The Casavalle Knives - Pure Beauty

Casavalle Knives

*Disclaimer: Flavio sent me a sample of his knives at no charge, but this review is unsolicited.

Flavio Casavalle of Argentina has been producing small numbers of the Casavalle knives for a few years now. They are available in Spain.

These knives are modeled after the design promoted by Arturo de Ascanio  and Jose de la Torre in "Ascanio's World of Knives", and I believe also by Juan Tamariz. Although I've never seen them, I've read that John Escolano used to sell a similar style in Spain, but I'm not sure if they are still available.

Below is a diagram of this style of knife from the Ascanio book, along with the accompanying text:

World of Knives
From Ascanio's World of Knives, as translated by Jose De La Torre:

"The knives should be almost symmetric. The  blade has to be almost flush with the edge of the knife. Some knives have metal tips. This fact makes no difference.

An important detail. For some moves and routines, it is essential to use knives with a ring. So, choose knives with rings which will not bother you but will help in many cases.

About the size. The knives I use are 70 x 15 x 6 millimeters (2-3/4 inches x 5/8 inch x 1/4 inch). These dimensions are good for any size of hand. In general , the length of the knife should not be longer than the width of the hand at the base of the finger . On the contrary, the knife should be shorter than the width of the hand."

My Impressions:

I really like the Casavalle knives.

Casavalle Knives

They have the following positive points:

- The attention to detail is really good, with an excellent fit and finish.
- Only two rivets are used, which maximizes the cover size and keeps most of the spectator's attention on the color of the knife.
- Lack of Bolsters. Bolsters at the end of the knife take away from the surface space of the knife, and thus leaves less room for the color change. Sometimes a bolster can be a good thing, as it helps hide color flash when the knife is looked at from the end, but the design of the Casavalle knives minimizes this possibility.
- The colors are bright, and the high polish finish gives them a really good shine.
- They have a ring at the top of the knife as used in some routines
- They are a good size: 3" long, 1/2" wide handle (5/8" with blade at the widest point), and 5/16 inches deep. This is small enough to fit most hands, while not being too small where they will be lost in larger hands.
- The blades have a good snap to them; that is, the spring works well and they aren't too difficult to open.
- Almost zero "flash". When sitting flat on your close-up mat you don't have to worry that the spectator will see that the bottom color is different than the top.

Comparison with the Joe Mogar Knives.

As I've mentioned elsewhere on this site, the Joe Mogar knives are probably the best widely available color changing knives on the market. Their easy availability in the United States, their good design, and the expansive array of colors and sizes have kept them in the top position for many years, in my opinion. So how do the Casavalle knives compare?

Advantage of the Casavalle Knives:

- The colors on the Casavalle knives have a beautiful sheen to them that looks really impressive.
- The cover space is maximized, so the spectator sees more of the color change when the magic occurs.
- The Casavalle knives are a bit longer. Sometimes I feel like the Mogar knives are a bit too small.
- The ring on the end may be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your routine and style. Some people feel the ring can get in their way. One use I've read with the ring is that you can push the ring of the feke knife to one side, and thus when you retrieve it, you can tell which side is facing out (as long as you are consistent with your method, of course!)

Advantage of the Mogar Knives:

- The Mogar knives are more "square", when viewed from the end. This makes them generally easier to handle with the sleights used. However, I should add that the Casavalle knives are not difficult to use, and some may prefer their flatter design.
- The Mogar knives have a bolster on one end, which can aid in stopping flashing of the opposite color.
- Mogar knives are currently available, and in a wide variety of colors, cover materials, and sizes to suit about any routine. The Casavalle knives are only available in limited quantities, and I don't know of a commercial source for them in the USA.

Here is a photo of a Casavalle Knife and a Joe Mogar knife side-by-side:

Casavalle vs. Mogar

Contact information for the Casavalle knives can be found at: CasavalleKnives.com