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Balancing forks without a cork

There are many sites showing how to balance 2 forks using a coin or cork, but only a couple showing this method of balancing 2 forks on the tip of a toothpick. See if you can do it. It requires a steady hand & teaches a little about center of gravity. We first saw this in a restaurant. The waitress entertained us with it. Sometime later, I set one up in another restaurant on a ledge & walked off & left it. It will stay for hours if no one touches it. If I was a gambling person, I could probably make some serious dough with it.

 

To start the trick (actually it is not a trick, it just looks like one & is a little trickey to do), place a round toothpick in one hole of the salt shaker. Next, lock 2 forks together & slide a toothpick into the tines as shown.

Try to balance the forks by placing the toothpick on the tip of your finger. Then try to set the toothpick stuck in the balanced forks onto the tip of the pick in the shaker.

The really wierd part of this is the ability to balance a fairly heavy object on the tip of the toothpick.

Proof that it is on the tip.

One more from another angle

This shows the forks are not touching the tabletop

Another angle showing it is tip to tip. The next view shows the geometry better. You may have to find a hole in the shaker that supports the toothpick well.

 

One tricky part is getting the toothpick in the shaker to support the forks without bending. You may have to rotate the forks around until it looks like this. If you were to set the forks on 180 deg from what is shown above, it just collapses.

If you think this is a fake or want to see other variations of it, search for "balancing forks -tuning".
(Adding the -tuning limits the search to remove articles about tuning forks) Here are some sites I found:

http://www.things2make.com/ Has a nice video, but still too easy

http://rpenalozan.bizhat.com/ This has a video of the variation using a coin. You need to click on the link "Balancing forks" . It is 7.5 MB so give it time to download. You can right click the link & save it first & then Open.

http://www.tamu-commerce.edu/physics/351/cg/forks.doc Some interesting variations using corks, styrofoam or potato & balancing on a string or the edge of a table.

http://www.engr.uconn.edu/~abboud/forks.html Try this: Holding the shaker instead of putting it on a countertop.

http://daytoday.statesponsored.com/2005/04/as-most-nights-in-bar-do-this-one.html Unvelievable!!!

Note that many of these sites are about science & physics. Look at the other links & home pages for some interesting similarities. Good for teaching your kids.

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