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.

Image

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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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 » 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.
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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