Introduction: Evil Dead 2 Chainsaw

Evil Dead 2 is one of my favorite movies of all-time; one that I may have bought more times than even Star Wars. (I own it on Betamax!) My wife even took me to the site of the original Evil Dead cabin near her home in Tennessee. Here's your chance to make your own Witch Carver - groovy.

The original prop was based on an actual Homelite chainsaw that was heavily modified and cast in plastic and rubber so Bruce could fit his hand inside and use it safely. I tried to duplicate key aspects of the original for my first version, which required some light metal work for the top piece and 3D printing the distinctive side-grill. For the version I’m presenting here, I’ve simplified the parts and process while still producing a killer chainsaw. This version still uses some 3D printed parts and the rest can be found at a good hardware store. If you don't have access to a 3D printer, some alternatives are discussed.

I have 3D printed grills and full chainsaws available on my Etsy store.

Step 1: Parts & Tools

PARTS

CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS

  • 28 - 32G steel wire or similar
  • Epoxy, E6000 glue or similar
  • Superglue
  • Spray primer for plastics
  • Red spray paint for plastics - recommend Krylon Fusion Sundried Tomato
  • Black spray paint for plastics
  • Silver spray paint for plastics
  • Black shoe polish - paste type (for weathering)
  • Threadlocker (optional)
  • Dark wood stain (optional) (for pull handle)
  • Fake blood (optional)
  • Disposable gloves (optional)

TOOLS

  • Drill
  • Drill bits - regular & spade - brad & step bit (optional)
  • Jigsaw or bandsaw
  • Sander or sandpaper
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sharpie
  • Razor knife/box cutter
  • X-acto knife
  • Scissors
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Ruler
  • Center punch
  • Awl / ice pick
  • Hemostats (optional)

Step 2: Evil Dead Grill

The Evil Dead chainsaw has a distinctive grill that was made for the movie. I designed and 3D printed mine which you can download here. I also have grills available on my Etsy store.

If you don't have access to a 3D printer, find a suitable replacement. Before designing it in 3D, I had been looking at cutting off the bottom of a plastic flower pot and possibly making the grill out of something like Sculpey. Gluing items to the plastic jug is tricky - epoxy and E6000 glues seem to work pretty well, hot glue does not.

Step 3: Cut the Body

Please note that the pictures may vary from the directions slightly and we will be painting everything AFTER these steps.

Measure 2.5” from top of spout and mark with Sharpie (about where crease from handle meets body) and 3.5” from the side, which will become the bottom of the chainsaw.

Use a razor saw, hack saw, etc to cut the spout and cap off right below the large lip. Be neat and set the spout aside for later. Using the saw again, remove the remainder of the spout, leaving a nice round opening as shown above.

Use a utility knife and/or scissors to cut off the top area we marked. It's possible to use the razor saw but it will make a messy cut and we want this to look clean. CUT CAREFULLY!

Step 4: Blade

Plug in the hot glue gun to preheat. Meanwhile, draw a chainsaw blade shape onto the 1/8" MDF - mine was 23” - the only exact measurement is the mounting-end which should be around 3” wide to ensure the blade cover fits over it. We need to reserve at least a 4” x 4” square of the MDF for later.

Cut out the blade with a jigsaw or bandsaw. Place the jug top from previous step, over the base of the blade and mark the blade at the center of where the jug spout used to be. Remove the jug top and mark two diagonal holes for mounting the blade - doesn’t matter where as long as they fit under the blade cover.

Drill out the diagonal holes with approx 9/32" drill bit. Drill out center hole with 1/2" spade or brad bit. Drill small (1/8") holes around the edge of the blade about every 8” or so for attaching the sash chain with wire - make sure to drill a hole at the very back of the blade, top and bottom where the chain will end.

Attach the end of the sash chain to the back of the blade with the 28-32G wire. Now use the hot glue to attach the chain the rest of the way around. Attaching a spring clamp to one end of the blade to act as a stand will make this easier. The hot glue works pretty well, but as the chainsaw gets banged around the chain will come loose, so also use wire to attach the chain at the points where we drilled holes. I use hemostats to quickly twist the wire, but by hand or with needle nose will work as well. Trim the wires and make sure to tuck the cut ends out of the way as to not jab yourself.

Step 5: Hand Clamp

For the hand clamp, I use right angle brackets and hammer them mostly flat since they need a bit of an angle to them (do this now). You can probably use straight brackets as well.

Remove rubber gasket from clamp. Turn it inside out (ridges out). Use scissors to trim off the center ridge all the way around. Set aside.

The adjustment screws on the clamp should go at about the 10:00 position, using a bracket, make marks at 3, 6 and 9:00. You want the marks right past the first clamping band so there's room to drill.

Use a center punch to mark the holes and drill a small pilot hole. I highly recommend using a step bit to drill the big hole as regular bits will grab and twist the clamp and you will end up tearing the metal and/or hurting yourself. Drill 3/16" holes using a skinny piece of wood as backing material. Be careful!

Temporarily install the brackets using #10 x 1/2 screws - don't worry about attaching to the body yet.

Step 6: Side Handle

Assembly the 90º conduit and elbow. Use pliers to get the nut nice and tight.

That's it for now - don't attach to body yet.

Step 7: Drill the Body

First, let's mark all the holes we need to drill.

Use the blade and cover, decide how you want the blade positioned and angled. Holding the blade in place, mark the three holes on the body.

Decide where you want the basin hanger (or similar do-dad) and mark holes for that as well.

The cap and spout will become the gas cap, decide where it should go and mark the center.

If you are using a toggle switch, decide where that should go and mark that as well.

Mark where the interior handle gets attached - this is on the center line, approx 4" from the 'front' of the chainsaw on the top and bottom.

Mark where the side handle attaches - approx 1" from the 'bottom' of the chainsaw and 1.25" from the front.

Use the hand clamp with brackets attached to mark holes on the body. Make sure clamp adjusters are at 10:00.

I would also recommend marking a series of air holes on the bottom, as it can get sweaty in there.

To make drilling easier, I recommend punching all the marked holes using an awl or ice pick.

Now drill all the holes.

1/8" for the interior handle.

1/2" spade or brad for the center blade hole and toggle switch.

3/4" spade bit for the side handle.

Approx 9/32" brad or step bit for air holes.

3/16" brad or step bit for all other holes and one right in the center of the 'gas' cap.

NOTE: picture shows holes drilled for the side grill, we will do this later.

Clean up all holes with x-acto knife.

Step 8: Painting

Getting paint to stick to the plastic body, which flexes, can be tough - you really need to use a paint made for plastics.

I would highly recommend wiping down the jug parts with some alcohol or similar to remove dirt and grease.

Use a primer approved for plastic on the jug first, otherwise it will take a bunch of coats of red to cover up the labels. For the rest:

RED

  • Body
  • Cap spout
  • 3D printed side grill base
  • Blade cover

SILVER

  • Blade
  • 3D printed grill

BLACK

  • Light coat on blade after silver
  • Side handle
  • Hand clamp (remove brackets first)
  • Basin hanger
  • Large blade washer x1
  • Large blade bolt (if not already black)
  • Gas cap with #10 x 1" screw in the middle

OPTIONAL

It's a nice touch to paint the area under the side grill black. Once the body is dry, trace the outside of the side grill base on a piece of paper large enough to protect body from paint (a manila folder works well). Cut out the circle slightly inside the mark - the idea is to get the black circle to be right under the edge of the grill base. If you have low-tack spray adhesive (like for scrapbooks, etc) use that on the template and stick in on the side of the chainsaw body where you would like grill to go (otherwise, just hold it in place). Spray it black.

Step 9: Side Grill & Pull Cord

Cut approx 2.5" from the dowel rod. At the same time, cut a 6 7/8" piece for the inside handle and set aside.

Drill a hole big enough for your rope to fit through easily.

Clean up edges with sandpaper.

If you have some dark stain, use it on the handle. You can try tea or coffee to stain it as well.

Tie a knot in end of rope and thread the other end through handle.

Thread rope through grill base and tie off on the inside.

OPTIONAL

I recommend making a MDF backer for the side grill. The jug is slightly curved and the backer will help pull it flat and make sure there are no gaps around the grill base. Trace the outside and screw holes of the grill base onto a scrap of MDF. Cut out with jigsaw/bandsaw and drill out holes with 3/16" bit.

Step 10: Blade Cover

For the cover we will need the 1/2" x 2" bolt, one 1/2" nut and the 2 large washers.

The painted washer and bolt go on the outside of the cover.

Put the other washer on the inside and seat it evenly in the spout opening.

Put the nut on and tighten until it holds everything in place, but the bolt can still spin freely. Not a bad idea to put some threadlocker (such as Loctite 222 or 425) on the nut.

Step 11: Assembly

I would recommend applying a low strength threadlocker (such as Loctite 425) to all the nuts in bolts, but it's optional.

      • Position side grill on body (on black circle if you painted one) and mark holes. Punch with awl or ice pick and drill out 3/16" holes. Clean up with x-acto.
      • Attach grill base (using MDF backer if you made one) with #10 x 1/2" screws and nuts. Typically you only need to use two up top and one on the bottom for it to sit flat.
      • Attach conduit side handle. It's a bit tough to get pliers inside, channel locks may work, or even finger tight. A good technique is to position the handle slightly pushed forward and get it mostly tight. For the last bit, hold the nut inside and push the handle back into proper position. The paint around the base might get a bit messed up - don't worry about it.
      • Install toggle switch.
      • Attach gas cap with #10 x 1" screw in center and nut inside.
      • Attach basin hanger with #10 x 3/4" screws and nuts
      • Drill a pilot hole into each end of the inside handle (6 7/8" dowel) and install with a screw in top and bottom.
      • Install hand clamp brackets to body using #10 x 1/2" screws and nuts.
      • Attach clamp to brackets with #10 x 1/2" screws and nuts.
      • Attach blade to body with #10 x 1/2" screws and nuts in diagonal holes.
      • Attach blade cover with 1/2" nut on inside - you may need to flex it slightly to fit over blade.
      • Put the rubber cuff back in the hand clamp. Leave it inside out so the smooth side faces in.
      • If everything looks good, glue the grill to the base with superglue.

      Step 12: Weathering

      Everything should be together at this point but it totally looks like a plastic chainsaw. This is the fun part since you can be super sloppy and cover up all your boo-boos.

      I would recommend using some disposable gloves for this as you don't want to weather yourself.

      Start with silver paint, a small jar is great, otherwise spray some that was used for the blade into a disposable cup or a cup made of foil. Use a rag and/or a small brush to apply silver to the high points on parts such as the gas cap, side handle, hand clamp, grill base, etc.. Anywhere the paint would actually wear off. Use a dry brush technique by getting the applicator wet then brushing it on some paper to get most of the paint off. You want to be able to really rub the applicator on a part and only leave a dusting of paint. If too much paint is applied, simply wipe if off with a rag.

      Next, take the black shoe polish paste and just smear it everywhere with a rag. Goop it on and then rub it off to look like old grease. It's great for building up around screws and where parts meet. It's also good for covering up boo-boos and paint chips.

      If you want, scratch up the blade with a wire brush.

      Blood will really take it up a notch but you have to watch what you use. Most fake blood will stay wet and tacky no matter how long you let it sit. I found this out the hard way on my first chainsaw - bought some pro blood that is still tacky and comes off on your hands after 3 years. If you really want it too look good and stay put, I would recommend dropping some cash on Fleet Street Drying Blood. I would recommend a 2 oz bottle of the Dark which should be enough for the chainsaw and then some. It will feel rubbery and sticky but will actually dry, looks great and won't come off on hands and clothes. It is water soluble, so if it gets wet, it will start to melt.

      I usually add just a tiny bit of water to make it easier to apply. Simply paint, dribble, fling, dab, etc on with a brush or even your hands (gloves recommended). I like to put a few bloody fingerprints around the pull cord and switch. Let it dry a day and hit it with a hairdryer if needed.

      That's it - your ultimate weapon for combating evil is done - go carve a witch!

      Comments

      author
      wheresmurphy_43 made it!(author)2016-11-07

      Thank you Countspatula! It was fun build. Everyone said how in the world and I said I'd be lost without Instructables.com and your How To. Thanks!!

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      author
      arge101 made it!(author)2016-10-13

      I decided that I wanted to go as Ash for my 80's movies themed 30th birthday party. This was a really fun build. Unfortunately I'm restricted as far as materials go but I still am really happy with how it turned out. The only major change I made was that I used a metal coat hook as the handle as it seemed to be the right shape.

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      author
      iceberg214 made it!(author)2016-10-03

      Awesome design! I'm working on mine right now! Quick question: Did you take the label off the Arizona jug or just paint over it? I got an Arizona Green Tea jug and can't get the label off (it's a weird sort of foil).

      author
      countspatula made it!(author)2016-10-03

      Ugh, yeah - tried it once and was terrible to remove. Just leave it on - that's why I recommend using a primer first.

      author
      arglborps made it!(author)2016-09-30

      Very inspiring build. I made my own version. With no gallon bottles in Japan I had to work with a square shaped oil plastic can.

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      countspatula made it!(author)2016-09-30

      Very nice! Addition of the top handle is always a nice touch.

      author
      michael.rausch.5836 made it!(author)2016-09-05

      great instructable!
      mine isn't as nice with a cobbled together cheap grill but I'm happy.
      one thing i did to strengthen the black handle was add washers then pour some resin into the inside corner so there was a puddle sicking to the wall and the part of the handle inside the body. bomber now!

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      author
      countspatula made it!(author)2016-09-05

      Nice!

      author
      michael.rausch.5836 made it!(author)2016-09-05

      thanks man! so much fun!

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      Invictuscosplay made it!(author)2016-07-25

      I'm trying to get all the pieces together to make this! wish there was a video tutorial to show off each piece individually! great tutorial!

      author
      cuth_bert made it!(author)2016-05-01

      I see that you are also a filmmaker. If you get a chance, it would be cool to throw together a movie accurate montage of your construction followed by... of course... "groovy" - one of my favorite scenes.

      author
      MichaelAM1978 made it!(author)2015-11-15

      I've always wanted to build an Ash chainsaw, and this looks like an excellent way to make one. I may have to start gathering pieces and try to build my own sometime.

      author
      quintongmail made it!(author)2015-11-06

      sweet i thought it was a real chainsaw at first

      author
      fadecomic made it!(author)2015-10-09

      That's nice. The only downside is that step 0 seems to be "buy a 3D printer". Though I bet you can find something at the hardware store that looks like those parts.

      author
      PeterB103 made it!(author)2015-10-10

      Also, the author sells the parts on his etsy store :)

      author
      PeterB103 made it!(author)2015-10-10

      If you ask in some of the 3D printer groups on facebook, I'm sure you'd find someone who would print them for you. If you were in NZ I'd print them for you for free.

      author
      diy-master made it!(author)2015-10-08

      awesome!!!

      author
      apusapus01 made it!(author)2015-10-08

      That is damn cool. This is the best DIY prop yet I have seen. Love your work and this site.

      author
      jmaxwell5 made it!(author)2015-10-07

      gotta make this I jokingly tell people I named my son ash because of this movie..can't wait til he's old enough to watch with me

      author
      desertsniper made it!(author)2015-10-05

      best low cost prop I think I have ever seen! wow awesome job!

      author
      Jedi_zombie85 made it!(author)2015-10-05

      Epic build, watched the Evil Deads this weekend!!

      Groovy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      author
      schnurrbart made it!(author)2015-10-03

      Yeah Sean! Nice write-up and a smart design. That's S-Mart. Voted!

      author
      kylegilbert made it!(author)2015-10-03

      Nice work!

      author
      Attmos made it!(author)2015-10-03

      Very Cool, one of my very favorite movies too! I love the creative construction.

      author
      Attmos made it!(author)2015-10-03

      By the way, your daughter scares me! :)

      author
      Zaphod+Beetlebrox made it!(author)2015-10-03

      Hi, I have some of your images in my instructable's image library, I don't know how this happened. Just wondering if you have seen anything weird happening to your library as well?

      author
      countspatula made it!(author)2015-10-03

      Weird! Did you engage the Infinite Improbability Drive?

      Yesterday I did have a period where all my pix disappeared and I was getting what looked like generic clip art fill-ins. I would report it to the admin.

      author
      Zaphod+Beetlebrox made it!(author)2015-10-03

      I didn't even.
      I've sent them an email

      author
      bravoechonovember1 made it!(author)2015-10-03

      wow!

      I would never have thought of using a iced tea jug for that great job!

      author
      countspatula made it!(author)2015-10-03

      That's how the whole thing started. Bought some apple juice, throwing out jug and went hmmmmm....

      author
      starwarsgeek1 made it!(author)2015-10-03

      u got my vote man!!!

      author
      starwarsgeek1 made it!(author)2015-10-03

      this is sooooooo awwwssssooommmeeee!!!!!!!!

      About This Instructable

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      Bio: Sean was the Head Repair Tech for NYU Film & TV for 12 years. He still loves film cameras and old tech for their mechanical design ... More »
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