Scene 2 take 15…CLAP

I am slightly disappointed as I start to write this post, that I am doing so still using my n770. Not that it is not an awesome device, but this week I bought the much newer n810 on e-bay. However despite having been sent last Tuesday, it is yet to arrive. However I hope it’s just Royal Mail being useless, and nothing more difficult to deal with.
Enough of that though, several weeks ago I made a clapper board, and I’ve been meaning to write about the process since then.
I made it as a present for a friend who is interested in making movies. And in fact is one of a group of us that are currently shooting a movie. I’ll probably blog about that sometime also.

When I first came up with the idea of a clapper board, I figured I already have some hard board, and other bits of wood, plus some blackboard paint. I figured I just needed to nip to my nearest B&Q and grab a hinge. I had hoped, or just assumed that they would have something suitable, I think in my mind I pictures something about 10mm across the hinge and about 30 or 40 mm long, so that it would fit inside the profile of the clapper bits.

However no such hinge was forthcoming, and it was whilst I wandered aimlessly around B&Q looking for inspiration that I hit upon the idea of making a hinge mechanism myself.


The Idea was that I’d effectively divide the depth of wood into 3. The top bar would have a small wedge that was the middle 3rd fitting into the lower bar between the 2 outer thirds. Something like:

Embedded in here would be a small cylinder of metal, just long enough to pass through the centre section and a little into the outer sections at either side. I figured a small chunk of masonry nail would do the trick.

The hard part about this was working in a width of about 15mm.
The way I worked it was the top piece is a single length of 200mm x 25mm x 15mm. This piece I needed to cut a wedge out of the centre of one end that was about 5mm wide and about 25mm deep.
That actually turned out to be relatively easy.
The next problem was how to integrate the hardboard ‘main body’ with the lower part of the clapper.
The hard board was about 5mm thick, so I needed to cut a 5mm strip off of the lower part of the clapper. This actually then made it easy to remove the corresponding centre section…..time for a another diagram..


Then what I needed was a small wedge, 5mm wide that would slot between the upper and lower section.
This was glued into the top clapper.

I then drilled a small hole through that wedge, and curved the corners off to allow it to rotate in the slot.


So the bottom at this point is in 2 pieces. The back hardboard piece that forms the main body of the clapper board. And a front section which when glued to the top of the hardboard will make the top the same width as the upper clapper section.
This piece also has a notch out of one end, so that when glued in place it will leave a space for the wedge coming down from the upper clapper.

So now I placed the upper clapper over the hardboard, and marked where the hole was needed for the metal piece of hinge. And likewise for the front section of the lower clapper.

I very carefully drilled a small indentation on each side, and cut a length of masonry nail to be about 8 mm long, long enough to power out either side of the central piece.


Once satisfied that holding all this together by hand yielded a nice hinge motion. I clamped it all together to glue the bottom clapper section to the hardboard with the whole hinge assembled like this:

Once the hard part was done, it was just a matter of painting the whole thing with black board paint.
Then marking out where I wanted the lines to be for the sections. I just masked them out, and used an acrylic spray paint in white to spray them on.
This worked pretty well. Tests with painting on the lines showed I got a lot of bleeding under the masking tape.

Finally I used a regular character stencil from a cheap set. And hand painted on the words.
The result is not perfect, but it is pretty good, and I think the slightly homemade look is part of what I was going for.



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