Fly System

We’re taking out some of the slack in our fly lines. The problem is that the pipes stop about 6 feet before the height of the ceiling. This cuts down significantly the height of our drops and scenery.

This is where we’re performing our surgery. We’re removing the shackles, cutting the cable and then re-swaging new cable eyes. When doing this type of work, you MUST make sure to use the proper hardware and tools. You must also have the proper training.

In order to make our job a little easier, we removed the pipe from the 7 fly lines. To make this part easier, we used several safety cables to lash this pipe to another pipe at about the correct height.

This photo shows the bottom of one arbor and the top of a few others

This is a close up of one of the arbors with 120 pounds of counter weight on it. Notice the locking plate on top of the weights.

Here we see the locking rail, aka, the pin rail (see note below.) Behind the arbor is a set of tracks. These tracks guide the arbors during their travel up and down. With out these tracks, the arbors could clang into each. This would not lend well to smooth fly cues! Some systems don’t use track; rather, they use cable guide wires.

Here is a close up of one of the rope locks. The handle is pushed up and applies a lot of pressure onto the rope. You can see the rope being sandwiched between two sides of a clamp. Take note of the thumb screw on the rear side of the clamp. This is to adjust for different size ropes. Also notice the ring that holds the handle and the rope together. You can see that fly line #3’s ring is not looped around it’s handle. Always loop the ring……

This is Dave Vick. He is a Master Carpenter/Flyman/Rigger who has contributed to our pages on knots. Take a look at the weights behind Dave. The color codes are very useful for the proper counterweighting of the line sets.
Dave says, “We use yellow to denote pipe-weight, and red to denote track-weight on our travelers & walking leg sets. Unpainted weight is goods. Makes it *much* faster, easier, and safer to strip down quickly when stripping the house for a roadshow.

“Actually, a locking rail and a pin rail are two different things. Your photo was of a locking rail. A pin rail is, typically, a 4-6″ dia. steel pipe drilled to accept either wood or steel belaying pins and used to tie off ropes. A pin rail is essential in a theatre with rope, or hemp, rigging. However, we still install them as a part of larger rigging systems for use with temporary or spot line rigging. I agree with you, that the terms are often interchanged. However, given your target audience, you may as well keep things straight.”

Thanks again Bob. We’re looking forward to receiving a couple of photos of a PIN RAIL.

Scott:  Just browsing through your site and happened on the feedback from my old friend Bob Ramsey re your use of the term pin rail.  Since I had this photo available in our files, thought I’d send it in.  This is Ricky Ryan, the fly man at the Eisenhower Th. in the Kennedy Center, tying off a line at one of that theater’s two pin rails.  As Bob said, although most of the activity in a counterweight rigged theater is at the lock rail, there is also a large need for spot lines, etc. that are controlled from the pin rails (located on either side of the stage, in this case at an intermediate level between the lock rail level and the loading rail level).  Much of what they do at the Ike on the pin rails is operate electric multi-cables that are terminated at the grid, get tied onto various pipes being used as electrics, and have a slack loop that must be operated separately from and in conjunction with the pipe’s lock rail line set. Also they rig odd