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Finishing Touches

Posted by on December 19, 2010
This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Puppet Theater

An Old Coat Rack

When I was a kid, I used to spend a fair amount of time in the garage playing with my dad’s “tools.” I use quotes because I believe his entire collection consisted of little more than a handsaw, an old bright orange Sears power drill, and a few random screw drivers. Needless to say, he didn’t spend a great deal of time building things — but I made the best use I could of this assortment.  I fondly recall one Christmas cobbling together a coat rack for my parents made of 2×2’s and a few brass wood screws.

This early piece came to mind as I began work on the next phase — a Puppet Tree.

The Puppet Tree

On one of her frequent visits to Costco, my wife discovered a number of sets of hand puppets. Unable to decide on which to buy, she did the only logical thing — and came home with all 32 of them! So naturally we’d need somewhere to put them all. We started discussing where to attach a bin or basket or fabric bag to the theater, but after some Internet searches, we settled on the idea of a rack or tree. Once again I borrowed heavily from a commercially available product, estimating measures from a small graphic. I had some 8/4 Ash left over from a cutting board project that would fit the bill perfectly. I also decided to replace the square base in the commercial model with some feet made of the same Ash arranged in a pinwheel.

Base and center pole

Assembled for finishing

Applying the Finish

Nothing terribly special here, just wiping on a few coats of my current favorite finish: Homer Formby’s Original Tung Oil finish. After using mainly Waterlox and Watco finishes for the past few years, I must say that I’ve grown fond of the results and ease of use of the Homer Formby stuff I can pick up at the blue big box guys. I used to use Waterlox, but the smell of their Tung Oil finish seems to last forever. Pieces finished with this stuff can be moved into the house immediately after it cures without fear poisoning the kids!

Finishing the sides

The front hung out to dry

Intarsia masks applied and finished

Putting it Together

With the final coat of finish dry and sanded out, I decided to put it together and install the curtains Lisa completed and dropped off a few days ago. Yeah, I think it came together well.

Assembled with curtains

RTA hardware installed

A view from backstage

Some theater lighting

I really love how the masks look!

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