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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Believe it or not... » » Pound a nail with my palm (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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scaress
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Hi all,
I saw David Blain drive a nail into a board with the palm of his hand on TV.
that trick would go well with some of my other tricks.
any idea about where to find a method?
thanks.
Todd Robbins
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aggieman
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Ican help you, I do it for a few of my shows. I just watched him do it a few times, and with some physics, I found a way to do it. And I found that the atlas book teaches it.
scaress
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Which atlas book?
aggieman
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I will have to go back and look it up.
rossmacrae
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I cannot vouch for the safety or truth of the method, but it is claimed in Ottley Coulter's SECRETS OF STONG MAN FEATS:

How To Drive A Spike Through A Board or Sheet of Metal

This really is an easy stunt, but it sure makes your watchers' eyes pop out. It is done so quickly, the combination of speed and strength amazes them.

You need a good sized spike for this. Start off with an 8 or 10 Penny sized nail Again, as in all spike stunts, it is the way you apply the wrapping that does most of the trick. Wrap your handkerchief heavily around the head of the nail so that the head of the nail is always in the center of the cloth which should fit like a ball in your hand.

Grasp the wrapped end firmly in your hand, and allow the spike to pass between the middle of the two fingers of your hand. This not only allows you to get a firmer grip on the nail, but gives it the necessary control in driving it through the wood. This done, place a piece of board between two chairs. Allow your free hand to hold the board down to steady it. Now, raise high the hand grasping the nail, and with all your force bring the nail STRAIGHT down upon the board. It must come straight down otherwise it will strike the board a glancing blow and spoil the stunt, so you must practice in order to be sure each time you strike, the nail descends in a straight line upon the board.

To begin with select a rather thin board, and as you improve select a thicker board, but always be sure that you use soft wood. Your watchers do not know the difference between soft and hard wood. Also be sure to wrap the head of the nail heavily with the cloth. The larger the ball of wrapping in your hand over the head of the nail, the easier will the stunt be to perform. The wrapping acts as a surface for greater striking power as well as to absorb the concussion of the blow when the spike hits the wood.

Later on, you can improve the effect of the Stunt by placing a thin sheet of tin on the board. The spike will go through both metal and wood, and further dramatize the stunt.

-----------------

Attempt at your own risk, vet this with experienced perforemers before you even think about it.
aggieman
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That's basically how I do it. ^^^^
thegreatnippulini
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Before the Vince Pappali movie, there was a movie called "Invincable" about a pre-WWII Jewish German strongman performer and his dealings in show business. He was a blacksmith (grin) who started out doing the acts for his villagers. He was done with showbiz and the war was about to come. One night he showed some folks the nail-through-board-with-open palm act (it is NOT a trick, please refrain from using the word "trick" to describe a true strongman act). He placed the board across his knee and whacked it through the wood. When he lifted the board everyone realized the nail went through the wood and into his leg. This wasn't modern times, and the wound developed into a nasty infection. Weeks later he died.

Chcek out the movie, it is excellent and historically accurate, both for WWII buffs and sideshow history.

Another hint about this act; the nails are NOT store bought. Remember, most old time strongmen were factory workers or blacksmiths. They had the luxury of being able to make their own props, so more than less the nails they used had oversized heads. I wonder if there's a retired sideshow performer/body piercer/blacksmith around today that could fashion a custom wide head nail? Hmmmmm.
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
aggieman
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Go to silver dolar city, there they have black smiths and will custom make stuff.

but this effect can be acheived with a regualr nail, you just have to use special wood.
thegreatnippulini
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Thanks Aggie.... um.... I happen to be a blacksmith. That's kinda why I brought it up. I've been beating steel for years and my work is quite good and prices VERY GOOD!! See, I hobby smith, which means my overhead costs are almost zero. In addition, I handcraft everything myself, from start to finish so you get a better quality product than assmebly line type smiths.



Oh, I also used to be a sideshow performer for over 8 years, but I guess that means nothing as well.
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
aggieman
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Well I didn't know that, if I did I wouldnt have posted it.

Sorry.
there was no offense ment.
scaress
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I just tried Rossmacrae's method. not too impressive yet, but maybe with some practice...
thanks, if you're ever in SLC I'll buy you a coke!


thegreatnippulini, would you consider selling nails in the mail to your fellow performers? I need iron nails for a stunt in the Swami/Mantra book.
thegreatnippulini
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Hey Ag, it's cool!

Yes, Scaress I do fabricate and sell my work to fellow performers. Most of my work is blockhead nails made from implant grade surgical stainless steel (no rust). Shoot me a PM and we'll discuss details!

TGN
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
Addy
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Let's not forget the Mighty Atom, Joseph Greenstein. His biography is amazing, but hard to find. He was, at the time, the world's most famous strong man. Bending steel rods, driving nails with his hands and holding back an airplane with his HAIR. Supposedly, there was going to be a movie made about him but I haven't heard anything about that project. When was Invincable made?
ns
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Strange Secrets from abbotts also has this mentioned in the first book, "Thrilling Magic". I learned it from that source with little problem
thegreatnippulini
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'Invincible' came out in 2001, here's a copy of a write up:

The film is based on the true story of Zishe Breitbart, a Jewish blacksmith's son from Poland who becomes a sensation in Weimar, Berlin as a mythical strongman. His employer Hanussen dreams of establishing an all-powerful Ministry of the Occult in Hitler's government. Yet as Hitler's hold on power grows more sure, and Berlin erupts in a ferment of anti-Semitism, Zishe must decide how he will use his strength. Plagued by nightmares, he takes counsel from a local rabbi. He becomes convinced that he has been chosen by God to warn his people of the grave danger they face.
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
Addy
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For all who care to see Invincible, it'll be on IFC on Sunday 11/19 at 10:25am. Ahh, the wonder of TIVO.
NippleKing
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Dang,I wish I had cable...

I've been wondering about this stunt as well. I'm not sure how to pull off the performance especially with the cloth. It would definately be more impressive (in my opinion) to perform if one had one of the afforementioned oversized head nails. For those who know this stunt, my understanding is that it is done in a single blow. Is this correct? I imagine that it could be done either way and would be just as impressive if performed well.

On another note:

What's the deal with the paralells in nipple performers...?

For years, I have had an interest in blacksmithing as well as a fascination with piercing. All this before I ever started communicating with other sideshow performers and eventually The Great Nippulini. I can't help but wonder what other things we may have in common... Do you have a passion for coffee, beer, or baked goods? Eventually, I'll be in PA or you'll be in Alabama or possibly we will meet somewhere in between. Until then...greetings from Dixie.
Stephon
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You are correct about the nail being put thru the board in a single blow.

The cloth bothered me at first, too, but we just focus on the act as a feat of strength, and not imperviousness of your hand (ie, if the force of the blow would drive the nail thru wood, it'd drive the other end thru your hand).
~Les S. Moore, The Dapper Dipper
Swami Yomahmi and Cheeky Monkey Sideshow

"Comedy is a man in trouble." ~Bill Irwin
thegreatnippulini
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Andy, I actually got into blacksmithing due to the influence of Rasmus Nielsen. It was him who got me into lifting anvils. When I had my accident, I had little spare time on my hands and put my anvils into good use. I've been bitten by the smithing bug as they say. I've been piercing for over 13 years, but that's how I make a living, not how I live my life.

As for this stunt, the same rings true with any achieved goal.... aim low and build up to the real thing. Go for 1/4" board, then get confident and go thicker. Keep going until you get there.
The Great Nippulini: body piercer, Guinness World Record holder, blacksmith and man with The World's Strongest Nipples! Does the WORLD care? We shall see...
http://www.greatnippulini.com
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