For the last few years I've been collecting screengrabs, lists of materials, and scouring the internet for any information I could find about how to build my own screen accurate chainsaw. About two weeks ago, I pulled the trigger. Building it from start to finish took me about five, eight hour days and about $200 in parts. In this article I'll take you from start to finish through the process of building your own version of one of the most iconic movie props of all time. Be sure to read through the entire article and get a feel for the process before spending the money and time as this is not the easiest of ordeals. Below is a list of materials and tools needed to complete this project.
Grinder (with cutting wheel, grinding wheel, and wire wheel), Dremmel (with cutting & sanding wheels), drill, handsaw, screwdrivers, adjustable wrench, trigger clamps, normal clamp, vice grips, a vice, toothbrush, & safety glasses.
Homelite XL Chainsaw, 3D printed grille, 20 inch chainsaw blade and chain, 3 1/2 inch T-Bolt Clamp, 3 1/2 inch metal door kickplate, a 1 inch wide aluminum flat bar, a 1 inch diameter oak rod, two 90 degree metal brackets, three 2 inch metal brackets, Bondo, sandpaper, JB Weld, wood filler, two 1/4 inch carriage bolts one inch in length w/nuts, two 1/4 inch bolts 1/2 inch in length w/nuts, two 1/4 inch Phillips head bolts 2 inch long w/nuts, five 1/4 inch bolts 1 inch in length w/nuts, one wood screw.
Rust-Oleum Satin Paprika Paint+Primer, flat black primer, red acrylic, silver model acrylic, and ebony stain.
*If you have industrial tools, time, and wish to make a version of this that is metal instead of the screen accurate plastic version, you could purchase the Homelite Super XL 2 Chainsaw. Yes, it results in a much sturdier product, but from all accounts it is a nightmare to work on, and is so heavy you will not want to wear it.
The first thing you want to do is take it apart and clean it up as these have a tendency to be caked in oil and grease both inside and out. Remove the sawblade with an adjustable wrench, and take out all external screws holding it together. Be sure to place all of your nuts, bolts, and screws into a magnetic catch tray as this will assure you don't lose them when reconstructing it.
|The Wife Hated Me for This|
Top of Chainsaw
This is one of the harder aspects of creating the chainsaw. You could just attach a metal plate and call it a day and that would indeed be a screen accurate version of the first chainsaw seen in Evil Dead 2 (as he assembles it) but I don't like the look. Furthermore, that's not the chainsaw seen in the rest of Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, or Ash vs Evil Dead, so it wasn't an option for me. Also, I wanted to construct as much of this as possible, but if you'd like, you can purchase this piece pre-built for $75 from Evil Dead Workshed, but that's not the way I wanted to go.
Now that we have the plate in place, we need to take the on/off switch we previously removed from the saw and drill a hole from it on top of the saw where you feel it should be. Throughout the course of the movies and the episodes, many chainsaws are used and the placement on this switch varies (sometimes shot to shot). Watch some of the franchise and decide where you want to place your switch, drill a hole for it and mount it because once we do the next step, it would be a pain to add it afterwards.
Once throughout dried, remove the false walls. It won't be pretty, don't worry, it's not supposed to be. Sand down the sides with 80 grit sandpaper until the sides are smooth. Some pores and holes will remain, simply make yourself a small amount of Bondo and use a plastic scraper to fill it in. Let it dry, sand it back down and repeat this process until you are happy with the look. Use this time to also fill in any remaining screwholes on the plate. Congrats, you've made the bulk of your saw.
I chose to primer my chainsaw, sand it back down and primer a few more times. This allows you to fill in tiny holes, knicks, and issues with the body and make it look a little prettier. Simply use the flat black primer, spray, sand with 220 paper, and repeat until happy.
Oil and Gas Chambers
This part is easy, simply clean them and cut the tops off of the chambers. Afterwards epoxy them back into place and you're ready to go. Just be sure to tape them off before you're ready to spray paint them.
The Wood Handle:
|Top Handle Diagram|
Once you're happy with the shape of the metal, grind off the edge of the handle where it mounts to the chainsaw as on screen it's not a square, it's an oval edge. Drill a 1/4in hole into the center of the mount. You now have the metal section of the handle.
Once finished, sand with 80 grit sandpaper until smooth and then final sand with 220 paper afterwards. When you're happy with the handle, mark in on inch from the sides of each piece and drill a 1/4in hole. Place them on the metal handle and mark the whole marks with a sharpie on the metal where you will mount it. Afterwards, drill 1/4in holes into the top of the metal as well.
|Carriage Bolt Diagram|
*If you're not happy with the smoothness of the metal to wood contact, or if you have chipped the wood, simply apply wood-filler and sand back down until smooth, the wood-filler will accept stain and look fine.
Stain the handle with ebony stain by rubbing on a small amount over the entirety of the wood (and filler) and wiping it off. Repeat this process until the desired color is obtained.
The Metal Side Handle
The longer piece of the handle needs cut. What is handy about this is it is incredibly easy to measure, simply make both overhanging sections the same size. In essence, cut off the longer end to be 1/2 inch longer than the end that is inserted into the chainsaw. Now, you'll want to fill in the cut off piece to be screen accurate. Simply mix some Bondo (or JB Weld), and stick it down the neck of the metal stem to create a cork about an inch in. Allow that to dry and repeat the process, but this time form an overhanging ball on the top of it. All you need to do is sand it down afterwards and paint it with black primer.
The Motor/Exhaust Mount
The center spindle which spins the motor will have to be cut which will cause the blade mount to fall off. Simply cut the rod to fit and glue it to the motor in the correct place with JB Weld. When finished, paint with black primer. Use this opportunity to primer the exhaust pieces as well.
Since you're almost ready to paint, we need to make sure we're done sanding/cutting the body and have room for your hand. Temporarily bolt the engine in, and the body back together. Does your hand fit in? Probably not. In order to make it, we're going to take the sanding attachment for the Dremmel and slowly eat away at the exposed hole until you can easily insert your hand. Simply work in circles around the opening of the hole (while not grinding away any of the screw mounts) until you can comfortably insert your hand.
The best advice I can offer when painting is to get a complete coat on the entirety of both pieces. This is best accomplished by screwing the removed bolts from the chainsaw body, reattaching them while leaving half of the bolt exposed, and hanging them in suspension by the bolt. This will allow you to get total coverage on the pieces.
The Saw Blade
I personally don't care for the blade to look shiny. We'll get to aging the saw towards the end of the article, but if you want to age the blade, the time is now. I tried several means of this, but I landed success after heavily priming the blade in black, and then using the wire-wheel attachment on it afterwards to make it look used.
Install Internal Handle
Install Aluminum Handle
Next up, place the top handle where you wish to mount it and mark the hole in the bottom of the aluminum handle with where the hole will be drilled into the top of the body. Since you'll be drilling through both metal and Bondo we need to take sever precautions. We don't want the bondo and the steel on the top to separate due to the force, so use the trigger clamps to hold the piece solid while we drill. To accomplish this, you'll want to drill a series of guideholes, working up to the 1/4 inch hole you need in the end. Then, install the two inch Phillips head bolt through the top and loosely secure it with the nut on bottom.
Once removed, drill into the body the same way as you drilled the previous hole, using a series of guideholes and using clamps to assure the bondo doesn't separate from the metal. After, drill a 1/4in hole into the back of the handle so that you can place a bolt adjoining all threel. Install the bent bracket as well as the 90 degree bracket onto the handle, then reattach the entire piece to the body (you may need to mess with the order of placing in the bolts due to space). Tighten the handle onto the top of the body, if excess bolt remains inside, simply use a grinder or the Dremmel to remove it.
Add the Grille and Pull Start
Once both are dry, bolt the entire body and black metal handle back together using the original bolts. We're in the homestretch now!
Your clamp should have the adjustable end placed directly upwards to the right of the back of the saw (see picture). First we will drill the hole for the 90 degree bracket, so place it in place and mark the clamp with a marker where the hole should go. It is important to remember while drilling that this is hardened metal and is not easy to drill. Therefore, hold the clamp in the vice, and drill a series of guide holes. I suggest again drilling guide-holes, starting with a 3/32 bit, a 1/8th bit, 3/16 bit and finally the 1/4in bit. Once finished, loosely bold the cuff to the 90 degree bracket with a 1/4in bolt one inch in length.
Now, unscrew the two bolts in the back of the body of the saw and install the two inch brackets. Use your vice-grips to bend them into roughly the place they line up on the T-Bolt Clamp and mark the hole with a marker. Take the cuff off, and using the previously described means, drill the holes necessary for install and bolt them using the other 1 inch long bolts.
Many people make two more brackets and install them at the bottom of the chainsaw to the cuff, however I couldn't find sign of them actually existing in the movies so I did not. The three bolts in mine are far more than enough for it to be bolted securely, but to each their own.
CONGRATULATIONS YOU'RE DONE! KINDA!
Well, mostly. Yes, you're finished, but it doesn't look that cool if it's clean. Feel free to keep it that way if you wish, but wouldn't it look way cooler with some blood and grime?
|After Blood Effect|
This will set fast, but the thing to keep in mind is that the sooner you apply it, the more liquidy it will be. So the longer you let it dry before applying, the more coagulated it will appear. Place your chainsaw on newspaper, dip a dry stiff bristled brush in the red substance, and then fling it at the chainsaw from a few feet away. Concentrate on the blade, but don't shy away from the saw itself. Attack both sides of the chainsaw equally and if you do it in stages, the blood will build on itself in layers. This should dry to touch in 25 minutes (longer than normal due to the additional enamel).