File puptcrit/puptcrit.0606, message 53

Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2006 08:21:22 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Marionette Stringing advice?

--- wrote:

> In "Strings", the actual strings were metaphors, as
> you know.   To get a 
> clean look, drill a 1/32 inch hole in the wood (or
> celastic or plastic 
> wood...whatever) insert the string with a bit of
> glue, drive   a toothpick to hold it, 
> and break off the excess.   The string will hold for
> years..and years.   jim 
> Gamble

So, do you attach a metaphorical string any
differently? By the way, I think Jim had a typo. My
memory of building with him is that he seet his
strings in 5/64" holes, but he may have moved to
3/32". Is that so Jim? Pretty hard to get a 1/32"
drill bit.

While Jim's technique works great for live shows, I
would not recommend it for film. Re-Stringing would
often mean re-drilling, and then re-gluing, and
finally re-painting to cover up the cut off end of the
tooth pick. I think it would be great to find out what
they used for Strings", but in the mean time, I will
pass on what was done on Team America. On the head
strings, they used 3 screw eyes for side of head, and
back of head, hidden in the hair. The front of head
string was always right at the hairline, so a screw
eye would have shown, so they put a thin brass tube
into the forehead, that bent around to the side of the
head, where there was another screw eye mounted for
the tie off. On the body, where screw eyes would have
shown through the costumes, they devised an
interesting method. they took very fine music wire,
bent it with needlenose pliers into a small staple
shape. Then they counter-sunk it into the appropriate
part of the body by drilling 2 parallel holes for the
legs of the staple, and then making a slot with a cut
off wheel on a dremel; this allows the staple to sit
flush. Before gluing the staple in, they took another
smaller cutter and cut a small trough for the string
to go under the staple. Then the staple was set in
with Krazy Glue. I was amazed that in the months of
shooting, only one of these fell out, across the 60 or
so marionettes, and daily re-costuming and stringing.
I don't think we ever glued the knot on the strings,
just learn to tie good knots and leave enough tail.

Greg Ballora
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