File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 484

To: <>
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2009 21:35:34 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Mr. Punch head - 'work in progress'

He's totally a Punch Head. You gave him enough sadistic glee mixed in with 
the impishness.
Congrats!  The only thing I'd be worried about is the top of the head. I 
know many trad Punch puppets have barely any cranium to speak of, but I 
think that's just because Punch was made by so many sculptors who didn't 
have proper anatomy notions. It's your decision to go more trad or more 
anatomically correct.

Some people will argue that it doesn't matter, if your Punch will have a 
hat, but from experience, I know too small a cranium makes it difficult to 
install a hat, even with glue.

Alice wrote:
>I like him very much. I just hope the papier-mache will not be too fragile
> for the rough-and-tumble (is he a display piece, or a performing piece?).
> Even  wooden Punch heads look well chewed after a few years.
> Cheers,
> Alice

Paper mache can easily be made extremely strong and durable.
Actually, mine is much stronger than wood.
I use coffee filters and outdoor carpenter's glue.
Together, these materials form a very strong and stiff laminate.
Final stiffness can only be judged starting 24 or 48 hours after it first 
feels dry to the touch.
To be sure, I recommend using at least 8 layers (I never count the toilet 
paper layer), and preferably more, for a perfoamrnce punch. I would go past 
15 though (weight).
10 should be more than fine.

When you apply the paper mache in the mold (whatever mold material you've 
chosen), the first layer should be toilet paper )laid loosely in there) and 
water(sprayed), squished into details with a soft but firm brush (slightly 
wetted in water container). I use a hogs bristle brush for this.
I just add enough toilet paper to make it very white and opaque, no more.
When I feel the whole thing is covered, I squeeze a very thirsty sponge in 
there, to remove as much water as possible. I especially pay attention to 
deep details, such as the nose and chin.
Then I let the toilet paper semi-dry. Then I gently paint a layer of the 
diluted carpenter's glue to hold everything down, and let that dry fully. 
Then I can proceed, stress-free, with the first layer of coffee filters. 
That layer and the next should be the neat layers, of very small pieces, to 
conform to all the details. The smaller, the less wrinkles. The other layers 
can be made less perfect, since they are beneath the "skin". To go faster, 
apply the glue in the mold, not on the individual pieces in your hand.
Each piece should be rubbed down with the same brush.
When a layer is semi dry, rub it with a smooth hard tool, to remove air 
bubbles and make a tight lamination.

Some people like to squish some pasted paper into the deep details. I used 
to do that too, but not before the 4th layer is dry (to avoid warping).  I 
no longer do that, as even with the 4th layer precaution, I still had some 
light wearping.  Amd the 8-10 layers is more than strong enough.

David, what kind of lacquer would you recommend for this?
When you tried it, was your glue a PVA, or a natural food-type?
Would shellac be ok? (White or Orange?)

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