Ed's Product Reviews
This page is dedicated to reviewing juggling equipment, videos, and related material. I will link to the store I bought them at when possible. Last Updated 3/13/2008.
Mr. Babache 100mm Stage Balls
(Taken from my review on IJDb store.)
I give these wonderful balls an 8/10. They lose a point for having a tendency to develop stain spots, and they lose another point for losing their brilliant shine and the tacky surface lessens after a few weeks of use. Otherwise, I love these balls. I use them for contact juggling and toss juggling. They are the most visible of all my juggling balls so they have a great stage effect. They make regular 3b tricks come alive. I highly suggest these if you are into contact juggling or you want really visible props.
Juggling Thingies Standard 14 Panel Bags (2.75" 130 gram)
I love these props. These are the props I use these days when I want to juggle bean bags. They are filled with plastic pellets which won't degrade like millet (bird seed) does. So that means they will keep the same shape for their lifetime. Also, if you plan on travelling to a foreign country, many countries forbid the transportation of bird seed. They are lightweight and you can special order the colors of your choice, as long as the owner has the color. The owner of the shop is named John Nord.
I tried to place an order recently to get an extra ball and learned that the material he uses has changed slightly. I wasn't interested in mixing materials so I didn't order the extra ball. The old material that I use is fake leather. I'm confident that the material will last me a very long time. As soon as I get a chance to play with some Thingies with the new material, I will update you on my thoughts.
Jugglers's Prop Shop Corduroy Bags (Large 148 gram)
These were the first bean bag I fell in love with. They are filled with millet (bird seed) so they will lose their full feel after a few weeks of practice as the millet breaks down. The corduroy feels good in the hands. The fact that they loose their fill a little makes catching them very easy. It also makes doing stalls of any kind easier. I still pull them out of my storage box every once and a while for variety, but they are not my preference now. I use Juggling Thingies when I want to juggle a bag.
A few things to be careful about when using these is to not accidentally step on them because they are sewn together and cordury will rip at the seams. Also, you don't want to get these wet because the millet is biodegradable. Finally, if your hands sweat a lot while you juggle, you will notice the corduroy gets damp and warm.
Sport Juggling Co. (185 gram 3")
These balls are over-filled (stuffed) with millet (bird seed), so they have a squishy feel when the millet starts to break down. The material is ultraleather which makes it super smooth. I really liked these when I first started using them, but the weight of these balls tires my arms quickly. They come in several weights, so don't let that deter you from trying these out. On the plus side, I can always depend on these during a windy practice session. If I were to buy more of these, I would go for the 140 gram 2.75" version.
Tossaball Hybrid Juggling Bags (130 gram 2.8")
I have been using these balls for 2.5 months at the time of this post. Before updating this section of my blog, I wrote a review of this product here. In a nutshell, I said:
These balls are 2.8" and 130 grams and have 12 panels. Cost is $15 a ball. Out of the box, you will recognize their excellent craftsmanship, even if like me, you know nothing about making juggling balls. The balls are packed tight, giving them a solid feel in the hand.
Changing to the Hybrids has had a huge benefit to my juggling. I have found that I prefer the smaller and heavier ball. I am having much fewer collisions and more success throwing multiplexes and making catches.
Just yesterday, I washed them for the first time and they came out of the wash looking good.
In summary, I recommend these balls to anyone looking for a durable, handmade, machine washable, juggling bag.
Dube Poly Cigar Boxes
Dube also carries white boxes which they use to make the decorated versions. So if you were interested in white, they have it. Also, I wanted to match my school colors, so I asked about it and they were able to find an orange decoration for me. Now I have a black, white, and orange... Oregon State University's colors.
I've only played with wooden boxes for a short time, so I can't really compare poly and wood. These poly boxes are light weight and very durable. I have no complaints, and sadly I'm so new at cigar boxes that I don't know what else to say about these. I would suggest that you consider using black tape on all of your boxes because the white tape will get funky looking quickly from the dirt on your hands.
Dube European (Long handled 220 grams)
Whatever you do, don't buy the 260 gram versions. They are way too heavy. The 220 gram version is a decent club. I haven't juggled many clubs, so keep that in mind. A good thing about Dube clubs is that they come with a lifetime guaruntee. I've had two of my clubs break and Dube happily and quickly replaced them. The staff at Dube seem to really have a customer centered business plan. It shows in their professionalism.
One thing I don't like about Dube clubs is that they have a metal screw that is visible on the knob. It's not because it's visible that I don't like it, it's because the screw will leave a nasty looking ding in any wood floor if the screw is the first thing to hit the floor in a drop. I'm not the kind of person who likes to damage the floor of my local gymnasium just so I can practice my clubs indoors. So, although I like the Dube clubs and love the lifetime guaruntee, I'm going to look for a different club that will not damage the floor of my practice space.
The Media Circus Siteswaps DVD
Wow! This is a great DVD series. You get 3 DVDs for $75. There is a ton of stuff on these. Most of the siteswaps are shown with balls, less with clubs, and even more less with bounce. There is enough ball, club, and bounce to last me at least 3 years of solid practice to master. I love this set. I have had them for a couple months and have learned a great deal of tricks. One day, I will shake Sean Gandini's hand for creating this.
Ivan Pecel's Advanced 4 & 5 Ball Instructional DVD
This is a great instructional video. I think this video will change the way juggling instructional videos are created. You get piece by piece instructions on a lot of really cool tricks. You won't get as many tricks as on the Siteswaps DVD, but the Siteswaps DVD won't explain any of the tricks outside of the lesson about siteswaps in general. I like this video, and recommend it to any beginner who wants to learn advanced tricks.
O HA KO: The deepest box world in Japan
Above is a picture I took of the insert for the VHS case this cigar box instructional video comes in. That's right, I think it is only available in VHS format from Renegade Juggling by request, as it is not listed in their videos section. No worries about that though. If you live in a city, you should be able to find someone who can convert the VHS to DVD format and save this to your computer or simply make backup coppies.
I have only scratched the surface of this video. There are 436 individual tricks demonstrated. You can view the O HA KO Trick List online. The bottom line for this video is that you will become a better box juggler by watching and practing the tricks you find interesting.