The above Ad will no longer appear after you Sign Up for Free!

Broadway Show Stagedecks

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by IMDrew, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. IMDrew

    IMDrew New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Hi everyone, I just found this site and am completely new to these forums but have a burning question I've been trying to solve for years. We are doing various musical productions and now want to build our own showdecks for each individual production. With tracks, turntables, lifts, special effects etc. built in them.

    Does anyone know what the big broadway shows use as decks/how they make them? I know they usually build a metal framework with wood on top, but how do they paint/coat it and what kind of wood do they use? Sometimes the floors look much more durable than normally painted wood and almost plastic-like. Also, we painted our last wooden floor and coated it, but we did a taproutine on it and it muted all the tap sound. Really looking for solutions.

    Any help would be appreciated!
     
  2. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    260
    Occupation:
    Shop Foreman
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'm not an expert when it comes to stage floors, but since you want to build a deck for each production, the needs of that production will dictate how you construct the floor. There's no one way that will work every time. For example, I built a show where the designer wanted a rough sawn floor (like a barn floor) and also wanted tracking wagons. Hard to get something to roll smooth on a rough floor. The solution was to place surfaced hardwood strips where the casters would roll and paint them into neighboring rough boards. Turntables will effect the structure under the deck.

    A simple stage deck commonly used will be two layers of 3/4" ply capped with 1/4" Masonite. The maso gets replaces when its really beat up or has so much paint nothing will roll on it. I knew a guy who made coasters for his coffee table out of an old deck that had 3/8" of paint on it. Pretty cool to look at in section...
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  3. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,207
    Likes Received:
    369
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Spokane, WA the great "Inland Northwest"
    Touring Broadway shows tend to use thin platforms with coffin locks to hold everything together. The construction varies widely especially on those with automation tracks! I've even seen the tracks built as whole units and the rest is cut to fit it in, rather than have the mechanism make the panel transitions.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  4. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,069
    Likes Received:
    819
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Broadway show decks are custom for each show as well as being dependent on the theater the show is opening in as well as potentially moving to, down the road (Yes - shows move to different theaters on occasion). Each is going to be different due to changing requirements for tracked scenery and props, traps, etc... and each is custom designed according to the technical requirements.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,932
    Likes Received:
    1,273
    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    Oh Boy! this is an Undertaking! I think one could write a book simply explaining the design and engineering decisions that go into building show decks. As @SteveB stated, each is custom in design and purpose. I don't think you'll hear anyone here say "Don't Do It" but it is an ambitious undertaking, not knowing anything about your venue. Most "Broadway" style show decks I've dealt with are: steel framed, 2"- 6" thick, broken into as few pieces as is reasonable to handle (weight and trucking dimensions), and they tend to inter-lock with either coffin locks or roto-locks.
    Depending on whether or not there are moving scenic elements, the weights involved, the system being used to move the scenic elements... All of these are things that go into the design and engineering process of a show deck.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,487
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    What's the difference? I thought the two terms were synonymous. If not, could you please help the wiki?
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  7. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,932
    Likes Received:
    1,273
    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    Oh, OK, I'll help. In Van's world, a Roto-lock and a Cam-lok are the same thing; rotate the key and a cam spins drawing two pieces together. A Coffin lock is a more complicated device it has a "hook and draw" mechanism wherein you turn a key and the lock swings to engage then actually pulls straight into itself.
    I'll find pics and look at the wiki when I get home. Oh and I'm perfectly fine with being challenged on this. This is just the way I learned it.
     
    RonHebbard likes this.
  8. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,069
    Likes Received:
    819
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I use Roto-Lok brand clamping units, joining 2 pipes together at right angles. Photo attached

    Coffin locks as recessed platform locks engaged using an Allen key.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

    Messages:
    4,487
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    I'm so glad I don't live in Van's world! Can I get a 400amp Roto-lock ?
    Are you sure you don't use a rota-lock ?
    A search for Roto-Lok yields many interesting results,
    https://rotolok.com/
    http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/product_info.php?products_id=3146
    https://www.milwaukeetool.com/power-tools/corded/6089-30
    https://www.avltech.com/?ap
    but as best I can tell, none having to do with connecting two pipes at right angles.

    -----
    My apologies to @IMDrew for hijacking his thread. By way of amends, here https://www.controlbooth.com/threads/constructing-a-temporary-stage-deck.20733 is a thread that may be useful.
     
  10. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

    Messages:
    4,397
    Likes Received:
    543
    Occupation:
    Prop-tart
    Location:
    Chicago
    There's more than one way to skin a flat! Or a deck in this instance. The last Broadway-level show that I had my hands on, the decks were skinned in Arboron sheets, an engineered, phenolic, laminated thermoplastic. But that was a specific instance. Our stock platforms are steel framed, lidded in 3/4" ply and skinned with 1/4" MDF.
     
  11. SHCP

    SHCP Active Member

    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    56
    Occupation:
    Technical Director
    Location:
    San Francisco
    What is the name for this type of 90 degree clamp in general? Rota lock, or is there other names for it.?

    Are these the ones?

    http://www.musson.com/rota-lock-pipe-clamp.html
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  12. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,069
    Likes Received:
    819
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Yes, that's what I was describing, though I think this is Deja Vu all over agin here on CB, as I'm certain we've had the "Rota" vs. "Roto" conversation.
     
  13. RideTheSquirrel

    RideTheSquirrel Member

    Messages:
    88
    Likes Received:
    20
    Occupation:
    Technical Director
    Location:
    Erie, PA
    I just built and entire portable dance floor designed with coffin locks that secure the pieces together put inserting an Alan Key through a small hole in the floor that locks the coffin lock into the other piece. It's quite fantastic really. Although, I've been building dance floors for 5 years now, its' just the best way to not have to spend the whole day bending over screwing or tapping pieces together with a block and sledge hammer.
     
  14. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,376
    Likes Received:
    266
    Occupation:
    aud man out
    Location:
    AK,
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I beleve This is the dual action cam lock Van was describing they call it a roto lock, duel lock at mutual hardware
    http://www.mutualhardware.com/Theat...er-Plates/Roto-Lock-Butt-Joint-Panel-Fastener
    Rosebrand has them listed as " Dual-Lock butt joint panel latch "
    http://www.rosebrand.com/product420/Dual-Lock-Butt-Joint-Panel-Latch.aspx

    Both are made by Southco
    [​IMG]
    https://www.southco.com/en-us/r2-r5
    The dual action adds substantial draw power to the joint

    https://www.southco.com/static/Literature/r2-r5.en.pdf
    -------------------------------------
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
    gafftapegreenia and Van like this.
  15. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

    Messages:
    5,932
    Likes Received:
    1,273
    Occupation:
    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
    Location:
    Portland, Or.
    RotA is a pipe connector, rotO is a Panel clamp.
     
    RideTheSquirrel likes this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice