Product Review: Three Finger Juggling “Danger Props”

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Background

Three Finger Juggling was founded in February of 2013 by British juggler Neil Redding and his American wife, Maureen. Based out of Muskegon, Michigan (USA), TFJ specializes in making juggling knives and other danger juggling props. Neil handles the design and manufacture of the props and Maureen sews and embroiders all the bags and oversees the sales side of things. Neil combined his twenty years of juggling experience and an engineering background to create a variety of props to fill what he perceived as a void in choices of professionally made danger props. So far, TFJ has released 7 different props and are researching other ideas as well. All of the props feature solid oak handles and are made with top grade stainless steel that is laser cut. Most of the props also feature custom molded and machined EDPM rubber stopper knobs.  The bladed props all appear to have sharpened edges but are quite blunt.

The Buccaneer Knife

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TFJ offers their take on the most common design of juggling knife, which they call the Buccaneer. The general shape of this knife goes all the way back to medieval times, as can be seen in the two depictions below.

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The Buccaneer is 12 ounces in weight, 21 inches in length, and sells for $40.00.

The Double Diamonds Knife

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This is another design that already exists in the juggling marketplace, but this is the first of its shape to offer the faux sharpened edge. It juggles quite nicely.

The Double Diamonds is 11.5 ounces in weight, 21 inches in length, and sells for $45.00.

The Razorback Knife

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The Razorback knife by TFJ is the first brand new design for a retail juggling knife in a long time. It features a fake sharpened edge on one side and blunt saw teeth on the opposite side. It looks quite deadly and certainly stands out in comparison to the more common juggling knife designs. They are well balanced and even create a unique swooshing sound when doing chops.

The Razorback is 13 ounces in weight, 21 inches in length, and sells for $50.00.

Executioner Axe

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TFJ’s Executioner Axe features an oversized blade on a standard sized handle and no knob for a more realistic look. I can tell you from experience that audiences are quite impressed when these are pulled out to be juggled. Personally, I’d prefer the handles to be a few inches longer and to have a knob, but experienced jugglers should be able to handle them just fine. TFJ is considering a longer handled model in the near future.

Executioner Axes are 16 ounces in weight, 18 inches in length, 6.25 inches in width, and sell for $45.00 each.

Meat Cleaver

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TJF is the first company to offer a meat cleaver specifically designed and made for juggling.  They are big and visual and juggle well. Like the Executioner Axe, the handle is not located at the center of mass due to the natural shape of the prop. The blade side is going to naturally want to face the floor when you catch them. This makes them a bit more challenging to juggle than the three knife designs, but they do handle well considering this fact.

Cleavers are 17 ounces in weight, 17.5 inches in length, and sell for $40.00 each.

Machete

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The Three Finger Juggling Machete is a great addition to their lineup. It looks just like a store-bought machete, but the sharp looking edge is blunt, as is true for all of their props. The handle is wrapped with a vinyl covering for extra padding and they have been balanced for juggling. Unlike just about any other dangerous looking juggling prop, this actually looks like something you’d find in a department or sporting goods store.

Machetes are 15 ounces in weight, 21.75 inches in length, and sell for $50.00 each.

Saw Blade on a Steeek

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TFJ’s newest offering is the Saw Blade on a Steeek. This features a circular saw blade with rounded, non-sharp teeth with a handle attached.  This prop is heavier than their other props, but this is certainly a unique item. (I actually used to juggle a real circular saw blade attached in a T-like formation to a handle many years ago, but it was difficult to transport and very, very dangerous.) While close examination would reveal that the teeth are rounded, this would be imperceptible from a distance and while they are being juggled.

The Saw Blade on a Steeek is 23 ounces in weight, is 19 inches in length, and sells for $45.00.

Bags

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To help keep your props looking new, TFJ also sells bags specifically designed for all of their props.  They have bags for individual props or for sets of three for the knives and cleavers. Check their website for bag prices.

Overall Impression

I’m impressed by the general care that’s been taken in the design and manufacture of TFJ’s props. They feature some unique products that can’t be found anywhere else. Everything is made by hand by Neil and Maureen and the attention to detail shows. The props look genuine and sharp and avoid the “made for juggling” look that some danger props have. Keeping that in mind, you won’t find any air-cushioned handles and foam knobs, so if comfort is your main shopping point, you may want to think twice about their products. Speaking of knobs, the feel of a rubber knob instead of an attached wooden or foam one took me a little while to get used to, but they feel just fine now and I certainly don’t worry about the handle slipping out of my hand. As I said, I would prefer a longer handle and a knob on the Executioner Axe, so if you tend to catch props toward the knob and rely on knobs a lot, you may want to ask them about those options if ordering that item. TFJ does take custom orders if you want something different than what they normally offer.

DavidTFJDavid Cain with the Razorback, Cleaver, and Executioner Axe

I do think that Three Finger Juggling is filling a niche in the retail juggling world and look forward to what they come up with next. You can learn more about their products, contact them, and place orders at: www.threefingerjuggling.com

David Cain is a professional juggler, juggling historian, and the owner of the world’s only juggling museum, the Museum of Juggling History. He is a Guinness world record holder and 15 time IJA gold medalist. In addition to his juggling pursuits, David is a successful composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and singer as well as the author of sixteen books. He and his children live in Middletown, OH (USA).

Comments 0

  1. The knife which imitates the dube knife not only uses the same shape, but the same proportions of length and width and same handle attachment (which is patented by dube) http://www.google.com/patents/USD341182 . The knife below that imitates the Freaks Unlimited knife, which also has a beveled edge.
    It is shameful for the IJA to promote direct copies of these long produced distinctive designs, especially against a propmaker who has supported the IJA for over 35 years. The IJA should support the originators, not the imitators.

  2. I don’t have a Buccaneer knife to compare with my Dube knife side by side. Certainly others have also copied Dube knives. And you may be unaware that Dube based their knives on knives made by Kit Summers that had the same type of construction. While the Double Diamonds has a similar shape to the Freaks Unlimited knife, it’s not a copy. This general shape of knife goes all the way back to Van Wyck. As far as the IJA promoting originators and not imitators, I should point out that the original Dube clubs were carbon copies of Jay Green European clubs. I have examples of both and they are almost indistinguishable from each other. Likewise, Dube was not the first with silicone balls; Fakini was. So by your very argument, the IJA shouldn’t support Dube, Todd Smith, or anyone who makes silicone balls. I also notice that you support a maker of silicone balls other than the House of Fakini on your website. I just think it’s a bit hypocritical to not consider these facts.

    1. I should also point out that the method of handle attachment goes back to at least 1950, when instructions on making your own knives were published in the Juggler’s Bulletin.

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