The Coconut shie or sheet is probably one of the longest surviving fairground attractions still in common use on working fairgrounds today. It seems to have been introduced in the 1870’s and been common by the 1880’s.
Because of its functional design the appearance of the coconut sheet has changed little over the years. The design provides little opportunity for decoration beyond carving the front pillars; the frame is almost always painted boldly in red and white. Banners across the back of the sheets lettered in white on a red background, or vice versa, identified the owner and often proclaimed the freshness of the nuts on offer.
The drawings and instructions embody details from a number of traditional coconut sheets to produce a thoroughly representative design.
The model has a frontage of 15″ (380mm) and a depth of 10″ (250mm) — 30 feet by 20 feet in full size. 33 nut holders in two rows are included. Details of the ball box, stool and a nut display stand are given. Those modelers short of space on the model fairground can build the sheet smaller if necessary.
The kit includes hardwood stripwood for the structure, plywood for the ball box and hand turned wooden balls, nuts and nut holders. All the brass brackets are supplied ready drilled. The frame is held together with screws and nuts making this an ideal model for the beginner. The only skills required are an ability to use sandpaper and needle files, to drill small holes in wood with a handheld pin vice and to cut wood and plywood to length and shape. A plain white backcloth is supplied in the kit and the instructions give details of typical lettering for the banner. Whilst not suitable for children older teenagers who can safely handle modern glues and sharp tools will find the model within their capabilities.
A full list of suppliers is included with each set of drawings and instructions.