Thanks so much to everyone who voted for me in the contest, I was a second place winner!

Ah, Halloween is upon us again!  I am not as consistently awesome at costumery as my brother, but I have been known to build a thing or two or three, and generally overdo it this time of year.

My friend Felicia volunteers at a small theater in Bend, Oregon.  She acted in their production of Richard III, and mentioned to the director of their upcoming production of Evil Dead:  The Musical that she might just know someone who could build them a new chainsaw arm to replace the one Bruce Campbell signed the last time they ran the play.

For the uninitiated, Evil Dead:  The Musical is based on the movie Evil Dead 2:  Dead by Dawn, which was written and directed by Sam Raimi (of Spider-Man fame), and starring Bruce Campbell (of Army of Darkness, Bubba Hotep, and Brisco County Junior fame).  The movie is a masterpiece of the comedic horror subgenre, both hilarious and disturbing at times.  Crucially to this instructable, there is a scene where the main character, Ash, has to cut off his own hand with a chainsaw.  He later replaces his removed hand with that same chainsaw, wielding that and a sawed off shotgun to do battle with the demons he has unwittingly summoned up.

When Felicia asked if I'd be interested in building them a chainsaw arm prop, I leaped at the chance!  I'd put that Dalek I've been struggling with on indefinite hold and focus my energies on making the best darn chainsaw arm I could . . . and when they asked if I could, you know, maybe make it spray blood everywhere . . . well, let's just say I stopped chanting "Exterminate!  Exterminate!" and started chanting, "Swallow your soul!  Swallow your soul!"  After that, they even asked me to make them a Necronomicon . . . and how could I not!? 

Here's a video of me acting poorly and cutting off my hand:

Read on to learn all about how I built this thing from scratch, or jump ahead to read more about the play itself!

Step 1: Gather Materials

Here's a hopefully complete list of the stuff I had to buy:
  • Large juice container
  • 2 small plastic bottles
  • Roll of sheet metal
  • Tape measure
  • Nylon cord
  • A bunch of 5/16" nuts and bolts
  • 1/8"x1" thick aluminum bar
  • Wood trim about as wide as the aluminum
  • 4" rubber plumbing coupling
  • 1/4" clear plastic tubing
  • Small hose clamps
  • Reel of #41 roller chain (if you're not plumbing yours for blood, bicycle chain will work just as well)
  • A couple of small plastic bowls
With a lot of the things I make, I try and repurpose stuff I already have on hand.  These are all things I happened to have lying around, some of it (particularly the CO2 system) might be a bit tricky to source:
  • CO2 charging system (from a homebrew mini-kegging system)
  • 1" wooden dowel
  • 1/4" plywood
  • E6000 epoxy
  • Hot glue
  • Spray paint in a variety of colors
  • Silicone caulk
  • Cardstock
  • Laminate film
  • 7" cedar 2x2
  • 3/8", 7" long carriage bolt
  • 1/4" thick piece of rubber or flexible plastic
Tools used in the manufacture:
  • Jigsaw
  • Hot glue gun
  • Screwdrivers
  • Box knife
  • Dremel
  • Bench vise
  • Rasp
  • Drill
  • Pliers
  • Awl
  • Printer
  • Shears
  • Steel wool
  • Heat gun
Finally, I did a lot of research for this, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I based the design on images pulled from Google image search of the Homelite XL chainsaw used in the film, and also that I drew heavily on this instructable, and this one, for inspiration and ideas.
<p>This is exactly what I've been looking for! Thank you ever so much for this instructable. I'm going to get to work tomorrow on making one of these for Halloween. Oh, does anyone know of anywhere I can find an instructable for the shotgun harness?</p>
I, too, made a chain saw arm for out local production of Evil Dead,... I LOVE your altered 'tape measure' idea for the pull start! Very clever. Great Job and thanks for sharing
Awesome, thanks! I'd love to see a picture if you have one!
Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can&rsquo;t wait to see if you win! Good luck!
Thanks poofrabbit!
Wonderful; please accept my vote.
Thank you!
Awesome! Love the movie! Your prop and description were sick! Thank you very much. Brought a smile to my face! <br>
Awesome, thanks Dean! I'd really appreciate a vote if you've got a minute!
That is an amazingly well done instructable. Even so, I don't find chainsaw accidents amusing.
Thanks Clare! I'm not one for chainsaw accidents either!
Nice! This is my kind of project, and I enjoyed the write-up very much! <br> <br>That 1/4&quot; rubber that you used, what was it from? I've needed something just like that many times and never found anything quite what I was looking for.
Thanks seamster!<br><br>That rubber was scrap I picked up from work. It's called &quot;skirtboard rubber&quot;, and it's used extensively in the aggregate processing industry, like gravel pits and that sort of place. I suppose the real trick (if you don't work somewhere that cuts it) would be getting just a little bit of it--it's traditionally sold in 50' reels. It's very possible if you called around to bearing/power transmission businesses, or even managed to get a hold of the maintenance shop at a gravel pit, they could provide you with some cut ends.
Cool, thanks. I know a few folks who work for a sand and gravel company, so I'll have to ask them about it.
Hey! Now this is a good old fashioned instructable. Seems like every time I get on here it's just 3d printer stuff. <br> <br>Anyway, keep the nightmare alive, brother!
I know what you mean, as awesome as 3D printers are there's no way I could afford one. This is an instructable for the Everyman!
WOW! Best instuctable ever! You really used your skills and imagination to adapt normal every day dollar store items into something truly unique and amazing. Way to think outside of the box (and inside of the chainsaw)!
That's high praise, thanks a lot!
There's so much more detail that went into this than I thought! The prop looked good in that clip.
It turned out to be a pretty complex prop, but everything just came together so smoothly!

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Bio: depotdevoid is short for The Depot Devoid of Thought, the place where you go when you lose your train of thought and you're waiting ... More »
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