A set of French Doors

PropsPupMikel

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Dec 30, 2006
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South Carolina, USA
Hi Folks,

Ok, I am designing a set for a school play with a smaller budget, and have figured out most of the set problems and everything i need, with just one problem. Both the directer and myself want a large set of french-doors with side windows and a arch window over the top of the whole thing. However, this is for a very small theatre and I don't think we can build one that looks really good, and I am a little scared about buying a already built unit, since they are very expensive (almost $3000 for the one we like:( )

Any ideas, suggestions, or brilliant ideas????

thanks
 

Van

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Portland, Or.
Wellll, depending on the theatre, and how much room you have < does the thirty foot rule apply ?> you can manufacture a nice set of french doors out of a single peice of 3/4 CD plywood. Lay in the panes in whatever layout you want, attach a piece of 1/8" acrylic or plexiglass on the back and viola' Les porte francias. The side lights are the same idea but just build a door flat with a 4' openeing for the door and at least 6" on echa side of the door for the side light openings. Rather than trying to "build" the side lights, just cut the openings into the luan facing and apply moulding to make the mulions. You can also take a router to the "mullions" of the door itself to give it more detail. If the ply has a lot of voids just use drywall mud to fill the voids and paint to your desired look. If you need more details let me know I could draw you something real quick.
this is just one idea you could also do stuff with steel or actually build a "real" french door realtivly easily, as they are pretty simple.
 

gafftaper

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First off Van's right, it isn't that hard to do. You'll be amazed at how fancy you can make things look with a couple of quick cuts of a router. Also check out your local hardware mega store... you'll find a collection of fancy decorative wood pieces that is really for building your own chairs and tables located near molding usually. You'll be amazed what a $10 swirly thing painted gold will do to make a plywood door look fancy. While you are there take a look at the molding. It can be just the thing to finish off those panes in the door. What about a thinner sheet of plywood with a layer of routered wood on top to give the door depth and a fancy carved edge. There are lot's of things you can do. What I'm trying to say is forget your fears, pick a specific look, and head down to the store and figure out how to make that look without spending the money.

On the flip side, what about borrowing? I know I'm a bit spoiled because we have a huge theater community here, but we borrow a TON from local community theater, Universities, and professional theaters. There are lots of places in town that rent/loan all sorts of stuff for $25-$50... some even free. Pick up your phone and start calling around to local T.D.'s. Many high schools have no idea the resources that are available to them in their community. There are lot's of people out there who would be more than happy to help you with your set and prop needs for a minimal fee (if any). Also call all the high schools, colleges, and universities in your area and see if they have what you need or have connections with other theaters. If you've got any sort of theater community in your town there will be a network of people who share resources when they can.

Oh and all my ideas are brilliant... some are just a little low on lumens.
 

tenor_singer

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Apr 1, 2004
Location
Orwell, Ohio
I just finished a show that needed French Doors. What I did was ask area contractors to keep an eye out for a set on jobs where they were remodeling.

I got lucky. A contractor was redoing a room in a house where a tree fell on the roof. The doors were in good shape (but slightly scratched on one side). The insurance company was going to replace them, so the contractor took out the old ones and gave them to me in exchange for advertisment space in our program. A bit of sanding and paint... good as new.

Hopefully you have similar luck. I found the numbers for area general contractors in our area's phone book and in our free press.

Good luck.
 

Van

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Now i dont speak french Van but what are you trying to say :)


"viola' Les porte francias." translates to "viola' the gate francias".

Not that i can be that picky lol. The only french i rember is "Je suis le pamplemousse."
jh
Gate , Door what's the diff ? :mrgreen:

Did you know in French there are only about 180,000 words whereas in English there are over 2 million ? I'm lucky I get half the things right I try to say in english !
 

Van

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PropsPupMikel

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Dec 30, 2006
Location
South Carolina, USA
ok well thanks folks for the suggestions, I really apperciate the help, will give my director these ideas,

Also, just a random side note, We did our first performance of Rigoletto last night and it was awesome, now just 2 more runs to go