Lion Brothers Project – The Beginning

The Lion Brothers project started in early June with the restoration/rebuild of a damaged frame that I got from a friend. I started by remounting the handlebars onto the base rim with plastic cable ties. Originally, the handlebars were attached by two pieces of wire with a thickness of around 14-16 gauge. Although this method holds the handlebars really securely initially, the hardness of the wire eventually digs into the softness of the wooden handlebars, loosening them from the base rim. Since plastic is much softer than metal, I opted for the cable ties instead. Also, the width of the cable ties spreads the force of the attachment over a larger surface area than the wires, which should minimize them from digging into the wood. Not to mention, plastic doesn’t rust like metal does.

Base rim with handlebars reattached.

There are two more things noticeable about the base rim. First, it is asymmetrical. I was thinking of ways to make it symmetrical again but couldn’t come up with anything. I decided to move on and hope for the best. So far, the asymmetry hasn’t given me any problems. Second, the corners were really thin compared to the rest of the base rim. I wrapped them with two layers of sports tape and brushed a layer of glue on it. Hopefully, this is enough reinforcement to keep the corners from cracking.

After the handlebars were mounted, I proceeded to reattach the rest of the frame onto the base rim. One of my mentors once told me that the key to a solid attachment is actually the vertical strips of bamboo folding back up around the base rim. Unfortunately, they were all broken off already. I improvised and used a second piece of bamboo to wrap around the vertical strips and base rim. Lots of sports tape and glue held everything in place.

Frame reattached to the base rim.

Because the mouth area was so damaged, I had to take off the nose to repair the mouth. The nose itself is actually damaged too, so I might just end up making a whole new nose for this lion.

Nose off for mouth repairs.

Repairing the mouth area is still not finished as of today. It’s pretty challenging since I have no reference/template to work off of. I had to look for hints of old attachment points, different lengths and areas of crossing, etc. Of course, there was also a lot of guesswork involved. I eventually got four of the main mouth supports on.

Mouth supports attached.

Next, I took off the left gill to repair the side of the mouth. Since the gill was off, I tightened all of the joints and added three fins to it.

Left gill off for mouth repairs.

Left gill with three new fins.

That’s it for now! More updates coming soon.

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