Intro: 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 sometimes full chainsaws) available in my Etsy store.
Step 1: Parts & Tools
- 1 Gallon Arizona Ice Tea jug or similar
- 3” diamter hubless shielded pipe clamp (or less expensive unshielded version). Go up a size if you have big hands
- 1” right angle brackets x3
- 3/4" dowel rod (or old broom handle, etc) x10"
- Paracord or similar thin rope x6"
- 1/2" diameter 90º conduit elbow
- 1/2" diameter conduit compression elbow
- #8 sash chain x4'
- 1/8" MDF board approx 24" x 9"
- #6 x 1" wood screw x2 (This can be any size or length that screws into end of dowel rod ok)
- #10 x 1/2" screw x15
- #10 x 3/4" screw x2
- #10 x 1" screw x1
- #10 nut x16
- 1/2" x 2" bolt - black or painted black
- 1/2" nut x2
- 1.75" OD x 1/2" ID washer x2
- Lavatory basin wall hanger (or any dodad you like for side decoration)
- Toggle switch (optional)
- 3D printed side grill and base (or acceptable substitute)
- 28 - 32G steel wire or similar
- Epoxy, E6000 glue or similar
- 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)
- Drill bits - regular & spade - brad & step bit (optional)
- Jigsaw or bandsaw
- Sander or sandpaper
- Hot glue gun
- Razor knife/box cutter
- X-acto knife
- Wire cutters
- Center punch
- Awl / ice pick
- Hemostats (optional)
Step 2: Evil Dead Grill
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:
- Cap spout
- 3D printed side grill base
- Blade cover
- 3D printed grill
- 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
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.
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!
Runner Up in the
Halloween Props Contest 2015