Welcome once again to the Techie’s Corner. This month we are continuing our series on platforms. This month we will talk about the most common platform in the theatre, the ubiquitous 4 x 8 stock platform and it’s close friends, the small group of “standard “ stock sizes of platforms.

All platforms consist of three things: the Lid, the Frame and the Legs and bracing.

The Triscuit and the Texas Triscuit
An Introduction to Stressed Skin Platforming

Welcome to this month’s Techie’s Corner. The last two articles have discussed types of stock platforming that have been around for several centuries, the parallel, and for almost a century, the plywood covered 4’x8’ unit. This month’s article will be about a type of stock platform first developed about 1990 at the Yale School of Drama, called a “Triscuit”.

The Triscuit is four foot by four foot, stressskin unit 2 3/8” thick. To truly describe a triscuit, we will first have to explain just what a “stress skin” unit is. For those of you who already know, skip the next few paragraphs.

Stress skin almost defines itself, i.e. a unit with a skin under stress. But what does that really mean? Actually it means a unit with two skins which oppose each other in the direction that they handle stress. Between the two skins is a core to which the skins are completely bonded. The core may be continuous, such as foam core mounting board, or open like the honeycomb construction of a hollow core door. In order for a stress skin unit to flex or bend, one skin has to stretch and the other has to compress see Illustration #1

Hello again, and welcome to the Techie’s Corner. In the last three articles we have looked at a number of different types of platforms. Not every type, just some of the most used and the most well known. Now we are going to look at how to elevate or leg these platforms to the height needed for our show.

There are more ways of legging a platform than there are of building the platform itself. What makes a legging system right for you depends on your particular situation. Do you have storage space for “stock” leg pieces? Do you have skilled carpenters or do you rely on a group whose skills vary from pro to rank beginner? Do you build your units on stage or in a shop off site? Look at the costs, time, skills, available tools, etc. and decide which system is best for you and your theatre.

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.

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.

This Caster Corner, for lack of a better term, was custom designed and built.


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...

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

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

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