The Dang Table is a simple side table made from an upside down serving tray and leaf bag legs. The table has become so popular due to social media that you can find magicians around the world using them. I can be credited with making the table popular and sharing new ideas with the principle. However, the person that shared the idea of the leaf bag legs is Dave Mitchell. Dave is a well known magician in the gospel magic marketplace. Dave has created many effects over the years and has been a friend for a long long time. Ironically, we both live in Tennessee, share the same last name and the same birthday. But I’m the handsome one.
The Dang Story
First published in KIDabra Journal
In June of 2010, Dave Mitchell, my ugly older brother, called me with an idea. Dave’s not really my brother but we both share the same birthday, occupation, and live in Tennessee, he’s just uglier.
Dave found a leaf collection bag at a hardware store with a sturdy leg frame. He immediately saw the possibility of using the stand as magic table legs. I picked up one and we began to brainstorm ways to add a top. He made a wood top and added a cloth drape. He had to force his wife at gunpoint to make the drape (this is a common practice in Tennessee.)
I visited every possible store for table top options, so I wouldn’t have to unload my table saw to build a wood top. I determined the easiest method was to add an upside down serving tray. The edge of the tray would prevent the legs from expanding larger than the surface of the table making it very sturdy. Industrial Velcro made a perfect connection. The set up and tear down takes only five seconds. The problem was finding a square serving tray. They just don’t exist. I found a nice black plastic one at Target but it’s a rectangle and not as sturdy as I wanted. Wal-Mart had clear round trays as part of their summer stock which sells out fast.
After hours of traveling from store to store, I determined the best choice was to have a plastic top professionally made. My plastic company was proud to make them. And they were proud to sell them too because the price is quite high for a clear plastic tray. But it’s a beautiful thing.
My original plan was to reveal the table at the August Kidabra as part of my Dollar Store Creativity lecture. I sent my idea to several friends so they could make their own. However, several told me their hardware didn’t sell the leaf bags. One friend said, “Barry, I live in AZ, we don’t rake leaves.”
When I realized they may not be available to everyone, the panic set in. Allow me to share a rule about magic lectures that some refuse to believe is true – if you show a unique prop in a lecture and offer it for sale, you are labeled a dealer lecture. However, if you show the same prop and don’t sell it, people complain because you didn’t provide it. It’s the “you can’t win” rule.
I feel the table is so neat and so reasonably priced based on other magic side tables, that performers would be very upset they couldn’t get one. I decided to take a risk and buy stock in my plastic company. In July I added the DANG table to my website to sell them until there were no more leaf bags. I immediately sold out of my first batch when the ad went out to my email list. At the price of $79 each, it was a no-brainer. The closest thing on the market is $190.
I’m sharing the DANG story with you to praise the creativity of strong friendships. I’m very proud to have creative friends like Dave Mitchell who unselfishly shared the idea with me and encouraged me to sell the table. For that I gave him NOTHING. What am I, my brother’s keeper? I encourage you to develop strong friendships and brainstorming partners.
And finally, I purposely did not reveal the hardware store chain that sells the leaf bag. I’m convinced that no one reads this fluff I write, so if you want to know send me an email. But tell your friends to buy one off my site.
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