Hand Help

This is the place for Technical Tips, Questions and Answers.

Re: Hand Help

Postby CvdC » 28 Nov 2010, 21:54

UHU, as Maraiker so succinctly put it, is good because it is quite thick(or viscous). I find that if you use PVA the glue gets quickly absorbed into the fabric and so doesn't stick quite as well. I have noticed that many old puppets use tacks through the glove and into the hand. A bit blokey, but does the job. Although I am unsure of Bass wood's propensity for splitting.
At one May Fayre I saw a rather nice puppet with a hand that had split and thought what a shame and wondered if he'd bought some glue and gaffer tape to do an on the spot repair. Two years later that hand had still not been fixed.
The worst thing that can happen, and it does, is that during the first few shows the heads and hands come off. You may wish to prepare a few adlibs to deal with this possibility. I am quite certain that throwing the baby out the window originally began life as an improvisation.
You could have the puppet look at the audience and say "Can anyone lend me a hand?" or "Well that's cured my headache. Umm could someone show me the way out?" A headless puppet crashing into the sides of the stage should be funny. If you can manage to retrieve the head you could get a few laughs trying to put it back on. The parents will be aghast but the kids will love it.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: Hand Help

Postby Chris » 28 Nov 2010, 23:34

Many old (19th C) puppets have a groove carved around the wrist and neck and strong thread used first to gather the material and then bind or whip to hold garment in place. This was presumably to make changing the costume easy, or even allow removal for washing.

I prefer Bostik Clear to UHU. They used to be almost identical but recently UHU have improved (?)their formula and now call it a gel - so it tends to bead when applied, rather than smear. However it doesn't string as badly as does Bostik. I've never really taken to PVA glues - I know it has a myriad of uses, but aesthetically it doesn't please me - in the same way that Acrylic paint just doesn't have the same feel and juiciness as oil colours. Does anybody still use woodworker's treacle toffee in a double-boiler?
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Re: Hand Help

Postby CvdC » 29 Nov 2010, 09:48

hmm Chris you should try a little Araldite. A cheeky little glue with just the right piquant aromas you expect from a good glue. Not as juicy as your oil based paints I admit but in the right mix of the two parts you will find it very aesthetically pleasing with just the right amount of stringiness and some nice toffee flavours to amuse the middle pallet.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: Hand Help

Postby johnstoate » 29 Nov 2010, 12:14

My own preference has always been for the uhu - I find it much better than Bostik in most respects, with the added advantage that it is usually quite readily available in the 'Pound shops' in large tubes. :D As for the double boiler, -Yep, I still use one, but mine is the 1960's electric version, and still very usefull for some jobs, I've found that it can also be used to melt glue sticks for brush application, which can be very handy sometimes!
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Re: Hand Help

Postby Miraiker » 29 Nov 2010, 15:13

Chris S said
Many old (19th C) puppets have a groove carved around the wrist and neck and strong thread used first to gather the material and then bind or whip to hold garment in place.

Bob Wade always carved a groove (see below for part made BW doctor)
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I have followed this tradition. The costume is tied on as you say.
I confess to knowing nothing about the 'binding and whipping' - are you sure that has anything to do with puppet making Chris? Could it be some other hobby?
Anyway, once tied on I use a little UHU on the neck to prevent the costume turning.
At the wrist I stitch the costume around the groove and add UHU to the back of the extension to prevent turning.

I once decantered a little Bostik from a tin into a plastic cup for ease of use. Guess what happened. No prize for the winning answer. (Quite a heady aroma)
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Re: Hand Help

Postby Chris » 29 Nov 2010, 22:44

I'm sorry you have missed out on the binding and whipping Miraiker. It is something you learn about in the Boy Scouts. You must ask Peter all about it.
Uhu is also popular for sniffing, as is Bostik but I believe the favourite is Evostick which is something I never got on with at all. Far too sticky for me.

I am indeed a fan of Araldite Chris, it was the first of the epoxy resin glues I came across and is still the best for my money. I always carry Araldite Rapid in the Service Box. I well remember a couple of laths on my outdoor lazy tongs booth snapping - the result of wind. One was a greenstick fracture, another a clean break. Temporary first aid was applied with a combination of flat lollipop sticks, whipping cord and Araldite. That was around twenty years ago. I must get round to making a permanent repair one of these days.
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Re: Hand Help

Postby Richard Coombs » 01 Dec 2010, 13:37

Thought Id post a couple pics.
My hands sometimes have only short arm stumps behind the wrist , in which case I make a 'tube' around the sleeve sometimes with thin leather , sometimes with thick calico ( leather glued on with contact adhesive , calico with PVA)

Other times I make the wooden wrists longer and carve cut out 'hollows' for my two fingers or thumb .
Sometimes these hollows are 'behind ' the puppets arms ( as with CvdCs 'mistaken' drawing ) ..other times its in front.

All dependant on what the puppet has to 'do' in the show.

In all cases the wooden hand is glued with PVA wood glue directly to the main 'Glove' of the puppet , and bound on tightly with very strong nylon carpet thread.

I fix heads on this way too ..no 'groove' or 'lip' to either puppet neck or wrist ..the fixing is so strong there seems no need.

This pics are form 2008 , and I think this puppet is still unfinished in a box in the workshop somewhere.
In the last couple of years I have taken to making the bottom two fingers out of Oak , as I find that this is where they seem to take the most bashing , hitting the Playboard, the Proscenium , and the back of other characters heads etc.

These were the first pics I found when looking for hand photos .. I will search out some others when I have a bit more time - in this instance the head is fibreglass , as it is a moulded 'duplicate' of my Joey.
Heads are normally wood - but the fixing of them is the same.

Cheers Richard

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Re: Hand Help

Postby Nick Jackson » 29 Dec 2010, 01:15

Rubber solution, a couple of stitches to keep them tight and one tack because this is a belt-and-braces situation!
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