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Guillotines by Dreadwilliam. Famous customer service worldwide. Member Guillotine Builder's Guild.

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Updated 02/22/16

1. My latest creation

2. Model guillotines for sale

3. World's smallest working guillotine!

4. DIY miniature model guillotine

5. DIY Full sized prop guillotine

6. The world's best guillotine models, period!

My Latest Creation(s). Sorry it has been so long but the need for toy models has bottomed out.

Most grand!

To see detailed photos of this project, click here.

This is by far my best guillotine yet and I was genuinely sad to see it leave, even as I was delighted to meet it's new daddy and mommy in it's new home.

In the San Fransisco Bay area there is a cable tv cinema showcase called Miss Misery's Movie Massacre.

They profile bad to horrible horror films and add an independent film that just needs a break just to keep everyone confused.

Co-hosted by Mr. Torture, who commisioned this model, they literally torture your sensetivities until they simply give up and confess to the value of the film.

We designed this machine together with all the trimmings and it went along very nicely.

Made from solid red oak, brass, aluminum and steel, it has guide wheels in the head and five layers of rubber on each slot to try to channel off as much of the huge energy as possible during the catching of the drop.

5 feet in height and very dangerous, solidly built and of furniture quality. No toy here, this is an historically acurate replica.

It will appear on the set of the show as soon as they can get it to the studio. What an honor.

If interested in something like this, we will need to open a dialog. Since the price can be high, you will want to be in on the designing, ready with any quirks you would like to add.

26 1/2" Oak masterpiece from Fabricus plans

To see detailed photos of this machine, click here.

This is the most historically accurate model to date. It was built of solid oak from accurate plans purchased from Jorn Fabricus. Anyone with good woodworking skills reading this page should investigate and invest in a set of these plans.

All the actions on this model are almost luxurious in their ease of operation. I never quite understood from paintings and engravings, exactly how the blade release mechanisms worked. The plans showed me the parts, but still no clear explanation as to how they work together.

A friend who used the same plans to build a full scale example explained it to me like an engineer, and like so many gadgets, it was so simple I could not see it at first. Well I saw it and now you can have it. By the way, the metal work is very pretty if I do say so myself.

It will go on all future models but this one was first. It will sell for $500USD, since it is already built. Special orders will go for $950USD. Shipping is extra. Please email at the address below to order or to see if it is still available at this price.

Built from antique recycled oak beams, accurately scaled hemp rope, iron, steel, and aluminum, or aluminium, if you prefer. The mouton has an aluminum weight since lead scares me.

 

Model Guillotines For Sale

 

All guillotine models are made to order! Custom orders gladly accepted!

 

Kits may be ordered for any model you choose. Be warned beforehand that they actually cost more than a premade model since so much more labor is required to produce an accurate and easy to build kit. A class project or curiousity adventure is the main reason to order one of these.

 

Premade 1790s Style Model Guillotines For Sale

 

From 8-60" in height. My line-up of pre 1800s models. These are most recognizable by their "slim" design which made it slightly less stable but much more portable. As it became an industry unto itself, more permanent machines, complete with attachments would be designed.

 

Premade 1860s Style Model Guillotines For Sale

 

More permanent machines were built, due to increased popularity, that were sturdier and more stable during the mid 1800s. The pinnacle of efficiency was achieved in 1860.

Easily identifyable by the cross brace on the foundation with it's diagonal side struts, these can be made for you from precious tropical hardwoods, with less expensive versions available in local hardwoods.

My best guillotine ensemble. Absolutely unique 13" tall 1860s style DeLuxe Guillotine Action Playset with all the custom design you can think of.

My very best model. Made from maple or birch. Price: $2000.00 for one similar to this one but they begin at $1500.00USD. Price does not include shipping or special handling charges.

Guillotine measures 13x8x6 inches, is fully articulated and has an aluminum blade. These are quantum leaps in quality and incorporate every detail we can come up with. Yes, I said we as in you and I. Generously outfitted with brass cladding and sculpted details.

Includes 12"x 12" staging deck, ejection ramp, blood channel, brass lined head box and brass lined hinged coffin for quick disposal so you don't freak out the next "customer". Oh yeah it comes with a customer.

Makes a beautiful desktop toy, or office statement.

The details on this deluxe action playset are unlimited as you will be helping me design it! I will describe this particular model: Stained mahogany red, almost all friction surfaces are brass plated as is the lunette from the bucket side. The lunette also slides on brass channels. There is a gargoyle's figurehead on the crossbar which can be changed, improved or removed as you wish. There are myriad safety devices in place that will make for a complex ritual as you play. All safetys are brass and wood guilded brass. The coffin hinges are leather thong.

This model comes, at last, with it's own customer. Now you do not have to buy a doll and try to fit it in the machine. Customer can be male, or female, with the male being either in prison garb or gentleman's shirtsleeves with females being in period peasant dress. Females, being a bit more complex to carve will cost more. Heads are held on by a neck mounted permanent magnet and a steel brad driven into the head. This is why the blade must be aluminum. It does not stick to magnets. The client on this model had me cut up the steel blade and make it into addable weights to the mouton top. Pretty cool look.

 

World's Smallest Working Guillotine

 

To see a larger and nicer image, click here. To see what it does, click here.Working and marginally accurate tiny guillotine constructed of teak. A week before this blogging I built what I then believed to be the smallest guillotine ever made, and was much satisfied. As the days went by it began to look huge and so...I have a feeling some french aristocrat had a brass and gold miniature made by a master goldsmith that is probably much smaller than this one but it is not on the net, and so fooey.

This model is 5 x 1.5cm x 6.5cm tall.(2 x 5/8 x 2.5 inches) Includes a fully articulate movable table, a simple mechanical release mechanism, and 4mm blade. All jointery is by luck and patience.

This model is unavailable at this time as they are fairly delicate, and I cannot guarantee a safe delivery. I suggest you go down to the next paragraph, learn the steps, make a few of your own and then try to break my record.

 

Build Your Own Miniature Working Guillotine

 

Click image anytime to increase detail.

Build Your Own Miniature Working Guillotine

1. Using as much precision as possible in your particular situation, lay out 2' worth of .25"x.25" stock. I prefer maple, but any hardwood will do as long as it is well seasoned.

2. Using a square, layout your main framing. This will vary depending on just how miniature you wish to build. I built mine 4" long for rails, and 4" for the front spreader and 1.5" for the rear.

3. Square parts up using a reliable square finishing machine, I use a disc sander, but a belt sander clamped upside down to the workbench will do but will require extra skill and fingertip skin.

4. Using the square, mock up the frame and draw lines for joint cutting.

5. Using a bandsaw or a small framebacked saw, cut away the waste, remembering always to cut along the inside of the lines. Clean the joints up with a small file until they fit perfectly. Glue and treenail frame.

6. Cut four small uprights to hold the tabletop and, using a square, draw layout lines.

7. Using the lines as guides, glue and treenail to frame.

8. Cut two 6" main uprights from the .25x.25 stock and clamp them along their length. Using a large framebacked rip-saw, dig the blade channels about .125" deep.

9. Cut two pieces of stock to act as spreaders between the uprights. Using the square, glue and treenail bottom spreader but not the top one. Glue it instead to another piece of stock slightly longer than the frame will be wide. Treenail, but DO NOT glue the top assembly to the frame, parallel to the uprights. This allows the top to be removed.

10. Using an adjustable square, set to 30 degrees, layout the ends of four small and two long support members. Layout the opposite ends to 60 degrees. If you did it correctly, the results will be obvious. Glue and treenail all support members.

11. Construct the tabletop sub floor to fit over the frame. 12. Use a small dowel for the rear spreader. This will be the axis the tabletop will roll along. Get it as close to the rear of the assembly as possible.

13. Cut a piece of stock to .125"x1"x9" long. From this, cut a tabletop and foot rest. Glue and treenail. When dry, trim to fit tabletop to sub floor.

14. From same stock, cut two small pieces and construct at 90 degrees in a way so that when attached to the bottom of the tabletop, they will retain the tabletop to the dowel at the rear of the sub floor.

15. Try to sand out only as much play as you need for it to slide easily.

16. Using your blade guide dimensions, layout a blade and two block halves. After cutting, trim the blade to slide effortlessly along the guides before gluing and treenailing the block halves to it. Note: the blade will slide better when the blade frame top is installed.

17. Install a very slim dowel to the top of the blade assembly and then drill a hole straight into it about .125". Cut a length of appropriate string or thread and, using tiny wedges, force one end permanently into the hole. Glue the wedges in place.

18. Construct head restraint upper and lower using the sandwich method and before drilling hole make certain that assembly will slide down blade guide. Bore head hole and carefully cut in two and sand. Glue and treenail bottom half but allow top half,(shown) to slide. Adjust space between halves so that the blade may pass easily between front and rear layers.

19. This is the blade release lever and is the most complex piece in this puzzle. The lever should be constructed as slim as possible for good looks, but must include a yoke at one end so an axle can spin when attached to it. Be careful when choosing the woodgrain for this part unless you are using oak yew or ash. Drill the hole oversized in respect to the dowel so that it spins easily. Drill a small hole into the side of the dowel and insert the pin, another dowel, in this case a long treenail into the hole so it resembles the photo. DO NOT trim pin length at this time. Also, bore a blade raising hole into the center of the blade frame top from the top. A blade guide will also be needed as shown glued and treenailed next to the hole. This helps the string to stay in line instead of tangling.

20. Construct a lever bearing from three pieces of the .125 stock, glue, treenail and trim to one upright.

21. Drill a hole into the blade guide assembly top through the top of the upright that the bearing is mounted to so that the blade release lever pin may be inserted and removed with ease.

22. Line lever up with the center of the bearing and drill a hole for the metal pin. The size of this particular part and the stresses it goes through demands it be made of metal.

23. Remove lever assembly and raise the blade all the way up so the dowel at the top of the blade is deep in the blade frame top. Redrill the hole through the blade frame top this time passing into the blade dowel. This is where the pin will engage the blade assembly.

24. Put it all together and condemn yourself a victim. Easy, right?

 

 

Build a Full Sized Stage Guillotine

 

Step 1 The Base

Lay out six straight 2x4s which have been rip-sawed to remove the rounded edges, and put them in sets that enhance each other's grain strengths and structures. After you have "witness marked" the sets, glue and clamp them. After the glue has cured, put as many deck screws as you see neccessary to the new timbers you have built.

Be sure your new timbers are straight and evenly matched.

Lay out three straight 2x4s which have been rip-sawed to remove the rounded edges, and put them in a set that enhances each other's grain strengths and structures. After you have "witness marked" the boards, glue and clamp them. After the glue has cured, put as many deck screws as you see neccessary to the new timber you have built.

Be sure your new timber is straight and true.

This next part requires a bit of skill, so here we go. Carefully measure 28 inches from the front of each rail, and draw a mark. Carefully place the crossbar you just finished across and over the marks on the rails. Outline the crossbar on each rail and then draw lines along the rails onto the crossbar. The timbers are heavy, so bear that in mind for the next step.

Making the notches in the timbers. Using caution, carry the timbers one at a time to your bench and clamp it down firmly, with the lines facing upward. Using a circular saw, cut inside of the lines you drew earlier. You saw the insides so the joint will be snug.

Carefully adjust clamps so the timber may be rotated so the notch diagram is sideways. Using a bandsaw or jigsaw, as shown, yes there is no blade in this image, clean out the rest of the notch. After doing this to each timber you may have to fine tune the joints with a rasp, also shown.

Being satisfied with the jointery, send as many deck screws into the joints as you see fit. Be reminded at this time that this assembly is heavy enough to harm or kill if handled with enough ignorance.

Measure the space between the rails at the crossbar, and using this measurement, manufacture another timber to the specs you came up with. Ours was 24". Place it between the rails near the rear end of the frame assembly and install with dowels and deck screws.

Very carefully lift and lean one side up against something solid and fasten 10 lifting extensions evenly around the base. These will allow for a more uneven floor to be acceptable and they also add a level of massiveness to the look.

See? There is your base. Next step, table.

Step #2. The Table. In my haste, this was the only shot I took of the completed and mounted table. I have animated the previous steps in it's creation. Download the GIF file and review it at your leisure.

Drill pilot holes through the legs and into the base two times on each leg. Fasten with #10 gauge 3" deck screws.

Next step. The upright frame!

 

Step 1 The Main Upright Framing

Step #3 The Upright Frame.

First select 4 2x4s in the 10' length. These must be as straight as you can possibly get. If it rained on your lumber as happened to mine, get a fan and dry the lumber ASAP!

 

Next we pick out 2 1x2s in a 10' length to be used as spacers which will create the slot that the blade will slide down.

Run a bead of glue down one side of the 2x4x10', being careful not to cross over the line.

 

 

Spread the glue and screw down the 1x2 making sure that it is as straight as you can get it.

Here you can see the slot that was created in this procedure. You will make two of these.

 

 

 

Drill pilot holes for the fasteners, but leave the clamps in place until after the assembly is deck-screwed togeather.

Measure the widths of the assembly, the slot thickness and slot depth. These will be important when laying out the three sliding parts

 

 

Transfer these measurements onto a 2x8 and cut to size. You will cut two rabbets at the ends with a router.

Using the router, carefully remove waste until you reach the line you drew earlier. This process can also be done using a radial arm saw with a rabbet blade.

 

 

 

Here you can see how the main spreaders slide into the slotted frame members.

Manufacture the top spreader to fit as tightly as you can but still allowing it to be removed. Sink as many deck-screws into the lower spreader parts as you may see as neccessary as these will bear the weight of the fast moving blade assembly.

 

 

Your upright frame is now complete.

Cut 4 2x4s in a 42" length and trim off the ends to 45 degrees each. These will be the diagonal braces that give the guillotine that final massive touch, that adds strength and scariness.

 

 

Next step. Blade assembly!

Step #4 The Blade Assembly.Form a rectangle from plywood or particleboard so that it slides easily throughout the length of the upright frame.

On the back side, glue on counterweights made from 2x4s that have been ripped to result in sharp edges. This makes for prettier jointery.

 

On the front side, fashion a shim to a thickness that assures the blade will pass way clear of the lunette. This keeps the actor safe and assists in knocking the head off. Glue it in place.

 

I made the fake blade from two pieces of 1/8" luan ply for flexibility, but enough brittleness to assure the blade shatters upon impact with anything. Make a back plate and catch lever, and screw the assembly in place without glue. This way a replacement can be quickly installed with little slowage in showtime.

Step #5 Lunette and other mechanisms.Remove the upper and lower lunette and saw a neck sized circular opening equally into the two parts. Sand them so they look nice.

 

While you have the frame on it's back, jam appropriately sized lumber into the remaining slot under the lower spreader. The blade will need all the support it can get to keep from busting it's way to the ground.

Remove the top spreader and glue a top to it so that the top spans the entire width of the upright frame when the spreader is returned to original position. Purchase or create a wheel to ease the friction on your draw rope. Install it in a convenient location on the top assembly. Bore a 1" hole in the center of the assembly so the rope may easily pass through.

Cut a front and a back from plywood or chip board in a decorative fashion, and glue/nail them to the top assembly. The back will have to be taylored to fit around the wheel assembly

Cut side pieces from 1/2" stock.

 

Sheet the sides of the top box with the pieces you just cut and glue/nail them in place. Here you can see the top spreader inside.

 

Had this been a real guillotine, the top would be a solid timber.

Fashion a release lever and catch lever, and install them into the upright frame in a suitable left or right handed way. Be sure the blade can rise as far as possible.

Bore holes so a rope can be spread between the two levers. Add weights to counter that of your release rope.

Note how the top ends of the upright frame have been taylored to fit the top box. Plan ahead I usually say.

Measure out a suitable opening for your actor to hide his head. Drill a pilot hole large enough for a jigsaw blade to pass through.

Using the aforementioned jigsaw, carefully saw around the drawing.

Use a router to clean up the opening

Get hold of some dense foam padding and make your table tolerable to your actor. Bruises will be slow to forgive during all Saint's.

Leave plenty to staple around the head supports and chin rest.

Trace the hole in the lunette onto a piece of lumber and cut carefully to fit snug. Give it a back plate and a 90# magnet on the front and set it to fit as seen in the following photos.

 

The two images to the right show two different sides of the gimmick, front and rear.

 

The Customer

Choose your victim. We decided on an old head of the cartoon character Pop Racer from Speed Racer.

Using very coarse and very long screws, fasten a steel plate to the back of Pop's head which has been sawed at the proper angle to set properly in the scene.

Allow the magnet to grab only an edge of the plate as seen in the photo. This wedge of space allows the blade to pass easily between the machine and head for quick seperation.

Here you can see the scene as the audience will see it. Notice that the "wedge" of space cannot be detected in the darkness.

Sand everything smooth, stain or paint with environmentally sane pigmentation. We used a redwood semi transparent latex stain.

Now, put the whole thing back together and have some fun with it. It will be useful to know how to operate it, break it down and reassemble it quickly.

Please be reminded that this thing is dangerous. Fingers can be cut off or crushed.

We will close with these thoughts.

"...they're designed to harm."-Marge Simpson

"...they've been known to kill people."-Mom from Christmas Story

Last minute suggestions. Drape a large towel or a small scrap of blanket over the pad to conceal it's comfort. We don't want the audience to think there is a real person inside of the dummy. Choose an appropriate vessel to catch your head. We will use a galvanized oval water tank.

 

To see the greatest guillotine models ON EARTH.   I mean it! Really expensive and lethally worth every penny.

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