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Topic: Razor Blade Illusion
Message: Posted by: Addy (Mar 7, 2003 07:21PM)
I've been attempting the razor blade illusion where you show a series of blades then place "them" in your mouth along with a piece of thread and they come out tied on the thread. One question. What can I do to prevent the blades from sticking to each other while I pull them out? The trick up to this point is fine, but when I pull the string I have the sticky problem. Is there a way to set up the razors and string or do I coat the blades with something?
Adam :firedevil:
Message: Posted by: Dark illusionist (Mar 7, 2003 10:44PM)
When I bought the razor blade illusion, it didn't come with very detailed instructions. I found that the more I practiced the more I learned how to set up the packet of blades on the string. Your going to have to play around with this untill it feels comfortable but all I do is keep my lips together when I pull the blades out and sometimes when two blades are stuck together I look downward but continue to pull in the same direction. This isn't going to make any sense until you try it. Let me know if this helps.

Message: Posted by: Addy (Mar 8, 2003 06:28PM)
Thanks for the advice. I tried to keep my lips closed when I first attempted this and cut the top one a bit. Nothing major. I still have to dull the blades a bit. But as I always say, I suffer for my art.
All the best,
Adam :firedevil:
Message: Posted by: Dark illusionist (Mar 9, 2003 11:47AM)
Ouch. I purchased fake blades. I don't have the guts to put real ones in my mouth even if I did dull them. I was in 'Sweeney Todd' last year and I remember the day before the show Sweeney's razor blade came in and it was as sharp as a normal barber's razor. We spent the next hour or so trying to dull it, but let me tell you I was scared to death on that stage.

Message: Posted by: Addy (Mar 9, 2003 02:08PM)
Razors are nothing when you swallow swords or hold burning torches in your teeth. It's mind over matter but you do need a certain amount of nerve.
Message: Posted by: ns (Mar 9, 2003 02:40PM)
Well I'd have to disagree that razors are nothing compared to swords and fire. They're so different that I don't think it's a valid comparison. I feel that placing any foreign object into your mouth must be done with caution.

Anyway when placing sharp blades into the mouth remember that when they are placed in a stack and wet with saliva they are much less likely to cut the mouth than a single blade would. This is a natural fact about our bodies. If you think about it you can eat dry toast easily but if you tried to rub it against your stomach with enough force to break it you would get quite tender.
Message: Posted by: Addy (Mar 10, 2003 08:24PM)
You bring up some very valid points. Placing anything in your body that shouldn't normally be there poses a risk. Or rather risks. Do you have any advice for pulling the blades out? I find that when they are wet with saliva they tend to stick, which was my initial problem. When I was pulling them out they were sticking together.
Message: Posted by: ns (Mar 10, 2003 11:24PM)
I've never had much problem pulling them out. I think it may be because I use fairly heavy thread. The heavy thread keeps slightly more space between the blades which may lead to them rolling apart easier. Plus heavy thread needs to be replaced less often. Also when I reach for the thread in my mouth I quite often spread the blades a bit with my fingers. The audience doesn't seem to notice, because they just assume I'm reaching for the thread.

Some people like to dip their blades in melted wax to protect them. I've never felt a need but wonder if anyone has tried it and what their thoughts are.
Message: Posted by: Addy (Mar 11, 2003 07:46PM)
Heavy Thread ... sounds good. I figured that a coating was used. I was thinking vaseline. I'll work with the thicker thread and let you know.
Thanks Again,
Message: Posted by: ns (Mar 11, 2003 10:51PM)
I'm not sure I'd want to put vaseline in my mouth. It may be fine but I keep thinking of how a dog acts when it eats peanut butter. On the other hand the guy who developed vaseline used to eat a bit every day because he felt it kept him regular. I'd imagine the blades would stick together if coated with vaseline. Still I don't think I'll try it. Let me know how you do.
Message: Posted by: Addy (Mar 14, 2003 04:58PM)
I haven't tried it yet. I've been so busy over the past few days. At some point this weekend I'll play with this whole thing again. I'll let you know.
Message: Posted by: Kondini (Mar 15, 2003 02:19PM)
Try using fishing line instead of thread, I found it far superior!
Message: Posted by: Missing_Link (Mar 20, 2003 09:28AM)
Dental floss. It is coated, heavy and looks better than fishing line.

Message: Posted by: Zack (Apr 11, 2003 08:15PM)
Here's the drill:[list=1][*] Use waxed dental floss. The wax will help hold them together.[*] Accordion fold the floss between the blades. As you fold each section, moisten the floss with plenty of salivia. Lick it. This will hold the blades together, and ensure that they come out separately one at a time.[*] Get a small bead and tie it to the end of the floss, this will help you find the correct end.[/list]
Message: Posted by: Magicduck (Apr 12, 2003 12:11PM)
Tim Ellis has an excellent, and for razor blades, pretty safe method. I know it is published in his lecture notes.

Message: Posted by: Justin McWilliams (Apr 12, 2003 07:17PM)
Why don't you dull all but one blade and palm the sharp one out?
Message: Posted by: Dark illusionist (Apr 13, 2003 12:14PM)
[quote]On 2003-04-12 20:17, upclosemonte wrote:
why don't you dull all but one blade and palm the sharp one out?[/quote]
That wouldn't do you any good because you need to bring them back up on a string ... unless there was a different climax to the illusion.

Also palming out a razor sharp peice of metal is kind of dangerous ... unless you were to drop it into a hat or something without actually palming it...
Message: Posted by: Justin McWilliams (Apr 13, 2003 08:43PM)
Dark, then I don't know what is that I saw in Tarbell, check it and tell me what they really meant. Then again I don't do the trick.
Message: Posted by: Dark illusionist (Apr 13, 2003 10:28PM)

I wish I had Tarbell.
Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Apr 15, 2003 08:53AM)
Okay, regarding the thread issue: Use carpet thread. It looks just like white cotton but is VERY strong. Fishing line, 100% cotton, nylon thread, and dental floss will all break.

Accordion folding the thread between the blades is not the solution. Wrap the thread around the first blade, put the second blade flat against the first blade, then wrap the thread around both blades. Repeat this process until all of the blades are wrapped up.

There are full details of a VERY safe but extremely effective method in my lecture notes ELLIS IN WONDERLAND. see http://www.MagicUnlimited.com

Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Apr 16, 2003 12:21AM)
I have Tim's lecture notes. I highly reccomend them! A must if you're planning on doing the blades. All can be used to cut paper or what have you. And it is a really great presentation!

Message: Posted by: Dark illusionist (Apr 16, 2003 02:13PM)
Tim, that is exactly the way I prepare the blades.
Message: Posted by: Zack (May 4, 2003 02:47AM)
I stand by dental floss. This is my signature effect, and I've never had it break. Dental floss is nearly impossible to break ... you could rappel with the stuff.

Your wrapping method is interesting though, Tim. I'm going to give that a try ... I'll report back.

My method is not %100 safe, but it is 100% strong, and I've NEVER been injured. Each blade is tested individually, shown that it cuts paper and put cleanly in the mouth ... no hinky devices or clumsy switches.

Dulling blades is very simple, just take a sharpening steel and run the blade perpendicular to it a couple of times ... it takes a couple of seconds.


Just tried Tim's suggestion of wrapping the blades in the thread. It works very well! Thanks Tim!

There is a slight drawback in that the blades spin around in your mouth, which presents a danger of somebody catching a glimpse of the load as its coming out. Or having the load fall out.

It's also much slower than my accordion pleat method. The big advantage of it is that they stay together in a nice package, with no chance of getting loose.
Message: Posted by: Big Jeff (Jun 24, 2003 11:21PM)
Where is a good place to buy this trick?
Thanks :kermit:
Message: Posted by: KingStardog (Jul 16, 2003 04:16PM)
Ronjo has the platform illusion as well as a cheaper vest pocket model that sell for under $10!
Message: Posted by: Scott Xavier (Jul 17, 2003 10:10AM)
Why must we buy illusions? As I have always tried to do, go ungaffed! It makes life fun and interesting!
Message: Posted by: Johnny_Dee (Jul 29, 2003 09:03AM)
I'm wondering if anyone has bought the Automatic Razor Blades sold on Hocus-Pocus. I would be interested to get a review of it.


Message: Posted by: Slim Price (Jul 29, 2003 07:32PM)
Has anyone noticed that neither threading needles nor razor blades are sideshow stunts? We eat 'em for real! <G>
Message: Posted by: Tantrik (Dec 6, 2003 05:40PM)
Hi, Johnny.

Although I don't have "the Automatic Razor Blades sold on Hocus Pocus," based on the photo I do have a similar item called "Dave Powell's Razor Blade Illusion." It uses six rather than eight blades. I'm going to assume it works the same way since they look so much alike.

Without giving away the method, it works as easily as the hand-held system...probably more easy, although I was never caught with the wallet version. Even so, I'm going to make a small alteration to my unit (which I think is more attractice than the Hocus Pocus one).

There is a small dowel which is the basis for the gimmick. I think it will work more easily if I get a small piece of metal tubing and place it over the dowel. I think it should move even more smoothly. Right now the directions read:

...do not press down...too hard or...[the gimmick] might snag...Instead finesse [something ;-) ] down by moving [something] back and forth slightly with your thumb. The change I suggest should eliminate the problem.
A question: I've seen Marvin Roy (Mr. Electric) do this with lightbulbs. Curiously, he produces far more bulbs than he "swallows." Yet, I've never seen anyone complain. Rather, they just wonder where all those bulbs came from.

I wonder, what would people think if I produced far more blades than I swallowed?

BTW, to those of you who do this trick: remember to wash the blades after performing and dry them thoroughly. Rusty blades make this trick even more dangerous!
Message: Posted by: Twitch (Dec 21, 2003 06:51PM)
Where do you all find the vest pocket versions or the wallet versions of this trick? I've been looking but all I can find is the stage version??
Message: Posted by: Tantrik (Dec 22, 2003 12:12AM)
Here are two URLs for the trick at [url=http://www.magicity.com/product_info.php?products_id=715]Magic City[/url] and [url=http://www.hanklee.org/xcart/customer/product.php?productid=3433]Hank Lee[/url]. Caveat Emptor.
Message: Posted by: Tom Jorgenson (Dec 27, 2003 04:10PM)
Did I detect a post or two wherein the performer was using real (and sharp) blades?

ARE YOU NUTS? The audience is never going to know that the blades are not sharp, especially after you show them sharp. There are many methods of doing the dirty work, and all are effective, all are good.

Purchasing is subject to the whims of the performer: style of display, methods of getting into and out of it, cleanliness of the 'method'.

And just a word to the lurking magicians-to-be who want to impress with a dangerous trick: NEVER work with a method in which sharp blades go into the mouth. It's just not necessary. It's easier to gaff it, and your magishing can go into the acting/presentation part of the performance.

Remember, bleeding all over the Birthday Kid's carpet may be a memorable finale, but it is not a magic trick. They'll all know how you did it!
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Dec 27, 2003 06:40PM)
I did this many, many, many years ago and it was because of the problem of things tangling up that I stopped going through all the pain to get it set up. If you think you have a problem with a few, try 40 razor blades on a thread.

I did it to music: 39 Lashes from Jesus Christ Superstar. If you know the song you can see how it fits when I scream out FORTY as the last one comes out.

I'm never going through that again. By the way, don't be insane, dull all your blades so there's no chance of getting cut.

Message: Posted by: philblackmore (Dec 27, 2003 07:39PM)
Do audiences still recognise razor blades as a common object?

Most people seem to use electric, disposable or cartridge razors nowadays. Does this fact detract from the impact of the effect?
Are there any alternatives? Needles were the original version, but they aren't as large and visual as razor blades.
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Dec 27, 2003 10:32PM)
I think most people recognize what a razor blade does and how dangerous it can be, so don't worry about it being a bit ancient of a cutting device.


If you want to think dangerous... I once thought it would be cool to use fish hooks instead. Everyone knows how dangerous those things are, and we've all seen them tied to fishing lines, so...

Message: Posted by: constantine (Mar 12, 2004 05:59PM)
Houdini did the needles in side shows before 1900.
Message: Posted by: kaos (Mar 13, 2004 02:47PM)
There is an ungaffed version of the razor blade trick in Swami/Mantra
but I can't make any sense of it.
does anyone know where I can learn an ungaffed version?

Thanks for your help!
Message: Posted by: constantine (Mar 13, 2004 07:55PM)
Do you mean Doc Mahandra? His needle routin is reprinted in "Strange Secrets Vol. 2" availabule from Abbotts. The classic versions are in Tarbell Vol4,and "Classic Secrets of Magic" by Bruce Elliot.A safe no switch needle trick is in "The Charlatan's Handbook" by Sid Flashman,L&L.
Message: Posted by: whitelephant (May 10, 2004 01:12PM)
"Classic Secrets of Magic" by Bruce Elliot

I face up- as if to make a straight line from my stomach and I find that gives me time hanging in my mouth for tangles-is that vague eneough - too vauge?
Message: Posted by: cardfreax (May 14, 2004 09:24AM)
Guys2..for these last couple of days, I've been looking for god sources to learn this trick...can you guys tell me, as many source as you guys can for this trick...and also, please tell me which source you guys think is the best one.

Anyone happened to know any other good source for this kind of shocking magic, beside Andrew Wayne's Shock FX.

Thank you guys..:)
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (May 21, 2004 09:29AM)
The razor blade/needle trick is perhaps one of the easiest of the extreme magic tricks to do. It is even easier than the needle through arm and less dangerous than the Gopher trap trick.

You really don’t need any special apparatus to pull off the trick. John Booth gives you all the details you need, including how to set-up, carry, and switch the tied blades in one of his books and also in Tarbell’s. The switch is done openly and boldly and uses no hollow spools of thread, no magnetic holdout’s, no Himber wallet principle holders, or the like. It uses the blades, some thread, and a man’s pocket-handkerchief. It is all showmanship.

If you want a ready made, inexpensive, pocket version then check out:

Still, buy Booth’s book and have the razor blade trick, hydrostatic glass, Arial fishing and more.
Message: Posted by: cardfreax (May 26, 2004 12:03AM)
If I'm not mistaken, the one David Blaine does, he really shows that the razor blade really goes into his mouth...and also the one I saw in spellbounder,one of elluionist's video...you can actually see the razor blade sits on the tounge...can anyone give me more info which technique they use to do that? I can't see any switches can be done with the razor blade sitting in your tounge.

Thank you.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (May 26, 2004 01:27PM)
The methods mentioned above will give you all you need to know. The razor blades (six, eight, or ten) ALL go into the mouth.
Message: Posted by: DoctorShadow (May 27, 2004 04:52PM)
Sharp blades are essential. All the "switch" methods look cheesy and dumb. This is the important point: PULLING THE BLADES OUT ON THE STRING IS NOT THE EFFECT!!! Putting five tested blades into your mouth one at a time is the effect. The string is nothing but an applause cue. In order to get teh full effect each blade must be tested individually and placed in your mouth one at a time.
Message: Posted by: A.G. (Jun 18, 2004 03:21PM)
That's a good point.
Message: Posted by: Harry Murphy (Jun 19, 2004 07:30AM)
I don’t agree with Doctor Shadow. Just putting the sharp blades into your mouth is not the effect. It is nerve grating (much like fingernails on a chalkboard) and does cause the squeamish to look away, especially if you have demonstrated the sharpness of the blades.

If that was the whole effect, the whole routine, the whole trick then all you would have to do is put the blades into your mouth and then to spit then out again, one-at-a-time into a glass. Which, by the way can be done with real, sharp (un-dulled), blades. Which is about as entertaining as watching paint dry.

Further, not all of the switches are “cheesy”. Some of the gimmicked ones clearly are. But not all routines and handlings use them. Clearly, Doc Shadow has not seen a good presentation of the trick.

It is difficult to come up with a real solid routine for this trick. What is the motivation for sticking the blades into your mouth in the first place? Why the thread (dental floss, string, ribbon, whatever)?

My routine included me talking about the old time geek acts in the carnival I used to work at that ate glass and razor blades. I will put a single sharp blade in my mouth and flip it over a few times with my tongue (yes it is real, yes it is sharp, and no there is little danger of cutting myself). Then I openly (no switch) take it out and cut a straw several times with it to prove it real. I will then take several blades and show them sharp and real.

While doing this I talk about a girl I once knew that could tie a knot in a cherry stem with her tongue. In honor of the old time geeks and that very, very skilled tongue (laugh line) I will combine the two. Here I take a length of thread, ball and take it into the mouth “spaghetti” style. Then I take the packet of blades, fan then and put them into the mouth. There is much mugging, and puffing the cheeks until finally one end of the thread pops out. I take it and pull it slowly and the blades come out, one at a time tied to the thread. One blade falls free as if I didn’t get it tied. Yes, I know, it’s gross, but you’ll watch!

There are no cheesy gimmicks, no hokey and obvious switch used. The routine is funny, nerve grating (to the squeamish), gross (anything that comes out of the mouth is gross), and played ONLY to a select audience (the most important part of this trick).
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Jun 21, 2004 08:34AM)
I did the razor blades years ago. I don't think I'd do it today, though, due to:

1. Double-edged blades becoming less and less common, and, more importantly,

2. The 21st century brain damaged kid who reasons it is easy to shove a thread though the hole in a razor blade with his tongue, and who winds up the latest sensational tragedy on CNN. I don't want the crusading journalists and attorneys knocking on my door.

Granted, any risky stunt has this possibility, but there's something 'compelling' about the razor blade trick, as far as having that punk kid "I could do that" air about it.


Message: Posted by: Matthew the Magnificent (Jul 7, 2004 08:42PM)
A few points: one, I incorporate a LOT of comedy into this, for 'relief' of the obvious tension it builds up, two, I use HEAVY thread, carpet sewing type... MUCH PREFERABLE... three, I use REAL BLADES to demonstrate, but ONLY use three of six to actually do this... my routine runs 5 to 7 minutes (depends on whether it is in the middle of my show, or at the end), and showing ALL blades to be sharp is ACTUALLY bad showmanship ! It takes up valuable time, and an audience WILL assume and accept that ALL BLADES are equally sharp.... WHY NOT ??? Only if YOU give them some reason NOT TO ! I 'accordian fold them'... not sure how to describe the exact method, but it actually 'locks' the bundle, and comes from Owen's instructions, so I am not sure that I SHOULD explain it, even if I could... it is their Taylor Made GIMMICK and is really fun to work with... allows for pure showmanship and no worries...

However, THAT SAID... well, EVEN WITH DULL BLADES... yeah, ONCE IN AWHILE they may get a bit tangled, and catch on each other... why I have learned to keep two sets ready... it seems to only happen when an 'old set' is still damp from a prior show... and, too, I HAVE cut the inside of my cheek when trying to 'pull out a jam'... be cautious if that happens !

Lastly, I love the idea of leaving a loose blade to 'drop out'... may try that, but I, too, feel that the day of doing 'blades' is coming to a close... MOST KIDS NOW DAYS will have no idea in heck what they are... yeah, may not be old enough NOW for your blade audience, but will be soon...

Oh, one more point... No, DEFFINITELY, the 'effect' is NOT placing them in the mouth... it IS apparently swallowing them, and THEN, as EACH BLADE APPEARS... suspense builds up and up... till the very last one is seen... and an audible gasp of relief is typically heard from the viewing public !
Message: Posted by: what the...? (Jul 17, 2004 10:51PM)
I own the Vest pocket razor blade mystery, and I bought it at my local magic shop for $10. It's great, and effective. The way the owner of the the shop does it, is as he is reaching for the thread, the dirty work is already done, there and then, and it is undetectable. He drops a blood cap out of the spool, but those things make me gag, or I would use them.

Message: Posted by: muzicman (Jul 21, 2004 10:56AM)
Tim Ellis has the answer and everyone passed right over it. With Tims method, you show each blade is sharp and real. He sliced a jumbo playing card and placed the blade in his mouth, no switch. Best part is, the audience see's the results of the sliced card and the blade is real but totally safe. I watched Tim perform this only 6 feet away from me and it fooled me and everyone else in the room. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND any performer wanting to do this, to get Tims lecture notes. There are many other things in those lecture notes as well. Very reasonably priced and the effects are killers.
Message: Posted by: Bradley Morgan (Jan 13, 2005 04:45PM)
The Tim Ellis method is very safe and pretty easy to do( need good acting skills)LOL I am still working on a presentation for it though and the guts and right audience to perform it for.

Message: Posted by: Tim Ellis (Jan 13, 2005 05:48PM)
Glad you are working on the blades Bradley, and even more pleased that you realise that acting skills are the key to the effect.

If anyone is interested, our new DVD 'ELLIS IN WONDERLAND' has a full live performance of the blades, and then a 15-20 minute fully detailed explanation of how to prepare, perform and present the trick.

There's well over three hours of other magic on the DVD too, but if you are looking to do an extremely clean and effective version of the blades that has served me well for 20 years now, get the DVD and give it a try!

Message: Posted by: sugam (Jan 20, 2005 11:59PM)
Hi I'm interested in learning this effect. I ordered Bruce Elliot's book via abebooks. Going to check out Tarbell at the library.

But one thing that I would like to do is to adapt it to using scalpel blades. Anyone think this is doable?

Which of Booth's books is the effect found in?
How is the Ellis in Wonderland DVD compared to lecture notes?

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Jan 21, 2005 05:00PM)
The DVD is good,but remember the blades in this version are only up to around ten in number.
Having done the blades on and off for over thirty years, I have found that pulling out 60 blades gets a far better reaction,,,,yep more set up maybe, but worth the effort involved.
Message: Posted by: magicsiow (Feb 17, 2005 10:26AM)
One of my mentor invention, he really gave two blades to audiences and let them put it in his mouth... than swallow it... audiences using torch light to inside his mouth with nothing. It's really made every audience stunt... so cool!!! but it just a magic+....but it look really magical

Message: Posted by: Kondini (Feb 17, 2005 01:28PM)
Just a magic trick can be a great sideshow stunt, it`s just the way it`s presented.
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Sep 26, 2006 04:31AM)
On 2004-05-27 17:52, DoctorShadow wrote:
Sharp blades are essential. All the "switch" methods look cheesy and dumb. This is the important point: PULLING THE BLADES OUT ON THE STRING IS NOT THE EFFECT!!! Putting five tested blades into your mouth one at a time is the effect. The string is nothing but an applause cue. In order to get teh full effect each blade must be tested individually and placed in your mouth one at a time.

I know this is an old post but this sounds the most logical. Ask a magician and most will say stick with the thread version (tunnel version). Is this overused? Perhaps but what does layman think? Good post, dated or new, doesn't matter in the long run. Look at the video of the girl beside the bathtub doing one blade. Her acting is fantastic. She eventually pulls out the blade with thread but it is her presentation that stills the show. What I mean to say is if the thread is a hassle to one, just try to pull it off by inserting a blade (shown to cut like in Ellis dvd) and swallowing then bringing it back up (with thread if necessary). My nickel.