Finding a pair was a difficulty in itself! After lightly sanding the hands, they were given a few cloth-applied layers of wood stain to achieve the desired effect. The wrist sections were sawn shorter in order that they fitted into the two brass bedknobs I had set aside for the terminals. Each bedknob was drilled and an eyelet soldered into place for the power cable routing. The wooden hands are temporarily secured into the recesses of the bedknobs with two screws before a small strip of green leather was applied with contact adhesive and secured with brass rivets. Once assembled, a bronze plate was cut to shape and formed for the back of each hand (four fingers) and a smaller similar plate for the thumbs. Into the cut slots I soldered old half clock gears. These would be for attaching the chains to operate the digits. Once the bronze plates were nailed into position, the chains were attached and run through screw-in eyelets and secured at each finger and thumb tip. A flat brass bar was cut and shaped for the gimble suspension and fixed to the bedknob.
This was a relatively easy section to complete. The arms are simply anglepoise lamp arms – a cheap pair from a well known DIY supplier. They came fitted with chrome hinge plates which I replaced by cutting new brass ones. The bases, shades and springs were also removed and the arm sections re-painted. The chain drive was made using Meccano gears and drive chain. The hands are fixed to the shade holder with rivets.
I kept the original steel fittings in place for the attachment to the backpack axle as they are stronger that brass ones would be. These were drilled at a slight offset and the holes filed hexagonal to fit onto the 10mm brass hexagonal section axle.
The frame used to support the sub-assemblies of the backpack is from an old military rucksack. The frame is strong steel and very comfortable to wear even with the weight of the entire build attached. I kept the original leathering as it had an nice aged look about it. The only addition was the maker’s name plaque that I etched and riveted to the curved section at the top of the frame.
I started with the (lower) boiler assembly. The core of which is a large diameter card postal tube cut to length. The brass ends are made from a pair of lamp shades capped with two painted lids. Wooden slats were cut to length and applied to the card core. Once in place, they were given a liberal staining to achieve the dark colouring. Two brass strips were formed and attached to fully secure the slats in place. Holes were drilled for the shade bracket attachments which are secured by hex nuts on the inside of the tube. Decorative rosettes were screwed onto the wood and four brackets hold the entire sub-assembly securely to the frame.