My creativity involving Evil Dead stretches back quite some time. I ran EvilDeadChainsaws.com from 2005 up to the start of 2008. This was a hobby company selling replica Evil Dead 'hand' chainsaws. You can find a link to a complete archived version of the company website at the bottom of the page.
The idea was first started around July of 2002, when I bought a Homelite XL chainsaw off EBay. As a pet project, I modified this to make it look like the real working chainsaw from ‘Evil Dead II’, although this only meant a small amount of work changing the handle shape and adding a grill to the side, and I was happy to leave it at that.
Before starting EDC I spent much of my spare time working on a range of special effects gags in my spare time; like trick machetes & compressed air squibs. I was sinking money into new ideas like there was no tomorrow, but not doing anything with them once they were finished, so not seeing any return on the money I was investing. Around 2005 someone suggested I should try to sell some of my effects rather than just making & storing each one, then moving on to the next idea. After a few months thinking about it I thought the best way to start out would be to keep it simple and concentrate on one really good idea, maybe introducing other items later on, and any profits could be used to fund additional new effects ideas without spending vast amounts of my own money.
During this period I discovered NightmareGloves.com run by Anders Eriksen in Denmark, He makes replica Freddy Kruger gloves. He gave me the idea to do much the same thing; find a prop I can replicate and setup a website selling them. After a little research I settled upon the chainsaw from ‘Evil Dead II’.
From May to December of 2005 I prototyped the idea until I knew I could make something I could sell. I launched the website around December of 2005 with the first of the 3 model saws; the workshed saw. The remaining two saw models were designed & added to the website by the middle of 2006.
After I first started EDC I found out about the first Toronto run of Evil Dead The Musical, and I emailed them in December of 2005 to see if they’d be interested in buying one of my saws. The production run that was well underway at that point and they decided to stick with the trusted props they already had rather than chopping & changing mid production run.
In May of 2006, I was emailed back regarding the upcoming New York production and it went from there. To date I have supplied saws to the 2006 New York run, the 2007 Toronto run & the 2008 Korean Run. Tom Sullivan has one of my saws in his travelling Evil Dead museum, this was one of the first two chainsaws supplied to the 2006 New York run, although by now it looks rather sorry for itself, being battered & broken after all the abuse its taken.
The Musical's saws were a fine compromise between reducing the weight to the bear minimum (as the actor has to dance around with it), making it very easy to maintain, and trying to keep the look right. Having leant lessons from each previous saw, I feel the final pair of saws sent to the Korean run came very close to achieving this fine balance. I also introduced many of the improvements from the musicals saws into my standard line of saws, if they survived the musical run relatively intact then they would easily be strong enough for the odd fancy dress party.
At the start of 2007 I decided to stop making Deluxe 'working' saws and concentrate on the standard three saws. This was for a number of reasons, but mainly because they took so much time to make. A 'working' saw took roughly 5 times longer to make than a 'non-working' saw. I also always had issues finding a reliable supplier of battery packs as the individual batteries had to be configured in a particular (non-standard) way to fit into the tight space inside the saw. The price of a deluxe saw was only double that of a standard saw, and I was never able to find a happy balance between getting a decent price for each saw, and making the price low enough so that units were sold. Those factors combined coupled with the fact I also had a full time job working in special effects, meant I had to make a choice.
I called time on EvilDeadChainsaws around the start of 2008. Even only producing 'standard' chainsaws, all my spare time was being eaten up, which left me no time to spend on making other new effects gags, and that was the reason EDC was started. Because I was investing any spare money I made into prototyping new modifications or getting new equipment specifically for producing chainsaws, I wasn't really earning anything out of it either. Finally I decided to pull the plug and move on. I produced my final two chainsaws at the end of 2007, and I think they are my best work, one was made for me, and one for my final customer. All the moulds and other related bit & pieces were either scrapped or boxed up and stored. EvilDeadChainsaws was an interesting experience, having made chainsaws for Evil Dead: The Musical, I don't think when I started up I could have expected to get any higher up the ladder, and I was still sorry to leave it all behind.
Some years later, around the start of April in 2012, I thought about restarting EvilDeadChainsaws.com. I re-registered the .com domain, upgraded the site, and put it back online. I started the prototyping process from scratch at the start of April 2013 lining up three orders to make at the same time, completing those three orders nine weeks later at the start of June. All done far quicker than the first time round given that I was more experienced both in terms of general processes, and making Evil Dead Chainsaws specifically. Each model chainsaw was re-prototyped and all new website photos were taken, along with updating all the website's graphical elements. An idea I'd had a few years back to create a different background for each type of chainsaw was realised; the Workshed chainsaw was photographed against a section of workshed, the Cabin chainsaw photographed on the Professor's cabin desk, and the Medieval chainsaw against a desert backdrop.
For the most part, the new chainsaws looked virtually identical to the old ones from the outside, but there had been some major interior tweaks, with a generally stronger construction incorporating all the Evil Dead The Musical revisions, Various painting & aging processes were refined, all adding to a more polished look. The biggest changes were the interior construction; what you don't see. From the outside there is a longer lid, a More accurate muffler assembly, and a more accurate silver side grill. As a special project for a customer, in May 2014 I started work on a replica of the Army Of Darkness mechanical arm, completing the first one in August, and have sold a further three since. As of the end of 2015, I've sold 25 replicas, sent all over the world.
In February 2015, I supplied four non working and two working medieval style chainsaws to the Ash Vs Evil Dead production in New Zealand. They were all assembled but without any painting or ageing, plus a rough stunt saw as well, which took two months to make, but you won't see them on screen. It was only once the order was completed that rights issues with Army Of Darkness became apparent, which left the production with a problem as they couldn't use my chainsaws exactly as they were without having copyright issues, as they're identical to the Army Of Darkness screen-used chainsaws. Further to this, as Bruce's stuntman's hands were quite big, as are Bruce's for that matter, this meant they needed to re-orientate the inside of my chainsaws to make it an exact custom fit for Bruce and the stuntman's hands. My chainsaws tend to be a one-size-fits-all, and aren't a custom fit for every customer, plus there is only so much internal space. This combined with the copyright issues meant they basically had to completely dis-assemble my chainsaws and virtually start from scratch re-orientating the interior and changing the outer look to negate any copyright issues. They did use modified parts from my original chainsaws to make their first prototype chainsaw, but once they got this all sorted, they basically re-moulded everything and made their own chainsaws from then on. I'm told there are no original parts from my chainsaws used on their own screen-used chainsaws, literally everything was re-made by the production which is a shame, and of course I'm disappointed, but number of factors just came together to make an unfortunate situation. At least it was all sorted and they got what they needed to get done in the end. You can see a test video of one of those working chainsaws below.
By August 2015, I'd been getting orders in quick succession from the start of that year (eleven chainsaws made that year alone, not including individual parts orders, compared to six in the whole of the previous year, plus I have a full time job) so I wanted to take a break. I put EvilDeadChainsaws on hiatus, at the time only temporarily, but I've been really busy with other projects ever since and as of mid-2016, I still not taking any new orders, but the site will remain online for the foreseeable future.