Saturday, 31 March 2007

Head first.

Ever wish you'd started at the beginning? I've been in my sewing room, working on my new bear again this afternoon. I thought I'd share his progress with you after the nose pics suddenly inspired a sense of direction for my blog and after taking yet more photos on my trusty digicam today, it dawned on me that I hadn't shown you how to insert his eyes! So, my apologies for that ommission, but as I confessed in an earlier post, I do tend to have a bit of a butterfly mind on occasion. Maybe I'll flit back to eyes another time ...

Before we get started on fixing the head to the body, here's a pic of the tools I'll be using. I like to use two separate pairs of pliers for jointing, a round nose pair and a flat nose pair. The joints for this bear are traditional hardboard discs held in place with split pins and washers in the head and arms. I use nuts and bolts in the legs for extra strength. You can see a stuffing stick in the photograph, which is self explanatory, a tape measure and a thin headed chisel, which I use to make the holes in the hardboard discs slightly larger to accommodate heavy duty split pins and bolts. The phillips screwdriver and ratchet thingy are to tighten to nuts and bolts. I'll explain the wadding when we get to assembling the arms and legs.

Now, that's the boring bit done, so let's get to the good stuff ...

Head first!

Oops, just realised I forgot to include the awl in the tools photograph .. good job I'm not writing a book here!

This bear will have his head attached using a traditional method of jointing.

I use the pointy end of the awl to make a small hole in the centre seam of the bear's chest, about quarter of an inch from where it meets the back. This is where the bear's head will be inserted.

Here I'm inserting the split pin at the base of the bear's head into the hole I just made with the awl.

This bear is going to need a 2.5" hardboard disc to give his head the right amount of support. Here I'm slotting the disc over the split pin which is now poking through into the bear's body.

I've added a steel washer over the split pin to protect the disc before I use the round nose pliers to begin tightly curling one side of the pin.

I find the flat nosed pliers work best to finish curling the split pin securely.

Once it's curled tightly on one side of the pin. I repeat the process on the other. It's important to get this as tight as possible to hold the head steady for years to come.

And it really is as simple as that! Freddie's head is now securely attached to his body and he's waiting patiently for his arms and legs ...


  1. Paula, I am soooo excited about your blog!!! You are so full of energy to do this along with all of your wonderful bears. As I always tell you, I absolutely love your bears. Your ramblings are great as it makes it easy to get to know you and the photos make me feel like we are in the same room. Will you please consider showing us how to wax a nose? Thank you so much Paula! Pat

  2. How lovely to hear from you Pat! I'm so pleased you're enjoying my blog. Starting the assembly photo diary has made me realise there are lots of things I haven't covered, for example cutting out and sewing the bear! I think I'll come back to those at a later date and of course, I'd be happy to show you my nose waxing technique .. I'll try to remember my digicam next time I get the wax out!

  3. I'm coming late to this blog but just had to say how much I'm enjoying seeing your work & going thru' all the various posts! I'm just getting started back to creating bears after a medical thing took me away from it. I had forgotten how thoroughly I enjoyed doing it & creating 'new friends'.

    I especially love seeing this post regarding tools of the trade because I always kept a journal for each bear created & would give the 'adopter' a copy with their new bear.

    I did want to ask about pliers vs cotter pin turner since I've moved to using one of those my second time around & do find it easier to tighten the joints. I'd be interested in hearing if you'd ever tried one & your feelings about them!

    Looking forward to hearing more here...this is a beautiful site! ♥


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