Platforming Article #5

Legs, Legs, Legs! (Betty Grable, Eat Your Heart Out!)

Once again, welcome to the Techie’s Corner. In the last few articles we have talked about platforms, the types of platforms, special platforms and how to brace them. This month we will look at legs, legs of many types and how to make them and what their pro’s and con’s are.

Legs fall into two major types, those that support by friction pressure and/or the shear strength of fasteners, called the standard leg, and those that support by direct, in-line compression, called compression legs. I am sure that there will be several types of legs that I will miss or forget. Please contact me directly and I will make space for those and include them in next month’s article.

The basic difference between the two types of legs is manner in which they support their loads. A friction/shear leg relies on the tightness of the fasteners, the sideways friction generated between the leg and the platform and the “sheer” strength of the chosen fastener. The compression leg relies on the direct in line compression of the leg material.

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Platforming Article #6

Up to now we have been dealing with single platforms. This month we will look at ways to use studwall supports for decks, large platform layouts and that thing in the middle, the one-off platform.

For those readers who are fairly new to platform layouts in theatre, a one-off platform is one that might be neither 4’ nor 8’ and may be three sided, four sided, five sided or more, have no angles of 90 degrees and is built specificly for that one show, that one time use. For example, a one-off platform might join two rectangular platform groups to form large, angular formations.

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Homasote

For info about homasote: www.homasote.com. DON'T write to our site. We don't sell, manufacture, supply, etc... this stuff.

Homasote is a gray board that is made out of paper. It comes in 4'x8' sheets and is 1/2" thick. You'll find it in almost any school being used as bulletin boards. you can push pins into it with ease. So, why on platforms? If you cover the platform with Homasote and then cover that with muslin
it can be painted very nicely and it becomes very quite to walk on.

Note: We are NOT suppliers! I've gotten a few emails asking me for prices and such. Call your local lumber yard/building supplier. I don't think Home Depot has it.

 

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Plywood

Plywood. If you take a look at plywood, you'll see that it is indeed made up of a number of plies of wood. In other words, several sheets of very thin wood is sandwiched together to make a wooden board. Each ply is set in a 90 degrees direction from the last. The top and bottom plies run the same direction: the long way. So, you'll have the grain running longer then not.
Plywood comes in several different thickness, types and grades.

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Recycling

Recycling is an important part of saving our natural resources. Right now, as I type this, I'm sitting on a plane flying from Los Angeles to New York. I'm going home from a vacation during which I drove through Washington and Oregon. Seeing the baron hills where great trees once stood deepened my resolve to save as much from each set as possible. While the lumber companies of those states are replanting several acres of land, the new trees won't bring back the various wild life that used to live there.

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Lumber

Board lumber comes in many different sizes, types and shapes. Most of the lumber we use in set building is taken from fast growing soft wood trees. We must do our best to recycle as much lumber as we can. While wood does grow on (in) trees, we should do our part in preserving our natural resources.

We use the following sizes of board lumber the most. You'll notice that the list has two different columns on the left. One labeled Name and the other labeled Actual. A 2"x4" is not actually 2 inches by 4 inches when it reaches the lumber yard. You see, when the wood is cut from the log at the saw mill, the actual size is 2 inches by 4 inches "rough cut". Rough cut means the surface of the wood has rough saw marks all over it. When you get the lumber, it has already been smoothed via a large wood surface planer. When you pass wood through a surface planer, the blades take off 1/8th of an inch from each side. The result is a smooth piece of wood that is smaller then it's name.

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