My Favorite Method for Softening Coins
Copyright 2003 by James
Soft coins are coins which are worn down and silently slide
off of each other. This is a very useful feature for magicians.
In the past magicians had to seek out worn coins from coin dealers.
For several of the items that I manufacture, I wanted soft coins
- so I developed this method for making soft coins as needed from
whatever coins I wanted.
Note: I am not currently making and selling soft coins
as stand alone items - only as components of other items that
I use a precision
variable speed lathe for making my coin gaffs.
The coin to be softened is mounted in a specially machined
Only the smallest
amount of metal is removed. The idea is to flatten the coin.
On this coin the metal being removed is all from the
After this light
machining, fine emery cloth is selected.
Lubricating oil is added to the emery cloth.
The lathe speed is set to at least 3000 rpm and the
coin surface is smoothed with the emery cloth/oil.
You may see the small amount of metal that has been
removed as residue on the emery cloth.
Very little metal is removed. The idea to to artificially
wear down the coin surface and
to very slightly round over the now sharp edges.
The cleaned off smoothed coin surface now looks like
I often use a scouring
pad for the next and final smoothing.
The smoothed coin
will look like this.
This is another view of the coin after scouring pad
It is critical that the sharp edges are smoothed over
with the scouring pad. This allows completely silent movement
of the coins.
The soft coin after polishing with a buffer is shown
on the right.
The coin on the left is as found in circulation.
Notice that this method of softening a coin does not
destroy all of the detail of the coin.
The coin so softened will merely appear to be worn;
but operate silently for magicians.
This is why I have developed this particular method
for softening coins - nothing looks fake.
If desired, the coin may be chemically aged before
the final buffing to bring out details.
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