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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Grand illusion » » Handchopper - A History, background, The Future? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

reedrc
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Ok. So. I'm asking this because I'm considering designing a high end new fangled alternitive to this pice. But.
Need you the buyer's opinions on whats out, and what do you NEED to change or like to see in the new version.
Those whom give good suggestions will be credited as such if we choose to use your idea directly..

- Where did the handchopper originate.
- Whom owns (if anyone) the rights to the hand chopper (swivel method)
- How many KINDS have you seen, any better than the others?
- What do you want to see in a new rev of the design
- What kinds of materials would you wish
- How about price (for example. 1200 pluss cases, or between 100 & 1200) etc..

Any historical or background would be greatly appreciated... thanks everyone for their thoughts and historical background on this piece... R&D is important to understanding whats been done so we might be able to approach something differently..
Kind Regards

Ryan C. Reed
Founder, Illusion Entertainment

designer, director, theatrical consultant, digital wizard, magic impresario, wonder aficionado, Illusioneer & dream architect.

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freefallillusion1
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By "swivel method" do you mean disecto? Disecto was one of the first "apparatus" tricks I ever had. Even today, I am amazed by the simplicity. I have, however, seen a ripoff which misses a vital point. The original locking pieces on the disecto not only hold the arm in place, but allow the necessary "window" for that BEAUTIFUL moment where the blade is seen to slowly pass directly through the wrist. The ripoff didn't have these locking pieces, just a big hole. So, the only option with this one is to give a fast WHAP with the blade. As for manufacturing rights, I always thought it was an Abbotts original.

Phil
leapinglizards
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I thought it was either Abbots or Supreme.... for Dissecto, that is.
Leaping Lizards!!! Who knew it was possible.
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majik
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I have the basic plans for disecto in Will Aylings "The Art Of Illusion" and according to the 1978 copyright the commercial manufacturing rights belong to Supreme.
majik
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I also have the plans for another style and method by Jack Hughs it's a little more Lester Lake in operation but a cool looking design.
reedrc
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This last weekend I was asked to perform some magic for some close friends at a holiday party . Being an Illusion designer I was very rusty with my close-up magic, and my close-up kit had not been updated in years.
I headed off to Grand Illusions, In Sacramento, California - Very good bunch of people - almost three hundred later I had a fantastic set of chop cups (copper finish) The Raven, ITR, Scotch N Soda, Mislead, And
a Steel Core 25-cent piece (for the raven) - Then The Hand Chopper, Headed off to Fry's Electronics for the close-up case, I typically use Pelican Cases for equipment - the 1400 Case - Black ended up being a perfect solution, Everything (side from the chopper) fits great in the case. And with an elite professional touch. With the added bonus of the case being foam lined - crush proof, and water tight. The effects inside will be protected forever.

Anyway -

This chopper stands up and the blade is horizontal . moving up and down. (I find disecto to be impractical and unreliable, for closer situations.) This unit is wooden,stands upright with a silver blade. You face the unit toward the audience with the blade raised. Put your veggies in the holes near the bottom
Enter Member's hand - Blade slams down through the hand cutting the Carrots at the bottom .

So - This unit works very well . VERY VERY well. Very simple construction and well designed. Worked very smooth .

BUT: Being a designer there are some major issues too - The hole is too big for the hand and if one is too sloppy or too lazy (or just slow) you'd be able to see what happens. Logically I'd put a piece of spandex inside the hole for the hand to go through for a slower more dramatic piece. (although fast would be cool too)
Also I love wood but I think a MILLED piece of aluminum for both sides. The front being able to hinge down so you can see the blade inside - keeping the blade handle at top wood but the rest metal / alum.

Any other design thoughts?
Kind Regards

Ryan C. Reed
Founder, Illusion Entertainment

designer, director, theatrical consultant, digital wizard, magic impresario, wonder aficionado, Illusioneer & dream architect.

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marknem7
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Not sure I'd go for the spandex "cover" for the arm to go through. Would look like you're adding a material (that's not compatible with the rest of the chopper, by the way, be it metal or wood) in order to try to hide something. Oh wait, that's what you ARE trying to do!

I'd just go with a smaller wrist hole. I've always felt the arm holes in wrist choppers were unnecessarily large. Easy to find a spectator with a small to medium wrist.

Who manufactured the one you picked up from Grand Illusions? (Which, I agree, is a store with a really good staff. I just wish they'd considerably beef up their inventory one of these days.)
Spellbinder
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My preference is for Grant's French Arm Chopper, where the hand visibly falls off into the basket.

One possible source for reference:

http://www.aleena.com/tilford/frenchArm.html

Please don't openly reveal the secret on this thread, as you have done for the wrist chopper above.
Professor Spellbinder

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marknem7
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I'm glad to see that Grant's French Arm Chopper is still being manufactured. I had one as a teenage magician and used it a quite a bit. Only problem with it was that the volunteer had to ultimately be in on the secret.

But it definitely gave the audience a shocked moment of "Huh?" And then when I'd pull the rubber hand out of the basket and give it a casual toss out into the audience....

No wonder I was almost banned from performing at church functions.
Spellbinder
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I have always used the French Arm Chopper on myself (to test it before using it on a volunteer- the volunteer just watches ... usually in horror). Rather than play off the rubber hand, I had a very realistic looking one repainted to match my skin tones. I pulled it out of the basket in front and brought it behind the chopper to "reattach it to my wrist." Leaving the rubber hand behind the chopper, I asked the volunteer to hold my hand in place on my wrist so I could use the other hand to wrap a handkerchief around it and keep the hand from falling off. Depending on the audience, sometimes I had a squeeze bulb of fake blood hidden in the handkerchief and when the volunteer finally lets go, I started to pump out some blood into the handkerchief (and usually onto the floor).
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
George Ledo
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The biggest problem I had with Disecto was that it looked like nothing else in the galaxy, except a piece of magic equipment. Okay, so maybe that's fine... but then you add that airbrushed or stenciled finish and you go, yikes.

You can see a photo and building instructions starting on page 18 of The Magic Handbook (1962 edition, which sold for 75 cents).

Now, if you were to make the thing look like an ancient torture device (say French Revolution or the Crusades, or even Middle Earth), then you'd have a reason for it to look that way.

Or, if you wanted to go high-tech (and thinking out loud early in the morning), maybe a round disk, milled aluminum like you said (those little round buff marks all over it), a large hole in the center and little holes all over it so you can see the blade, and a blade that's more like a piece of piano wire under tension. Maybe to secure the wrist the front and back disks rotate on each other, meaning the hole would be slightly off-center.

Time for another coffee. Gotta wake up...
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
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