Monday, November 27, 2017

The Manufacturing Process of Carousel Rides



1. When a carousel builder receives an order, he works with the customer to determine the size of the machine based on cost and maintenance considerations. Most carousels today may be built from scratch or from refurbished mechanisms. In either case, today's maker must be a metal fabricator with a shop to concoct the metal pieces. Traveling carousels can also be manufactured with little variation from those fixed in place except that the steel center pole is hinged so it will fold in half to be transported in a van. All the other pieces can be broken down by two men in about 3 hours and carried in a truck including a platform made in sections and the horses that have the metal hangers removed from them.


2. The carousel builder purchases a band organ for the "new" carousel from a specialty manufacturer. Today, the Stinson Organ Company of Ohio is the only manufacturer to still make custom and product line band organs; five or six manufacturers including Wurlitzer made band organs during the heyday of the American carousel, and many other organs were imported. Band organs are played by air pushed by a bellows through wooden pipes, stops, and valves. Because the wood parts are highly subject to temperature and humidity changes, the organs are constantly out of tune and require considerable maintenance. They make music by forcing air through perforated paper rolls, much like a player piano, and the rolls cycle continuously from one to another, thanks to a device called a tracker frame developed by Wurlitzer. Although there is no sound like a real carousel band organ, maintenance costs often force buyers of "new" carousels to use tapes or compact discs for their music.


3.The romance of the carousel rides with its animals, however, and the auction prices of up to $60,000 per horse for antique ponies have brought a new awareness to the importance of equipping a new carousel with the genuine article. Amateur carvers and woodworkers have also been attracted to the carving of carousel critters; and body blocks that include the body, head and neck, tail, and legs can be purchased in various sizes for carving.

4. Assuming the carousel builder is carving a wooden horse from scratch, he chooses a size and weight suitable to the overall design of the carousel and selects an appropriate artistic design. This may be based on a theme for the carousel or on the customer's favorite historic model. The outside of the carousel animal is called the "romance" side and is seen by onlookers. This display side is usually more ornately decorated than the inside. Many of the original carousel designers made full-scale sketches of their horses so that details were properly conceptualized and scaled and so that several carvers could work on parts of the same horse. Today, one-eighth scale models are sometimes made for the designer's models and the customer's approval.

5.Full-scale paper patterns are glued to pieces of basswood to cut the body, legs, and other parts. Basswood is used because it is hard and close-grained, and the grain must run the length of the part for strength. A jigsaw or coping saw is used to cut the parts, and the parts are glued together to form the carving block. In the old days, the "glue-up" was done by a skilled craftsman who was an expert at the types of glue, amounts, and pressures required to prepare the carving block.

6.Each carver has his own preferences for how to proceed with carving. Many start by using the paper patterns still glued to the animal to rough-cut the shapes, a process called boasting. Detailed carving follows, and this is usually done without reference to patterns but with a sense of the wood grain and the artistic creation that has been trapped in the wood. The completed carving block is sanded, and sometimes other small details are glued on. If the animal is for display, rather than for a working carousel, a base or stand suitable to the size and configuration of the beast is also made. A footrest is also made for each animal (unless it has stirrups or other substitutes), and these are carved and painted to match the animal. Preparation of a carousel animal up to the painting stage typically takes about 35 hours per animal.

7.The carved horse is stained, primed and painted, and varnished to suit the design of the carousel. Platforms are painted to complement the carving, but overhangs are sometimes brightly colored to highlight the details of both the overhangs and the animals. Traditionally, the animals are painted bright colors, and the paints are chosen for durability and safety as well as appearance. Removal of old paint may be one of the most time-consuming tasks in refurbishing old animals; some have as many as 30 coats of paint that have filled the finely carved details. Dappling, addition of gold or silver leaf, placement of horsehair tails, and burnishing of metallic leaf provide other touches of realism and elegance. Rhinestones and other jewels are often added to the romance side of the finished horse.


Source from : http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Carousel.html#ixzz4zgmzAICl

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