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.

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.



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.

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.

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