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Topic: Bed of nails: technique
Message: Posted by: fabio123 (Apr 17, 2002 06:22AM)
I would like to know how many nails I would need per sqare inch and what the dimensions of a comfortable bed of nails should be for someone 5'11'' weighing 135 pounds. Also, any info you are willing to give on the art of fakirism and beds of nails are welcome. If it is technical, please email to me.

Thank you,
I hope I can help you with something....

Message: Posted by: hoodscoop98 (May 10, 2002 03:44PM)
Yeah, use a lot of nails! I do this stunt every now and then. People like it, but its not too great, people usually figure out that you have so many nails that can't hurt you, remember 1000 nails is better than 1! As far as making it for length, make it so the board is at the bottom of your shoes, and the head of the board is before your neck. Basically, your head is the only thing not on the board. I've seen it done where it gets more impressive by having a woman very very light weight about 100-120 pounds stand on your stomach for about 10 secs, then have her get off. If you have a strong stomach, don't worry. If you don't, try practicing without the bed of nails at first.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (May 31, 2002 08:01AM)
Your bed of nails does not have to be as large as you are. You can make a smaller one that will be just as effective. A plywood board that is about 4 feet long by two feet wide will give you a nice size bed. Make a two-inch border around your board and then draw one-inch grid within that border. You will drill a hole for your nail at each intersection of the grid. You will use about 72 nails per square foot. You will use over 550 nails on your finished board.

Hint: after you have drilled the board paint it. It will be impossible to paint after you have all the nails pounded into it. I sandwich the heads of the nails with a second board to give the whole thing a nice finished appearance.

In performance, ask someone to come up and touch the nails with their hand. It will feel sharp to the touch. You can have someone take off their shoe and try to step on the nails and you will find that the sensation is so strange that they won’t put much weight on their foot. Toss an apple on the board as it is upright and it will stick. Hit the nails with a balloon and it will pop. All proof’s that it is real and dangerous. Also, an old trick is to put a sheet of newspaper down on the nails before you lay on them. Show the newspaper at the end of the performance and show the holes in it. Always show your back at the end of the performance. It will have the pattern of the nails impressed on it! Cool!

I sold my last bed of nails through Denny and Lee’s over three years ago. I performed it several times “impromptu” when I was visiting the shop to buy an item or three. Denny used to joke that I just like to take my shirt off and show off! I would have the heaviest person there stand on me while I lay on the board. I sold it because it was a pain to move it!

The downside of Bed of Nails is that they are not cheap to build, they are very heavy to carry around, and it takes a good showman to really pull off (sell) the act. Still, it was a fun piece of theater for me when I was doing my “carnival” act.

I just remembered an old Cabaret act that used a very small bed of nails. I wish I could remember the performers name because it was a killer act. The performer was a petit and beautiful young woman who had a contortionist act. She had a round bed of nails. It was about 24 inches in diameter and she did several body twisting moves on it. It is quite unnerving to see a young woman lying on her abdomen, on a bed of nails, with her head arched up to meet her feet.

In Germany, I saw a strongman act that included the strong man lying across a bench. Only a small part of his back was on the bench (maybe all of 12 inches). The bench was a bed of nails! A rectangle board (12 by 18 or so inches) with handles was placed on his chest. He held the board in place using the handles. The board was also a bed of nails! Then a cinderblock was placed on the back of the board 9nails against his chest) and was broken with a sledgehammer! The Strongman was in a bed of nails sandwich! It was a great bit!

The reason that I am mentioning both of these acts in this post is to get you to think out of the box when it comes to making and using one of these devices. They do not have to be big or the traditional bed of nails!

Go for it!
Message: Posted by: wolfsong (Jun 12, 2005 06:03PM)
What gauge nail is best for this type of thing?
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jun 12, 2005 06:11PM)
Beds wiegh heavy so to counteract this I now use a standing version,,also these can be placed on a Café Table and worked up real close (Providing your feet don't pong!)Another plus to these are that the gimmed area is only under your actual feet so the rest of the nails can be really spaced out and very sharp.

I like this method, a lot.

Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Jun 12, 2005 07:58PM)
See your E-mail for Slim's notes.
Message: Posted by: Stephon (Jun 12, 2005 08:59PM)
I use a fairly small BoN: just big enough to go from my shoulders to my hips. It's still a heavy SOB, but it fits in my show trunk for transportation.

If you're going to have someone stand on you while you're on the bed, get a piece of wood that's about as wide as your shoulders, and as long as you are from collar bone to hips. Having the volunteer stand on that on top of you will help disperse their weight; I had a 300lb woman stand on me last New Year's Eve--she actual caused my back to chiropractically align itself!
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jun 13, 2005 07:13AM)
A 300lb woman,,,,,cor, all that meat and no sign of any gravy!!
Message: Posted by: Stephon (Jun 13, 2005 11:36AM)
Dear God, I hope not! She was standing above me, remember.