Swazzle Talk

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

Swazzle Talk

Postby billywand » 21 May 2007, 17:20

Hi All,

I hope someone can help me.

I want to make up some new swazzles, to try a slightly larger size than I use now. I have the tape, what is the generally accepted metal used for the plates, and where do you get it from?

Any help would be much appreciated

Thanks
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Billy Wand

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Postby billywand » 21 May 2007, 17:23

Hey,

Where's my sausage !
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Postby johnstoate » 21 May 2007, 18:30

Hi, Billy, 'Though I don't use one, (As by now, everybody must be aware!) I have persevered with the darn things in the past. Best metal is supposedly silver. They always used to say that it came from beaten-out two bob bits, But it would have to be pre 1947 to be silver! -Best place to get the pieces you want is your local jeweller, If you ask very nicely they will usually cut & shape for you very reasonably. Otherwise, silly as it sounds. check your local car boot sale for a bit of old silver, (Tankard or the like) after all, you don't need it to be in pristine condition if you're going to cut it up and swallow it! :lol:
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Postby billywand » 21 May 2007, 23:03

Love your comment 'bout cutting it up and swallowing it John

I was not sure what was widely used, I've heard stories of all sorts of stuff being used, from saucepan lids to phone cards.

We have a local "propper" jeweler, rather than a chain store type, so I will take my swazzle in to get the size & thickness right.

Anyone else got any ideas ?
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Postby Chris » 21 May 2007, 23:26

Try this website - Any Questions or the section on making a swazzle. You need silver or german silver (not silver at all). I think thickness is 25 swg.
You can still buy florins from coin dealers.




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Postby billywand » 22 May 2007, 01:17

Thanks Chris,

As the article on the web was written over 20 years ago, I was not sure if silver or german silver was still the stuff to use.

Incidentally the advice on scripting was so usefull, using the audiences reaction to give extra time to change voices. That was what I found difficult at first. Also the advice on how to make everything you swazzle sound clear. Easy, don't swazzle anything you can't. i.e know your limitaions.

Above all, it's just down to practice. I used to, and still do talk along with the T.V. if I've not done Punch for a while. John, it's worth persevering with. Have another go !!
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Postby Peter » 22 May 2007, 10:00

David, would you like to mention Bob Wade here?
Or what about you James?
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Postby johnstoate » 22 May 2007, 11:26

Glad to be of help Billy, As for practice, I think these days it's too late for me! - I'll stick to my clear annunciation. Whilst we're on the subject though, I seem to recall something about a Punchman who had a swazzle built into his dentures!- Anybody got any info' on this?? :)
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Postby CvdC » 22 May 2007, 11:33

http://www.jewel-toolcraft.co.uk/Sterling-Silver-Sheet_B2WKO.aspx
From this company you can buy 0.5mm thick silver for £7.95. for a piece 35x80 which will make 3 swazzles that you cut out using tin snips and file the edges smooth.
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Postby billywand » 22 May 2007, 12:06

Thanks Chris,

I've been in touch with them, and am getting some sent on to me.

The swazzles I use are a bit smaller than the average, if there is such a thing, and sometimes tend to turn in my mouth, so I want to try a bigger size.

I hope you were not too upset about the weather at covent garden, as you made such a long trip to be there. There were some great shows though.

I also hope you managed to meet up with John Styles. I spoke to him last week, and he said you had been e-mailing him. He is always worth seeing.

Have a good journey back if you're still here, and if you are back, hope you enjoyed tour visit.
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Postby Tony James » 22 May 2007, 15:29

If anyone does contemplate using an old coin - florin or two shillings and originally bearing the words 'One tenth of a pound' because it was introduced to form part of a Victorian move towards decimal coinage - then go earlier than John's 1948.

That was when the coinage finally became base cupro-nickle. It was pure silver up to around 1926 after which it was 50% silver 50% cupro-nickle which is unlikely to beat out and bend as would the pure silver.
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Postby Richard Coombs » 22 May 2007, 15:52

John ..yes I had heard that story , some years ago , about a Punchman having his swazzle as part of his dentures too ( but like you cannot remember who told me , or who it was about)

But it did inspire me to put mine onto a dental plate.
Paranoia about swallowing , (or worse 'inhaling' ) a swazzle was, Im sure part of the mental block I had with not mastering it in my childhood and teens when I was first doing Punch.
Over 20 years later , as a 'second-time -around-proff' , a dental plate makes the whole thing very palatable ( punn intended)


Prof James Gordon down in Cornwall works the same way.

I still have all my own teeth , but my dentist was very accomodating about taking an impression in algenate , and pointing me in the direction of the local dental technician who made me four or five at a very reasonable cost.

I drilled a row of fine holes across the throat end of the plate with a dremmel drill , and then stitch my swazzles to the plate.
I find the whole contraption very easy to use.

Im not the worlds clearest swazzler , but I think that will come with the years. But I can change from Punch to other voices at lightning speed.

Incidentally my swazzles are cut from plastic sheet form a model shop , warmed with a heat gun ( a very common DIY tool these days) and presed between two bits of shaped wood to give them the curve. The plastic cools almost instantly , hardening in the proscess , and holding its shape

Im very happy with the results , especially as I can make them very easily and fast myself ( I dont like being reliant on other folk for the supply of stuff , always nice to be able to do it for yourself if you can.)
The same goes for carrying a needle and thread and extra szazzle tape in the mending kit - that way I can always re-tie a swazzle in the the event of an emergency .
I will experiemnt with metal myself soon , to see if I am missing out on tonal quality.

Best Wishes Richard
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Postby Chris » 22 May 2007, 17:27

Tony James may sound authoritative, but he's wrong. He is correct that John was mistaken to quote 1947 but he is also incorrect with 1926. Why not accept the information I gave in the article? I suggested a florin before 1920 because that's when they started adding to the mix, up to then it was sterling silver.
<blockquote>Sterling
Since 1582, British silver coins have been composed of .925 fine silver, i.e. 925 parts silver per 1000, the balance being copper. this is known as sterling silver. This standard was maintained until 1919. Issues earlier than 1582 varied, and will be the subject of an expanded version of this page at a later date.

1920
In 1920, most British silver coins, the halfcrown, florin, and shilling, were debased to .500 fine, that is 50% silver, and 50% copper. Two denominations, the sixpence and threepence were struck in both alloys for 1920. All four maundy coins were still produced in sterling silver during 1920.
</blockquote>

To Richard.

Yes, I too use plastic card - old credit cards in fact - and this bends in hot water.
To John
It was Percy Press (original) who told the story of building a swazzle into his dentures. It didn't work for him and he went back to performing without dentures.

To Billy
That article may have been written 20 years ago, but we are supposed to be preserving a tradition. 20 years is a short enough time in the history of Punch. And the relative safety of the various metals hasn't changed. Of course I do need to add credit-card-plastic to the materials available, but I was deliberately keeping that a secret. Let's not make it too easy?
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Postby Richard Coombs » 22 May 2007, 19:29

Ahh , I didnt realise you were a plastic swazzler too Chris :-)
There's probably more of us about than we realise.

Yes the little sheet of plastic I got from the hobby /model shop in Lichfield is just the same sort as would be used in a credit card , only a thicker guage -about as thick as many of the chunkier metal swazzles I have laid eyes on ( even amoung ourselves there is still a certain shyness about 'getting your swazzle out for the lads' )

Some metal ones Ive seen are quite thin , others are as thick as my plastic ones ( almost twice the thickness of a credit card)

But the sheets of plastic come in many guages , and are used mostly for making houses and sidings for train sets I think? Certainly credit card thickness has the advantage of becoming mouldable in hot water ...I think the thicker stuff might too , if it were in a saucepan of boilingwater. But the heat gun is so simple .

The sheets are about 6 by 4 inches and very inexpensive , so anyone wanting to experiment could try a few different ones , untill they find what suits them.

As with all things swazzle related , I think that seems to be the crucial thing : finding what suits you , be it metal or plastic , large swazzle or small , loose in the mouth , or on cotton(s) or on a dental plate.

Untill you discover your own preference , swazzling will always be a bit of a chore , once you have it all working in your favour , it is less so.

Best Wishes Richard

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Postby johnstoate » 22 May 2007, 22:23

Mmm, interesting Richard, All this talk about plastics and the like, .. I might have another go. This idea of dental plates is intriguing, I have to be honest and admit that I thought it was another of the 'legends'. I make all my own gear, and a dental plate would be an interesting diy. project! :lol:
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