awaiting a Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinet look for your initials below and see what your kit number will be. The first nine have been shipped. The remainder have been cut out of mahogany, half of them dovetailed, bases are in production (I say "in production" like I've got a crew but really it's a one man shop). Only four now remain available.
October 7, 2010 - Today is my 65th birthday. Since I work for all of you, I hope you don't mind if I take the day off. If I make it to #66, I promise I'll work on that one. Here's my report: I have cut out the remaining Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinet orders and started dovetailing them yesterday, drilling for magnets, false bottoms, and cutting out the parts for the mahogany bases. This past Monday, I mailed out five TW Ring Boxes and cut out the base for a Train Table and started fitting it. I have Sefalaljia Number 2, kit #9 ready for oiling and getting it ready to mail out. I'll be back tomorrow. Thanks for all the birthday wishes too. Take care.
September 27, 2010 - Shipped #6 and #8 today and took two new orders over the weekend. This makes 19 Sefalaljia #2 cabinets spoken for. Sefalaljia Number 2, #9 will be ready to go in a few days. Since I had
three of the Sefalaljia Number 2 manuals printed up to pack with the kits a few days ago I thought I'd better take a picture and post it here on the site. The next few weeks promise to be very busy finishing up some old projects long on the books and getting the remaining nine Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets dovetailed and glued up. The secret compartment is proving to be worth all the extra effort that went into it.
Look for some exciting Sefalaljia news coming soon with a new Sefalaljia cabinet discovery from the late 1950s. Thanks again for your emails, orders, and support of my art and craft. More later.....
September 24, 2010 - Finally, I'm packing #6, #7, and #8 and #9 is now ready to glue up. The boxes got here yesterday. For some reason (age???) I had to lay back a little past couple of days but I'm feeling good today and back at it in the shop. Even though this shop is very small, it reminds me of my first shop, Conjuror's Woodworks, right outside Washington, DC and I'm able to get some good work done. Maybe over the winter I can expand it a little. I've got plenty of room for expansion. Even though the building has a rough dirt floor (barn) putting in more floor is pretty easy if I can get some help. Thank you for the recent Sefalaljia #2 orders. The run of 24 is almost sold out. I have four TW Ring Boxes under construction (construction hardly seems the right word for something so small), a Train Table I'm finishing up and a prop for Dan Sperry's new show that I will be shipping next week. Thank you all again for your great support of my art and craft.
September 20, 2010 - Tomorrow will see me packing three Sefalaljia Number 2 kits. Pictured above are #6,7,&8. 6 and 7 have been ready for a few days and I finished up #8 today. I've had to order more shipping boxes from U-Line and they'll be here tomorrow so these three will be going out Wednesday morning. I have #9 almost ready. This marks over half the kits finished and shipped.
September 15, 2010 - #6 and #7 are done and ready to pack and ship. #8 is right behind that and #9 shortly after. I've raised the price of the Sefalaljia Number 2 kit as promised. Dan Sperry's project is coming along fine. All the major components have been made. Now it needs to be assembled and finished out, packed and shipped to Las Vegas. There's more but I'll have to get to that later. Thanks again for your participation and support.
September 9, 2010 - The next two Sefalaljia Number 2 kits (#6 and 7) have been oiled and waxed. All that's left is to put the hinges and the brass knobs and the feet on. I'll do that Sunday afternoon when I get back from The Magician's Flea Market in Clanton, Alabama. I've been helping Bob Sanders with his event from behind the scenes and I plan to leave here tomorrow at noon for the four hour run to Magic Valley Ranch where I plan to shoot video of the event for a short documentary. Here's a link to the website. It's a free event.
Also, this week I finished up two more Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes and have them packaged to mail out on my way to Magic Valley Ranch tomorrow. The train table I'm making for R. Paul Wilson is almost ready. I'll get those two Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets out next week and finish up two more for mailing the week after. I have decided on my next project too but I can't start it until I get finished with this one. That's about it for now. Back Sunday night.
September 3, 2010 - The price for the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinet is going to $750 shipping anywhere in the world included on September 15, 2010.
September 1, 2010 - I was away for a few days but I'm back now and shipped two Sefalaljia Number 2 kits today.
August 24, 2010 - It's amazing to me how many hours it takes to put each of these together. I know I'm getting older and have slowed down some but it's just the amount of care and patience that goes in too. It means a lot to me that you all have trusted me to make these props. I want to be happy with each one that goes out.Take a look at the picture and you'll see cabinets number 4 and 5. They still need a few hours each but I will ship them on Thursday. I do have four more in line that will go out next week.
Sefalaljia No. 2 Cabinets #4 and #5
August 19, 2010 - I asked Gloria to come out to the shop today and bring my camera and take a few pictures for me. I've had some questions about the shop so I thought I'd give you a look. You can see I've got a lot of tools stacked into a small space and you can tell by my garb that it's pretty warm in there.
In the first picture I'm cutting the dovetails on the base of a Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinet. I keep this set up all the time and use it every day. In the next picture I'm drilling the quarter inch holes for the pivot points for the secret compartment. There are three drill presses in my shop. The two you see in the picture and a very small one set up to drill the hole in the top of the Sefalaljia cabinet and for putting the buttons on the Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes . Then there's me helping myself at the bench in the middle of the shop where I make the ring boxes. You can see part of the set up in the outside shed where the planer, router table, spindle sander, and the chop saw live. I've got four kits that I will have finished and in the mail
PICTURES FROM THE EL-TAB SHOP
early next week. Six more behind them and then five. That will have me caught up. The weather has been too cold, then too hot, in spite of that, it's been a great year in the shop. Thank you for your support.
The price of the El-Tab Sefalaljia cabinet and props is going up soon to $750 plus shipping during the month of September. The cabinets are very time consuming to make and I want to be able to devote the proper amount of time to them in the future. Thank you for the orders which are around 18 now, you have all enabled the El-Tab Shop to exist and grow. Thank you. I plan to call it at 24.
August 15, 2010 - Sunday night. Tomorrow, I'll make and install secret compartments in the next four Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets. I added the magnets, sanded, and glued the four up over the weekend. I went out to the shop around midnight to check on the fourth one and to pack a couple of books, two TW Ring Boxes, and two Bamboo Chop Cups for shipment tomorrow. The weather is still hot but not so much as it was the past couple of months. I can't believe its almost fall. Don't forget, the price of Sefalaljia Number 2 is going to $750 in September. Also Pete Biro and I have a new micro-magic project cooking in addition to working with Dan Sperry on his next America's Got Talent episode by phone and email.
Dan is bringing back an illusion I designed and built for Kozak's show, Wicked, in the mid 90s when I was Kozak's prop builder and on-stage sidekick. As long-time readers know, Kozak helped me along with Pete get the new shop going and encouraged me to build magic again. Kozak is one of Sperry's mentors. Good luck to him in the contest. I don't have access to the program so I'll have to catch it after the fact on Youtube. At least, I know my grandson will be proud of his old granddaddy. El-Tab will have props at The Magic Castle very soon too. Thanks to you all from the bottom of my heart. Next week I hope to pick up the pace on the Sefalajia's even more.
August 10, 2010 - Spent the day getting three Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets, two TW Ring Boxes, a copy of Tabman Magic, a copy of my 2nd Hometown book and my granddaughter's IPOD in the mail. After looking over the list, I expect to have all the March orders for this filled very soon. Then April, May, and the orders that came in over June, July, and August. The biggest hold-up in the process was the engineering and implementation of the secret compartment but once it had been suggested and I agreed to do it, I couldn't back off. I'll admit, from my perspective, it's been worth the extra time. Having a place to ditch the extra ring, nail, and anything else you can think of really makes this a useful piece of magic apparatus; not just another pretty face.
And speaking of the nail, I realize on writing that many of you will not be able to put the props together for the nail part of the routine. I need to add that set of props too even though it's not been promised. It's a great part of the routine and the crafting of such may be a little out of the ballpark for the magician without the proper tools to make the gimmick so I will add these too. The units already shipped will receive them under separate cover.
My grandkids were here visiting since Friday and I just took them home yesterday so I've stayed out of the shop but magic isn't very far afield when they are here. My 13 year old grandson discovered card magic a little over a year ago and is rarely without a deck of cards in his hands, even on the boat Saturday. My granddaughter (9) loves watching the tricks. We went out to dinner Saturday evening and drew a crowd watching the card magic at our table. I'll spend the day tomorrow prepping the next four kits for final assembly and prepare the parts for four secret compartments. The wait is almost over. I love these cabinets. I hope I can keep one for myself. I sent my 1939 Kit to The Stewart James Museum but maybe I can build myself another. I've been thinking about putting a Sefalaljia lecture together. That might be fun and a way to get away from the shop every once in a while.
August 7, 2010 - OK, here's the deal. The first few Sefalalia Number 2 units are going out on Tuesday and then each will follow every four or five days. Sadly, I just got some hate mail from a magician in Italy so I hope you all understand because I'm going to go ahead and ship a unit to him and number it out of order. I hope he doesn't order anything else from me.
Please be patient. It's been the hottest summer on record and I usually work four or five hours a day, seven days a week striving to give great value for your hard earned $$$. I love making beautiful magic props and normally enjoy all my interactions with magicians who support my work. Sadly, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later due to how long all this has been taking to get the Sefalaljia Number 2 kits out the door. To the rest of you, thank you so much for being part of my world.
Also, please note that all Tommy Wonder Ring Box orders on file will be filled and in the mail by the end of this coming week as well. The Bamboo Chop Chops are caught up. I have a Train Table in construction for a magician in the UK that I plan to finish up very soon. Is there anything else? Ah, a mod to a Bamboo Chop Chop that's about ready to ship. And there's the joint projects with my magic pal Pete Biro that are ongoing. Thank you again for your trust.
August 3, 2010 - Finally the Sefalaljia Number 2 kits are coming off the line. All I need to do now is create a label to sign and number these 1,2, and 3 of 24 kits, brand them and pack and mail them. I'll email you as they come out. Here's a picture. More later....
August 2, 2010 - The magnets showed up today and I've already glued them up. It's been so hot that Im just headed into the shop now to work for a few hours and get the three kits ready to ship. I'll post some pictures of them tomorrow night. I still need to write up some information on the workings of the cabinet. The kit will include a copy of SJ's Sefalaljia Number 2 manuscript from 1980. I need to check Paypal to check the order of shipment. I'll probably do that in the morning. I'll start finishing up the next three kits on Thursday. The mahogany I was able to get for the cabinets is finishing up beautifully. I'm glad to have found what looks like a reliable source for Honduran mahogany. Pictures tomorrow night.
July 31, 2010 - Today will see the finishing up of the first three Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets. Yesterday, I installed the secret compartments in them. It's been a long time coming, the engineering of it all. Now that I've got it done it doesn't seem all that complex but it took me awhile to design it and build the first. The rest will, of course, move much faster. All I'm waiting on now is an order of 1" magnets. They were shipped out yesterday via priority mail so I expect them in on Monday and expect to ship these three kits on Tuesday. I'll post some pictures of the three kits before I ship them out. Shipment of the kits as I finish them, most likely three at a time, will be in order received order. I'll email you before shipment to confirm your address since its been a few months since most of the orders were placed. BTW, I made it to my Mom's 88th birthday party. Thanks for asking. 100° in the shade as I type. They say it's the hottest summer on record. I thought it seemed a little hot!
July 26, 2010 - Today was a rough day. I was away from the shop most of it dealing with my two sets of wheels being down. My ten year old Dodge truck dropped the transmission a few days ago and today my 20 year old Jeep went down and left us stranded in town. Tomorrow is my Mom's 88th birthday and I've got to be at her house tomorrow evening. She lives 12 miles away and I'm not sure how I'll get over there. She's the reason I came back to south Georgia. I didn't want to wake up at age 70 or 75 and regret not coming back to be here for her. That's why I'm living and building magic here in the swamp, why I had to build and outfit a new shop, and why I sold out of Tennessee and the Tabman USA shop.
That said, immediately above is a collage of pictures of where the first three Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets are as of today. This cabinet heads to the paint shop for black tomorrow along with two others. I'll get them painted before I start dealing with getting the Jeep back on the road. Once I get the black done, its all downhill from there. I am waiting for some magnetic hooks I just ordered for the inside of the lid. They were shipped on Saturday and should be here by Wednesday. I'm determined to ship the first few kits on Friday. At least the local Post Office is only three blocks away in case I'm still on foot.
See the light colored circle inside the lid? There's a 1" fender washer inlaid there (attracts magnets) and the light colored material is marine epoxy filler. The interior will be black soon and the epoxy filler will disappear of course. You can see the steel ring held to the maggies around the hole in the end. You can see the secret compartment being opened. It will be black inside. TW Ring Boxes on the upper left of the collage. So much to do....
July 25, 2010 - The Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets are going to be super, if I say so myself. I'm just in from the shop to get a glass of iced tea (its still over 105° out there) and I've got the first cabinet to come off the line almost ready to head to the paint shop for the black interior. I'm excited about being able to add these to my catalog. These will start shipping this week. I promise to get some pictures up on Monday. Thank you, thank you, thank you Stewart James and we can all thank Joe Long for the suggestion of adding the secret compartment and Pete Biro for the new addition to the lid (he suggested it for the 1939 cabinets but I wanted to stay true to SJ's vision for that one).
July 22, 2010 - The heat here has slowed me way down. There's not much I can do about it except work in the evenings. Last night I was working in the shop at midnight. It's 98° in the shade today and 110° in the shop barn with the tin roof. It was the coldest winter in history and now this. It's amazing. My house is not air conditioned and neither is the shop. I grew up in the south GA heat but maybe age is making it worse. Anyway, I wanted to let the loyal know the score. Several Sefalaljia #2 kits are going to be shipped the first of next week. I'm headed to the shop in a short while to continue getting them ready. Also, while doing this I prepare the other cabinets and move them along the line. Walking between the benches I stop by my small craft bench and glue parts up for the TW boxes. I've got seven of these that will be shipped on Monday and the Sefalaljia's will be shipped in the order received. New orders for the Sefalaljia kits will be closed at the end of September to give me a chance to fill them before Thanksgiving and then take a little time off. The price will go up on the Sefalaljia kits at that time. I've got two or three new ideas in play for the shop too. I'm not sure how I'll handle these. I'm not comfortable with the amount of time it's taken to fill these Sefalaljia orders, some of them stretching out for several months. Thanks again to you loyalists. Order with confindence and patience. Good things are in store for us all. Watch this space for news - almost daily it seems right now. Off to the shop, more later....
July 21, 2010 - Is it ever hot - 108° in the shop. Surprisingly I'm able to keep working. I just have to take breaks and come inside and cool off. The first three Sefalaljia Number 2 kits are almost off "the line." I'm excited to get them into your hands. It looks like I'll be shipping the first two or three next Monday and then at least two or three kits each week until all the orders are filled. Yesterday I came up with one more "improvement" that I may implement. It's something that I'll have to do before attaching the lids to the cabinets so I've got a make a decision soon - in fact, writing this just made me decide to go ahead and do it. You can read about it in the instructions that will accompany the kit.
Yesterday I shipped two Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes and tomorrow I'll be shipping a couple more and a Bamboo Chop Cup to The Netherlands. My wheels are turning slowly these days but I'm thankful they're turning. Thanks for everything.
July 15, 2010 - Take a look at the photo montage below and you can see how the steel ring is held in the cabinet in anticipation of the ring on rope or rod or wand. You can also see the hidden compartment open. It will be painted dull black all round during production. The compartment in the floor will be lined with blackjack table foam padding for silent operation and to hold the ring securely once its deposited. The compartment opens easily with finger pressure and stays closed until you need it. You'll love how the hidden ring is moved from the back of the cabinet to its ready position inside the cabinet around the 1.5" hole in the right side as the cabinet is turned around.
It's taken a lot longer to get these done than I thought at first but when one of the Sefalalgists suggested the hidden compartment I knew I had to do it. I didn't promise it in the beginning but once I committed to the task I knew I had to add it to the cabinet. It gives you several ways to accomplish the ring on rope or rod which next to the ball in the glass is one of the strongest elements of the Stewart James Sefalaljia routine. I plan to leave this montage up for a few weeks only and then take it and any other hints at the cabinet's secrets off the website just to keep prying eyes covered. I have thought about password protecting the workings information. I like making that informationavailable to magicians to help you make an informed decision. I don't think the public is watching though. How many do you think searches the internet for SEFALALJIA? Exactly none is likely the answer. Expect completion of the first three cabinets next week.
July 14, 2010 - Finally the forest green velvet bags arrived for the Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes. It hit me a few weeks ago that I'd like to send them out in a nice bag to top it off.
The TW Ring Boxes are beautiful and now I feel like it's complete. Sooo, if you have one of my Ring Boxes and didn't receive it with a bag then just send me a SASE and I'll be glad to send you a bag for your ring box. Next expect pictures of the first two Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets off "the line" tomorrow. More later....
July 13, 2010 - Today I found some large cotton bandannas with skulls on them so I ordered a couple of dozen. Originally the Sefalaljia Number 2 kit was going to include a nice large black bandanna but the bandannas with the skulls on them take me back to 1939 and James' original vision of the Sefalaljia cabinet using the skull on top as the actuator for the ball in the glass.
At the time I made the 1939 sets I dropped the skull and substituted a brass candlestick with a lit candle to use to activate the ball in the glass. The skull bandanna is a tribute to SJ's original routine so I'll include not only the black bandanna but the skull one as well. That way you have a choice.
My main goal is to produce a great set of props that you will use.
I think this is a nice addition and is another tip of the hat to Stewart James.
July 12, 2010 - Today while I was testing out the maggie inside the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinet before assembling kit No.1, it hit me that if I added one more maggie it would work even better, be more secure as well as more deceptive. Once you have what looks like a good or better idea you have to act on it even if it slows you down so I drilled for an additional maggie and glued it in. You never know when a good idea will strike. I'm excited about how well the ring on rope or rod will work now. More to come...
July 10, 2010 - The temperature in the shop this week during the day has been over 100° during the day so I have been trying to get my work done later in the evenings and at night. Last night at around midnight the temperature was still over 90° but I've managed to get the secret compartment engineered and installed in the first Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinet, ship several Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes and Bamboo Chop Cups. With that said, I expect to start shipping the Number 2s late next week. I will be shipping them in the order of payment received. If you're considering ordering the Sefalaljia Number 2 kit, now would be a good time because the price will be $675 beginning soon. Thank you for your interest and support. Please email me with any questions, comments, or just to say hello. More later....
July 3, 2010 - It's Independence Day weekend in the USA. Best wishes to everyone. I'll be back on Monday morning to finish up the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets, Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes, and several custom orders. Thank you for every thing. Have a great weekend!!
June 28, 2010 - Today I set up to cut the 1.5" holes in the ends of the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets. Those will be finished tomorrow. Next is the assembly and finishing. They're about done. I expect to start shipping the Sefalaljia Number 2 kits in two or three weeks. The books are now closed on the 1939 Sefalaljia Kit. The old Tabman aka El-Tab is slowly but surely moving in the right direction. I love building magic for magicians around the world and being part of the magic world at large and I thank you for your participation in these projects.
Looks like the word is out about the Tommy Wonder Ring Boxes I've been making since Tommy arranged with me to make them for him many years ago. Last year one of Tommy's friends asked me to make up several for him. I had to acquire some precision miniature tools and set up a work center for them. It's great to be able to sit in one spot in front on my middle bench and put them together. Each one requires 19 individual parts. In comparison, the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets require 20 parts. If you order one of the TW Ring Boxes, please be aware that you will need to own or purchase Volume 1 of the TW Books to get the routine as no routine comes with the box itself. The arrangement I made with Tommy was to make them for magicians who owned the book. I will continue to honor my committment to this ideal. The 1980 Sefalaljia kits are almost sold out. I'll be glad to see the first ones go out next weekend.
June 14, 2010 - This was a big day in the sense that I finally shipped the 1939 protoype cabinet and props to David Ben who runs the Stewart James museum out today. I'm very happy to have the El-Tab Sefalaljia kits be part of the Stewart James Holdings in Toronto. Also in the mail are 12 of the new Ring Grinders that I'm making in partnership with Pete Biro. Tomorrow will see me getting the last couple of 1939 kits polished up, packed and in the mail - literally in the mail since FedEx closed their shipping point down the road. Then as I finish the Sefalaljia Number 2 kits they'll meet the postmaster as well. As Pete Biro often says, Stay tooned...
June 7, 2010 - This week should see the finishing up of the 1939 cabinets that got ordered at the end of the run. The cabinets are made but they still need to have the inside painted black and the outside finished out. All the Sef Number 2 cabinets have been roughed in. The secret compartments are time consuming and painstaking to make but I hope to start shipping these in the next few weeks at the earliest. Pete Biro and I are working on some projects together and I need to get the shop cleared for these projects because of the number of units necessary to be made. I'll notify you individually as your Sefalaljias are shipped.
Thank you for the Bamboo Chop Cup orders and orders for the TW Ring Box. I will be caught up on these by the end of next week too.
Also, take a look at the banner at the top of this paragraph. Aldo Colombini's wife Rachael needs an expensive operation to save her life. Because they live in the USA where there is no universal health care they are faced with over $200k in medical fees to have this done. A young man in England, Kyle MacNeil, gathered over two dozen of the finest magicians in the world to compile an ebook to help raise funds for Aldo's family.
May 31, 2010 - Today is Memorial Day in the United States and a day that we should remember our fallen heros. That's what we did today. We spent the day at Georgia Veterans Memorial Park and on the lake in our boat, Sefalaljia. I worked in the shop through the weekend though and this week should see the beginning of the shipment of the last 1939 Sefalaljia kits and beginning the final stages of the Sefalaljia Number 2s.
May 27, 2010 - This has been a good week so far. I've shipped all the Bamboo Chop Chop orders. Thank you to Richard Kaufman for mentioning me in his Genii Magazine column this month. The Sefalaljia Number 2, plus the last 1939 Kits are almost ready to ship. I should start shipping and filling those orders by the end of next week.
This afternoon I took a break from the shop and worked on the Self-Lighting & Smoking Cigar DVD package. I've been wanting to do it but everything takes time. I've finished it tonight and back in the shop in the morning. I'm excited about the secret floor in the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets and today while assembling the first one I came up with another improvement.
Due to hazmat shipping regulations this is not available for shipping outside the USA - Sorry.
May 21, 2010 - Sefalaljia Number 2 update: Friday. The dovetailing on all the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets so far ordered has been completed and I've started putting the cabinets together. I will be working tomorrow and Sunday too as is my habit but I normally take it a little easy on Mondays and do some shipping. Also I've got several nice Bamboo Chop Cups ready to go out and cut up about 25 more to dry.
You can see the mahogany for the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets in the picture to the right as well as a couple of the Bamboo Chop Chops drying in my paint booth after getting several coats of clear urethane spray.
May 13, 2010 - Sefalaljia Number 2 update: Thursday. The mahogany for the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets showed up from the finishers yesterday and it is beautifully done. Very smooth and perfectly planed and sanded planks are stacked in my shop as I type ready for the next steps. Tomorrow I will start the dovetails. I should start shipping Sefalaljia Number 2 kits in two weeks or less. Today I have to ship a dozen ring grinders out to Pete Biro Magic for Pete's new routine he's putting out very soon. I cobbled them together while I was waiting for the mahogany to arrive and finished them last night. I waxed them this morning and am headed out to pack them for shipping right now. Next in line; Sefalaljia Number 2s (plus a couple of late ordered 1939 sets).
As Pete always says, "Stay tooned..."
May 7, 2010 - Sefalaljia Number 2 update: Friday. Good news for those awaiting the Sefalaljia Number 2 kits. I was just notified by the company thats doing the sanding and edging on the Honduran mahogany I bought for the cabinets that they will bring it to me the middle of next week. That should work out good for doing the cutting out of the individual components, the dovetail work and the making the parts for the bases by the end of the week, next. Then fitting the magnets and the false bottom will take a few days. I'm having a little trouble finding enough hinges. I buy a certain solid brss hinge and then modify it to fit the cabinets and so you won't see one like it on anything else. I have enough to meet all the current orders plus a few but I'd like to find about half dozen more.
May 1, 2010 - Sefalaljia Number 2 update: The mahogany is being edged and sanded at a large precision shop. On the 1939 cabinets it took me a month of sanding and I still wasn't satisfied. This time the wood is being run through a large sanding table and getting a nice smooth gloss on both sides. I expect the wood to come back to me by the end of next week. Then it's dovetail time. After that, the rest is basically easy. I will say that I've come up with a secret panel in the bottom of the cabinet that will set this one aside as maybe the best Sefalaljia cabinet of all time. It is no copy of the Jeff Busby cabinets and I think it's an improvement. There are still some cabinets available so order soon before I retire this one. As Pete Biro always says, "Stay tooned!"
April 21, 2010 - Sefalaljia Number 2, the 1980 cabinet is now underway. I plan to cut off the ordering at the end of this month or early next month so I can concentrate on filling orders and not get too far behind. The 1939 kits about wore me out (and Im still not completely done with them). The past couple of weeks Ive been taking it easy and getting ready to start the Number 2 sets.
Getting the shop set up and ready and dealing with a personal loss have kept me hunkered down since Good Friday. I added a nice Dremel table saw to the set up for accurate cuts in small stock and two more work benches besides the roof. The El-Tab Shop is getting to be a nice place to work for one person. I do hope to expand the shop into more area in the barn sooner than later and theres also winter to think about. Last year it was hell. I expect to start shipping Sefalaljia again in about two weeks. As Pete Biro says, "Stay tooned..."
April 11, 2010 - All 24 1939 Sefalaljia kits have been spoken for and all but two delivered. The final two will be delivered in a few weeks as promised. The 1980 Sefalaljia Number 2 kits are scheduled to be started this week. Additionally, very soon I need to shoot a video with the original prototype 1939 kit and then bundle it up and send it off to Canada to be added to the Stewart James muesum and David Ben of Magicana.com. Thanks again to David for wanting to add my 1939 Sefalaljia kit to the Stewart James Holdings.
Sefalaljia No. 2 will be a limited edition as well. Six units have been spoken for so I might limit this one to twelve kits instead of 24 like the 1939 kit. I enjoy making these but it's a lot of work putting more than just a few together so if you've been thinking about ordering I'd suggest doing it soon.
My old pal and magic mentor Pete Biro and I are teaming up on a project too. Pete is spearheading it and I'm providing the wood props for it. Hopefully Pete will let me make a few available for fans of Sefalaljia.com. I'll wait for Pete to announce it soon.
How is Sefalaljia pronounced?
March 21, 2010 - This week I'll open up for orders for the Sefalaljia No. 2 cabinet and prop kit. It's made of select mahogany lumber. I bought some beautiful, wide 1 inch thick planks that I'm planing to size. It's a pleasure to work with such fine materials. Please email me if you have any questions.
Thanks to you all for your support and inspiration over the years.
SEFALALJiA No. 2
March 13, 2010 - The 1939 kits are almost all done now and the final ten will be shipped over the next ten to twelve days. I've lost track of the actual count of 1939 kits sold but I think its now closer to twenty unless I've lost track of someone. Once I get beyond the next two or three projects I will make the last few 1939 kits and offer them one at a time to the magicians on my Sefalaljia list.
Now, on to SJ's 1980 Sefalaljia Number 2. First, this is not Jeff Busby's version or even my version of JB's version. The similarities are because I am working from the same drawings from SJ's original 1980 manuscript produced
by Ray Massecar. I have deliberately left off the brass corners on the lid just to make sure it's not confused with the JB version.
In James 1989 routine he calls for several push pins or large head thumb tacks to be used with the cabinet. I have substituted the nice solid brass knobs you see above the holes on each end of the cabinets in these new pictures. I have also decided to add several powerful magnets to the piece. For example, James calls for a piece of double stick magnetic tape on the back of the cabinet. I decided to add a powerful magnetic screw to the hinge where James called for the tape and it works great.
Look at the picure above. It shows the magnetic screw comfortably holds a 2" heavy harness ring. I've also added a magnet inside the box to hold a ring to facilitate the ring on a brass rod or rope and more like a hidden pocket and a peg to facilitate the Paul Curry rope linking routines. My additions to the Sefalaljia Number 2. Maybe I should call it Sefalaljia Number 2.2?
March 8, 2010 - Four more 1939 Sefalaljia Kits almost ready to ship. This will leave six more to complete and mail next week. Everybody who ordered will have their 1939 kit very soon. Also, two TW Ring Boxes on the bench and a piece of faro equipment and another piece for Jason England to use in his card and gambling demonstrations. The ring boxes should be ready by the weekend. As Pete Biro sometimes says, "Stay Tooned..."
March 5, 2010 - Two more 1939 Sefalaljia Kits completed and ready to be shipped out on Monday. The background of the picture is a shot of the next cabinet in the line getting the final coats of oil and stain showing the detail of the blind dovetails. Blind dovetails were chosen for this and subsequent projects because it's the most difficult and appropriate in my mind for the Sefalaljia chain of history.
March 1, 2010 - Six cabinets are now blacked in the interior and will get stain and oil tomorrow during the rain/snow storm we're in for. I expect them to be shipped next week early. At that point the rest of the cabinets and kits will be finished up and shipped out finishing up the 1939 Sefalaljia Project with the exception of two kits yet to be spoken for.
Pictured above left to right, is the final stack of cabinets waiting for smokestack feet and fine sanding, three cabinets awaiting stain and oil, next is the beginning of El Tab's next release, Stewart James Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinet from the 1980s.
This is the version that was later put out by Jeff Busby. Jeff first approached me about producing the Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinets for him around 1988. I produced several cabinets before Jeff and I decided not to work together any more. In addition to the magnet, Ive decided to gimmick my Sefalaljia Number 2 cabinet for the Astro Ball effect which first came from the 1939 routine. Finally, on the right, is something Ive been having a lot of fun with, doing the rope tricks from Sefalaljia Number 2 and Dean's Box, a version of the ring on rope and many more uses. Watch for a video soon.