PUPPET BOOTH

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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 04 Jan 2013, 01:31

I shall now move on to the problem of how to join the two upright sections.
It is essential that the longest length is 1200mm if you require it to fit into a golf carry bag. This will include any of the protrusions that will be used as joins.
Now there are four ways to do this:
You can use round aluminium tubing and round the ends of your uprights to fit.
You can use square aluminium tubing
You can use two lengths of aluminium angles (as shown in the "Frame File")
You can use pins made from bolts or metal rod.

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The thing I have found is that the length that fits over the other piece does not have to be all that long. 30 or 40mm ought to be sufficient. When I first made a booth I made it 120mm but found it difficult to pull apart so I cut it down and found that it was equally effective. Once the lazy tongs are extended and the cover of the booth is on everything gets held in place, the structural forces are all downward.

It must be an easy fit and not tight. So if you use one of the tubing methods sand the piece that fits in so that it slips in and out quite easily. If you use the metal pin method you want the hole to be slightly larger than the rod or bolt you use. I use a 6mm bolt glued into a 6mm hole, the other hole is 6.5mm(1/4 inch) so I have a 0.5mm clearance. (This applies to any bolts that go through the timber.) Round the end of the pin so there is no sharpness.

Now that I think about it there is no reason why the upper section should not slip over or into the lower. So this could be a decision that you could make.

The other important thing is to chamfer the ends of the uprights to avoid splitting. If you want to use the booth indoors you could put felt or rubber on the bottom. Sand all corners so that it is nice to handle. I oil my timber with linseed oil. You could even wax it I suppose. You want the setting up of your booth to be a pleasant tactile experience otherwise you will get into a bad mood and this will effect your show (just joking).
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: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Tony James » 04 Jan 2013, 12:38

This is an excellent thread. May I add something about hooks. When I began I used small domestic cup hooks screwed into the puppet bar. I never thought about how to remove a figure - I just did it. Lift, move forward slightly towards the canvas to clear the curve of the hook and then raise the figure clear.

The problem which developed was not the removal process but the eventual lack of purchase by the threaded shank in the timber. Some hooks worked loose and wouldn't re-tighten. I replaced the puppet bar which improved matters for a while till the holes became too big again. Then I got lucky. Travelling home-wards across France I looked into an ironmongers and spotted near the cash register a box of square hooks with a threaded bolt shank instead of a screw thread. They were made by Fischer. I bought a dozen.

I have never found them in the UK but always in France. However, from Fischer's website they appear to be available here. Take a look.

http://apps.fischer.de/poc/default.aspx ... iptionhead

It's a flat hook - not round metal- and a square hook shape designed for cavity wall construction with a crushable cage. Discard the cage and push the shank through a drilled hole in the puppet bar. A washer and a wingnut - which is never removed - will tighten and hold the hook at the correct angle.

I find it makes for a faster pick up to angle the hooks inwards - the left hand side at ten past the hour and the right hand side at ten to the hour. Some may loosen occasionally in transit but are easily tightened at build up. There will be a short length of threaded shank protruding behind the puppet bar. I have never attempted to shorten these but have always covered them with plastic cover caps of the type supplied by kite companies to finish off the ends of plastic spars used by kite builders. I originally thought the bare metal ends might rub the canvas - they probably don't but the covers certainly guard against the possibility of catching your hand on them during the build up and pull down.

I've used this method since 1978 - long before the internet or The Frame File. Talking of which, John Alexander has an excellent idea. He suggested using deadeyes for a secure yet fast and hookless system. All I would add and suggest is that you try and source deadeyes with a threaded bolt shank to overcome the tendency of screw threads to work loose like cup hooks.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 04 Jan 2013, 23:56

Thanks Tony.
The issue of screws not having adequate holding power is a real problem, especially if you use soft wood. Of course one solution is to put Araldite on the thread. But the leverage of the puppet can be problem.
This brings me to another issue in booth building, which is how to connect the puppet hanging rail to the uprights.
Here is one tried and true method:

Image

It is a mirror bracket. However the problem here is that it needs to be screwed into the end grain of the puppet rail. Long screws and the above mentioned glue would help here.

The technique I have taken to using is to use a square U shaped bracket made from aluminium that fits around the upright leaving a narrow gap into which an angle bracket can fit. This has some advantage as it can provide some structural stability for the whole frame. I use this for the puppet rails and the stage.

Image

I am sure there must be other methods I have not considered.
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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And finally

Postby CvdC » 05 Jan 2013, 00:47

How to tailor your booth to fit.
This is a possible method for finding suitable measurements. I am certain there will be those (and you know who you are) who will beg to differ.
The diagram below shows the stage height to be determined by the distance from the ground to your nose. This gives the ability to look out over the stage but at the same time giving maximum height. This measure would be to the top of your head (or hat if you wear one) if you want to perform hands-over-head.
Add to this height 600mm, a distance from the stage to the top of the booth. This may vary slightly depending on the proportions you want for the stage opening. Bear in mind that it is distance greater than the opening because the lower edge of the proscenium is lower than the top of the booth by about 100mm or so. You can't be precise here because this proportion must be done using intuition or perhaps apply the Golden Ratio (for 910 it is 562). But it must be right. Too low and you will have issues during the show and too high and it will look wrong.

You will need to have four lengths of 24x24 (1") square pieces of clear straight grained timber at this length each cut in half (<1200mmm) to make an upper and lower section. The longest pair should be about 1160mm or there abouts so that it will fit into the bag. This allows 40mm for the connection (see above).

Image

Now as far as I am concerned anyone who wants to make a booth has all the information they could ever want. But if you have specific questions or other ideas then you know what to do.
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: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 09 Jan 2013, 04:31

Well here is a little detail to consider.
This shows that a narrow strip of decorative moulding is glued around the stage to form a bit of an edge. At the rear edge of the stage is glued a half round piece that will be smooth for the wrists. These may help things sliding off the stage.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Tony James » 10 Jan 2013, 00:38

"..........one solution is to put Araldite on the thread.........."

It is indeed Chris and one solution I considered for the puppet cup hooks. At the time Araldite was still comparatively recent to the market. It was the original which in certain applications benefited from a heated spell in an oven. Rapid versions came later. They are brilliant in the right circumstances.

Trouble is they can be permanent solutions and quite often a travelling frame doesn't require a permanent solution. I had a nut and bolt problem with nuts working loose and I cured it with a trace of Araldite in the bolt thread. For fifteen years those bolts stayed fixed - until I needed to remove them last back end. I managed to break the adhesion on just one. The other three I had to saw through the bolts to remove them. On reassembly I did what I should have done originally - used a locking nut!

".......the problem here is that it needs to be screwed into the end grain of the puppet rail. Long screws and the above mentioned glue would help here......."

Faced this one too. I needed to hang a length of wood from the top of the frame and it was early days, so I did the obvious - I screwed a cup hook into the end grain. It worked.

In fact it worked for longer than I had anticipated and I was aware of the hook eventually becoming less firmly attached. Again, I resisted using a glue to fix it. Instead I fished out of my tool box a small - and I do mean small, tiny in fact - wall plug. I don't know why or when I bought them but there were no lugs or tags attached and if there had been I would have trimmed them.

I carefully drilled out the existing hole so it was wide and deep enough to just take the plug. I used Araldite in the hole - not a lot, I didn't want the plug filling up - but enough to well coat the inside. I used a cocktail stick. There was a crack in the end grain running from the hole to the edge of the wood but it was not yet a split running down. End grain splitting is always a risk when screwing into it.

So I pushed some more Araldite into the crack and then clamped the end of the wood in a vice, compressing it. I tapped in the plug till flush and finished off the left over glue on the grain end. Why do I always end up mixing too much epoxy adhesive?

When dry and cured I wrapped the outside of the end tightly with self-adhesive cloth tape to help prevent any future splitting and screwed in a cup hook. That arrangement was trouble free for years until one early morning when I must have been tired and I didn't properly hook the wood onto the frame. Quite unexpectedly the thing fell down, turning over as it went. It could have landed anywhere but somehow managed to hit the hardstanding I was built up on, hook down of course! The hook was fatally bent.

Had that been glued in with epoxy, chances are I would have struggled to get it out without damage to the wood. And I didn't have time anyway. Incidents like this invariably seem to happen shortly before you are timed to go on. As it was, the bent hook unscrewed easily and cleanly, I fished out a spare from the gubbins bag (it had sat in there for more years than I could remember) and within minutes it was rehung and ready to go.

Epoxy adhesives are excellent but there are times when alternatives are more practical in the longer term.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Chris » 10 Jan 2013, 13:19

Rather than waiting for the hole to enlarge and the thread to loosen before you apply your remedies the best way is to glue the thread of your cup hook, bolt or screw in the first place. If there is a possibility that you will in the future need to remove the hook or screw then don't use a permanent adhesive like Araldite but use something like Loctite's "Threadlocker" (try Halfords). There are many similar semi-permanent adhesives available for this very purpose.
By the way, end grain splitting usually results from not pre-drilling the correct sized hole before screwing in the hook.
Similar to Tony's use of adhesive tape I have, on a couple of occasions, used thin string to whip (thank you Boy Scouts) the end of a split batten and then used glue to amalgamate the whipping. This has proved very effective. One such emergency repair to an upright of a lazy tongs booth has lasted around 25 years. I'll get round to replacing it one day!
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby CvdC » 11 Jan 2013, 04:33

Forgive my arrogance for making these suggestions:
You can soften any epoxy glue by heating it. To avoid burning the timber you can heat a nail or screwdriver shaft and have convection heat the screw, or use a soldering iron touching the head.
Gaffer tape solves many split wood problems, or many problems full stop. I am never without it.
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Richard Coombs » 04 Apr 2019, 12:24

I am tagging a reply onto the end of this excellent series of step by step designs by CvdC

This is to put it back onto the first page on the Workshop section.

People keep asking where to find things ...when actually they are all here on this site in abundance .
I share Chris Sommervilles often voiced exasperation in this matter.
People ask without first looking through the wealth of what is here for everyone to see , and for free !

To kekekiko78 who wants to locate a copy of "The Frame File" - good luck !

'Hens-Teeth' and 'Rocking-Horse-Sh@t' spring to mind

Out of curiosity I tried google searching for a copy last night.
Not available to buy ..and when I tried the 'find the nearest Library with a copy' function ...Melbourne Australia came up as the closest.

But ....
Although The Frame File does contain a wondrous array of different types of possible booth designs.
It almost has too many options for the newcomer .
Each type of booth shown there have some 'Pros' but also very many 'Cons' in regular use as a working performer.

Now I famously have gone off-piste with my own booth design.
Nobody else would want the sort of construction I employ.
But its design is based on my own particular needs and built to suit my vehicle and regular venues.

The best quality of the "Frame Files' cornucopia of possibilities is that it makes you first question what you want from a booth before you build it.


I think you can only start to build yourself a booth once you have questioned what are the things that are most important to you about using the darn thing.

A booth is an expensive item whether you choose to make your own, buy a second hand one, or pay somebody else to make you one.

So before parting with all that time and / or money it is worth asking yourself some questions:

How you plan to transport the thing ?
How long are you happy to spend putting it up and taking it down each time.
Are you carrying it yourself?
Do you have a partner with you to help with the carrying?
What vehicle do you plan to use to get to your gigs?
Will it fit the boot or backseat of your car?
Do you have a van? - if so can you make some parts bigger / longer than you would if you used a car or public transport?
What are the ramifications of that?
Hands above head or in front of face?
One height of booth or adaptable ? ( stand on boxes for full height / on the ground for lower)
Indoor or outdoor?

The differing booths in the Frame File can fulfil each of these requirements partly , some fully , but again depending on your own answers to those and other questions.

But for having the most bases covered most of the time , a "Lazy Tongs" booths wins out.
Which is why is it the most often seen type of booth among the regularly working professional Punch Performers.

Even so , you still have to decide if you want an all wooden frame?
All Metal?
Or a mix ?( the most common being wooden uprights but aluminium lazy tongs)

It was kekekiko78 who posed the question of where to find a copy of the John Alexander Book.
I would say to kekekiko78 that a Lazy Tongs is most likely to be the outcome for you even after you've looked all through "The Frame File" .

SO ....back to CVD
Here follows the BEST plans you will ever find for Building yourself a LazyTongs.
The step by step plans and photos are a much better resource than the aforementioned book.
The Book covers so many options , that it does not in fact cover any particular one in great depth.

- As I have said , the fact the book makes you consider all options is its greatest value.
Even if it just just strengthens your resolve that lazy tongs is still the best option-


But the instructions and shared skills from CvdC is way way more in-depth than the lazy tongs part of the book.

So my advice is , don't beat yourself up about not being able to locate that book.
Go the lazy Tongs route.
And use CvdCs plans/ method.

if you succeed in making yourself one of these , you will be doing very well indeed.
You will have a very functional , strong booth.

Good Luck

Richard
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Chris » 04 Apr 2019, 13:39

Thanks for very thorough input Richard.
Personally I think that if you favour lazy tongs, and it is the most portable and versatile booth, I'd search for The Frame File - since this gives the George Blake original plans, together with variations that experience has developed, plus its the only place to get the invaluable formula for the folding slats in case you want to adapt to other sizes.
By the way as John Alexander is too ill to consider republishing The Expanded FRame File I understand that Pat Page's daughter Janet is handling some of the offerings on the Arcady Press range.http://arcadypress.co.uk
Contact her via http://www.Patrickpagemagic.com
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Re: PUPPET BOOTH

Postby Richard Coombs » 06 Apr 2019, 09:41

Chris, Although I waffled on for ages , the crux of my point was people just cannot get hold a copy of the Frame File anymore.

There are no copies of it floating around for people to 'search for'.
You might as well suggest they go find the Holy Grail.

I guess that's assuming folk want a copy to own - which simply isn't going to happen.

The only hope anyone has -newcomer or pro- is to borrow a copy from the lucky few who have one.
Im guessing that is what you meant?
But who is going to lend out such a scarce treasure? The fear of never getting it back , or it getting mislaid in the post are too scary to contemplate.

Which is why I still think CvdCs Building Plans on here were such a generous gift to the World.
There were a huge number of regular readers/posters to this board at the time ; and sadly I don't feel enough people thanked him for the massive amount of work he'd done in preparing all those detailed plans,
They give for free everything you could want to know to be successful first time with your own booth build.

OK almost everything : The Formula...
Im pretty sure even that is on this Board somewhere if you search.

Even if it isn't , it is easier to find the formula than a copy of Frame file , thats for sure :-))
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