Acrylic blocks for card flourish practice

A little while ago I got in to card flourishes, these are where you do fancy cuts and shuffles of cards mainly just to show off, and frequently to make it look like an impressive shuffle whilst in fact keeping the same cards on top, or even the whole sequence unchanged. The thing about these is that they are hard, and take lots of practice. One of the things that makes it so hard is that each 'packet' of cards is made up of lots of individual, usually pretty slippery, cards. When you're learning they mostly don't want to stay as a neat single packet, they want to fly all over the place.

One day, out of the blue, my wife gave me a present. In this case it was a couple of sheets of acrylic. There was a sheet of completely clear acrylic, and one of  frosted. She had noticed in one of the videos on youtube, someone demonstrating with acrylic blocks in place of 'packets' of cards. Because she is basically the most awesome and thoughtful wife in the world, she decided to go order me some sheets so I can make up my own.

And so I set to the workshop, with an old deck of cards to give me dimensions, and my sheets of acrylic. First I worked out how to get the most card sized pieces out of each sheet, then cut them up on the bandsaw. Then it was just a case of sanding the rough edges, first on the bench sander, then by hand through all the grits from 180 to 20,000. Its quite remarkable working with acrylic this way. With the edge as is comes off the bandsaw, its quite hard to believe that it can be sanded and polished back to a shiny smooth surface.

And here are the finished blocks:

Acrylic blocks

Acrylic blocks

And here is me attempting to demonstrate one of the more interesting flourishes using the blocks, its much easier using the blocks than using a real deck, and it makes practicing much more productive.