Review: The Art of Card Splitting by Marty ‘Martini’ Grams

As I recently reviewed Gimmicked by Andost, I thought it fitting I also did a review of The Art of Card Splitting by Marty ‘Martini’ Grams, so here it is. Gaff and gimmick making is one of my areas of expertise, and I keep promising (or perhaps threatening) to film and release a series of videos on the topic, but in the meantime, The Art of Card Splitting and Gimmicked should keep you going.

This DVD, or tape as it originally was, is how a great many people first learned to split cards. It is an excellent resource, but he does get several things wrong, and some of the techniques demonstrated are not the best way to do things.

One of the things Marty gets wrong is the number of layers of card a card is made of. It’s a very common misconception that cards are made of three layers, but they are in fact made of two, what appears to be the third layer when dry splitting is in fact the inner two halves of the two pieces used to make the card and the glue bonding them. The glue is so strong when you dry split cards you are actually ripping down the middle of each piece of card rather than separating them on the glue-line.

He also claims only new cards will split, this is not true, they certainly do split far easier than old/used cards, but it’s far from impossible to split anything other than brand new cards that have never been used before.

Marty uses the ‘tap to start’ method of splitting, and although this does work, and many gaff makers still use this method, the bending start does tend to give better finished cards.

This video promotes a short press too, suggesting overnight is all you need. Although you can often get away with this in a push, a longer press will give you much better results. I personally like to press the parts for around a week prior to glueing and another after, but I will concede that is a little excessive.

That’s a lot of things I disagree with, but don’t think that means I hate this DVD, I actually really like it, the points made above are all minor points and although they will improve your finished gaffs, working in exactly the way Marty lays out won’t give you terrible unusable gaffs, they’ll be perfectly useable, just not quite as good as they could have been.

There are also a number of tricks (with both performances and explanations) included, some of which are quite good. But if you are looking to learn how to make your own gaffs and gimmicks I would expect you already have several uses in mind, but it’s nice they are included all the same.

Even for experienced gaff makers, it’s worth a watch. For example, I had totally forgotten Elmer’s make more than one type of rubber cement, but only one will give you good results. I was recently discussing this on the server and was confused by somebody saying they had poor results with rubber cement, as I only ever use one type, I had started to believe there was only one type.

So should you get a copy of The Art of Card Splitting? Yea, pretty much regardless of your level, if you are interested in creating your own gaffs and gimmicks, or already doing so, I think you will get something out of it.

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