Welcome to the wierd and wonderfull world of Punch.
I think the American Punch show may differ a little to the British show, but there is one book I would whole heatedly reccomend to any one starting Punch. It covers probably the most important thing, understanding the nature of the show, as well as performance, scripting, making puppets, props and theatre, as well as swazzling. In fact all you need to know about the modern Punch show. The name of the book...... not telllin' you......only kidding it is "Successful Punch and Judy" by Prof Glyn Edwards. Available from Ray DaSilva Puppet Books.
Lots of good advice re swazzle hygene. I keep mine in a little cloth drawstring bag, which a rather posh watch came in. Every now and then I rinse it in whiskey. Each to thier own!!
As far as slapsticks go, also lots of good advice. Chris's drawing shows the best type, a "double ender". While one character holds it he can slap the other, then when that character grabs it from him he can slap the first using the hitting end as a handle....you know what I mean !!
I am working on some magic props in my workshop at the moment, so as a gift from one side of the pond to the orher I will make you one and send it on.
Remember nothing is foolproof to a very determined fool