Review: Juan Wonk’s Tel’s Bell by Jack King Magicshop (Bali)

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Madame Curator”][vc_column_text]A few days ago, an industrious Balinese magician by the name of Juan Wonk sent me his version of the classic “ring-no-ring bell”.

Inspired by Terry Herbert’s Tel’s Bell, which has not been carried by Murphy’s Magic Supplies for years, the passionate magician decided to design and craft his own version of the magic bell using a completely different system since over the years, some owners of newer versions of Tel’s Bel had complained of unreliability and inconsistency on  the Magic Cafe.

Juan Wonk’s own spin of this crowd pleaser – which essentially let’s you control when you would like the bell to ring or to remain silent – allows you to also secretly lock the bell (or bells if you wish to perform a monte type effect) so your audience helper can ring the bell without you executing the secret move… which opens up more a lot more presentational possibilities when involving spectators.

From what I understand, Juan makes his bells in small batches to ensure quality control. So there will be some differences in their cosmetic appearances from time to time. For instance, this was how Juan’s first batch of bells looked:


And this is how the current batch appear:


The version of the bell that I have, as in Juan’s picture directly above, has a “black marble” sticker laminate pasted all around the handle. The ring of the bell is pleasant and more than loud enough. Also, there is undeniably an exotic Asian look about the shiny metal bells.

The secret move is easy to execute and effortless, in comparison to my past experience with a friend’s Tel’s Bell that may have been defective – it had required an unnatural amount of thumb strength to push and execute the secret move to ring… which was vastly different to an older version of Tel’s Bel that another one of our mutual friends owned, which was purchased almost two decades ago.

Juan’s version is easy peasy; it simply slides with minimum effort to sound the bell and I couldn’t be happier. Even a young child magician performing in a school talent show would have no difficulties!

Instructions given are direct and minimal but the secret move isn’t exactly rocket science 😉 There is a presentation idea involving a monte bell effect with some paper bags currently shown on his Facebook page, but I would highly encourage you to also dream up your own. Personally, I believe it doesn’t only need to be a comedy effect. There’s so much that can be done with this magical tool.

I have seen many kids magicians perform this effect at birthday parties and family carnivals over the years and safe to say… Tel’s Bell routines have always been an undeniable audience favourite when paired with the right script and presentation. Since Terry Herbert’s version has not been available from Murphy’s Magic Supplies’ chain of worldwide vendors for some years now, this is one option available for magicians who have been looking for a similar ring-no-ring bell effect. In my humble opinion, I believe that Juan’s locking mechanism opens up quite a few doors and you’re only limited by your own imagination!

Juan has priced his handmade/ hand-assembled magic bell at 500,000 Indonesian rupiah and they are currently only available directly from him. Based in the little island of Bali, the helpful English-speaking magician has no formal website so all transactions are done via email or his Jack King Facebook page.

The package I received was well bubble-wrapped and sent out in a proper box, so much pride was obvious in ensuring that the product reached its destination properly. Juan Wonk ships his stuff to just about anywhere in the world, so check him out in the links provided above 🙂

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Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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