Backsides & elbows

Back from Maker Faire, troche and there are a million little things to do for our next gig.

We’re going to roll in the Topanga Days Parade on Memorial Day.

Topanga Canyon is a blend of old-school hippie culture and celebrity ranches with long driveways, a beautiful curving road up from the ocean to the San Fernando Valley. Every year, there’s a music festival (this year it’s been headlined by Ziggy Marley, Maria McKee and Canned Heat, which should give you some idea).

Anyway, we applied and were accepted as one of the 50 vehicles in the parade (largely old fire engines and hot rods, so I’m told, but there should be a few floats too)

We’re driving in what’s traditionally the Santa Claus spot in the lineup – the very last.

Between now and then, we’re making mallets to replace the dozens of splintered casualties left by the pummeling of hundreds of kids and aggressive adults at Maker Faire.

I ordered four dozen 3/8ths-inch fiberglass dowels to serve as new sticks (at right). Only one problem: They’re so rigid, heavy and dense that they actually deaden the sound when playing. Instead of a nice “PLONNNNGGGGGG” you get a leaden “THUNGK.”

Fifty bucks down the drain, and now we have to repair the sticks we have left, and battle-harden them …

Starting with bouncy-balls and dowels like we made a few weeks ago, we whip up some bare mallets and we wind thick Gorilla Tape in a lazy spiral around the wooden sticks. Then, it’s time for the beloved Plasti-Dip

Dip the tips in for a couple of coats about 30 minutes apart, and you get a nice hard-vinyl sheath that keeps the balls secure and prevents them from crumbling.

Flip ’em around, dip the handles in black Plasti-Dip, and now you’ve sealed the loose end of the tape in with a nice, grippy layer of vinyl.

All done, and left to dry …

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