leviwand :: how to choose the perfect string

Monday, March 14, 2022 1:55 PM

leviwand :: how to choose the perfect string

Ah the perfect wand string - durable, invisible, comfortable ... the list of requirements goes on and it's much longer than the needs for a magician's dancing cane, as many contemporary wands are heavy and its practitioners use their wands for long stretches of time at a go. 

Since inspiring the contemporary levi-wand movement with our first flow-wands in the early 2000s, we've been paying attention to the needs and desires of the top wanderers and advances in materials science.

We are happy to have found the best balance of properties in a particular braided black "Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene" (UHMWPE aka Dyneema) string, we call “stealth string” and offer it 2 sizes, depending on how you use your wand:

  • 0.44mm for short-string, lightweight flow-wands 
  • 1mm for all long-string, contact, and heavier wands

When selecting a wand string, there are a few factors you will probably want to consider:

Fire? if you have a fire wand, you need fire-resistant string. Kevlar works but wears down easily. check your string for wear before every use! Technora, AKA “Shadow Cord” is much better.

Visibility: No string strong enough to use on a wand is truly invisible, and strings that attempt to be are uncomfortable and difficult to work with. Clear string can reflect light and is typically monofilament, which easily kinks and twists. Black string is best in most conditions. Thinner string is less visible, but also more painful in terms of cutting into our skin, difficult to work with and less durable.

Comfort: Thicker string is more comfortable when interacting with your hands and body. Smoothness also helps - some strings are quite rough/abrasive due to the material and/or number of strands/braid, and twisted string tends to be rougher than braided string. In some situations your string could cut you.

Ease of use: Thicker string is easier to handle, to a point. It needs to easily fit in your wand/swivel, or you need to modify them, and it should be supple enough to easily tie. String thicker than 2mm can feel bulky when wrapped up around your hand.

Handling: We covered comfort above, but basically it should be thick enough not to hurt or discourage you from doing any moves, and thin enough to not feel too bulky when wrapping up etc. There are some moves that utilize the friction of the string in the hole, like slides, but even considering that, smoother is generally better.

Twisting: If you are not using a swivel, as is common in long-string wandering, then as you play and spin your wand the string will twist up, and the thicker the string, the faster this will affect how the wand handles. A thinner string can twist more times before it closes the bottom of the loop enough to touch and push the wand during use. Also some very stiff or coated strings can hold the twist in a way that makes them harder to untwist.

Stretch: This is rarely a factor you can feel, and probably not going to determine which string you choose, but if your string is too weak for the weight of your wand, you may feel some give. Some materials stretch more than others of the same thickness, for example: aramids have very low stretch, but also low abrasion resistance. Nylon has a lot of give for its size.

Durability: Especially if your string is secured to a swivel, and/or do a lot of spins, the point where it exits the wand can take a lot of abuse. Thicker is generally more durable than thinner. Braided is more durable than twisted. Plastic is more durable than natural or aramid (fire resistant). UV resistance is also a factor, some materials, like Vectran, breakdown quickly with sun exposure, others are almost immune to it.

Color-fastness: Some strings are dyed or coated in a way that leave marks on wands and/or clothing. The best string has the color mixed in during the fiber production and can not transfer or bleed.

Coatings: Some strings have coatings that can require break-in, or break down over time, affect the way they handle, cause twisting to “stick", or transfer onto your wand when not in use.

Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) is commonly used in synthetic tow lines, high-performance fabrics and bullet proof vests. It is highly abrasion resistant, up to 15 times stronger than steel and 40% stronger than aramid fibers by weight.

Basically it’s super strong, but more importantly for our use in levi-wands, our braided UHMWPE string is very abrasion resistant, low stretch, smooth, easy to tie and melt, and the color will not bleed.

For long-string, contact, and heavier wands, the 1mm diameter (300lb test) size provides a great balance of thickness for comfort, and thinness for great handling, easy twisting and untwisting, and relative invisibility.

Short string, long string, contact, LED - we make them all here in Emeryville by hand. Click here to check out our range of high performance wands

battery-powered solutions for art, armageddon or burning man, whichever comes first

Over the years for burning man, festivals and campouts, I’ve spent a huge amount of time and resources experimenting with battery-powered solutions for lighting, camp-charging, and bike/small vehicle power. 

I’m here to share some tips and tricks that I’ve learned. Whether you’re planning to power an art installation, a bike, a festy wagon, or all your camp’s charging and lighting needs, I hope these tips can help you take your projects to the next level!

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podpoi durability :: the story

Monday, November 23, 2015 9:48 AM

podpoi durability :: the story

Podpoi are known to be extremely durable. During beta-testing, we tried repeatedly to destroy them and found it quite difficult. A roomful of beefy boys took about 45 minutes of repeated smashing before it finally stopped working. We were quite excited and wanted to release a durability video shortly after the product launch. But it was not to be. Systemic issues arose that would have made the release of a durability video untimely. Although podpoi were designed to be extremely durable, a significant percentage have suffered various manufacturing defects that make them appear much less in the early batches.

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0 Comments | Posted in in the lab

flowtoys reinvents the lightbulb

Wednesday, April 1, 2015 9:01 AM

flowtoys reinvents the lightbulb

Flowtoys Special Event: 31 March 2015, Emeryville, CA
(Crowd murmurings and then applause as Sean appears on stage)

Sean von Stade:  Hey thanks for being here. 
(Loud applause)

It’s great to see y’all today.

Sean: A quick update. We’ve sold our 500,000,000th podpoi last week. Half a billion podpoi. That’s a lot of poi. 

We beat Google, Exxon-Mobil, and Wal-Mart.

When you think about it, these other companies have complicated ways of making money – selling ad space, drilling oil, distributing cheap goods that are bound for landfill.

We do something really simple:  We create delightful products that do something amazing.

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0 Comments | Posted in in the lab

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