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Topic: Chain-Sawing In Half (Review)
Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (Jan 21, 2009 12:20AM)
Product Review: Chain-Sawing In Half by Smoky Mountain Magic / Dan Wolfe

O.K. guys, here is a review of Dan Wolf’s “Chain-Sawing In Half” illusion. So what is this? Well, let’s just say it is a very practical sawing in half illusion. The concept is similar to the MAK jigsaw versions...but only in concept. This version uses a REAL chainsaw…it looks more impossible…has a more modern appearance…and man is this thing LOUD! The “method” is sheer genius as the blade does not switch nor does it detach from the saw in any way.

Let’s break it down a bit into a little more detail.

The Effect:
The effect is similar to the standard “Executive Sawing”. Your volunteer lies flat on a table. You place a wooden stock over their stomach. You proceed to cut them in half with a chainsaw by running it through the stock and apparently through the volunteer’s stomach. No harm is done to the volunteer!

The Props:
The Chainsaw: The actual chainsaw is REAL…it is not a plastic magic prop or toy…It is a REAL chainsaw. When you turn this bad boy on…the audience will know! The prop itself is well made, cleverly gaffed, requires no maintenance, and will last a lifetime with proper care. The chainsaw is powered by electricity…not gas…so no mess and no nasty fumes.

The Stock:
This is the wooden part that is placed around your volunteer’s waist. It is light weight, very well made, and cleverly gaffed to allow for some surprise comedy moments during the course of the routine. I can’t say more without giving anything away! The sides of the stock have handles for your volunteer to hold on to.

The Table:
Dan sells this as a separate add on. I purchased one as I liked the look of it and after talking with Dan concerning proper table height and audience volunteer safety I figured it would be best. You do not have to purchase Dan’s table. If you choose to use your own table, please keep in mind your volunteer’s safety as some tables are not very sturdy! The table height is also very important as you do not want it too high or too low. Talk over your options with Dan…

Volunteer Safety:
This was a big concern of mine…after all we are dealing with a chain saw! Let me say that there are NO safety issues with this prop…other than dropping it on your foot! Dan has taken all the safety issues into careful consideration so all you have to do is concentrate on the performance.

The Routine:
This is probably the best reason to use this! Having used other versions (like the jigsaw version) I personally feel that they leave the audience a little “cheated”. When you tell an audience you will saw someone in half…their minds immediately think of a TV magician they once saw and they ‘expect’ you to ‘separate’ the top half from the bottom half. So when you don’t do that…the effect usually falls flat!
Dan has taken the “sawing in half” concept and finally given it a VERY logical (and FUNNY) reason to actually do this to a volunteer. The structure and logic of the routine is what makes this play BIG…Oh Yea and the fact that you are using a CHAIN SAW helps too! The way the routine is structured the audience does not feel ‘cheated’ as the sawing is almost a secondary part of the routine. Again, I can’t say more without giving anything away! Dan has agreed to share his comedy presentation with purchasers of this illusion. Again, I wish I could say more and go into more detail…but it is not mine to share. I will say this…Those that know me understand how much I appreciate ‘real world’ thinking…this ‘routine’ alone is worth the entire asking amount.

My Thoughts:
Having used this now in 20+ live shows…I can’t imagine not having it. This has become one of my favorite comedy routines to date. Highly Recommended!

I think Dan is just starting to take orders. For more information go to: http://www.smmagic.com/illusions/chainsaw/index.htm

Final Note:
This is just a product review! This is NOT my trick nor do I have any financial interest in this.

Take Care Friends,
Cody S. Fisher
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Jan 21, 2009 07:03AM)
Thanks for a great review, Cody. Just one question. How do you keep from scaring the daylights out of the audience and spectator when you turn on a chainsaw? (I'm being serious here.) It seems to me that with the noise a chainsaw makes that it would be so menacing that it would frighten people.

Message: Posted by: Cody S. Fisher (Jan 21, 2009 08:30AM)

GREAT question my friend! When I say its 'loud' I don't mean in the sense of a 'gas powered loud'...this chainsaw is electric so the noise is not quite as noisy as a gas powered one may be. I personally like the noise...and when the chainsaw is inside the stock it makes an even better sound...sorta muffled...the echo really sounds like 'something' is happening! I even grind it back and forth and side to side a little for show!

Concerning this being too scary...not an issue! I toured with this on my last school show tour before the Christmas holiday...we did 20+ shows with this...sawing principals in half all over the U.S. The kids loved it. Why? Again I can't give away too much...but Dan's routine actually takes the scare factor away from it...it's really quite clever 'the reasoning' he has come up with.

Also, there are two ways to perform this...you can get a random person up and do this with no advance prep and still use most of the jokes and gag. I prefer to get the principal "in on it" and give them a few cues and funny lines...for me...it takes some of the spot light off me and makes my principals (or CEO's) look like more of a star on stage! You do not have to "tip the method" to your volunteer...they will not know how it's done. When I say "in on it" I mean prep them with some funny lines.

Anyway, I hope this answers your questions Michael.

Cody S. Fisher
Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (Jan 21, 2009 03:10PM)
Thanks Cody for your review, it's on my list of items to get this year. Thanks
Message: Posted by: Lou Hilario (Jan 21, 2009 03:24PM)
Just to be sure, I would not get an impromptu volunteer for this. I would rather get a volunteer informed of what I am to do with him / her and show how it's done so they won't be too scared or back out.
Thanks for the review Cody. It's also in my wishlist now.
Message: Posted by: Falconer (Jan 21, 2009 06:53PM)
- - - Dear Cody,

Many thanks for your excellent and sincere review.

Message: Posted by: revmike (Jan 21, 2009 07:19PM)
I have a Jig Saw Illusion which I do like but you have made me very interested in this one. Thanks for the fine review.
Message: Posted by: Michael Messing (Jan 21, 2009 10:37PM)

Thanks for the answers. I look forward seeing a performance of this. It sounds as though the routine is really good!

Message: Posted by: Terry Owens (Feb 27, 2009 01:27PM)
Cody's review was right on...I received my Chain-Sawing in Half today...and wow, I like it. If you've ever thought about adding the sawing an audience member in half to your program, this is the one to get. Best of all, without giving too much away, the routine doesn't stop at the sawing, there's a great ending that ties it all together...well worth the investment.

The newest version takes into account Cody's suggestions and so it's improved and now released to us.

Good job Dan...as always.
Message: Posted by: B Hackler (Mar 30, 2009 07:56PM)
I recieved the chainsawing effect today and Terry's and Cody's remarks are right on target. The routine is well thought out and in my opinion it is what makes the effect so great. The props are well bulit and will last many years with decent care. I highly recommend this effect to anybody and as always smoky mountain magic has great customer service. my 2 cents
Message: Posted by: Benjamin Dove (Mar 30, 2009 10:51PM)
That's creepy stuff...
Message: Posted by: Stanyon (Sep 10, 2012 09:42AM)
I saw Dan demo this at Winter Carnival of Magic, this year, and even within 10 feet it killed.
Message: Posted by: magicusb (Aug 29, 2017 02:18AM)
Anyone have one of these for sale?
PM me.
Message: Posted by: Nick Tweedy (Sep 11, 2017 11:42AM)
I built a chainsaw buzzsaw illusion with my old performing partner Richard Kwesell....great fun entertaining the masses of speed metal freaks when we opened for Drowning Pool/Static X & Panter in 04