Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Brr Bear Renovation Project - Deconstruction process

We've been talking about Brr Bear and his proposed treatment in the ColdhamCuddlies Soft Toy Clinic (Etsy Listing #79124185) in several posts during the last few days:  so, here is the first post about the actual process.

This is what he looked like upon arrival in the Clinic towards the end of July this year.  The delay in starting his treatment has been due to the fabric supplier for his new coat being on vacation the whole of August, and because there were other patients already in the Clinic undergoing treatment.  Therapy is offered strictly on a first-cum-first-served basis, or strictly in order of arrival.

Brr Bear sitting in Tommy Teddy's lap, both  being welcomed by Cy Bear
The first step was to send an ear off to Susan at Bear Basics to see if she was able to match his existing coat.  It's a little worn, but not nearly as bad as Ed Ted when he arrived in the clinic in early July.  By the way, Tommy Teddy is a Morrell Bear, who has been in the family since the early 1970's.  He's travelled to Western Canada and back to the UK, and even went to Belgium for a spell while my elder daughter was working there, so can be described as a "well-travelled" toy.  He was an interesting pale apricot and blue bear when new and has been sent to see if he can have a complete make-over so that he doesn't continue to let down the Bear Team back in the UK.  He arrived here at much the same time as Brr Bear, and his ear was sent off at the same time to Bear Basics.  Alas his coat match is proving more difficult to achieve.  Bear Basics has nothing to offer, but am very pleased to say that a piece of  Steiff Shulte 17mm Old Cream Windswept Finish Mohair fabric is ready and waiting to be used to renovate Brr Bear and give him a new long-term future.  Meanwhile, the search to complete Tommy Teddy's treatment goes on - with some light at the end of the tunnel, I'm pleased to be able to report.

Brr Bear while waiting for his new coat material to arrive
Now that the Glove Puppet project has been launched - but not yet listed on the shop site (we're waiting for a few more to be constructed before we do so) - Brr Bear has occupied my full attention.

His sample ear came back and has joined the rest of his pieces, which have now been taken to pieces, prior to being washed.  He has accumulated "wear and tear" dust over the years he's been sitting on his Best Friend, Mrs. DK's bed, had an eye replaced - but in the wrong place, and his paw pads in particular needed replacing, as they had badly frayed.  His coat has several bare patches as well.  Mrs DK also mentioned he once had a voice:  so he will be given back  a growler, as I now have a selection in stock.  Later this week, a conversation will be held between Mrs.DK and myself so that final instructions concerning Brr Bear's reconstruction can be carried out, and she can then choose the right voice tone to be placed within his body when it is stuffed.  Meanwhile, here are some more pictures of Brr Bear - as he currently is:

This one shows Brr Bear's face (right front of picture, next to the unpicking tools),  then in the front centre is the crown and on the left of that his two ears.  Behind them is part of his body (the other half is just out of the picture, but is definitely there!), his two arms come next and on the right at the back of the photograph are his two legs pieces.  They are all inside out, waiting to be first scrubbed with a brush to remove the remaining kapok stuffing before they are washed.  Otherwise, the sink would get severely blocked, as over the years, the stuffing has collapsed and now looks like this:

I've had to put it into a plastic bag, as otherwise it would fly all over the place.  Taking it out was quite difficult and I spent a lot of time sneezing and coughing with the dust and broken down stuffing material.  Though very soft, it was very flighty!  It is destined for the garbage, together with the cotter pins and old growler once this post is complete.  We have no need for any of them now.

You will have noticed the pair of red pliers in the tool kit:  these are a vital component of getting the cotter pins out of any bear I've found.  You can see the collection of 5 different ones I've extracted from Brr Bear's arms, legs and where his head and body were joined and found when getting them separated that the original construction was nothing if not scrappy.  Put it this way - it's not to the standard I offer and it amazes me that Brr Bear has lasted as well as he has!

The final photograph for this post shows the rest of Brr Bear's innards as it were - the cotter pins, the existing non-operating growler (interestingly the current growlers are just as big - which makes the job of selection a lot easier!) - the hard wooden chip stuffing which make up his muzzle and the blue eyes (two of them - Mrs. DK was under the impression that one of his eyes had been brown originally, but when extracted, they turned out to be blue, but not the same pattern - which would account for the misunderstanding).  I'll have to establish whether or not she wants the replacements to be brown or I could still re-use the mismatched ones.  Also, as the wood stuffing is in quite good condition, will she want it put back (which I'm happy to do) or will she go with a stiff, clean polyester fibre stuffing which is my preferred option for any toys with which I am connected. 

Now the next step is to clean up the little chap and see where we go from here.  till the next post then.