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Topic: Bow Sawing - Owen vs. Wellington
Message: Posted by: Misty Lee (Nov 27, 2005 05:01PM)
*waving* Hi, everybody!

I'm going to purchase a sawing for an upcoming corporate event. After researching several models, I'm torn between these two - the Owen Bow Sawing and the Wellington Executive Sawing. The fella I'll be sawing is 6'2", with a 38" waist. I've researched and am familiar with the cost of both, but am wondering about the advantages and drawbacks of each illusion. Deceptively, ease of use, portability, and options in spectator size are all issues here.

Also: Does anybody know if the Wellington version saws balsa like the Owen one does?

Any help and advice will be most appreciated. Thanks so much!
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 27, 2005 10:41PM)
The Wellington model will do everything the Owens model will. Both are well built props. The Wellington unit is a little more friendly against the accumulation of sawdust. The Owens unit is a little more compact as the blade does not look as big.

I worked with the Owen unit with Blackstone and it is a good unit. I have looked at the Wellington unit also. If I had the need, I would probably buy the Wellington since the price is considerably less.

Message: Posted by: Chezaday (Nov 28, 2005 01:24AM)
Hi Misty .. both props are well made and thought out. The Wellington has some new improvements that are just awesome. The Owen model is a work of art .. the "secret stuff" is just as amazing as the illusion itself. If you have questions about the illusion you should give them a call .. I know Bill at Wellington has been great to deal with. I have a couple of his props in my show. You can't go wrong with either unit .. but cost may be something to consider. Hope that helps ..

Message: Posted by: gulamerian (Nov 28, 2005 04:39PM)
My personal choice would be the Wellington version. It is much more user friendly. No fuss, no muss.
Message: Posted by: Townsend1 (Nov 28, 2005 06:49PM)
While they are both excellent, I also prefer the Wellington model.
Message: Posted by: Misty Lee (Nov 29, 2005 05:07AM)
Thanks so much, fellas. On your advice and all my research, I think the Wellington will serve us VERY well - especially for this particular venue. Made the purchase this afternoon, and anxiously await its arrival (scheduled for early next week). Bill was so nice - he even offered to fire over the instructions via fax, so I could familiarize myself with them immediately (rather than waiting until the illusion arrives).

Although I purchased the Wellington Bow Saw, I DO have to say that Allen (the fella who's running Owen now) is a WONDERFUL human being, and I wouldn't think twice about dropping several grand on a custom made illusion from him. Everything they do there is worth every penny you spend.

It's so amazing what can happen when genius and artist collide - how lucky we are to have two talented fellas like these in our midst!

Smooches and gratitude to all of you,
Message: Posted by: gulamerian (Nov 29, 2005 03:09PM)
You are right. Owen does make some great illusions.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 30, 2005 08:39AM)
Allen is Alan Zagorsky who is Les Smith's son in law. Both he and Bill Smelack are great guys.

Message: Posted by: Misty Lee (Nov 30, 2005 03:19PM)
Thanks for the spelling correction, Richard. I realized my error when glancing at Alan's business card yesterday, and reddened in the face a bit. :loss:
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Nov 30, 2005 05:17PM)
That's okay, Misty. Richard misspelled Bill's name (Wellington). It's Schmeelk. :)
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Nov 30, 2005 08:57PM)
Thanks Mike....A computer may make it easier to write but it is just as hard to think as ever.

Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Dec 1, 2005 05:57AM)
I know what you mean!

Message: Posted by: LostSoul (Dec 1, 2005 06:51AM)
On 2005-11-30 21:57, hugmagic wrote:
Thanks Mike....A computer may make it easier to write but it is just as hard to think as ever.


Now I would say a computer just makes it easier to type, writing is just as hard as ever!

Message: Posted by: James Adamson (Dec 1, 2005 10:48AM)
I know this is off subject but if you would just use this link:


There is a toolbar that will do a spellcheck on all of your messages. A FireFox browser version is also available.

This is the spellchecker recommended to be used by the Staff Grammar Hosts.

James Adamson
Message: Posted by: socalmagic (Dec 5, 2005 04:56PM)
I just purchased and received the Executive Sawing today. It is very clever, and 100 times easier than the Jim Sommers sawing that I currently own (which is for sale if anyone is interested). It is the closest thing to a self-working illusion that I have ever seen. Highly recommended.

Brock Edwards
Message: Posted by: boboangus (Dec 6, 2005 04:35PM)
Hi Brock
Could you forward addtional information on the jim sommers sawing?
Message: Posted by: Misty Lee (Dec 13, 2005 04:05PM)
Fellas, I gotta tell ya - the Wellington is WONDERFUL. Used it to saw the CEO of Chrysler in half on Thursday, and even HE (who was trying to sit up to 'catch any gimmicks') was baffled.

Speaking of gimmicks on this item, I have a hilarious 'magicians only' story to relate regarding what happened during the performance, but won't post it because these forums pop up on google searches. If you'd like to read it please PM me and I'll send it along.

Thanks again for all your help - I am absolutely thrilled.

Message: Posted by: Don (Jan 29, 2014 02:54PM)
The Owen Magic Supreme Bow Saw works flawlessly and All details have been worked out.

Message: Posted by: Eyes of Darkness (Feb 5, 2014 02:49AM)
Is there footage of the Wellington Bow Saw in action?
Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Feb 6, 2014 02:07PM)
[b]Didn't Harbin with Jack Hughes invent this? I had one made by Abbott's about 50 years ago.[/b]
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Feb 6, 2014 03:24PM)
Abbott's model did not come with the blade attached to the frame when it was done sawing. Harbin to best of my knowledge added that feature.

Message: Posted by: Don (Feb 6, 2014 09:05PM)
The story and answer, is within the pages of the "Genius Of Robert Harbin" book by Eric Lewis.

Message: Posted by: Pete Biro (Feb 8, 2014 07:34PM)
Don: I don't have the book. What does it say?
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Feb 9, 2014 02:43PM)
It is called the Robert Harbin "See Saw" (Visible Sawing Through). Published in the original "Harbin Book" sold by Harbin himself, people had to sign an agreement to secrecy, and not leak out the information for a number of years. It is on pages 89 to 96 in my copy, on how to build the sawing.

I had a friend who made this and the hardest part was getting non-tempered band saw blades. He had a gift for getting what he wanted, so he called a manufacturer of saw blades and got the blades before they were tempered. He had a neighbor who was a tool and dye maker that formed the locking mechanism on the blades. The brushes were made cut from Wall Paper Brushes. He later sold the Visible Sawing to the late great Karroll Fox, I would think someone bought it from his estate sale. He was a perfectionist so it was a quality piece.

I wonder why no one has built any of the famous Harbin Illusions from the book, I have never heard of any being made but the famous "Zig Zag" illusion.
Message: Posted by: Don (Feb 9, 2014 05:55PM)
Pete: I must fish out the book it is in storage and see what it says. It goes into detail of Harbin,Abbotts and the origin of this trick.

I guess this illusion, among others are very complicated beyond high school wood shop to make Bill.

Message: Posted by: Mike Thornton (Feb 9, 2014 07:00PM)
Bill, my friend owns this sawing that Karell Fox owned. May I ask who built it? Thanks, Mike
Message: Posted by: QuailCreek (Feb 15, 2014 01:29PM)
That's what I like about the Café'. I was trying to decide between the Owens and Wellington. This made the choice so easy.

Thanks everybody.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 13, 2018 10:50PM)
I've been researching the bow saw illusion and thought I would try to revive this topic a bit. Specifically would love to hear from anyone who has used a bow saw on a regular basis.
While this discussion is title Owen vs. Wellington, anyone with experience with a Chadwick bow saw feel free to chime in as well.

Some used Owen's have come up for sale recently... I had always liked the look of the Wellington Saw a bit better, but the Owen illusion is quite beautiful so it got me thinking. A few posters earlier in this thread mentioned the Wellington being more user friendly. I don't think I've ever seen a Wellington for sale used... probably a reason. ha.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 14, 2018 08:33PM)
[quote]On Feb 9, 2014, Mike Thornton wrote:
Bill, my friend owns this sawing that Karell Fox owned. May I ask who built it? Thanks, Mike [/quote]

My magic friend name was Edward Strauss, lived in Fort Wayne, IN. He is deceased as of 2012, if memory serves me correctly.
Message: Posted by: Don (Apr 17, 2018 07:46PM)
I have the Owen Supreme version and it is a thing of beauty. The effect is awesome! Wellington is now more or less out of business I've been told.

The Owen version is easy to set up,and can be done surrounded.It is very sturdy,deceptive and a joy to perform.

I don't like the Chadwick version, it is lacking in attention to detail and quality. It is not as smooth and deceptive.

Message: Posted by: thomasR (Apr 17, 2018 08:32PM)
Thanks so much Don!

Yes, after trying to contact Wellington through various methods, it seems that may be the case. (For purely selfish reasons I hope he opens up shop again, at least making things like the Bow Saw and Trisection).

"Joy to Perform" - what better compliment can a prop get? Next time a used one come around... I may not be able to resist.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 20, 2018 07:28AM)
I believe the Abbott Visible Sawing is a Jack Hughes creation. Percy Abbott made some very magical friends when he went to England back in the day. Supreme Magic and Jack Hughes Magic was a mainstay for Abbott's small stage effects and illusions.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Mar 26, 2019 12:00PM)
Thought I'd give a bit of an update... maybe revive this discussion a bit. Last year I got a great deal on a used Owen Bow Saw. Despite the thing being pretty beat up (sad that someone would abuse an Owen prop like that!) it still works great. It's a really fun trick, and since I remember seeing Blackstone perform the Owen Bow Saw on TV as a kid, it's pretty cool to get to own one. With that being said, if the Wellington is truly "self working" as they advertise, I can see why the Wellington version is the one to get. There are several steps when performing the Owen version, and they can look a bit sloppy depending on your presentation. My character can justify the necessary moves quite easily, but others might have a bit of a challenge.

Of course the Owen is really the only choice right now unless you happen to see a used Wellington for sale (grab it!).

To me, the Bow Saw is SO much better than any other audience sawing out there. It's a true classic for a reason.
Message: Posted by: Mike Thornton (Mar 27, 2019 12:27PM)
Wellington is truly self working, none of the buttons and slamming needed in the Owen's version.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Mar 27, 2019 01:11PM)
Sounds like you’ve had experience with both Mike!
Yeah I’m kicking myself, there was a Wellington on Magic Auction in “like new condition” and I let it pass. Course it was double the price I paid for the Owen, but still!

I personally like the look of the Owen better, both the table and the saw. The Wellington looks like a prop saw to me, the Owen looks like an actual bow saw, but that’s my opinion.
Message: Posted by: Mike Thornton (Mar 28, 2019 07:28PM)
I've played with an Owen's and owned a Wellington. Google my friend Greg Gleason, he uses it more than anyone, you can see you just drop the blade in, cut and set it in the bottom, everything is taken care of. I just hooked up a sale of one in mint condition for another magician. There are a few out there. Bill might even have one in stock.
Message: Posted by: thomasR (Mar 28, 2019 07:43PM)
I've tried to get ahold of Bill in hopes of finding a Tri-section... I've yet to have any luck.

Yes I remember hearing Greg rave about his saw on a podcast he was being interviewed on too. He indeed gets the mileage out of it!

Good to know they do come up for sale from time to time.
Message: Posted by: Don (Mar 30, 2019 06:23AM)
I agree the Wellington version looks more like a prop.
In this magic field you must get a prop when the window of opportunity is open.Whats available today will not be available tommorrow.
This is something I have learned.If you are a pro you often don't have time or want to what until something comes up on auction.

People die,go out of business,parts become hard to get,sometimes they just desire not to make anymore,it becomes cost prohibitive,sometimes even the methods become lost because it is so few out there.
The bow saw will never be widely available because of the expense and craftsmanship involved.