Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Right to Bear Arms (The Restoration of Tulip the Bear, Part II)

These are bear arms.
They belong to Tulip the Bear, who has been undergoing restoration.
I'd had to cut & remove the bear arms' old metal joints. New, plastic, movable-joint sets have arrived, but I've been dawdling because I've never reattached jointed bear arms (and legs) before.

Now I have, it turns out to be pretty easy.
Writing "How-To's" is hard, but I do want to keep track of what I did, so I'll give it a go here. 

[For a clearer tutorial, try this article, though it's for metal joints, the principles are the same:]


BELOW: I'd had to open the arm seams wide, to remove the old wood-shaving stuffing, which had become wadded tight.
So, first I  stitched the arms halfway back up.
I made felt washers, BELOW, to pad the plastic joints. (Not sure if this is necessary, but Tulip's fabric is so old, it seemed best to protect it from the hard plastic.)
There were still holes from the old, metal joints––I used an awl to open them fully, then pushed the shaft of the joint through, to attach body and arm, and popped the locking disc on.
NOTE: Only after I did it, did I realize I should have pushed the shaft starting from the arm and INTO THE BODY---(not out into the arm). Luckily it stops before poking out the other side of the arm, but just barely.  
I attached the arms and started to stuff Tulip, but then I had to leave. She looked forlorn, half-done...
 BELOW: This evening, I attached Tulip's legs and finished stuffing her with kapok. This is the first time I've used it, and I had no idea: 
It's silky-soft and feels so, so nice. Good thing, too, since I had to buy 5 pounds of it ($40 worth, on Amazon). It made me realize that polyester stuffing, while it has great bounce, just doesn't feel nice to the touch.
Kapok's also light and floaty (naturally--it's seed-pod fluff), so it's a bit messy, but it's worth it.
BELOW: Restored to rights: clean, stuffed, and fully armed!
I'd decided not to make new paw pads because new material would just show up how fur-bare Tulip is (photos make her look less patchy than she is). 
I'll re-stitch her nose & mouth though.

BELOW: The toys chose Red Hair Girl to be their emissary to formally welcome the restored Tulip. 

I'm proud of myself for restoring what had seemed like a hopelessly dirty and damaged bear. I feel I was working with whoever who made Tulip long ago... I wonder what all has happened to her (and them) since then.

[See also, Part I of the Restoration of Tulip the Bear, and Part III, The Conclusion


gz said...

good work!...should it be the right and left to bear arms?

Fresca said...


Anonymous said...

Before stuffing, Tulip was bearly there!

He looks great and is that a smile I see on his face.


Fresca said...

KIRSTEN: Ha! I do believe that's the hint of a smile appearing on Tulip's face...

deanna said...

Awesome! I've been following Tulip's progress, though I don't often let you know. The toys have fascinating personalities.

Bink said...

Wow!!! Tulip looks great! Fun and enlightening to see your photos. Great idea to use felt to protect the joints. She really has a new lease on life...and looks wonderful.

Marz said...

This is getting very expert!

Morgagaborga said...

Brill, absolutely brill.

Truly,you are the Velveteen Whisperer.

Fresca said...

Thanks, Deanna, bink, Marz, & Maura--
I like to know people are into the story of bear repair. :)

Fresca said...

--From an e-mail from JJ in Japan that I want to save here:
JJ writes:
"There’s a weird tension in your blog, because you make it possible to see the toys you work on as so very alive, and then you show them all dismembered as you work on them! It’s not that it’s gruesome, but there’s this complicated feeling to it, like watching surgery on someone you love and hope pulls through okay."