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Well, I didn’t expect to be here so soon but here I am back with another doll injury.
The dolly universe is so strange
I replaced Lee’s hip joint and she’s back to shakin’ her groove thing.
And soon after the repair, my other 1/3 scale girl started having issues with her feet.
I noticed the issue while I was preparing her for her modeling gig.
The feet kept swinging around.
I thought the screws on the bottom of her feet were loose so I tightened them up.
But when I did that, the screws kept spinning round and round inside the hole.
Why won’t these screws tighten up?
I had to investigate further. So I loosened the screws & removed both of her feet.
That’s when discovered the real issue.
The foot collar (ring with a tab) was cracked.
Oh no! 😱
It’s another doll injury!
It’s Time for Doll Surgery
So like before, I went to Amazon Japan to find an Ankle Frame replacement part.
I found one but the shipping was going to cost me almost $30.
When I buy from Amazon Japan, I tend to buy many items to offset the cost of shipping.
But there wasn’t anything that I absolutely wanted to add to the ankle part order.
So I had to come up with another solution to repair Raven’s broken ankle.
Then I remembered reading a comment from a doll collector.
The collector suggested repairing a broken part with super glue or epoxy.
I figured why not give it a try!
I already had a bottle of 5 minute epoxy I picked up for another project and I also had super glue on hand.
So there was not excuse. I had to give this DIY repair a try.
But I had some hesitations.
I worried that my DIY fix wouldn’t last.
I kept imagining Raven in the middle of a photoshoot and out of nowhere . . . BAM!
She falls over because her ankles break again.
I couldn’t get that thought out of my mind.
So I reached out to Iris from Fabric Friends & Dolls, before attempting the DIY repair, to see if she could help me get the Obitsu Ankle Frames replacement parts for Raven (just in case my worries turn out to be true).
Thankfully, after some emails, she was able to locate some ankle frames and I bought them.
So with a backup plan in hand, I applied the glue and waited the recommended time.
The pieces felt hard but will they handle Raven’s weight?
I got my answer.
As soon as I placed the collars onto Raven’s foot they cracked, again 😖
Good thing I ordered the parts from Fabric Friends & Dolls because I needed them more than ever.
Repairing the Ankle Round 2
With the Obitsu Ankle Frames in hand, it was time to attempt Raven’s ankle replacement for the 2nd time.
Side Note: I could have taken the new collar and slipped it on to Raven’s old ankle frame. In hindsight that probably would have been easier than what I ended up doing. But my struggle will hopefully be your gain. End Side Note.
I used the instructions provided on Dollieh Sanctuary to guide me through the process.
After reading through it, I felt I could easily replace Raven’s ankle.
Dolly, was I WRONG!
I totally underestimated the:
- time it would take to heat a thick piece of plastic
- energy needed to hold a blow dryer for an extended period of time and
- strength it takes to pull an ankle joint from such a tiny, tight hole with very little leverage
So Here’s How Things Went Down
Please Note: the following are the steps we took to repair a doll injury and it may be a bit risky for some. Please evaluate the risk before attempting any repairs on your doll.
Following the instructions from Dollieh Sanctuary, I used a hairdryer on its lowest setting for several minutes.
I then gripped the ankle ball and started pulling. It was a challenge to grasp such a small, round area.
The joint moved but not much.
After several minutes of heating and pulling I was finding it more difficult to hold the ankle.
So I decided to remove the round balls to expose the flat area which housed the screws for the ankle.
My thinking was that a flat surface would give me better pulling leverage then a round one.
I warmed the area and pulled. It still wouldn’t budge.
So I decided to use a pair of long nose pliers to help me grasp the ankle joint.
While pulling in this area, it broke . . . Luckily, I was replacing this section anyways but it left me with less leverage then I had before.
So now all I had to work with was the leg frame and a section of the ankle joint.
After 30 mins of heating and pulling I needed a break.
My fingers were hurting from all the pulling. And I simply couldn’t hold onto anything anymore.
So Kat took over.
She heated the leg until it felt a bit squishy.
And then used a pair of locking forceps to push the ankle joint and leg frame through the top of the leg instead of pulling from the bottom.
The leg frame was really wedged into the ankle joint.
So Kat had to heat that area until it was nearly too hot to handle for it to become free from the ankle joint.
Side Note: she used a higher temperature on the hairdryer for this section only because it was a harder type of plastic. We do not recommend using high temperature heat on soft plastic. End Side Note
I was able to place the new ankle onto the leg frame.
We had to warm the leg again to place the pieces back into the leg from the bottom.
My fingers were still out of commission. So Kat had the honors of pushing the leg frame and ankle joint back into the lower leg.
Surprisingly, it only took her 2 mins to complete this part (why couldn’t the removal be this easy?)
Yay! 1 ankle replaced. 1 more left to go.
Things Start to Get Heated
With one leg and ankle complete it was time to move onto the other ankle.
But honestly I was worn out.
The heat from the hairdryer & the energy used to pull took a lot out of me. So we took a break and returned to the repairs later that night.
Since Kat did such a great job with the first ankle, I thought it only fitting that she tackle the other ankle 😁
About 5-10 minutes of heating and pulling, the ankle wasn’t moving much (here we go again).
She continued using the hairdryer on the lowest setting. Alternating between heating the area and pulling on the ankle.
But then something unexpected happened . . . Kat turns off the hairdryer but it doesn’t shut off.
It keeps running.
We here a pop and we see flames 🔥
That’s right, our hairdryer caught on fire.
It was a flash of flames.
Thank goodness the hairdryer wasn’t near anything flammable.
Side Note. I researched and discovered this hairdryer has a history of bursting into flames. I can’t even imagine what could have happened if I was actually drying my hair and it flamed up like that. My dolls are my lil’ life savers. End Side Note.
Even though the hairdryer was out of commission we didn’t want to stop.
If only we could get the ankle off to finish the repair. We’re so close.
And that’s when Kat decided to use a small room heater.
Side Note: I don’t recommend you use a room heater but it’s the option we chose so late at night. If I wasn’t so tired and was thinking straight, I would’ve waited until we bought a new hairdryer. End Side Note
Kat warmed the leg (again) with the room heater set on the lowest setting.
Since the heat isn’t as focused like it is with a hairdryer, it took a lot longer for the plastic to warm up.
She continued to heat and pull but the ankle joint wouldn’t budge (again).
Then I suggested we wrap string several times around the ankle joint.
I could pull on the string while she held onto the leg.
We gave it a try.
Like the many times before, Kat got the leg nice & warm.
She grabbed the leg and I tightly grabbed the string.
And with a very strong 💪 pull . . . we managed to free the ankle from the leg.
Yes, another victory.
Following the steps before, Kat was able to replace the broken ankle.
Raven Stands Again
Whoo!! I don’t know how we did it but Raven has new ankles.
Raven is happy and back to her feisty self.
This was the toughest repair yet.
I don’t look forward to doing it again but Kat is up for a repeat.
Which is good because after inspecting Lee’s ankles she’s going to need new ones too.
At least we have another dolly doctor in the family 😆 because I am out. I need a vacation from doll injuries.
I’m learning to accept doll injuries and repairs, especially for dolls nearly 10 years old.
But no more dolly injuries for a very long time, please.
Over to You
Have your dolls suffered an ankle injury before?
If so, did you buy replacement parts or did you apply a DIY repair to the broken part?
Share your dolly experiences or suggestions in the comment box below.
I look forward to chatting with you.
Here’s quick video of Kat demonstrating how to remove 50cm doll hands