Scale model cockpit FPV

cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.


liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box


Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste

The Magic is Gone (Vinyl Magic)

jh Carr and sons boothmakers

When you walk into a greasy spoon, do you immediately scope out the seating, hoping like hell that you get a booth rather some skimpy table? And are you not bummed when it becomes obvious that your server is directing you to a horribly exposed, under-cushioned, little floor table insted?

Me too. I wasn’t ever going to let that happen to me in my own home, so I made a little sketch of my kitchen floor plan and headed down to JH Carr and Sons in the South end of Seattle. These are the folks who make the booths for restaurants all over the country. If you’ve ever eaten a chicken-fried steak, chances are you were sitting in a JH Carr and Sons booth.

They have a huge factory where they churn out booths, chrome-edged tables, chairs and all manner of restaurant seating, and ship it all over the world, improving dining experiences everywhere. There doesn’t seem to be any minimum order either. They will gladly whip up a single booth, just the right size for your kitchen.

vinyl magic

When I went to pick up my booth a few weeks after ordering it, the guy who helped me load it into the truck gave me a quick lecture on booth care, and handed me a can of Vinyl Magic. I was smitten.

I love vinyl magic. Not so much as a cleaner, I mean sure it shines up my booth like nobody’s business, but I really like it for its brilliantly anachronistic package design. The can itself has that old world 4 color printing rather than an applied paper label, which gives it a quality feel. The front features a diagonal split scene with some excellent circa 1978 photography. The top shows a woman lounging invitingly on the armrest of some horrible monstrosity of a brown vinyl lounge chair and ottoman. The bottom pane has a guy in a white turtleneck leaning proudly over the white vinyl top of his car.


I was all prepared to go into an in-depth explaination of what makes vinyl magic so refreshing, when I stubmled upon this great article by Paul Lukas, who has collected the entire Magic family of cleaners.

With my can of Vinyl Magic running perilously low, I set out to replenish my supply. Unable to find any in the Seattle area, I visited the Magic American Website where I was met with some alarmingly contemporary package designs. Most disturbing of all, was the conspicuous absence altogether of Vinyl Magic.

I sent an e-mail to customer service at Magic American, hoping to get some clarity on the sutuation:


Thank you for contacting Magic American, unfortunately we no longer manufacture that product and we do not have a replacement at this time.


Christina Hays
Customer Service
Homax Products / Magic American

—–Original Message—–
From: slode@xxxxxx [mailto:slode@xxxxxxxx]
Sent: Tuesday, March 29, 2005 9:57 AM
To: mail@magicamerican.com
Subject: Vinyl Magic


I am trying to locate a retailer of your Vinyl Magic product in the Seattle area. I visited your website, but I dont see the product listed in the Magic section. Are you still offering this product?


steve lodefink

So, it appears that the Magic is gone. I have yet to call JH Carr and Sons, because I am afraid that they are going to suggest Windex or 409 or some lesser product. Their tech support page still solely reccomends Vinyl Magic as your primary booth care topcoat, so apparently they have not yet had a chance to deal with the fact that it is out of production.

If anyone happens to find any Vinyl Magic new old stock, please let me know.

7 Responses to “The Magic is Gone (Vinyl Magic)”

  1. alp Says:

    maybe you should contact the original company. If they still push it as the best they might have crates of it stored next to the vinyl way in the back…….

  2. Steve Says:

    No such luck.

  3. Roger Shoaf Says:

    Try Armor-all. Suposedly it has stuff inside that replenishes the stuff that gasses off the vinyl and keeps it soft and supple.

    Available in Auto parts stores.

  4. Steve Says:


    I dont know, point 5 on the jH Carr and sons tech support page explicitly warns against the use of Armor-all or other petroleum based products.


  5. Rick Crenshaw Says:

    A quick Google search produced:

  6. lisa Says:

    I used vinyl magic years ago when I worked as a hostess/’busboy’ and would clean the booths with it.
    I remember it cleaning so well it was amazing-
    Thanks for finding it again

  7. Dylan Gordon Says:

    OK, so this post is ancient, but in case anyone comes looking, a wonderful alternative is Lexol Vinylex. This is the product used by high-end car detailers and is supposedly superior to Armor-All, etc. in that it contains neither petroleum solvents nor silicones.


    I can also highly recommend their leather products.