Iâ€™m pretty much done with the lion frame! There are a few pieces of bamboo I want to add and some fins to modify. I also need to make the ears and lip, but other than that, the frame is finished.
After finishing the fins last week, I decided to repair the cross brace inside the lion and install a pulley system for the blinking eyes. Installing the pulley system was actually a really helpful tip given to me by my mentor, Corey Chan, many years ago, but Iâ€™ve started seeing pulley systems being installed in lions made by Emplion. The pulleys reduce friction between the wire loops and rope, which in turn prevents the eye-blinking ropes from snapping during a performance. It also allows for a faster, sharper blink. At 2-3 dollars a pulley, itâ€™s a really good investment.
Next, I started working on rebuilding the mouth. Since the mouth was practically nonexistent when I got the lion frame, I had a really hard time trying to figure out the proportions and measurements. In the end, I decided to just wing it and rebuild the mouth by improvisation. It turned out okay, so Iâ€™m glad!
I decided to use rattan for some pieces of the mouth, since some of the bends would have been a little harsh for the thick bamboo strips. Plus, I had a whole coil of rattan lying around! Hereâ€™s something I figured out though: cutting a small groove in the rattan will keep it from slipping while binding. It also increases the surface area of contact, which Iâ€™m assuming would give a stronger joint. I only cut a groove for the more important joints that are prone to slipping, since itâ€™s quite time consuming to do it for every single joint.
Lastly, the nose was rebuilt. This was a lot more confusing than I was expecting. To make matters worse, the original nose shape turned out to be really weird, so I wonâ€™t be using it as a template for the next build. I kept it for this lion frame though since I worked so hard on it and was recycling bamboo strips from the old nose.
*edit* 7/22/2013 @6:45pm *edit*
Here’s a side view of the completed frame. By the way, some people are probably wondering what those black marks are on the joints. I use this marking system to keep track of which joints have been coated with glue and which joints are fresh.