Evil Dead Chainsaw mod (Cheap Halloween costume accessory!)


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So most of you are familiar with my previous projects wherein I've modified chainsaws into Evil Dead prop replicas. I've done a static Chainsaw made from a Homelite XL, and I've also done a working Homelite in the Evil Dead fashion. This time around there's a story involved.

So I happened to be at a Party City Sunday morning for an orientation (just got hired for seasonal gig) and I was browsing around for any new Halloween swag. Then I happened across this:

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(obviously a google image, I forgot to take a before shot of the saw)

It is a Bloody Chainsaw Halloween prop that should be available in stores all over the place right about this time of year. The saw emits a LOUD sound effect of the chainsaw engine revving, and the blade also spins too, not a shabby halloween prop. When I first laid eyes on it, I knew what had to be done. So, I bought it, went home, and within 3 hours of fine-tuning, it came to this:

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Now, to accomplish this, it was strikingly simple, and in the end, quite an effective cheap way to make an Evil Dead costume complete, so I thought I'd share it here...

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The first step is to unscrew everything on the saw itself, and carefully pulle it apart, the seam is in the center, (and there's LOTS of wires inside, so be careful, as the soldering isn't always good on these kinds of toys). Once you've got it apart, you'll see that there's TWO switches in the handle, one of them is the "try me" switch from when it's in the box, but once the toy is switched on, it still functions as a noise-only button. The other is the "trigger" of the saw, and makes the saw make noise and spins the chain as well. Carefully unscrew the now seperated chainsaw handle and remove the switches and their wires. Once the buttons and wires have been taken out of the handle, you can discard it, you wont be needing it anymore after this.

Next, cut a section of simple, thin-ish dowel rod, making sure to measure it according to the amount of space you've got to work with inside the saw. There's more than enough room for your hand, just make sure you don't interfere with the screws that hold the two halves together. There's quite a few, so double check! Once you've got the appropriate length of dowel, use a soldering iron (prevents the soft plastic from cracking), and melt a hole in the top, and in the bottom of the saw ON the seam of the two halves (I'll explain why in a moment), lining up with the dowel rod, then drill a screw into each end of it through the new holes you've made in the saw. Once this is complete, pull apart the two halves of the saw, and you've now made it so that the handle will be held firmly in place when the saw is screwed together, but will alow the handle to rotate freely with your hand. This will help later with the buttons.

Once you've got the dowel in pace, take the soldering iron again, and measure how much space you'll need to get your hand inside the back of saw itself (comfortably). Obviously, you will only get one chance at this, dont cut too much! Use the soldering iron to trace the outline of how much plastic on the back of the saw you want to remove, then use it as a cutting tool to melt through and cut out the section of plastic you need removed. This method is good for several reasons, you will not crack the body of the saw, and it will make the edges smoother, which will save your wrist some possibly jabbing later! Once the sections have been cut from both halves, discard the removed pieces, you won't be needing them anymore.

Now you should have an intact chainsaw toy, with the rear handle removed, a dowel rod inserted vertically inside it, and a hole on the back of the saw big enough to reach in through and grip the dowel rod comfortably.

Once you've gotten the spacing worked out, relocate the buttons for activating the sounds and animation of the saw. However you want them arranged is up to you, I chose to put one of them on the dowel rod handle itself, and the other on the side of the saw's interior, glued to the top, facing downward for easiest access. This will ultimately be your decision though, and you have more than enough wire to work with, so whatever works best for you is the way to go. Once the buttons are where you want them, use hot glue, or model glue to put them in place (I prefer hot glue because if you make a mistake, you can just pry them off safely after). Note: Take care that you can comfortably reach the buttons from your position gripping the handle and keep them held down while moving the saw around.

Once this is finished, get yourself some kind of hard plastic or metal cuff (I went with plastic on mine simply for ease of assembly and comfort), and shape it to the appropriate size. It should be A. Big enough to easily slide your hand through, and B. Be able to cover the hole you've made in the back of your saw. If your wrist cuff is not snug against the saw, you can reshape the cuff or the saw itself with any number of materials, such as putty or even bondo if it'll stick properly. Once the wrist cuff is in place, you're done assembling the main body of the saw.

Now, as you can see, I do not yet have the top handle of my chainsaw attached in the pictures, but I mean to rectify that in the morning and I'll post updated pics when I do it. For the top handle, I plan to purchase a long, thing length of aluminum, easy to bend and cut, but sturdy enough to support the weight of the saw. This is the same method I used for my REAL Homelite chainsaw prop, so I know it works for sure. Measure and cut the aluminum length to the appropriate size, bend it to the right shape, and then either glue it down, or screw it down, to the top of the chainsaw. To complete the top handle, cut a dowel rod in half the long way and either glue, or drill screws into the aluminum to create a grip. This makes the saw look more like a Homelite, and with the addition of two gas caps side-by-side, along with a fake on/off switch on the top of the saw, it'll look VERY similar.

Finally, the paint job. This again is where you can take a liberty and do what you like best, but in my humble opinion, the saw's general shape lends it more towards Evil Dead 2 style, with a black/dark grey piece for the top of the saw.The rest of the saw's body should be painted red, aside from the exhaust vent, and the piece on the right rear side of the chainsaw. Those should be painted silver/gunmetal gray, and black respectively. Make sure the top portion is only painted down to the seam of the saw's top, to make it look like a seperate piece. Then take a sturdy brush (perhaps an old, hardened one), and flick it against the saw randomly all over to give it the worn-out aging spots. Be sure to get the area around the silver grip that goes from the side, up and over to the right side of the Chainsaw's top. Also put aging spots around the now black piece on the back right of the saw, as that is where grease would leak from. Once you are satisfied, touch-up the silver parts where necessary, then age them with black as well. Less is more! The wrist guard should be the most metallic looking piece on the saw, as in the film, it is supposed to be a foreign object that was attached to the tool. Add a pipe clamp just to sell the metal theme.

Once this is finished, you are in the home stretch, all that remains is to add on all the detail parts (the on/off switch, the gas caps, etc. This could also be a time to pick up the soldering iron again and carve out the fake ripchord. Once this is done, use one of those ID keyrings with the spring-strings on them, in order to make up the fact that this is NOT a gas-powered saw. The handle of the ripchord should be wooden too, use the remaining dowel for this. Once the body has been painted, detailed and aged, take some fake blood (bought in bottles from party stores or halloween stores) and flick blood all over the saw to give ppl looking at it the impression that you either just saved the world from Deadites, or had a late night snack. Once completed, you should be able to wear the saw, and use the sounds/animation with the hand inside it.

Hope this tutorial on how to convert the toy chainsaw into an Evil Dead prop was helplful. If anyone has any zombies they'd like to slay at home, I may be entertaining the notion of making more of them for a decent compensation. Please contact me if you are interested, but not in the thread, in a PM.
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So. I have a pending order on this chainsaw prop, and the end of the season is fast approaching. Let me know asap if anyone else wants this badboy for their collection!
It's a pretty appropriate price, but I get a discount because I work there :lol

I also recently acquired another set of gloves that will allow me to make another Army of Darkness glove. For those of you un-familiar, this is the first one I made:

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It's flexible, so you can use props and perform most normal actions while wearing it. The top plate and finger sections are made of aluminum, and the palm is made from shaped cardboard to allow you to make a fist, hold guns, etc. I'm going to be offering a sale of this item, so I'm currently offering prop chainsaws AND prop AOD gauntlet gloves. I may be able to get more gloves if there is a demand for them, but they are hard to come by, so let me know!
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