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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workshop » » Converting a Chopper (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Flying Magus
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Is there a way to convert a head chopper into a guillotine. The current chopper in question looks like this:

http://i149.photobucket.com/albums/s59/J......sion.jpg

I want to be able to pull a rope or pull a lever and have the blade drop by itself. Currently I have to push it down.
Magically yours,

Michel Fouché
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Spellbinder
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I'm confused. That's not a chopper pictured. That's a guillotine and the magician is holding the release rope or chain in his hand. What does the chopper look like?
Professor Spellbinder

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61magic
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If you are wanting to convert a standard head chopper to a French Guillotine you will end you spending more than if you just purchased a French Guillotine.
Professor J. P. Fawkes
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Quote:
On 2007-12-30 12:40, 61magic wrote:
If you are wanting to convert a standard head chopper to a French Guillotine you will end you spending more than if you just purchased a French Guillotine.


Seeing as how you can build a wooden guillotine yourself from scratch for about $50, that seems unlikely. It might look a little quirky, though.
Professor Spellbinder

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Flying Magus
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Quote:
On 2007-12-30 12:20, Spellbinder wrote:
I'm confused. That's not a chopper pictured. That's a guillotine and the magician is holding the release rope or chain in his hand. What does the chopper look like?


Assuming you are correct, what I said still holds true. My chopper looks like that - although there are two differences. Firstly mine is red and secondly mine doesn't have a teenage girl's leg through it.

All kidding aside, just imagine that the chain the magician is holding is there purely to stop the blade from falling down. It doesn't attach to any lever or release mechanism. To drop the blade you need to unclip the blade from the and chain throw it down by hand.

You'll also notice that there are no holes for carrots etc. This type does not have the ability to cut anything. Which is a shame really. I have a nice space in my freezer for a leg just like that.
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Michel Fouché
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Spellbinder
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In that case, the problem is either that your blade is too tight (try graphite in the wooden groves) or is not heavy enough, in which case you may have to replace the blade. Some of the old blades were made of aluminum rather than steel.

The end of the chain that holds the blade should just have a simple pin in it so you can pull it out of the hole in the top of the blade.

On some of the older models, carrot holders were added as attachments to the topside and underside of the stocks. These are just wire loops used to hold a carrot in place. You could also make thin wooden holders with holes for carrots and mount one above and below the stocks.
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61magic
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Having owned a French Guillotine Spellbinder is correct. I used wax on my slides to help with this problem.
However be careful, adding a steel blade can cause damage to the blade stop in the stocks creating a hazzard if not inspected regularly.
The other issue is cutting a carrot with an aluminum blade that does not have an edge will slow the decent of the blade or stop it completely.
I would suggest if you want to have the carrots cut below the head you can drill two holes on the stock near the bottom to put the carrots into and change to steel blades.
Make sure only the bottom blade has a cutting edge. I would not suggest doing this same process on the upper stock.
Professor J. P. Fawkes
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There's no law that says you have to get the thickest carrots in the supermarket to cut with this effect, or put the thickest part of the carrot beneath the blade. As long as your carrot is fresh and crisp, it should cut even with a dull blade. Since I don't care for sharp blades in this effect, I installed a couple of flat metal joiner plates inside the top stock to resolve the safety issues and for my own peace of mind. You'll find them at any hardware store.

I also recall a gag I used to use with the top carrot. Rather than place it into the top carrot hole, I would be talking about what was going to happen, about safety... for me... and I would just lay the carrot on the top edge of the stock as I "accidentally" released the blade. Shocked that I had cut my carrot in two, I would bend over and show it to the spectator before realizing that he still had his head attached and that something must have "gone wrong" with the cutting off of his head. I apologized to him profusely as I released him, for not having cut off his head as promised and offered to try again another day if he ever returned.
Professor Spellbinder

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http://www.magicnook.com

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Flying Magus
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Thank you thank you thank you. Spellbinder you have been a great help! I'll look at changing to steel blades.
Magically yours,

Michel Fouché
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DanielSteep
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Don't remember who told me.. but they said something about putting carrots in boiling water the day before the show. and it makes them softer. So then if you still want to use a thick carrot you can make it soft.

Daniel
raywitko
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I use the larger pretzel sticks instead of carrots.
Ray
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Bryan Gilles
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If I'm not mistaken, I remember Mark Kalin having a simple Lester Lake model modified with a bunch of trussing on a rolling base some years ago in the back of Genii Magazine... Does anyone else remember this?

-Bryan

p.s.- soaking a carrot in vinegar does the same as well...
magicmarkdaniel
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Daniel

I used to boil carrots for my knife through arm. The blade is too blunt to cleanly cut a carrot from fresh so I boiled them before hand. Gives the impression the blade is really sharp, works a treat.

Mark
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Steve_Mollett
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The pictured illusion is the Grant-style Guillotine (this one looks a bit like the Delben version, having a lacquered-wood finish). The older models COULD be handled to chop a vegetable (most easily AFTER the fact), and the blade dropped by gravity. I had one with a 'scissor' pull-release, not too different from the type once used on REAL guillotines.
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