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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Styrofoam

styrofoam

 

Styrofoam can be cut and shaped into lots and lots of shapes. you can carve it with sharp razor blades, electric carving knives, hot wire cutters, saws of various types and you can also use your fingers.

Home Depot sells Styrofoam building insulation is 2x8 sheets. I try to always have a couple of sheets around. They are just that handy. We use them for building models, adding spacers to the counterweight system and more.

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TurnTable2

Turn tables have been used in theater for a very long time. They allow for quick scene changes. They can be effective in adding movement to the show. On Broadway, a great example of turn table use is in the musical, Les Mis. They use the table to allow the actor to walk, but stay in one place. 

The most interesting turn table I've worked on is the one built into the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The turntable is built across three elevators. All three elevators must be at the same level.

Click read more for more! 

2g platformingT.JPG (8711 bytes)

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Laying a Masonite Deck

This article is by G. Patrick McCreary. He was my TD at Bennington over 30 years ago. Patrick wrote this while TD at Indiana University of PA in 2013.

It has been my experience over the past 25 years or so that "DURON", a product of The Masonite Corporation, makes an excellent surface for working stage floors. Here at Indiana University of PA, we use a Duron surface for our main venue, and use the same material on most of our stage decks, usually on top of a layer of ½" Homasote . Duron, however, is no longer available as a product name – the best you can do is ask for 1/4” double-tempered hardboard. I would want to see a sample before I placed my order.DURON3

Our Mainspace floor, roughly 50' X 75', is heavily built on, often re-configured, and abused at least four times a year - we replaced the entire top layer three years ago, after 11 years.

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How to use a Tape Measure

What do all those little lines mean anyway. A closeup look at the markings of a standard U.S. tape measure. Inch lines, 1/2" 1/4" 1/8" and 1/16" lines are explained.

Click on the picture to start the movie.

Also an answer to that burning question: "why is the hook on the end of my tape measure loose?"

Subcategories

SFX EFX

Special Effects for the stage is a wide ranging area of stage magic. Making a light flash, and door swing open on its own, making "fire" on stage could all be considered special effects. Several articles here may also belong to other categories. Such as electrics, rigging, sound, etc...

Rigging

Overview of general rigging items. Knots are under their own menu item.

Knots for Theater

Overview of general rigging items. Knots are under their own menu item.