We all use different techniques to create our bears but the best part about this group is having so many ways to choose from and experiment with. And chances are that by trying them all out, you'll find the method that's just right for you and that makes bearmaking even more fun and rewarding.
Daphne has done a great job of presenting the 'how to's' of using set screws...so I thought I'd start another thread explaining using bolts and locnuts.
I used to use the bolts and locnuts without gluing...and was always frustrated when jointing as it was too much of a wangle with a screwdriver in one hand and a ratchet in the other. It used to take me up to an hour to joint a bear this way. Now I can do it in 10 to 15 mins, and I actually enjoy it.
So now I use the glue method and will stick with it (no pun intended :wacko:). I have tried the set screws and came back to the glued nuts and bolts. No offence to those of you who sing the praises of set screws...as I said, we all do it differently. For me personally it was just too finicky trying to do up set screws inside the body...I had to have an opening the size of a house to get my hands in there to hold both the allen key and ratchet. And you have to keep putting the whole kaboodle down to check for tightness. Too much bother...but hey, maybe I was doing it wrong.
I use 5 minute Araldite which is a two part epoxy. You can now get 1 min stuff but thats a bit fast for me. I find with the 5 minute stuff that I can put the joint in the body part within about 10 mins of glueing it, but I wait a couple of hours before doing up the bolts, to wait for ultimate strength.
For those of you who have no idea what gluing joints is all about...
Take your five discs (1 head, two arms, 2 legs) and thru each one, slide a washer and bolt, but don't slide 'em all the way down.
Mix up a decent amount of two part epoxy the fast set stuff.
Holding your bolt and disk so the disc, washer ensemble hangs down,carefully smear glue around the base of the washer and in between the washer and bolt head.(be careful not to get it on the thread of the bolt).
Slide the disc down onto the washer and spin the bolt a little bit just to distribute the glue more. Smear more glue over and around the hardware, making sure to get a decent amount on the disc. Don't be under generous with the glue here...if you don't use enough glue the glue may separate from the hardware as you tighten the disc. This has only ever happened to me once and I discovered afterwards that not only was I miserly with the glue...but I remembered that the glue was getting a bit tacky by the time I did this joint...so I should have used fresher stuff. I have made heaps of bears since this accident and have never had another break.
Place right way up on a cake rack to dry. The glue will go 'off' within a minute or two.
When ready to assemble the bear, place the disc set into the limb with bolt sticking out, stuff the limb and close opening.
When attaching to body, assemble as per usual with another disc, washer and locnut inside body.
Now the easy bit that makes it all worthwhile. Grip the disc that is inside the limb and hold it whilst you use the ratchet to tighten the locnut. I find that if I keep tightening until I feel that first bit of resistance in the locnut, then the disc is about tight enough. I stop and manoever the arm and if necessary, I tighten the screw by half a turn at a time until the limb feels just right.
Something that is important to note is that it is far easier to get all your limbs evenly tightened if the limbs are stuffed before attaching to the bear. Why? Because you have something solid to grip and you get a better sense of what feels right. It's very difficult to judge joint tightness when you are contorting a piece of 'empty' mohair...not to mention the fact that it puts a great deal of stress on your seams to do it this way.
If you make a locnut too tight, you cannot loosen it as it will strip the rubbery thread from the nut...you'll need to grab another and start again. That's why it saves stress if the limbs are stuffed first and you take it half a turn at a time when it's getting firmer.
Another plus for stuffing joints before jointing is that you can have them side by side to keep them looking the same. And when you joint them onto the bear, you can see whether they are too high, too low, unevenly spaced. plus...you don't have the bulk of the other parts getting in the way when trying to close the seam.
All this sounds quite time consuming...but I can do it quicker than the time it took me to type it. The secret is to do enough for a couple of bears at a time...just make sure that as soon as your glue starts going tacky that you mix up a fesh lot. :rose:
If anyone is totally and utterly confused and you need pics...just yell and I'll see what I can do.
Glue? Prep time? Time to dry? Little ol' impatient me could never be bothered! Also, can't squeeze pliers that hard on the end of the bolt to turn locnut. Strips bolt and really bad for those with hand problems.
You can loosen locnuts a turn or two without stripping the plastic sleeve inside.
I like to stuff after I've attached the limbs to the body so as to stuff in such a way the shoulder or 'hip' doesn't stick out too much or lay too flat. I Never have a problem positioning joints on the body, all limbs come out even. Just have to know how to do it I guess.
It's neat that there are so many options out there and that we don't all do it the same. Keeps things interesting.
Hayley...I use the glue method too...mainly because I find it so much easier and neater to close the seams before they are attached to the bear. Also I found it stops the drift to the left or right that you sometimes get because of holding the bear in a certain way while it's stuffed.
My husband or my dad, do me a 100 or so bolt/disc sets so we always have a big box full...of different sizes ready to use. They don't take long to do (especially as I'm not doing them...!!!)and I find life so much easier now.
I use super-glue...but we use the gel type. The ordinary liquid one can run down the thread of the bolt and make tightening impossible. The trick with super-glue (so I was told by a cabinet maker) is to use very little...because by using a small amount you glue surface to surface...and not glue to glue when you put loads on...which becomes glassy and brittle when you try to tighten it. I used to have them break (which is a nuisance) but now they never do...
I use a nut-driver to tighten the nut....dead easy..has a 'T' shaped handle so it is gentle on the hands.
Oh for pity sake...
Isn't it bad enough that I spend too much time gushing over mohair and such...now I have to try two different kinds of joints to figure out what I like and can manage...isn't anything simple anymore?
Going back and reading it sounds like I'm getting stoned...maybe I should and THEN decide. NO.....kidding here...just kidding...
Once you've made a heap of bears to your own designs, getting limb placement isn't a problem, but when you are new at it...it can be a major headache...so that tip was kinda directed more at helping those who are still a little overwhelmed but it. :lol:
I haven't heard of using pliers to tighten locnuts...I use a T shaped handle rachet like Jenny uses....very easy on the hands.
You can loosen locnuts a turn or two without stripping the plastic sleeve inside.
If I turn a locnut back even half a turn after tightening it....and then manouever the arm..it will be looser. Then if I try to tighten it a tad again, and then manouever the arm again...it goes loose again. That's my experienece anyway. But hey, whatever works for you...isn't that the TT motto!
Jenny..I used to use super glue to glue them..but that was before I knew there was gel super glue...and once or twice I made a dreadful mess with the stuff dripping down the thread...not pretty! I must try the gel, I did by some for eyelids.
I'd be really interested to hear how your hubby/dad cut the discs. I have heard a few people from the USA say they do this but I think you must have different tools to what we have here.
We use a holesaw...but unfortunately as we go down in size, we are unable to alter the size of the drill bit and so end up with holes too big in the centre. I have the right attachment to make 40mm discs..but that's all. I would like to be able to make our own as I sell quite a few through my Bear Cupboard website and find it difficult to compete with the 'supply giants' when it comes to discs as they have greater buying power. So far, I've decided that the only way I can make the holes smaller is to have a special jig made so the holesaw can be fitted with a smaller drill bit. I'd appreciate any advice on this.
Jane was it you who mentioned on another thread that you have had a disc/bolt set break off? Maybe you need to use more glue?? I use a ton more and haven't had that problem. From the pics you posted there isn't much glue there. Then again, if you are using superglue...you wouldn't expect to see much.
Shantell This is a good thing.....and you will cope. Wait until you're feeling experimental!
Wasn't me who had one break. But I do know of someone who did have one break on them. I use a very strong glue called ProBond. It works great and no mixing like the epoxy which I could never get right!! I looked for the gel superglue and couldn't find it. I will have to have another look for it.
OK, I'm not trying to be the devil's advocate here but I'm not sold on this method for so many reasons. :twisted: I know you'll all have me sold on it by the time you are done with me.
So, you glue the end of the bolt to the washer or to the disc or to both? Some how something has to be glued to the disc if you are going to hold that disc that's in the limb to tighten the locnut on. What the heck am I missing here?
Next, what does the t-handled tool look like? Picture please??
Then, do we know just how long that glue will actually hold? Especially if glued to a hardboard disc.
And I'm guessing then, that disc inside the limb never moves so won't there be friction on the limb material as it slides against the disc when moving that limb?
Hayley, I've read your instructions so many times.... what am I missing????? Help!
I'll be gluing some this arvo so I'll take some pics.
Yes...you glue the washer to the bolt and also to the disk...all in one go.
How do we know the glue will hold in future? Dunno...how do we know sunscreen won't kill ya in 50 years.
I figure the main task of the glue is to hold the disc until the nut is tightened.
My ratchet isn't actaully T shaped...it's got a handle like a screwdriver. Will take pics of that too...stay tuned. :)
Oh and Daph...I'm not trying to convert you...ya gotta do what you find easiest. I get stressed trying to use set screws..you love 'em. Okey dokey? :hug:
Well, hasn't sun screen been around for 50 years yet? I guess once the joint is together it doesn't matter as you said!
I just want to totally understand this is all! It was 3 years of only tapbolts before I tried set screws.. It's nice to have options because I get bored of the same ol' ... ! :whistle:
It was Jenny with the t-shapped handle.... sorry!
So, what about the material that rubs against the disc? Aren't I a pain???
Dear Pain :angel:
Doesn't the material rub against the disc no matter which method you use?? I know some people add a circle of fabric between the disc and the mohair on boths sides..but I don't..mainly cos I figure with collector bears, they aren't going to get their arms moved back and forth repeatedly like the old steiffs that were actually played with.
I'm almost too scared to ask this...but....what is a tapbolt exactly? Other names for them??
Here's the T shape nut driver. They come in different sizes for different size nuts. I buy 2 sizes of nuts and bolts because the hole in the disc is often too big for the standard so we get the bigger size.
We don't cut our own discs.....what's the point..they are pretty cheap to buy. I buy bags of 100 of all the sizes I use. Then we glue up the disc/washer/bolt sets in big lots so we always have a ready supply.
Like you say it doesn't matter about the glue holding once the joint is tightened up.
It does sound complicated but honestly it's much simpler this way.
Ted Mentens book Bear Studio shows how to do it. It's a doddle!!
Thaks for the pics!! I've ben wanting to get one of Ted Menten's books. he's a 'Gluer', huh??
Well, if the disc isn't glued in place it moves with the limb when you turn it... in MY experience! :lol:
I am sooooooooo for jointless bears at this point.
Well, off to joint my last bear for my show this weekend. Then time to pack so I won't be a PAIN anymore!
(I hear you all breathing sighs of relief!)
I do understand this glue concept now and will keep it in mind! Thank you, thank you! :hug:
I prefer using the glued joints method - the limb can be completed finished and only one tool is needed for the tightening. The problem with this method for me was that I was hearing the dreaded "snap" all too often. I had an awful time with the glue holding. For this reason I started using set screws. I came up with the perfect compromise. I use set screws but glue them on to the disc like it would the machine screws. If I hear the "Snap" instead of having to open everything up and redo it I just use the allen wrench to hold the screw while I tighten.
We used to get the problem of the 'snap' ...but when we started using the gel type superglue, coupled with using less of it so we are glueing surface to surface instead of glue to glue...it hardly ever happens these days....the last time I had one snap must be last year.....touch wood!! This way I only have to use one tool to tighten the nut.
(Not intentionally using the Royal 'we'....my dad and husband glue the joint sets for me!!!)