lazy tongs

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lazy tongs

Postby PROFESSOR BAGGS » 12 Feb 2009, 14:42

Does anybody have the right measurments for lazytongs, mine refuse to close flush. I'm sure somebody told me that the measurments in Edwins book are out, is this right?
Thanks for any help.
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Postby Chris » 12 Feb 2009, 16:10

Yes, the measurements in Edwin's book are incorrect.
What you want is a copy of "The Expanded Frame File" by John Alexander. In it there are not only the plans for George Blake's (the inventor) original but also the Lenz copy. But most valuable of all there is a formula for working out the lengths and positions of the folds. So you can vary the sizes to your heart's content.
Also there are several variations on the original discussed.

Much of the in information is also in the previous "The Frame File" which you can probably pick up second hand.

You can order the book from <a href="http://www.punchandjudyshow.com/contact.htm">John Alexander</a> or possibly from <a href="http://www.puppetbooks.co.uk">Ray DaSilva</a> or <a href="http://www.masksandpuppetbooks.com">The Scottish Mask and Puppet Centre.</a>

Try John first.
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Postby PROFESSOR BAGGS » 12 Feb 2009, 16:43

Thanks, have sent of for copy of frame files today from J Alexander
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Postby Chris » 12 Feb 2009, 17:20

Goodness me! Someone accepting my advice without arguing?
Seriously, you won't be disappointed. It's full of useful bits of info some of which you don't realise you will need. You'll find its a book that you refer to many times over the years if you stick with puppets.
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Postby Professor Eek » 12 Feb 2009, 19:33

I've measured my booth and have it all written down somewhere (in case I need to repair it or perhaps even have a go at building a new one)

Happy to try and find the file if required.
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Postby lesclarke » 12 Feb 2009, 19:45

There are lots of separate pieces in a lazy tongs frame, so lots of MEASURING, MARKING and DRILLING ...don't rush this, as you need to be VERY ACCURATE in your MEASURING, MARKING and HOLE DRILLING for it to close perfectly.

A little bit 'out' her and there means it won't close exactly, so you may end up with some sections that won't close neatly, but done ACCURATELY it all folds down very neatly.
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Postby Chris » 12 Feb 2009, 21:47

But Eek, the whole point of having the magic formula is so that you don't have to go by somebody else's measurements. You can build to any size you prefer and provided you apply the formula, worked out by Bob Sacco I seem to remember, and measure and drill accurately as Les mentions, then all will fold neatly.

Mind you, my lazy tongs, was made to Edwin's plans, and has several holes drilled showing how, by trial and error, I tried to get the damn thing to fold at all. It does now fold, but has "lumps"! It has been adequate though, for the past forty years or so. But I wish there had been The Frame File available at the time.
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lazytongs

Postby PROFESSOR BAGGS » 13 Feb 2009, 14:13

Thanks everybody for the interest in my post, just one more thing, why are the measurements wrong in Edwins book,was it to sell more booths? In fact did Edwin ever sell booths, I cant remember them in supreme catalogues.
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Postby Tony James » 13 Feb 2009, 17:34

Edwin did sell Punch frames but he didn't advertise them.

We had a discussion here about Edwin and Punch figures a year or two back. Edwin had first started advertising figures for sale in the late 60s and those are well documented.

Years ago I had asked through my writings in Abracadabra if that was the beginning of Edwin's selling of figures and was assured by sources close to Edwin at the time that the Joe Parsonage era was the start. About 1968.

In our discussions here Chris corrected this because Edwin had been selling Wal Kent figures in the late 1950s. Of course Wal wanted paying - and promptly which was not Edwin's style. Eventually, but not promptly, so presumably these were commission sales.

Curiously, in Edwin's Magic, a series of autobiographical volumes written and published shortly before he died, Edwin made no mention of selling Wal Kent figures. It was Wal's figures Edwin had used himself at Woolacombe Sands in his early days. Indeed Edwin said he should have had a framed picture of Punch at 64 High Street bearing the title 'Our Founder' because he reckoned it was his earnings from Punch (rather than magic) that funded his business.

Anyway, Edwin also sold frames on a similar basis. I tried desperately to buy a frame in January/February 1973. Everyone I approached said 'their' frame maker was ill. Oscar Oswald, Bob Wade, Edwin, I forget who else. They were all using the same frame maker. Anybody know who this was? I've got it in my mind that the person was located around Reading or somewhere close by in Berkshire. I may be quite wrong.

Edwin even offered me his old frame which he warned me was big and very heavy. I was flying so I really needed lightweight. The same maker also made Edwin's Cabaret Puppet Theatre which was simply a square open top frame with an up-stand at the back to form a backing and an inward facing playboard. But he had none of those either. For some reason he did advertise that frame in his catalogues.

I was told that when Edwin published Hallo Mr Punch in 1963 it caused a stir amongst P&J workers because it made public aspects they would have preferred to keep secret and there was much unhappiness about it.

I have never understood this. Hallo Mt Punch revealed nothing much more than had already been revealed ten and twenty years previously by Sidney de Hempsey. First with 'How to do P&J' and then his later series around 1953 - a sort of modernised and revised re-write - in the Magic Circular entitled Practical P&J. John Alexander republished this as a booklet in 1992.

I couldn't see why anyone in the business would have been excited in that sense by Hallo Mr Punch. It had all been said before.

The material quality of Hallo Mr Punch was more modern and very practical but no more revealing - unless you count the detailed frame plans and illustrations!!

However, when it came to 'booths' all Edwin did was to describe four types and illustrate one..

1. The Permanent Fit-Up. A seaside, rigid, prefabricated booth. No illustration of this.

2. Traditional. Described simply as based on the 'lazy-tongues' (note the spelling!) style and with a waterproof cover. That's all.

3. A drawing Room Fit-Up which turns out to be the Cabaret Puppet Theatre with added recommendation, so typical of Edwin:

A fit-up, exact to our own model is now made by Supreme Magic Co., under the title of 'The Cabaret Puppet Theatre'. It is recommended as really first class.

4. Finally, Edwin described in detail The Standard Frame. Quite how this was supposed to be different to The Traditional Frame wasn't ever clear to me. There followed six pages of illustrations and plans.

This lazy tongs was really a copy of what Edwin had used himself (possibly a scaled down copy) and so was, indirectly, a lift of the drawings and explanation from George Blake's original plans from 1946. They were re-drawn and made to look different and presumably it was this re-drawing that caused the problems.

Maybe it was carelessness, maybe due to simplifying things (and to avoid any accusations of copying) and omitting certain dimensions which caused confusion or perhaps it was due to a deliberate change of the dimensions of Edwin's own very big frame in order to reflect a smaller and more practical size which caused errors to creep in. We'll never know.

When I later found out how difficult it was to make the frame fold I was relieved not to have attempted to make the thing in the first place. Chris's explanation of drilling and trying and re=drilling sounds exactly as it was described to me all those years ago.

What I find interesting is that right from the start Edwin Hooper was a very pushy salesman. He rarely missed an opportunity to promote something else on the back of the matter in hand. Anyone who wrote anything for Edwin was subject to footnotes such as:

'Supreme Magic Co. slapsticks are the very finest quality.'

He never let an opportunity pass!

If you read Hallo Mr Punch Edwin promotes only two things: the puppet theatre I mentioned and Monty, a glove puppet monkey. He had bought quite a stock of them.

In fact, read the script and see how the Doctor has been cut and the monkey inserted, together with an aside promoting the virtue of purchasing one - from Supreme, naturally!!!

No references to Punch figures other than to advise buying from a dealer rather than attempt to make your own. It reflected de Hempsey's change of mind from 'How to' where making was detailed to the Practical P&J series where Sidney advised purchasing rather than making.

Of course, by 1963 Wal Kent had been dead three years and presumably Edwin hadn't found another maker prepared to supply. Edwin would take volumes of stock but wasn't ever quick to pay.

Maybe his reluctance to become involved in frames had a similar foundation but it doesn't explain why he advertised the Cabaret frame.
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Postby Chris » 13 Feb 2009, 19:36

In Trixigram, on at least one occasion, there was a photograph of someone with a Punch booth and a letter thanking Edwin for the puppets and the booth which had started the buyer on the Road to Punch. Probably it wouldn't be worth keeping any in stock but doubtless he would arrange to order.
Of course Supreme did at one time, advertise the Eric Sharp booths.

The reason that I know Edwin sold Wal Kent puppets is that I handled some and bought one from him at an early Blackpool Convention. Also, when we had this conversation on this board, in its first incarnation, someone sent me a photo copy of Edwin's invoice selling some Wal Kent figures to the chaps father.

I don't think Wal Kent ever regularly made for Edwin. Those he sold he may well have acquired through other dealers - Jack Hughes maybe. Anyway it matters not a jot. Certainly nobody did more than Edwin to boost the name of Wal Kent as the doyen of Punch makers. Give me Jack Whitehead any day.
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Postby CvdC » 15 Feb 2009, 21:55

Baggs send me your address I have a video of your show from last year's May Fayre.

As it happens I am making a booth for someone at this time. The booth I am making is 910 mm wide(Which is a yard), the height of the lazy tongs is 500mm. I now keep that distance because I have to step over it at the back of the booth. Not getting any younger. The uprights are 24mm square hardwood. So the width from centre to centre is 886mm. An old Greek will tell you what the hypoteneuse of that is, but I have it as 1016. This makes my short lengths 258 and long lengths 758 measured from hole centres. It pays to measure twice always and use a centre punch to ensure the hole is exactly in position. I have been using 20 x 3 mm aluminium bar for this booth as I have found wood breaks. The pivoting parts are riveted together and bolted to the wooden uprights. The tongs should move freely, which makes erecting the booth easy.

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Postby lesclarke » 15 Feb 2009, 22:57

The tongs should move freely - but a little friction is useful, otherwise, after you've unfolded the base section and turn to pick up the next section, it can easily all fold in on itself. I use bolts and self-locking nyloc nuts, giving easily adjustable tension.

The little bit of friction keeps it all position. I mention this because some while back I rember someone seemed to suggest that bearings, from the model areo hobby could possibly make the folding action super smooth, but this is not an advantage.


... as ChrisS has said before... "I'ts friction that makes the world go round."
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Postby CvdC » 15 Feb 2009, 23:25

Les I know what you mean. I just find it hard to maintain the right degree of friction. (Which is why my world either spins out of control or grinds to a stop)
I have been thinking about cutting a slice of rubber (or plastic) tubing that when squashed fits over the tongs. With this you could then slide it down over the joint between the small and long length to hold it in place.
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Postby Tony James » 16 Feb 2009, 03:43

I wonder what George Wallman used - if anything - to lock the lazy tongs of his aluminium frames.

When I was a very young child we had an old garden shelter, wood frame and canvas cover which was lazy tongs. Now the tongs bits had a metal piece attached which created a lip that overhung the strip at the join preventing the joint from opening up till you pulled at it. Does that make sense?

Then we bought a modern shelter which was made of green painted steel and that too had a lip bit to prevent movement. Except this lip was not an addition. It had been formed from the flat steel bar. Anyway, like the wooden one when you pushed the joint down it stayed in place.

Rather than have to to keep remeasuring for the holes, wouldn't a simple jig be easier? Something to hold the strip and a jig piece, pre-drilled to lay on and make the marks?

Just a thought from one who carefully measures, checks and remeasures and checks again and STILL manages to get it wrong!!!
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Postby Chris » 16 Feb 2009, 13:38

<blockquote><img src="images/tongue.gif" width="200" align="right"><br><br><br><br><br>This is one way to do it when using aluminium slats. I imagine that this is similar to that which Tony is describing. Sorry the drawing is crappy - my graphic skill with a laptop touchpad is limited, but I think the idea is clear.<br clear="right"></blockquote>
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