Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tinker Tubes - eBook review

At first glance, Tinker Tubes seems to be about constructing photographic lighting stands etc from inexpensive PVC piping. This is not a new idea and is one that has been bandied around many times. At one time even I had a go at building a background stand using PVC piping. The results looked good on camera but the actual robustness of the system was poor. Perhaps using heavier gauge piping would have helped although it would have driven up the cost and not been much lighter than the system I ended up buying from B&H. Having said that, the versatility of using PVC tubing meant that it could be reconstructed for other purposes and hence it became my target stands on the rifle range - for which it was eminently suitable.
Reading through the eBook, it is all about building things out of PVC piping. Now when a plastic piping constructed leaf bag holder collapses and dumps leaves all over the lawn, it's not a big deal. When a plastic piping constructed lighting stand drops an expensive flash unit on the ground, destroying it or worse, a plastic piping-constructed background stand or reflector stand collapses on top of a model, that's a disaster. Aside from potential litigation from an injured model there's also the cost to one's reputation caused from employing such a Heath-Robinson affair. Even if the model is a member of one's own family, the collapse of a dangerous-looking plastic structure would put them off from wanting to model again.

The book was written quite some time ago and was probably originally a printed pamphlet at some time - possibly even published as a free handout with a photography magazine. It's quite an interesting idea and one which I have played with myself before finding that even under its own weight, plastic tubing bows severely. All I found plastic tubing to be good for aside from its original purpose was as a cheap target stand on the rifle range. Even then, it wasn't that cheap if one of the joints was hit by a stray bullet as a single joint cost as much as an 8 foot length of piping.

I can recommend this for entertainment value. I would question the wisdom and desperation of somebody willing to build such contraptions as listed within the book. When written in 1982, people were nowhere near as litigious as they are now. For historical reading this is good. For the current litigious climate, it's probably unwise to do other than to laugh at the way we used to do things.

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