A Pelham Puppet Repair

We have a slightly unusual repair in our workshop. It is a Pelham Puppet with a broken jaw/cheek. Fortunately we have all the pieces. The best guess as to this puppets age is about 30 years. The company was started in 1947. Given its likely age we’d consider this a heritage piece. One of our workshop volunteer’s sister had just such a puppet in the late 1960’s.

Holding odd shaped pieces whilst gluing up can be a challenge. Here there are two pieces that are being glued. Once fitted together gravity is enough to keep them together. But of course the pieces have to be supported at the right angle, and to do this whilst gluing they are supported by a piece of BluTac.

Once dry the the missing piece is jiggled into position. In this instance the piece is ‘dropped’ into the head cavity and then raised up from inside to fit. However the difficulty is that there’s no way fingers or a tool can be inside the head to raise the jaw/cheek into place. The answer is to attach a cotton thread behind the ear which can be used to pull the joint shut.

We’ve used PVA adhesive mixed with a powder filler. The excess glue/filler is cleaned off with a small piece of sponge. This PVA/filler mix will allow sanding & blending into the required facial contours.

Once it’s all in position tension has to be kept on the suspending thread until the glue/filler has dried. To do this the puppet is suspended by the thread. There’ll be more on this as the project progresses.