Beginning in January of 2014, Stephen Hobbs - author of Modus Operandi: The Magic of Jack Carpenter, Gene Maze and the Art of Bottom Dealing, and The Essential Sol Stone - commenced a project that was called both crazy and impossible: an online web 'zine to be released every week for fifty-two weeks devoted to his brand of powerful and practical card magic.
Joshua Jay and Andi Gladwin of Vanishing Inc. were so impressed with the Technical Toolbox that they have arranged to release the material as an elegantly-produced DVD set and booklet-with bonus material-in one package.
Stephen Hobbs' Technical Toolbox collects all fifty-two weeks of the original web site, which included more than 170 videos (6 plus hours of material) describing over 55 routines and 85 sleights and techniques. All of Hobbs' original introductions and meticulous credits are included in the accompanying booklet. In addition, separate manuscripts for certain effects are included as downloadable PDF attachments.
Stephen Hobbs' Technical Toolbox will expand your repertoire of card sleights and routines. You will be inspired to develop your own "toolbox" of card techniques by the impossible ribbon-spread switch-out, the elegant spring simple shift, the super-practical subterranean addition, advanced work on obtaining and maintaining breaks, control grip technique (it will revolutionize your handling small packet counts), a detailed discussion of the Hobzinzer cull (more information than many DVD's devoted to this sleight alone), B.U.R.P. (Basic Universal Reverse Placement), the SHEE control, the interlaced-block transfer technique, Hobbs' playing card mnemonic system, the rotary replacement and change, F.I.A.T. (Flexible Insertion and Addition Technique), the incredible routine "The Odds Against Me", and much, much more.
There is so much material in the Technical Toolbox that it is impossible to describe it all; but if you enjoy card magic, we guarantee you will get your money's worth!
Be advised that Stephen Hobbs' Technical Toolbox was a web blog, not an attempt to make a movie. The videos are all simple close-ups of Hobbs' hands with the primary emphasis on teaching intermediate and advanced card technique.
Every penny of profit that Vanishing Inc. and Stephen Hobbs make from this project will go to support Vanishing Inc.'s young magicians charity, sending kids to magic camp and supporting the development of a close-up theater for young performers in South Africa.
"The call letters TGIF took on new meaning last year when weekly editions of Stephen Hobbs' Technical Toolbox were available on his website every Friday morning. These 52 lessons in imaginative and original sleight of hand - presented in a literate and thoughtful style, and demonstrated with high-level technical skill - produced a truly outstanding, well-structured post-graduate course in card craft. Then, alas, they vanished! What a joy it is now to have them in a permanent form."
- J.K. Hartman
"An innovative and indispensable stockpile of pasteboard weaponry."
- John Guastaferro
"A treasure trove of moves, routines, and invaluable information!"
- John Carey "Stephen Hobbs' philosophy with regard to sleight of hand with cards has always been one of 'optimization.' Never satisfied with something that simply 'works,' it must meet his criteria that includes not only invisibility, practicality, efficiency, and uniformity - it also must be downright clever! He has devised entire systems for palming, counts, culls - you name it - and they all conform to his standards. Stephen Hobbs' Technical Toolbox is the culmination of 25 years spent in the search for this optimal card technique. In this incredible work you will find technique, sleights, subtleties, ruse and strategy; with the express aim of providing solutions that will leave your audiences devastated and clueless - many of which I consider to be THE solution. Every facet of card technique is at least touched upon in this work. From simply sublime methods for obtaining effortless breaks above bottom cards; all the way up to a method for changing ONE poker hand into EVERY POSSIBLE HAND (all ten hands, and in order!) you have at your disposal a complete course in advanced card handling."
- Jack Carpenter
If you are a card magician, the best value in magic right now is Stephen Hobbs’ Technical Toolbox. Stephen spent the year of 2014 releasing a weekly video podcast of his favorite card moves and routines. 85 card sleights and 55 routines. These are routines he has developed and honed over the last twenty-five years.
I was sold on this collection with the very first trick. A card is freely selected and matches a prediction in a very fair manner. This is a very clean routine that will play in the real world.
The other tricks vary in difficulty from easy to do, to slightly difficult. There is something for everyone, especially for those who love card tricks. I perform some card magic, but it is not an obsession as it is for others. I still found this to be the best value DVD set of the year.
For a very low investment, you get 7 DVDs. That’s right, 7 DVD’s. This project has been produced by Vanishing Inc, and though the video looks like it is from his original video webcast, with a one camera shoot that is mainly of Stephen’s hands, it is very watchable.
You also receive a 190 page booklet. Like I said, this is the video deal of the year. Don’t miss out, Greg at the Magic Warehouse tells me they are flying off the shelves. - Jon Jensen (Real World Product Reviews)