My Take on the Glass Required for the Walnuts Effect


James P. Riser


Recently this effect has been revivied with the necessary gimmicks supplied along with a new fast-paced routine. Some discussion has revolved around the glass supplied and its effectiveness especially for close up work.

The glass supplied is adequate and will do the job; but being the perfectionist that I am, I was interested in seeing if something more versatile might be made.

In order to improve things it was necessary to examine the strengths and drawbacks of the original glass:


1. Clear so that contents might easily be seen.

2. The glass is real glass so that a good loud sound would be heard when the walnuts hit the sides of the glass.

3. Size is appropriate.

4. Slightly offset hole.


1. The white frosted walls of the hole were very apparent when the glass was viewed from the side.

2. To be effective the glass bottom needed to be at or slightly above spectators' eye level to avoid their noticing the hole.

3. Glass is too clear - allowing too good a view of walnuts.

Having worked as a crystal engraver for over 28 years, I thought I could make a better glass.

Plans for improvement...

1. The base of the glass to be modified will have a recessed bottom so that effective angles of view may be improved.

2. The walls of the hole will be polished to resemble the sides of a recessed bottom.

3. Hole will be slightly offset to provide a good inside ledge (on one side) to catch walnuts but allow maximun hole size (1 3/4") for introducing walnuts into the glass.

4. Hole rims will be slightly beveled to resemble insides of glass and recessed bottom. Bottom bevel will be much larger to improve sight angles.

5. Walls of glass itself will have cuts or pressed in pattern to very slightly distort view of walnuts (helps disguise walnut gimmick).

6. Maintain real glass for sound effect.


Here is the finished glass from two side views.


This is a performer's view of the hole in the glass.



In this view it possible to see how effective the bevel and polished hole vastly improve viewing angles.

The white ceiling in the room where I took the pictures is reflected off of the inside bottom surface.

This does not look odd in person; but seems to show up in a picture.





Note: I do not intend to mass produce these glasses (too much time/labor involved). This example was an experiment to see if the glass could be improved. I seriously doubt if many magicians would want to pay for such an item. Talk is cheap; but when it comes time to pay for the labor, the "talkers" seem to vanish.

Well...I guess there are a few serious performers around. I have now supplied 6 of these to magicians who appreciate the difference. I probably will make no more - no time.