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Chainsaw juggler to attempt new world record during HubFest

Ian Stewart can often be found playing with chainsaws. He hopes to set a new world record for juggling running chainsaws this month.
Ian Stewart can often be found playing with chainsaws. He hopes to set a new world record for juggling running chainsaws this month. - Contributed
TRURO, N.S. —

 Ian Stewart was practicing axe juggling but he got sidetracked by chainsaws.

He heard his chainsaw juggling record had been broken and he started training for an effort to set a new one.

“I beat the old record of 88, with 94 catches in 2011,” he said. “Last July a man in Finland (Janne Mustonen) set a record of 98 so now I’m hoping to be the first to crack 100. I only need two extra throws but it’s a challenge.”

He’s practicing but being careful not to over practice, as it is hard on the body.

“Most injuries are just from the fact that the chainsaws are so heavy,” he said. “The handles can rip hands sometimes.

“I’ve had a few scrapes while juggling and I cut the end of a shoe off once, in front of about 17,000 people. Because it was a big show I’d bought new shoes.”

The chainsaws have to be a certain weight and have to be gas-powered. Before performing the juggler has to demonstrate they’re sharp by cutting something and has to sign a paper acknowledging that the organizers recommend they not perform the stunt.

“The first 50 throws aren’t too difficult, but then the weight makes it harder to be precise,” said Stewart. “If you have one throw when it spins or goes sideways a little bit you’re in trouble.”

He said not many people juggle chainsaws, and it’s not just because of the danger. The saws cost about $700 each so it can be expensive if you have many drops.

Stewart still holds other records for things such as juggling one chainsaw and two balls, and walking the furthest distance while juggling three chainsaws. He also does other tricks, and last year he did a crossbow stunt on Penn and Teller Fool You.

“I’ve been overseas twice this year to do crossbow tricks,” he said. “Most of the shows I get hired for around here are stage hypnosis shows, but internationally I do more juggling and crossbow.”

Stewart will be attempting to set the new chainsaw juggling record Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. on Inglis Place, as part of the HubFest activities.

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