Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gibbet Cage

It's unfortunately been a solid month or two with absolutely no prop building, so today to much delight.. I managed to squeeze in a solid seven hours of unadulterated prop building madness. I have an extra Scary Terry servo and I wanted to make another talking skeleton in addition to my Helmsman, so I've been itching to make a Gibbet Cage ever since seeing Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Mans Chest! The scene where they were hauling a prisoner over a bridge lined with gibbet cages and rotting corpses has been stuck in my head for some time. To further inspire me Dave Lowe has a similar build going on for his Decembers Forgotten Prisoner.

After scouring Halloween Forum for a decent tutorial or dimensions I decided to just wing it because most of the cages are built for a standing blucky. I love the look, but making a gallows pole to hang a 6' skeleton would have to be ridiculously big and take up a more space than I have, so I decided to make the skeleton sitting down. I did come across a tutorial where they were using PVC molding to make the strips, but the buckys are pretty heavy, so that was out of the question. I then found a tutorial I had buried away on my computer save for the images, so I was lucky enough to find a working PDF version that can be found HERE! Brian Lorsung originally designed the tutorial for I believe the anatomical chart company and their 33" bargain bucky using chain link tension strips for the metal. I found 6' lengths at my local home depot and I made my cage using the tension bars and some nuts and bolts! The tutorial is worth a read even if you don't stick to the dimensions. Hopefully once I make the crane/gallows pole it will be able to be displayed year round next to my Helmsman!

I still need to paint/age the cage and bucky. I may have him holding a lantern for some much needed ambient lighting. If I can afford some cheap pirate costumes I'll go that route, or maybe I'll buy some striped pirate socks and cut up some rags for rotted clothing. It will be fun scouring through thrift stores for anything that resembles maritime attire.

I still have a ton of work to do for a decent display, but I feel like this is what I needed to get me kick started! I also picked up a full size whiskey barrel and a water pump too! I have one more bucky left and I'm going to make a rum drinking pirate sitting on top of a barrel. If I have enough time I have an extra wiper motor and maybe I can rig up one of his legs to move up and down.. But the majority of both projects should be completed by next week!


  1. Man, sounds like your working towards a great display. Looks like only part of my haunt will be pirate themed, instead of all, but it still should be really fun. Good luck, mate!

  2. Thanks, HalloweeNut! I read about your dilemma, but having a haunt and not one central theme is not going to be a big deal! :) I'd actually find that liberating because you can do whatever you like! I've been on a Pirate kick as of late, but these props hopefully are going to be hanging around all year in my corner dedicated to all things maritime!! :)

    I hope your party turns out fun! Good Luck on your props too!!