Saturday, January 16, 2016

Fix a leg

Fixing Meredith's Leg

Fixing a Journey Girls leg is very similar to fixing her arm.  The nice part is it is easier and you don't have to fabricate any pieces.  As with the arm, this is only one way to fix the legs.  I personally like this way since it gives the legs some flexibility, but it is not the only way to fix the broken joint.

Here are the tools you will need:
Needle nosed pliers (curved is better)
Wire cutter
Small flat head screwdriver
X-acto knife or hobby knife
Embossing tool or hair dryer
Drill with a 5/32 size bit
100 grit sandpaper

Supplies you will need:
Bungee cord (found online or at some camping stores)
Two 5/16 brass compression inserts (found at hardware stores - usually in the plumbing department)
One 1/8 x 3/4 washers

The leg joint is made of three parts: a sphere that sits in the leg, a receiver cup in the body, and a cup in the body that is attached to the leg via a rod.  As with the arm, the rod is the weakest part of this combination and the most common place that breaks occur. 

The first thing that you will have to do is get the rod out of the cup.  To do this you will have to open the back seam of the fabric.  Open it far enough that you can get in and out of the body easily.  Take out all of the stuffing, put it in a container for later.  Find the cup for the leg that you are replacing, then cut the tip of the rod off using the wire cutters.  You unfortunately can't push the rod through the cup into the body, so this is the only way to remove it.

Place the cup off to the side.  You won't need this for the repair.  The cup is designed so that the leg can move more freely on the receiver cup, but with this fix that movement is not required.  If you put it back on it will actually make the new joint more loose.

If there is any part of the rod sticking off of the sphere use it to pull the sphere out of the leg.  You will have to heat the vinyl with an embossing tool or a hair dryer to make the vinyl more pliable. 

Wiggle the sphere back and forth while pulling out.  You can also twist the sphere as you pull and it will come out.  If it is really stuck in the leg and won't come out even after heating the vinyl, use the small screwdriver to pry it out.  

Find one of the ridges on the sphere and pull with the screwdriver.  Try not to use a levering motion as that will push on the vinyl and could deform it.  

Once you get the sphere, cut the rod off as close to the sphere as possible using the wire cutters.  I would also suggest sanding the spot down where you cut the rod off, so that there are no harsh edges.

After sanding the sphere, drills hole through the top of it where the rod was sticking out.  Try to get the drill right in the middle of the "X" created by the rod.  Keep the drill straight so that your hole is as close to the center when it goes through as possible.  If it's not perfect it's not a big deal.

Before reassembling your doll you will need to prepare the new parts.  Cut a piece of bungee 6 inches long.  

Take one of the brass sleeves and cut it about in half with the wire cutters.  When I did this, it squished the end that I cut.  If that occurs, use the needle nosed pliers and squeeze the sleeve until it is round again.  You only need to cut one of the brass sleeves.

Now you are ready to but your doll back together.  Take the bungee cord and tie a knot at the end of it.  

Slide the shorter brass sleeve onto the bungee with the flange end facing away from the knot.  Crimp the sleeve as close to the knot as you can.  Make sure it doesn't move when you pull on it. Next slide the sphere onto the bungee with the area where the rod used to be facing away from the brass sleeve.

Warm the vinyl up on your dolls leg.  Put the end of the bungee with the brass sleeve on it in first than put the sphere in the leg.  The sphere went in much easier than it came out.  I pushed straight into the leg as far as I could, then turned the sphere as I pushed and it went in.  Use the pliers or the screwdriver and push on the top of the sphere as much as possible to get it into the leg.  You can use the screwdriver and push on the ridges to help the sphere get in, but my experience was that it seemed to go in better when pushing on the top.

Once the sphere is in the leg, pull the bungee cord through the receiving cup in the dolls body.  Make sure that the leg is facing the correct direction before going to the next step.  

Next, slide the washer onto the bungee cord.  You may have to snip the end of the bungee cord off if it is a little frayed to get the washer on.  Slide it all the way down to the receiver cup.  

Slide the brass sleeve onto the bungee with the flanged end towards the washer.  

Make sure the leg is in the socket, then pull as hard as you can on the bungee cord while pushing down on the brass sleeve.  Get it as tight as possible and then crimp the brass sleeve.  Make sure it is really crimped.  You don't want it to slide.  This is what will make the leg stay in position.  Once you have it crimped, tie a knot as close to the brass sleeve as you can, then cut the access bungee cord off.

Before sewing your doll back up, check to see that the leg joint is tight.  Stand her up and make sure that she stands.  This joint is looser than the original joint.  If it is as tight as you can get it, there should be no issues with the legs or the doll standing.  I replaced both of Meredith's hip joints and she stands great!  She even sits a little better!  Not a lot...but a little.  

If the stitching around the leg comes apart (which I saw one person post about), this fix will not help you.  I am not a very good I'm not sure how you would fix that.  I would think that you may have to replace a good chunk of the cloth body.

I hope this is helpful.  Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions:


Canadian Doll Notebook said...

Did you cut your Callie's bangs? I have never seen her with bangs before! Cute!

JGKelsey said...

I have an older Callie (about 3 years old) that came that way. She was originally released with bangs, as well as Dana was released with short hair, but now both have long straight hair. I like the bangs!