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Regular user
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
173 Posts

Profile of Indyfan
I'm hoping I've picked the best forum to post this topic, but I was just curious if anyone uses a finger chopper in any of their performances, and if they have any experiences worth sharing.

Obviously, as a child, most or alot of people have seen or owned one of these, however, I've purchased the Mickey Hades Finger Chopper, which allows you to remove the stocks completely for examination.

Now, although it's relatively self working, there is a chance, although small, that one could actually chop a finger off.

I'm curious if anyone has heard stories where that's happened, or similar stories. In my routine, I will try to 'freak' them out by suggesting they use their pinky, in case I do make a mistake...that way the pinky is used less than say their forefinger (apart from magicians, of course Smile ) It usually gets some wide-eyed looks & alot of hesitation.

I have had people refuse to try it, even after I've demonstrated it on someone else, or even myself.
Amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.
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Inner circle
1133 Posts

Profile of x-treem
Though not cheap I have always relied on IMPOSSIBLE PENETRATION.

The only reason is that I found the high end priced plastic blade choppers broke easily or would malfunction.

I have never heard of an accident with a metal finger chopper. However I stray away from doing it on children, I've seen kids wet their pants on stage at the thought of having to put their head, finger, arm etc. into anything that could seemingly cut it.

I've also seen one adult wet while in a head chopper, so I tend to throughly talk anyone through doing it BEFORE the show so they can back out if they so desire.

Take Care,
A direct from text adaptation : The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Starring Mickey Rooney in his final role.
Js Magic
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New user
ON, Canada
3 Posts

Profile of Js Magic
I have never heard of a finger choper actully being sharp enough to cut through a finger but there was one magician in my area who did have a misshap with the trick he did it to his wife and forgot the switch and when he went to make it pass though he actuallt just slamed it into her finger causeing it to break in 2 spots. now this wasnt from a malfunction just from i guess being used to the trick and not paying as much attention to it that he showed have been.
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Veteran user
Oroville CA
327 Posts

Profile of Bilwonder
I've heard of more accidents from finger choppers than any other similar item in magic. Maybe because they're so popular and so many kids have them. I was in a Magic shop in L.A. about 20 years ago when a demonstrator slammed the blade down on a customer and had to call an ambulance because the blade gouged half way into the finger.
"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
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Regular user
135 Posts

Profile of Magicboy41772
Ouch!!! Maybe I won't look into that trick after hearing that... Smile
Alan Munro
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Inner circle
Kentwood, Michigan, USA
5714 Posts

Profile of Alan Munro
Always devise a set of safety checks when doing any chopper effect. Although I don't use a finger chopper, I do use a series of safety checks when performing Disecto. When I had a Chinese Chopper, I had several safety checks that I performed in the course of the routine.
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Regular user
Kirksville, Missouri
134 Posts

Profile of tkuhns
That's a great idea. I also do a safety check before the finger chopper.

On the whole, I agree with X-treem's advice -- better to save the finger chopper for the adults. I think they can better appreciate all the gags that go along with it, anyway. Same goes with fire -- I sure don't want to be responsible for any copycats out there...
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5 Posts

Profile of PZFdude
IF you like tricks involving chopping off body parts, you might want to try the ThumbThing from
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Elite user
433 Posts

Profile of Alikzam
I use a handchopper and never had any problems with it. Once however the prop was not setup properly. So the item was taken off stage, did a card trick to them, killed some time, brought it out again and performed the trick as normal. Also, make sure they dont push down D: A premature effect is never good.
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Inner circle
2134 Posts

Profile of KingStardog
I think the french arm chopper is the safest,
but thinking back, I did draw some blood in my youth. At that time the finger choppers were metal with metal blades. Even though the blade was dull, I had whacked it hard enough to break the skin. Great toys, every kid should own one.
...think not that all wisdom is in your school. You may have studied other paths,but, it is important to remember that no matter who you are or where you come from, there is always more to learn.
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New user
16 Posts

Profile of firemage
i have the french finger chopper. i have used it in one of my acts and every one gasped. i think its a great trick i like it because it is sharp enough to chop a carrot but dull enough to only bruse a finger.
"Not all who wander are lost"

J.R.R. Tolkien
Larry Barnowsky
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Inner circle
Cooperstown, NY where bats are made from
4845 Posts

Profile of Larry Barnowsky
For the finger chopper, press the blade down with one finger. Even if the blade is not set, you won't do more than a slight dent in the skin. For the arm chopper (I use an Owen) I always put my own hand in there and check the blade by lifting up slightly to check that it will function properly. The safest chopper is the Owen Karson Double Arm Chopper. Smile
Phil B
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New user
7 Posts

Profile of Phil B
What checks do people use with the Hades finger chopper? Just to double check when that little voice in my head questions whether I've set it properly.
I've tried lifting the blade on to the top of the stocks and trying to glimpse to other blade, this works if your other hand helps to cover.
Also maybe pushing the blade down a little on the specs finger to check that the blade moves before the big slam? The spec might feel this though.
Any other ideas/ methods?
I like the tip on only using one finger to slam it down.
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Inner circle
4299 Posts

Profile of magicgeorge
I put a small scratch on the 'safe' blade of a regular finger chopper as a double check. Just in case, I always check
Phil B
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7 Posts

Profile of Phil B
Thanks George,
Great idea.
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New user
Sydney, Australia
5 Posts

Profile of magician_hindoo
It is always safe to file the edge of the blade at the point where it comes in contact with the finger just in case it causes accidents. Be careful not to overdo it - otherwise it will not cut though the carrot / cigs etc. which you put in the other holes.

It is a good item and do not be discouraged by people who say it is dangerous. I have been using it for 20 years - the audience always love any magic which has a component of challenge and 'DANGER'!!
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Inner circle
3369 Posts

Profile of Julie
'Way back in pioneer days Smile when the Hades Finger Chopper first came out, Hank Moorehouse developed a 100% safe handling. I won't go into details here in the public forum, but it might be worthwhile to track him down and ask...
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
18559 Posts

Profile of Pete Biro
Don't drink or take medication before doing any chopper!
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Regular user
107 Posts

Profile of beyrevra
The magician declares that he will find the spectator's card by making it go up on the desk. He mixes the cards and poses his finger above. He turns over the first card : it is not the selected card! He declares whereas he belongs to a group of very strict magicians and that each time one as of their loses a card he must cut a finger, like a yakusa. He leaves a guillotine his pocket and slips his finger there. To prevent the finger from trembling the desk is slips in the lower part . The blade falls but not the finger (I hope). The magician reflects and turns over the card which had been rested on the desk, it transformed himself into the spectator's card !
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Inner circle
Nashville Tn
1845 Posts

Profile of Darkwing
I had a finger chopper as a kid and did nick myself once while playing with the prop. Nothing serious however.
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