Forums > Technical Discussion > properties of a good contact staff?

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Posted:Hi all,

well I'm about to construct a staff specifically for contact, and I'm wondering what makes a staff good for contacting?

things I've thought of (but have no practical experience testing);

- length: 5'+
- weight: heavy
- diameter: wide (more contacting surface area)?
- grip tape: lots of, and very extra grippy.
- weight distribution: NFI?

anything else?

Josh


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poiaholic22
member

Member Since: 22nd Dec 2002
Total posts: 531
Posted:One of the guys I spin with uses short sticks for contacting.

They are about 3' long, pretty light and are made of silicone tubing.The silicone tubing is the trick.


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted:All the properties seem pretty obvious except for the weight distribution. I reckon how much the staff "flows" through contacty stuff isn't really dependent on how heavy the staff is, but on the ratio of:-

:total staff weight: to :weight on the ends:

Too much weight on the ends = crazy runaway staff that you can't control

Too little weight on the ends = not enough momentum, slows to a stop during moves then falls on the floor with an embarrassing *clonk*

Additional point: When I say weight 'on the ends' thats not an either/or judgement. Its a sliding scale based on distance.
A 500g weight 1 foot away from the staff centre is equal to a 1kg weight 2 foot away from the centre (i think).

Despite all that waffle:
I don't reckon there's a 'perfect' distribution that makes contact moves easier for everyone. Its down to what you're used to, and how you like it.

But ANYWAY I recommend if you're that bothered about it, you practice for while attaching different weights at different points (on different length sticks too, if you can), and find out how you like it. Then tell us, so we don't have to bother


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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Charles
Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland
Member Since: 27th Jun 2001
Total posts: 3989
Posted:Well, that is true, however, there are a few guidelines that are useful to consider.

It doesn't mean it is the truth for everyone, but it gives a starting point which I think is what Josh is asking for.

Here's a few things I would consider when making a staff to do lots of contact with...

1. Weight. Make it reasonably heavy, light alumiunium staffs are harder to "feel" when doing contact and seem to bounce off limbs rather than rolling more than a heavier counterpart.

Try to get as much weight on each end as the in the middle, which makes for an easier spin and better rolls.

2. Width. Contact seems ot be easier with wider staffs. At least as wide as when you pinch your thumb and forefinger together, maybe a little more.

However, this does mean your burnoffs won't be as spectacular, as the wicks will spin 'slower' than they would with a thinner staff, throwing off less fuel and in a longer period of time.

3. Grip. I'd recommend, if you want to make a grip, have it as flush with the length of the staff as you can, so it isn't sticking out more than a millimetre or two.

This helps to keep arm and back rolls 'clean', without judders or bumps if the surface changes from grip to staff while rolling.


That's my two cents...Pick it to pieces if you wish, but make sure we try to help Josh out at the same time


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Ayellayen
Ayellayen

The smart-arse who kisses Rouge's
Location: Melbourne
Member Since: 10th Feb 2003
Total posts: 128
Posted:Mate, if you pick it up, and you say "mmm, that's a good staff." Then it's a good staff.

It's my world - you all just happen to live in it.

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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted:no no no no NO!
Its maths, i tell you!
MATHS!


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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Posted:Thanks for your help Charles.

As to the 'if it feels like a good staff it is a good staff' crew your not being very helpful are you?

I'm not looking for tips on selecting a good staff from your local staff shop, I'm talking about what should I do to BUILD a good one.

Josh


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted:quote:Originally posted by [Josh]:
Thanks for your help Charlesthanks for your help, Charles? just Charles? Did I not post a massive post about weight distribution, the single point you said you had NFI about?

well to you then.

Thats the last time i spend half an hour when i should be working minutely dissecting some minor detail of spinning for the benefit of some bloke i only briefly met once in Sheffield.

well its probably not.

But I'm sulking now, and probably will be for at least the next seven minutes.


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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Posted:Sorry Simian, Your post was good too )

<turns to crowd>

Hey everyone! Simians post was helpful too!

<turns back to Simian>

There you go! A public recognition of your effort

Josh


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted:woohoo!
ok, I'm not sulking anymore.

Hmm, i feel like a thread hijacker now.

*ahem* So what other properties does a good contact staff have then?


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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Charles
Charles

Corporate Circus Arts Entertainer
Location: Auckland
Member Since: 27th Jun 2001
Total posts: 3989
Posted:The best properties is the number of hours it's user has practised...

(Is that a property?) Probably not.

Another property that has been overlooked is to make sure it is relatively abrasion-resistant. I don't know about anyone else but when I do contact the staff ends up hitting the ground A LOT!

Not putting fancy delicate trimmings or sparkly tape that shows scuffs and marks easily may be a point to consider...


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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:apologies for not replyin for ages and ages and ages on this one. been busy.

long(if to be on fire and you want to be doing some of the more technical things...) mine are 5' but ive seen some as short as 3'6" but then it gets a bit hot sometimes.

put a lot of handle on it. about 2' should do if you've a 5' stick.

make sure you put a centre on it. very good for throws too as you know. but centre markings are reallyreally helpful for contact learning.

but the most important one is.... practise with it loads. every stick is good for contacting. you just have to get used to it.

i will show you mine, glasses, toms, and various other contacters sticks at the bjc for comparison if you haven't already made one by then.

love
R


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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tau neutrino
member
Location: singapore
Member Since: 19th Oct 2001
Total posts: 35
Posted:hmm.. what does NFI stand for? i have been poring over the posts and comeing up with my own meaning but i cant figure it out.

and anyone have any suggestions as to the actual material for teh staff to be used? aluminium tubinng seems out of teh running as seems too light and hollow. and are there poles of wood that thick that you can get from hardware stores?
any help in describing in detail your favourite contact staff making instructions wil be very helpful..

peace.


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Chorin
member
Location: Dorking, Surrey
Member Since: 23rd Jul 2002
Total posts: 217
Posted:Tau - just to reply to the NFI question I think it goes something along the lines of

No F*@&ing Idea

I might be wrong but I don't think so.


Dilbert's Words of Wisdom -
I can please only one person per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow is not looking good either!
You are slower than a herd of turtles stampedeing through peanut butter!

Oh yeah.... Don't tell the ants

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bluecat
bluecat

geek, level 1
Location: everywhere
Member Since: 15th Dec 2002
Total posts: 5300
Posted:alu poles are fine, you can get pretty much any thickness and any wall thickness... mine are 19mm with 1.6mm wall and i love them to bits.

nix? uses 1 inch with 3mm wall and also great.

aaaah nice to have a moment to HoP....
R


Holistic Spinner (I hope)

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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

addict
Location: Ohio, USA
Member Since: 24th Mar 2003
Total posts: 674
Posted:My staff is so heavy now... Great for contact in my oppinion, keeps momentum VERY well.I put a ton of wick on so that it weighs more on the ends, and I use a 1" aluminum pole with wood dowel filling. The best part is its making me clean up my rolls and be more precise, as now its much harder to compensate for minor mess-ups without a whack in the head for my troubles.

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fluffy napalm fairy
fluffy napalm fairy

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Brum / Dorset / Fairy Land
Member Since: 12th Dec 2001
Total posts: 3638
Posted:I was reading NFI as a rather more innocent No Further Information...........but your translation work better I think

Geologists do it in the dirt................ spank

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flash fire
flash fire

Sporadically Prodigal
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Member Since: 25th Jan 2001
Total posts: 2758
Posted:What do you call a deer with no eyes?

no f*8cking eye deer! = NFI

Heya Josh - miss ya matey.


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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

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Location: Ohio, USA
Member Since: 24th Mar 2003
Total posts: 674
Posted:Ok, this grip rolling up thing is getting to me. It seems it slips on the aluminum underneith... so I have a new idea that maybe someone could shine some light on... what if I DOUBLE gripped it? Like put one layer on, and then wrapped a second grip around that, so it would have something to stick to?

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Catastrophic
member
Location: Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Member Since: 15th Apr 2003
Total posts: 44
Posted:OK, I'm wonderin' too how to make a staff good for contacting. I have made some smallish hollow aluminum staffs in the past, 4 ft (up to my armpit) and Im about 5' 2". Its a light staff with only 2 inch wick and its waaaaaaaayyyyyy too light for contacting. and short. So I was wondering how much weight (ie wick) is good to have on the ends of your staff?? You need enough to keep the nice gyroscopic flow happening...

Also, I am leaning now towards longer staffs. My 4 ft staff, when I spin behind my back bent over, the wicks are JUST level with the back of my head, and all it takes is one bump...So I thought a taller staff would put the wicks fruther out from my head. That goes for neck/shoulder rolls too, With a shorter staff, if I spin just a bit off center, the wick ends up coming frightfully close to my face...

So I am wondering, all contact staffers out there, what is a good height for a contact staff? and weight, I know this has been discussed before, but I am wondering if a staff up to eye height good? Doews anyone put 4 inch wick on it? or is that too much? How much wick on each end? 3 feet? more? I am a petite female, and can't swing a real heavy staff without stressing my wrists...

I was thinking about making an aluminum staff with a wooden dowel core, 3 feet of either 3 or 4 inch wick on the end (probably 3 inch as I am a beginner and 4 inch is for ninjas)

Any suggestions?

Thanks!!


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i8beefy2
i8beefy2

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Location: Ohio, USA
Member Since: 24th Mar 2003
Total posts: 674
Posted:I use a 5 foot staff, exactly. Im like 5'10" so mine comes up to about my chin. I use a 1" aluminum tube with wooden dowel in the middle so it won't bend, and has more weight. I put about 3 or 4 feet of 4" wick on either end I think... When secured to the staff, it is about 1.5" thick. My staff is very heavy, and I use tennis racket grip that runs the whole length (except for the last 5" before the wicks).

It makes a great contact staff, because the extra weight on the ends carries it through moves, and the sticky grip holds onto parts of the body that it would normally just slide down without it. I can spin it vertically down my forarm, bicep, shoulder, and then twice around on my back somehow without bending over because of the way the weight makes it stick to my body.

I vote heavy with lots of wick.


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DJ Dantana
veteran
Location: Stillwater, Ok. USA
Member Since: 15th Aug 2001
Total posts: 1495
Posted:sorry i didn't respond sooner, been away from technical for a while. So, here goes (I wish this thread had come up a year ago). Through trail and error, here is what I have discovered.

1. Weight: light weight is bad. While it is possible to contact with light weight staffs, it is more difficult.

2. Length: longer is better, as long as you can handle it. I recomend at LEAST as tall as your shoulders.

3. Stiffness: the staff shouldn't flex, as this will cause that sucker to bounce right off of you during a roll. there should be ZERO flex to the staff, when it is wacked in the middle. This means that if you have a lot of weight on the ends you need an even stiffer staff than if you have a staff that is evenly weighted.

4. grip: very important. grip tape does work, but it is a little to sticky for me. I like those braided leather belts, they are rough and full of friction, but not to sticky. basicaly you want to avoid smooth surfaces that become SLIPPERY when persperation (sweat) gets on them. So, no varnish either. Braided leather is a little to rough for people with "delicate" hands (just ask those wimps in MY troup you know who you are, "I can't spin it, it hurts my hands" ) In that case, plain leather (rough side out) should be fine.

Most importantly, make sure at least 1/3 of the staff is covered in rough surface (the middle third that is)

5. Wicks and weight distribution: heavy wicks on the ends will contribute to bounce, which is bad. I only use 2 feet of 4 inch wick, rolled (not cathedral) rolled is better, because these things take a lot of abuse. Cathedral is more suseptible to damage from being REPEATEDLY dropped. (read abuse)

6. MOST IMPORTANT!!! MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO EDGES OR SCREW HEADS EXPOSED, AND METAL NEAR FIRE IS BAD TOO.

7. practice practice practice.


I tried out a 7 foot staff, it had good handling properties, I could even control it, but it had a lot of bounce (hollow aluminum) and I would not recomend it.

the hardest staff in the world to contact with is "short, light, lots of bounce, slipery" = BAD in other words, the electroglo staffs fit 3/4 of that description, yet despite this I can actually do some contact stuff with them. IF you want to learn superb control, learn a move with a BAD staff, then try it with a good staff and it will be like EASY. trust me on this.

[ 14. June 2003, 02:32: Message edited by: DJ Dantana ]


we eat and we drink and we smoke and we try!

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DJ Dantana
veteran
Location: Stillwater, Ok. USA
Member Since: 15th Aug 2001
Total posts: 1495
Posted:any sharp or edgy place on your staff is going to eventually hit you i the head and it WILL hurt. That is another reason to avoid using a VERY heavy staff, as your head will pay the price. It took a week for this one lump on my head to go away. On the bonus side, pain does teach faster...

we eat and we drink and we smoke and we try!

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[Nx?]
[Nx?]

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Europe,Scotland,Both
Member Since: 5th Nov 2001
Total posts: 3749
Posted:A traditional thick BO staff (not the toothpic variety) is as extreame as you wanna get on the weighty side, length too. Bluecats 3.5 (?) meter staff cotacts beutifully, but ony in horisontal, the bo is 6 foot and will do most vertical moves too.

otherwise i pretty much argee with dan (well he agreed with me eirlier ) though bluecat I know likes a bit of flex. Shoud be absoultly straight aswell.

Tom


This is a post by tom, all spelling is deleberate
-><- Kallisti

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DJ Dantana
veteran
Location: Stillwater, Ok. USA
Member Since: 15th Aug 2001
Total posts: 1495
Posted:It deffinitly detracts from control (during mistake recovery) if you have flex. Even though I can adapt it, the slightest error in catching a throw (catching with contact, not hands) will cause that puppy to go BING! and fly into the air.

super long staffs are eminently controlable, even the lighter ones, as long as you can keep from bouncing.


we eat and we drink and we smoke and we try!

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Tyr
Tyr

Simplicity Convoluter & Cabbage Friend
Location: In the shadow of the wolf (som...
Member Since: 12th Jun 2003
Total posts: 126
Posted:Has anyone considered bolting contact acrylics together with spagetti and then covering them in petrol? I hear from a friend of a friend's monkey's elbow that thats the best way to make a fire contact staff.

Less stupid for a moment, what do you find the flex is good for...static jumps? I fall in the camp of the no-flex lovers.


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