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Tally Ho decks with Linoid finish are preferred for cardistry because...?

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EndersGame

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I've read in several places that Tally Ho decks with a Linoid finish are preferred for cardistry.  But why? 

I recently did some research into USPCC produced decks - you can see the results in my article here.  From what I have learned, a Linoid finish is actually identical to a Air Cushion finish, Cambric finish, or linen finish.  Technically the word "finish" refers to the texture on the card, which in older decks was created at the end of the production process by applying the card's coating using cloth rollers.  Nowadays it is more efficient and cheaper to stamp this embossed texture into the paper itself with metal rollers, to eliminate the cost of replacing cloth rollers.  So even though cloth rollers are no longer used, the finish names that originated in the type of cloth rollers used (e.g. linen, cambric, linoid) are still used, because USPCC wants to continue to associate these labels with particular brands  ("Air-Cushion finish" - Bicycle decks, "Linoid finish" - Tally Ho decks, "Cambric finish" = Bee decks).  But in reality, the texture for all of these is created by pressing a metal roller with bumps into the paper before the printing process even happens, which is identical for all of these decks.

USPCC only offers two embossing options: Smooth or Embossed.  So all USPCC produced cards that are produced with an embossed rather than a smooth finish, have an identical embossing.

The only other differences between USPCC produced decks are the following:
1. The finish: Smooth or Embossed.  Nearly all USPCC decks are Embossed, including Tally Ho decks.
2. The stock: Bicycle Stock or Bee Casino Stock.   The Bee Casino Stock is thicker, stiffer, more durable, and needs some wearing in.  Most of USPCC's mass produced decks used Bicycle stock, including (I think) the Tally Ho decks.
3. The coating: Magic Finish or Standard Finish.  Orders of less than 15,000 decks all get the Magic Finish coating, which is more slippery and preferred by magicians, instead of the Standard Finish, which is only used for decks that are mass produced.  I think that the Tally Ho decks use the Standard Finish, or it perhaps possible that they use the Magic Finish, and this is what makes them different?
4. The cut: Traditional or Modern.  USPCC's default cut is the Modern cut, and while this can affect the ability to do faros, I don't think it is this difference that accounts for cardistry fans preference for Tally Ho decks.  I suspect they have a Modern cut the same as most of USPCC's decks.

If I'm right, then the differences in handling between different USPCC decks that some people swear by are more imagined than real.  Assuming that you have an Embossed rather than Smooth deck, then the only real differences will be whether it is Bicycle stock or Bee Casino stock, and whether it is Magic Finish or Standard Finish.  The mass produced decks (e.g. Bicycle Riderbacks, Tally Hos) all are Embossed, use Bicycle Stock, and Standard finish, so should handle the same; whereas custom decks like Ellusionist are Embossed, use Bee Casino stock and Magic finish, and will handle differently. 

So as best as I can tell, the Tally Ho decks use the same stock/finish as Bicycle Riderbacks, or there is some other difference I'm not aware of?

If any of the information I have above is incorrect, I'd welcome correction, but what I have posted here is based on quite reliable and informed sources (see this thread for more information on this).

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Don Boyer

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At one time in the not-too-distant past, USPC actually had a separate stock that was called Tally Ho stock, and it was used on Tally Ho decks.  It was a "middle ground" stock - firmer than Bicycles, not as hard as Bees.  Combined with TWO attractive back designs to choose from that were uncommon enough to be distinctive while vintage-looking enough to not stand out too much compared to other old designs and a very affordable price point when compared to custom decks, it was a very hard deck for old-school cardists to resist.  It was also a deck with a popular legacy - magicians like Das Vernon swore by them and they even earn mention in Hollywood movies like "The Sting," where one gambler/gangster was known to request the brand by name.  They were also traditionally cut until the change in stock.

Today's Tally Ho deck have just the looks of the old ones, and little else left of the legacy.  Still, some people like them enough just because they're different from Bicycles and Bees.  USPC considers Tally Ho to be a "regional" brand, thus doesn't advertise them nationally or push them in major nationwide retailers.  The region in which they're sold is magic stores and New York City - I used to live in Queens and was a few blocks away from a 24-hour fruit/vegetable market that sold Tally Ho for $3 a pack, cheaper than the local chain drug stores sold Bicycles.  But outside of New York, a magic shop or a card specialty dealer, they're hard to come by.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 02:24:31 AM by Don Boyer »
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EndersGame

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So aside from looks, they'd probably be the same stock and finish as Bicycle riderbacks then, Don?

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So aside from looks, they'd probably be the same stock and finish as Bicycle riderbacks then, Don?

The best answer I can give is "probably."  No one's done a scientific analysis on the topic and USPC is prone to keeping mum about their stocks and finishes on their standard production line.  Maybe after the factory tour in October, I'll know more.
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EndersGame

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So aside from looks, they'd probably be the same stock and finish as Bicycle riderbacks then, Don?

The best answer I can give is "probably."  No one's done a scientific analysis on the topic and USPC is prone to keeping mum about their stocks and finishes on their standard production line.  Maybe after the factory tour in October, I'll know more.

It would be fantastic if you get some kind of enlightenment as a result of your tour.  I've tried corresponding with USPCC to inquire for clarification on this and a number of other matters, but until now I haven't even received a courtesy email of reply.

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Magic_Orthodoxy

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Yes, the old adage that one is "better" than the other or that this or that "handles better" is B.S.

I cover all of that in my video on cut stock and finish - which is backed up by Peter McKinnon, Jason Brumbalow, Rick Davidson and Don here....

http://magicorthodoxy.weebly.com/magic-reviews/how-does-this-deck-handle

The article below goes into all of the differences from deck to deck that would make one different over the other

What if it isn't a USPCC deck?

http://magicorthodoxy.weebly.com/magic-reviews/but-what-if-it-isnt-a-uspcc-deck

Other factors in card handling

http://magicorthodoxy.weebly.com/magic-reviews/other-factors-in-card-handling

Hope that helps, spread the "gospel"

« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 08:12:01 AM by Magic_Orthodoxy »
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EndersGame

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Yes, the old adage that one is "better" than the other or that this or that "handles better" is B.S.

I cover all of that in my video on cut stock and finish - which is backed up by Peter McKinnon, Jason Brumbalow, Rick Davidson and Don here....

Thanks for sharing those links David.  I just read your articles below the videos (can't watch the videos due to bandwidth issues I'm having right now), and they were helpful, and confirm the things I've been reading from Don and others.  Nice work!

I didn't see you make any mention about the impact of the coating used, specifically USPCC's Magic Finish (= Ellusionist's "Performance Coating") vs Standard Finish.  Do you have any thoughts on what difference that makes, other factors being equal?
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 10:28:10 AM by EndersGame »

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Magic_Orthodoxy

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anything you ADD to the card - detracts. Right? Because all things being equal - with no ink and no coating - then it's apples to apples. So anything that is added to the cards takes away from it.

Performance coating is "magic finish" again, Ellusionist trying to be sneaky. Chiefly it's put on decks that have heavy inks to prevent chipping. You lose some of the glide with heavy inks and so the finish is applied to bring some of the fluidity back.  (I mention all of this in the video along with how it was developed and who developed it)

http://blog.ellusionist.com/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-uspc-ellusionist-but-were-afraid-to-ask/

But there is no such thing as "standard finish" - there is just Magic Finish... or nothing.

Remember air cushion finish is NOT a finish - it's an embossing that creates the linen look and air cushion feel.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 03:02:18 PM by Magic_Orthodoxy »
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Don Boyer

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So aside from looks, they'd probably be the same stock and finish as Bicycle riderbacks then, Don?

The best answer I can give is "probably."  No one's done a scientific analysis on the topic and USPC is prone to keeping mum about their stocks and finishes on their standard production line.  Maybe after the factory tour in October, I'll know more.

It would be fantastic if you get some kind of enlightenment as a result of your tour.  I've tried corresponding with USPCC to inquire for clarification on this and a number of other matters, but until now I haven't even received a courtesy email of reply.

They're a subsidiary of a truly MASSIVE conglomerate, Newell Brands.  It doesn't surprise me that they don't spend a lot of time or effort on customer replies, especially when you're asking about something they prefer not discussing.

anything you ADD to the card - detracts. Right? Because all things being equal - with no ink and no coating - then it's apples to apples. So anything that is added to the cards takes away from it.

Performance coating is "magic finish" again, Ellusionist trying to be sneaky. Chiefly it's put on decks that have heavy inks to prevent chipping. You lose some of the glide with heavy inks and so the finish is applied to bring some of the fluidity back.  (I mention all of this in the video along with how it was developed and who developed it)

http://blog.ellusionist.com/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-uspc-ellusionist-but-were-afraid-to-ask/

But there is no such thing as "standard finish" - there is just Magic Finish... or nothing.

Remember air cushion finish is NOT a finish - it's an embossing that creates the linen look and air cushion feel.


It's NOT Ellusionist trying to be "sneaky."  Performance Coating was the original codename used by USPC for Magic Finish before it was made available to the customers of the Custom Department.  They preferred that name - and I think it makes a lot more sense to not have the word "magic" anywhere on a deck of cards used by a MAGICIAN!

You are right in part that it was developed because of glide issues, but it wasn't just "heavy inks" - they were having specific issues with metallic inks, which at the time it was developed were all in vogue.  But more importantly, USPC had to change the formulation of their coatings because of changes in US law.  Playing card manufacturers in the US are currently required to make their cards more environmentally friendly by using paper with a high post-consumer recycled content and inks and coatings that are free of petroleum products and plastics.  THIS is what was causing performance issues with so many decks of cards that were being released around the time of the company's switch to the new factory in Erlanger, Kentucky - many decks from 2009 and the early part of 2010 had coatings that simply didn't last, resulting in clumping and difficulty shuffling.  Magic Finish helped to resolve these issues and get the Custom Department back on track with producing cards people wanted to buy.  I don't know exactly what Magic Finish is in all likelihood composed of a starch, similar to the formula used for their standard coating, while their inks are made from vegetable dyes.  It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn they're edible!

Air Cushion Finish IS INDEED A FINISH!  The "embossing" you're talking about is exactly that, a finish.  A paper stock's finish is its texture, whether that's created by being pressed flat, having dimples pressed into the paper with steel rollers or having some coating applied to the paper like "UV ink" that gives it a three-dimensional quality.  The area of confusion for most is that they confuse a "finish" with a "coating."  Magic Finish is NOT a finish, it's a coating.  And there is indeed "standard finish" - but it, too, isn't a finish, it's just a coating, and it's the standard coating used in mass-produced decks throughout USPC's product line.  Magic Finish is the default finish for custom decks, but one can actually request standard finish when ordering a design.  It's just not terribly popular - hence the reason why Magic Finish was made the default in the first place.  They used to even charge EXTRA for Magic Finish, back when it was first introduced!
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EndersGame

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How does this deck handle? Watch the video and then read the article below. I asked "the experts" your questions, and here is what they said....

http://magicorthodoxy.weebly.com/magic-reviews/how-does-this-deck-handle
But there is no such thing as "standard finish" - there is just Magic Finish... or nothing.

David, I've just had a chance to check out your video. A few comments:

1.  It does need updating, because it says that USPCC only offers two types of stock (Bicycle Standard, Bee Casino), whereas now they offer a third as well: Thin Crush.  Do you have any experience with their newer paper stock at all David?

2. I'd like to see some evidence in support of your claim that decks without the "Magic Finish" have NO coating at all.  I see that Don Boyer in his most recent post here has also challenged that, and he also says that the "Standard Finish" is in fact an actual coating, not just the absence of Magic Finish.  We agree that Magic Finish is USPCC's default option for all small print runs of custom decks, whereas Standard Finish is only for the mass produced decks in amounts of 10,000+ using the web press.  But if the claim that Standard Finish is no coating is true, then why don't they give customers who make custom decks the option to skip the Magic Finish?  For small/custom print runs, Magic Finish is the default coating, but that would make no sense if they don't put any coating on the big print runs; surely then that could be done for small print runs too.  So I need further convincing that Standard Finish is no coating at all, rather than just a different type of coating to the Magic Finish, and I find it somewhat hard to believe that USPCC's mass produced decks (e.g. Bicycle Riderbacks) are just paper with zero coating.  It would be good to get some confirmation about the Standard Finish, and find out who is correct on this point: David or Don.

3. I recently wrote a detailed article about USPCC standards and quality that's now in the 101 reference section here on PCF.  I'll update it to add reference to your articles David.  If you get opportunity, I'd love you to read it over, and comment on the accuracy, and perhaps suggest any changes that you think it needs.  You'll find it here:
Analysing the quality/handling of a USPCC deck vs EPCC decks: four key elements

4. I vaguely recall seeing a list of measurements for a whole range of particular decks - was that you who produced that list, and if so, where might I find it? 

Thanks for contributing to the discussion David!

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Don Boyer

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4. I vaguely recall seeing a list of measurements for a whole range of particular decks - was that you who produced that list, and if so, where might I find it? 

Thanks for contributing to the discussion David!

I wouldn't go too much on the measurements of individual decks.  There's some variation from print run to print run and even from deck to deck within a print run.

Lots of factors come into play when it comes to the thickness of a card's stock - the amount and uniformity of pressure applied when sandwiching the paper layers together to make the card stock, the paper itself that comes from the mill, even the temperature and humidity level at which the paper is stored before being printed.  Buy five decks of Bicycle Rider Backs from five different stores and measure them precisely with a micrometer and you're likely to come up with five different (though very similar) thicknesses, even though they're all "Bicycle stock."

Some companies are better at controlling these factors than others to make more consistent paper, but paper sourced in the US is required by law to have a high post-consumer recycled content, meaning there's a bit of a "wild card" factor in terms of the end-result quality of what gets made with that paper.  Shorter fibers in recycled paper can also impact the paper's stiffness and durability, though I would imagine they do try to compensate for this to some degree by making some adjustments to things like the amount of pressure applied when crushing the stock, the coating applied on the surfaces and the thickness/formulation of the glue-and-graphite blend that's layered in the middle.  These tweaks will likely have some impact on a paper's thickness.

USPC does experiment with their paper a little from time to time - I recall being told by someone in the know that they were having some trouble with their Bicycle paper feeding through the new presses when they opened in Erlanger and that they adjusted the thickness to be a shade thinner - at the time, they were measuring their stock in grams per square meter (gsm) and I was told that they switched to 300 gsm to insure smoother feeding through the printer.  I think it was previously either 310 or 320 gsm.

Today, they measure their stock in caliper thickness, and not a specific thickness but a range of thicknesses, the thinner range being "Bicycle" and the thicker range being "Bee," with some degree of overlap between the ranges.  I have no idea where their new "Thin Crush" stock would lie on the thickness spectrum, but I'm guessing it's generally thinner than Bicycle based on the name and what I've been hearing about it.
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Magic_Orthodoxy

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1.  It does need updating, because it says that USPCC only offers two types of stock (Bicycle Standard, Bee Casino), whereas now they offer a third as well: Thin Crush.  Do you have any experience with their newer paper stock at all David?

All of USPCC stock is "crushed stock" crushed is the "type" of paper and standard and casino is the "thickness" It is also true that all of their decks going forward are "thinner." I have a brand new deck of Bee cards that measure thinner than STANDARD and closer to this new "crushed" thickness; and I bought it retail. So it "seems" like there is a third option, but in a year or so who knows... USPCC could decide all their decks use this new thinner feel?

When I think of "finish," it's a "coating" made of an element that is "applied" to the cards. The definition of "finish" includes these words: varnish, lacquer, veneer, coat, stain, wax, shellac, enamel, glaze....

Air cushion is an embossing, that is stamped into the cards - it is not "added" to the paper - it IS the paper. The definition of "emboss" includes these words; carve, mold, or stamp a design on (a surface) so that it stands out in relief.

Decks that have Magic Finish ALSO have Air Cushion....so it has two "finishes?" I would think the word "finish" implies the "last and final" thing applied.

Air cushion is only a finish, because USPCC says it is. But for the sake of clarity when I do a review, I list it as an embossing (which is true and more accurate verbiage)
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 03:07:48 PM by Magic_Orthodoxy »
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1.  It does need updating, because it says that USPCC only offers two types of stock (Bicycle Standard, Bee Casino), whereas now they offer a third as well: Thin Crush.  Do you have any experience with their newer paper stock at all David?

All of USPCC stock is "crushed stock" crushed is the "type" of paper and standard and casino is the "thickness" It is also true that all of their decks going forward are "thinner." I have a brand new deck of Bee cards that measure thinner than STANDARD and closer to this new "crushed" thickness; and I bought it retail. So it "seems" like there is a third option, but in a year or so who knows... USPCC could decide all their decks use this new thinner feel?

When I think of "finish," it's a "coating" made of an element that is "applied" to the cards. The definition of "finish" includes these words: varnish, lacquer, veneer, coat, stain, wax, shellac, enamel, glaze....

Air cushion is an embossing, that is stamped into the cards - it is not "added" to the paper - it IS the paper. The definition of "emboss" includes these words; carve, mold, or stamp a design on (a surface) so that it stands out in relief.

Decks that have Magic Finish ALSO have Air Cushion....so it has two "finishes?" I would think the word "finish" implies the "last and final" thing applied.

Air cushion is only a finish, because USPCC says it is. But for the sake of clarity when I do a review, I list it as an embossing (which is true and more accurate verbiage)

It's a misnomer to call a coating a finish.  This was done years ago because back then, the finish (the TEXTURE) was created on the paper by adding a coating that was applied with cloth rollers, thus imparting the texture of the cloth to the coating as it dried.  But it doesn't change the fact that a coating is NOT a texture.  "Magic Finish" can be (and has been before) applied to smooth, unembossed paper or to textured, embossed paper - it's a coating, not a finish, despite the misleading name.

As far as the stock, USPC, according to someone who knows USPC's stuff because he orders from them all the time, created a third stock called "Thin Crush."  Yes, all USPC stocks are made using a "crushing" process, sandwiching a layer of adhesive laced with graphite between two layers of paper to create pasteboard.  All of USPC's stocks are actually made using the EXACT, SAME PAPER - they just crush it to different thicknesses.  It is probably the case that Thin Crush is their thinnest stock - I haven't experienced it yet myself.  But yes, it's a unique stock, not Bicycle, not Bee Casino.
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