Puppet Theater #5: Finishing Touches

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Blog entry by Patrick Jaromin posted 12-19-2010 04:36 PM 8163 reads 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: The Intarsia Comedy/Tragedy Masks Part 5 of Puppet Theater series Part 6: Opening Night! »

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

[originally posted at]

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!

[originally posted at]

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

4 comments so far

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2539 posts in 3952 days

#1 posted 12-19-2010 05:32 PM

Beautiful! I really love the masks..great choice of woods. The finish looks great too. I never thought the Forbys would be as fool proof..I will have to try it on a project. I want to see the puppet pole with the puppets!


View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 3818 days

#2 posted 12-19-2010 05:38 PM

The kids are going to love this Pat, it came out great. Can’t wait for the first production…WC

View Patrick Jaromin's profile

Patrick Jaromin

405 posts in 3828 days

#3 posted 12-19-2010 10:34 PM

Thanks so much all!

Brad—I finished the tree this morning and can’t wait to load it up on Christmas eve…definitely will be posting picks of the tree/puppets when I post the completed project.

Wilson—you’ll just have to stop on by…I can probably get you a comp!

Thanks, Autumn. I’m definitely planning on incorporating intarsia into future projects…it’s very satisfying.

-- Patrick, Chicago, IL

View Grumpy's profile


23916 posts in 3846 days

#4 posted 12-20-2010 01:37 AM

Excellent job Patrick.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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