Plastic-wood head construction

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Plastic-wood head construction

Postby Andrew Clarkson » 04 Feb 2017, 11:17

A nice clear video from Frisch Marionettes for anyone considering having a go at making a head from plastic-wood / wood filler using a three part mould. Probably of more interest to those looking at a novelty Punch figure or marionette:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ-15udp4-o



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Re: Plastic-wood head construction

Postby Chris » 04 Feb 2017, 20:09

Very interesting Andrew. That method is exactly how Eric Bramall taught me to make puppet heads. In this country at least I think we were the only puppeteers drying our plastic wood heads underwater - which is the secret of warp free castings. This method does depend upon an acetone based medium and we used to use Rawlplug Plastic Wood. The problem came when it became environmentally unfriendly to use acentone based products and Rawlplu changed its formula. Plastic Wood became water based and thus completely useless for this method of puppet making. I have never found a totally suitable substitute. You can still get acetone based plastic wood type products - but only in very small tubes which are useless. The same has happened with adhesives: many have changed their formulas and are either PVA based, or two part activated. If they are the quick drying type of old they are usually only available in small tubes. This is all in the name of either health and safety (acetone and solvent based products are "sniffable") or else saving the environment.
I have my doubts whether Mend-all woodfiller will be available in the UK. If anyone discovers that it is then do let us know please.
You may be able to buy it in America online, but whether they will be able to ship it here is another question. I wanted to try a particular insectocide which wasn't available in UK, but was in the US. When I contacted the makers they said that it would be blocked by British Customs but they might be able to supply me by having it re-sent from Canada. There might be some similar work around for MendAll.
However since I used to use Plastic Wood for puppet making things have changed. In those days you either carved your heads or made them in papie mache. Plastic wood, fibre-glass, or Celastic were virtually the only alternatives. Since those times a host of plastic and latex based modelling and casting materials have come on the scene and so today's puppet makers have a plethora of new methods to explore. Teddy Corden for example does a splendid range of Punch heads with moulds taken from his original wooden carved originals but cast in some kind of resin which gives a lightweight and very strong result.
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Re: Plastic-wood head construction

Postby Andrew Clarkson » 04 Feb 2017, 22:13

Hi Chris,

Yes, I had an idea it would MendALL would be tricky to track down in this country after my brief (and fruitless) search after watching the video. If I find any leads I'll update here.
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Re: Plastic-wood head construction

Postby Andrew Clarkson » 08 Feb 2017, 21:25

Well, I found a company in the US selling MendALL for $12.99 a tin but at $58.00 postage I will be looking at exploring products closer to home!

Will post pictures of experiments when I get round to it.

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