PUPPET BOOTH

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PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 01 Jan 2013, 07:27

I have drawn this 3D model in Sketchup. It is based on a design I have developed over the last few years.
It folds up to fit entirely into one of those golf carry bags.
This version is for hands-in-front-of-face performance style, the stage being 1600mm off the ground.
The upper and lower sections are connected using steel pins (actually long shanked bolts with the head cut off). These are also used at the top of the uprights. Guy ropes and bunting can be attached to these giving downward tension to hold the booth down with either weights or tent pegs.

The articulated diagonals are made from aluminium using bolts and large pop rivets.Those in the front under the stage swing up and are held in place by a single tightened wing nut that is never removed. This gives the booth complete rigidity.

The top is sloped to the rear so that the rain does not pool (as was the case in olden times).

The booth also has a plywood shelf to which is attached a bag into which you can let puppets fall during a show.

The puppet hanging rails have robe hooks and are connected to the booth with angle brackets and aluminium slots. The stage is held in place using the same technique. Each component adds to the booth's rigidity.


Image


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All the above is based on tried and true techniques. Nothing innovative.
Last edited by CvdC on 05 Feb 2013, 10:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Chris » 01 Jan 2013, 12:35

Thanks Chris, I'm sure that will be interesting to a lot of booth-builders. It would be much more useful for new builders if it had dimensions since these are fundamental and critical if the booth is to fold and fit into your golf bag.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Richard Coombs » 01 Jan 2013, 13:07

Very useful indeed CvdC ( especially as it seems that newcomers to this board always seem to ask "How to build Booth ?" )
All the information as we know is only a few clicks away , and also points to the extremely useful "Expanded Frame File ) etc .

But for those who want everything handed to them on a plate , your drawings are a very generous resource .

Oddly I agree with your decision not to put any measurements.

I think the use of the drawings are in inspiring people to build their own frame ...they can see both the work involved , and also the clever simplicity of it all.
Dimensions will depend on the height and size of the performer.

Also golf bags are not a standard size ( something I have discovered as a booth a built to fit bags I had some years ago wont squeeze into newer bags ..so I am still using the well worn old ones )

There is a big diversity in not only how long golf bags are ..but also the the internal 'girth' ..and some are cut to a very narrow end at the 'top' ( handle) end ...while others are more generous.

Consequently I think any potential Booth builder first need to find their carry bag ..then tailor individual parts to go in that bag.

But your schematic plan should give any first timer a good head start.

Thank You for sharing ..and Happy New Year .

Richard
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Chris » 01 Jan 2013, 14:31

Richard, your views on dimensions might be valid for any booth other than lazy tongs. The relative lengths of the folding pieces have to be very exact and are only to be discovered if you are very accomplished with trigonometry. Of course the formula is given in The Frame File, but then so is the George Blake design for the booth.
For someone who has built booths before then Chris's drawings are an interesting illustration of his variations from the original. But for someone who has not built a booth before then some dimensions are essential. When you are first starting anything is not the time to experiment. Experiment when you have cracked the basics, but follow a good recipe for your first attempts.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 01 Jan 2013, 14:35

I didn't want to give the dimensions for exactly the reasons Richard gives.
The lengths of the bottom section are 1200mm with about 50mm of bolt protruding. You would need to buy the golf bag first and check that this would fit. The upper section would vary according to how high the stage needs to be. In this example those lengths are 1000mm.
The widths of most booths are generally always 910mm (3 feet). The lengths of the lazy tong sections are crucial. I have seen and tried making these from wood but have decided aluminium is best as they can fold nice and neatly to make a compact bundle to fit into the bag.
I use these dimensions:
Image

The centre of the holes are measured and punched - accuracy is vital. The booth unfolds and erects itself as if by magic.

There are other, little details. One thing I learned from my visit to the Coombs puppetorium was the importance of using robe hooks rather than cup hooks for a delay-free performance.

It is a good idea to design a proscenium that also fits into the golf bag.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Chris » 01 Jan 2013, 20:47

Thanks Chris, that makes this so much more valuable for the newbie builder. Many of us forget the problems facing the beginner. Firstly they probably have few tools, no dedicated workshop, and limited finance. I remember my first lazy tongs had to be made in my bedroom, with little more than a small hacksaw, screwdriver and pliers. I was following the design in Edwin's "Hello Mr. Punch" and the critical dimensions of the folding stays were incorrectly shown in the plans. Having made the whole thing up I found that it wouldn't fold properly. I then had to try a process of trial and error to attempt to rectify things. I finished up with a series of trial holes which weakened the wood, but I couldn't afford to buy more timber. It never quite folded as neatly as it should, although the frame served me faithfully for many years.

I agree with you (and therefore Richard) that cup hooks are less than ideal for hanging the dolls. But rather than wardrobe hooks I use spikes. These are very easy to get puppets off, and back on if action so demands, yet are pretty secure against being accidently being knocked off. I suspect they may be more secure in this respect than wardrobe hooks, they are certainly less expensive. The use of spikes is another little tip that came from Eric Sharp.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 02 Jan 2013, 00:23

I am not sure what spikes you mean. The reason I went for the robe hooks was they have nicely rounded ends and so when you bend over in your booth you do not injure your head and the puppets lift off them with ease.
Having a workshop and a range of tools is essential. It is much easier to buy a booth from someone who is set up to make them. Booth making requires sewing, metal work, wood work and painting skills. Not many people have this range of abilities.

Here are some further details. This shows the puppet bag and how the shelf is held in place and becomes part of the structure of the booth. The bag is attached top the front edge of the shelf and has elastic cord along its front edge. The gap between the shelf and edge of the bag should be sufficient for a puppet to pass through.

Image

Image

I have sewn pockets into the inside of my bag to hold sticks.
It could be possible to have something stiffer along the front of the bag and hang puppets in front of you if that is how you prefer to work.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 02 Jan 2013, 01:17

Just to prove I am of the generation that grew up reading Eagle comics here is the exploded diagram
Image

And here we have a backdrop that incorporates side wings


Image
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby lesclarke » 02 Jan 2013, 09:52

Very effective diagrams CvdC, I always get real enjoyment from good diagrams, often more so than looking at a piece of fine art. After all Art is supposed to be about Communication, and good applied art/design like these certainly communicates well.

Yes, I remember lying in bed on a cold morning waiting for the sound of the paper lad dropping the Eagle through the letter box, and the anticipation of seeing the exploded view spreads. Mostly interesting subjects, but occasionally disappointing when it featured a laundry or similar as the subject.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Richard Coombs » 02 Jan 2013, 12:20

Lovely stuff CvdC ...better and better with more views .
Hello Les Happy new Year.

And Chris S ..this is so true :
Many of us forget the problems facing the beginner. Firstly they probably have few tools, no dedicated workshop, and limited finance. I remember my first lazy tongs had to be made in my bedroom, with little more than a small hacksaw, screwdriver and pliers.


A bit like a smell sparking off an old forgotten memory ..those words took me back almost forty years to putting my first booth together aged about ten or eleven .
It took a good couple of months ... I had never seen inside a real Puppet Theatre and only had the drawing in Peter Frasers book in the local Library to go on.

This design doesnt use lazy tongs , but rather wing-nuts and bolts and cross bracing. ( although this booth takes a bit longer to put up ...it is a much simpler build than lazy tongs for either an older child , or an adult not good with tools )

But its not the method your words reminded me of ...it was the cost of buying the parts on only pocket money.

I remember buying just a couple of strips of wood at a time ,from a shop in the high street that sold a mix of hand tools , some ironmongery , Airfix and other modelling supplies - and also had a limited supply of cut lengths of timber ( similar I guess to the Richard Burridge mouldings and beadings of today ).

One length of this stripwood would furnish me with two of the booths cross bracing struts.

And if I was lucky I could afford maybe two lengths of timber a week - or just one if I also had to to go to the proper Ironmongers and buy a couple of bolts and wing-nuts ( then sold separately out of thick brown cardboard boxes..in the days before DIY superstores ).

It was the 'hacksaw' part of what you wrote that triggered the memory ...the whole booth was done with a junior hacksaw. And as I could only do so much at one time because of cost , each wooden part was very carefully cut , holes drilled with a hand turned drill, corners rounded and then sanded ...a lot !

..there was little else to do until next weeks supply of wood , so things got sanded really , really well .

The whole booth was built quite literally from the ground up.

A glut of Christmas money saw me and Mum go to Debenhams in Canterbury and hit the fabric department in the Sales for some red corduroy for the back and sides , and a single piece of fancy brocaid fabric for the front panel .
Debenhams sold to the quarter yard ..so I got only just enough to be able to turn a hem on the front bit ..as the material was very expensive. ( it is also why I aways use a woven brocaid fabric for Punches Waistcoat ..a little nod back to the look of my first booth)

I think that is why , even now I get such a thrill out of fabric shopping ..and why I waxed lyrical in the thread "In Praise of the Midlands" ....it is still a joy as an adult not only to be able to afford to buy decent fabrics ..but also to be confronted with such a wide choice ..and at such good prices ( needless to say Debenhams in the early 1970s was expensive for fabrics ...but there was nowhere else to go then )

My Dad knew a signwriter that worked in the Amusement Arcade trade, and commissioned him to make and paint my proscenium.
I loved it ! Christmas and Birthday present combined I think ?

My only regret was that the bloke used hardboard instead of ply.
Hardboard being of pressed and glued fibre and sawdust has no inherent strength and is only one step up from Cardboard in my opinion ( then and now ) ...Still I loved my Proscenium .

And that theatre did me for many years right up until my early twenties. The top part of that Proscenium is hanging up in my workshop today.
Here I am with it aged 14 I think ? ..its the pic in the pic , as I have no other record of it.

Image

There was no internet back then of course ( how I remember the envy I felt when a schoolmates Dad got an electric typewriter ! ..wow !!)

So without "Punch and Judy on the Web" there was no way of finding out the more 'usual' method for a booths construction - and no way of asking advice from working Punch and Judy men.

So I start 2013 with two "Thank-Yous" ..each to a Chris....
Thanks again CvdC for sharing your expanded Plans ...
And an even bigger "Thank You" to Chris Sommerville for hosting and maintaining such a wonderful Free resource on the Net , which is so invaluable for makers new and experienced.

Richard
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Chris » 02 Jan 2013, 13:42

Thanks Chris, for all the extra information. Most valuable. But one statement appalled me.
Having a workshop and a range of tools is essential. It is much easier to buy a booth from someone who is set up to make them. Booth making requires sewing, metal work, wood work and painting skills. Not many people have this range of abilities.

It shocks me Chris that anyone could have such an arrogant opinion.
If it were true then I wouldn't be doing puppetry nor would many of my peers. A range of tools and a workshop are not essential. Very many of us started with much, much less. Certainly it is easier to buy a booth, but if you haven't the money to buy tools and timber by what logic can you assume that to pay someone to build stuff for you is an option? And as for people not having the range of abilities required for puppetry - that is the value and joy of the game - you try, and fail, and try again, and improve. It's a process called learning. Eventually as you progress you will discover your strengths and weaknesses and if you have amassed sufficient wealth then you will be able to pay for help where your abilities are lacking but that luxury is not available to many when they start.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby James » 02 Jan 2013, 16:23

What a lovely photo Richard.

As for puppet hooks vs spikes I imagine Chris means short dowel upright pegs. My first Eric Sharp booth had these little dowels rather than hooks, and they worked very well.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Richard Coombs » 02 Jan 2013, 18:17

Cheers James and a Happy New Year to you.

To tread a line between both Chris's ..I think one thing is clear about making your Punch and Judy Stuff ...it doesnt matter if you have the skills at your finger tips , or are trying and failing to learn more ...or just constantly improving ( and I think no matter how much any of us might have done we are all always 'improving' )



..the point is to tackle it all you WILL need wood working , carving , sewing , metalwork , painting , planning . perseverance and lots of time !.

Puppets need carving and sewing abilities.
But to agree with CvdC ...a Booth as a single item , requires the widest spread of skills ...even more than needed to make an individual puppet ( not that I am suggesting any one shouldnt try ...there I agree with Chris S ) ..but it IS a daunting task .

Sewing a small amount of cloth to make a puppet body or costume is very different , for example , than getting many yards of thick stripey canvas through a sewing machine ,and in straight lines.

But I guess we all come at this from different angles depending on our individual backgrounds/ training/skillsets.

Anyhooo ...A last and Final Happy New Year to All.

Richard
Last edited by Richard Coombs on 03 Jan 2013, 00:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Chris » 02 Jan 2013, 21:35

No James, not wooden dowels. They break off rather easily. But you've got the right idea. Eric Sharp's booths used the largest size of pop rivets - with the sheath left on and the wire pin hammered into a pre-drilled, slightly smaller hole. A Heath Robinson idea it would seem, but one which works just perfectly. Quite typical of ES thinking.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 02 Jan 2013, 23:10

"a Booth as a single item , requires the widest spread of skills ...even more than needed to make an individual puppet ( not that I am suggesting any one shouldnt try ...there I agree with Chris S ) ..but it IS a daunting task ."
Perhaps Richard has put it better than I did. But then again I was only intending the statement to be a salutary reminder and didn't really want to emphasise it. I actually wrote "It is much easier" rather than people "should not". But that is how discussions on this board always go. Thankfully Richard has leapt in between with a moderated statement.

I personally found it much more involved than the making of puppets for exactly the reasons Richard points out. You do need space and you need a range of different tools. But of course with effort it can be done as Richard's personal account and photo clearly shows.

I once built a boat, well four actually, but in the boating world there is an adage: if you want to build a boat then build one but if you want to sail a boat then buy one. Sometimes it makes life easier and you are not a lesser person for it. But if you want to do it all, as some do, then go for it, look at the above drawings, I put them on this board to encourage you in a practical way.

Arrogance? Indeed!

Now back to more practical matters.
In this design the supports under the stage are connected by having the aluminium slotted so that it can be fitted to a bolt. They are held tight with a large wing nut. The wing nut is never removed and is only ever loosened and tightened. I damage the end of the bolt so the nut doesn't come off. This arrangement helps considerably to make the whole structure quite stiff. You can actually lift the set up booth and carry it around, which I have had to do often.

Image


The photo below shows a set of lazy tongs folded up. If you look carefully at the arrangement you will see how they fit together so that they fold up nice and flat. The shorter length is under the long on one section and above on the other.They ought to fold up like a pair of scissors.

You will also notice that the tongs are connected with nuts and bolts. Ideally you want as few protrusions as possible so I think large pop rivets are better. But this of course requires an extra tool. If you do use nuts then it is best to seek out low profile nyloc nuts and bolts with the flattest possible head.

Image
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