NORTH RIVER - Ian Stewart likes to stay on the cutting edge with his juggling skills – literally.
Among his list of entertainment talents is the fact that Stewart juggles chain saws – three to be precise – actual chain saws with razor sharp teeth and with the motors running.
"You could go out and do a routine where you juggle five clubs and threw them all up in the air and did pirouettes and then caught them and went back into a five-club juggle and you could throw them all behind your back and someone is going to walk up afterwards and say, 'Can you do a chainsaw?"'
To that end, Steward now is laying claim to a new title with Guiness World Records for chain saw juggling after successfully making 94 tosses and catches at the Hants County Exhibition on Sunday.
The previous record, set by Aaron Gregg of Victoria, B.C., was 88 catches.
Stewart, of North River, who also bills himself as a master hypnotist, estimates he has been juggling chainsaws for about 15 years.
He caught the bug for juggling when he was about nine years old after receiving a book for Christmas called Juggling for the Complete Klutz.
Once he had caught on to the art, because the demand from juggling audiences, it was almost a given, Stewart said, that he would one day turn his attention to chain saws.
"The minute you can do three, it's, 'Well can you do four, can you do five, can you do clubs, can you do knives, can you do torches?' And, of course, that inevitably leads to chainsaws. Everybody wants to know, can you do chain saws? But the answer is usually no because most jugglers can't do chainsaws," he said.
"And, in my mind as far as daredevil type juggling ... if you can do three chainsaws, that's always been the ultimate goal as far as daredevil juggling goes."
Chainsaws are also generally heavier and more unbalanced than most items he juggles. And at almost $1,000 each for the models he uses, they are also pricy should they be dropped and break.
"First off, they're fairly tough but you're gonna break 'em. So it's pretty expensive to get into juggling chainsaws," Stewart said. "But it's an impressive trick and there are very few people that do three of them."
And what about the danger?
"They do cut and they are real but when you are a juggler ... after a while the size of the chainsaw makes it unlikely that you are going to catch the wrong end. I say, unlikely. It could happen," Stewart said.
"If you are good you should be able to avoid the wrong end."
The most difficult part of the routine, he said, is getting all three saws in motion. Normally, jugglers will start off with two items in one hand while starting to juggle with the other. Chain saws are too heavy to do that, however, so Stewart balances himself on one leg while resting one of the running saws on the back of his crooked leg until he gets the first two started, then he reaches back to set the third saw in motion.
"In practice I've probably done about 110 (catches) a couple of times."
But that, of course, doesn't count.
Stewart is optimistic though that his new world record will be accepted by Guiness officials.
"I don't know how they can dispute it," he said. "I have two different camera angles and raw footage that I'm sending over to them, plus all the other paperwork and so on."
Catch me if you can, says Ian Stewart of North River, who made 94 catches while juggling three chain saws on the weekend. Stewart is sending his claim of a new world title to Guiness World Records for verifications. HARRY SULLIVAN TRURO DAILY NEWS