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Old Gear

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by stantonsound, Jun 2, 2007.

  1. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    Ok....Let's say that you have a store room full of old scoops, or Altman 6x9's, or whatever. What do you do with it? There is ebay, online used gear sites (usedlighting.com, solarisnetwork.com, etc...), craigslist, and more. What works for you, or do you just keep it until it becomes an antique and sell it to a museum?

    From the look of most storerooms, most theatres keep their gear until it rusts to extinction and the ghosts of Christmas past come and take it away.
     
  2. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    I would sell it on a used gear site
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Try all of the above. Some people sell, some people ebay. I had a bunch of old gear that I just told my local supply shop I had. They didn't want to deal with it, but when someone came in looking for cheap working gear, they were directed to call me. It worked out great. Lots of options.
     
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    A lot of places, thats harder then it sounds. First, theatre people are pack rats by nature... you never know what you will need on the next show... I like to keep around a few kliegels to use as set dressing for those "show in a show" shows. Also, enless you are totally getting rid of an inventory of one fixture, you have to keep skeletons around to pull parts from.

    I have sold some stuff on ebay when I can, but ebay is a hard place to sell huge lots of stuff. Solaris is pretty good. Most of the time however that I have bought used stuff or sold used stuff, its either from a rental house or another theatre, and I usually sell to other theatres in the area or sell to a local school. Board members/management types are much easier persuaded to sell local and "help out someone else" and from that cash buy half the stuff that you had before at a better quality. Management never likes getting rid of gear, half the time the really old stuff simply has to walk away on its own because if you tell anyone your getting rid of it they will raise all hell. If your at a larger place that maintains a large inventory, its easier to get rid of old stuff, but most small theatres hold onto stuff until it rusts and falls apart.

    My all time favorite is telling them they need to buy new cable because the old stuff has corroded. They simply don't get it.
     
  5. drawstuf99

    drawstuf99 Active Member

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    Community theatre are always looking for cheap, usable gear...as you know ;)

    Seriously though, even if your instruments are a bit on the 'old side,' there are many community theatres anywhere willing to purchase stuff for a cheap price if willing. Get a tax write-off while you're at it.

    I know one of our local theatres bought a hell of a lot of lights from Off Tryon when it closed--they weren't the best lights of the market, but they work and they're usable.

    Online, too, is good. But I've always liked the idea of keeping things local anyway just to know you did something nice and helped people out. Plus, you'll get some money and they probably aren't being used if they're in a closet anyway.
     
  6. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    A good part of our inventory came from a theatre that had an electrical fire. The founding light guy paid almost nothing for them, and kept them in his barn for years.
     
  7. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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  8. PyroGoBooooom

    PyroGoBooooom Member

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    Amen to being a packrat by nature! I can't tell you the number of times having spare parts, regardless of how old, helped. A few places still believe in running antique lights, and having a dozen or so sure helped when they were looking for parts.
     
  9. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    You should come see the pair of 1950's Mole-Richardson fresnels in the storage room.
     
  10. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    As of Monday I’m donating to my local theater two 33gal. trash cans full of around 1,500' of my own cable 14/3 to 12/3 type SO cable. This mostly in short lengths they can use, and without even a tax write off on my part. They can use the upgrade in getting beyond what for them is seemingly decent if black 16/3 SJT cable and sitting in my garage isn’t serving a purpose.

    Sold off my 3.5Q5 Lekos for much the same reason - they were mine, yet not helping things sitting in my garage given I don’t have time to do shows in using them. Just traded two 10" scoops for the antique Ovalite out of the same concept. About to trade part of the second half of payment for the Lekos and dimmers I sold off for their antique box spots in bringing me up to a dozen of that type of fixture in various type. Such settles accounts and I have ideas on low voltage lighting and “Go Fres” solutions to the old box spots in giving them a new use other than rusting away in a basement - thus properly taking care of them. This however is given very much obsolete fixtures in a theater space where at least as a concept, even the radial Lekos are of use if they design with them properly. Fairly rare such fixtures get used, but they are still on the painting pallet and ready to use none the less. Wouldn't we all just love a surplus of fixtures to design with.

    Concept for them being that they have something like eight or twelve Shakespeare fixtures, all seven of my 3.5Q5 fixtures that match or better the output of the Shakespeare given HPR lamps verses GLA lamps used in the Shakespeares’, some Colortran Mini-Ellipses that are crappy but still used since they are in theory modern, a bunch of 360Q’s and even more still ancient 360's and Century 4.5x6 fixtures all recently upgraded to safe condition. It’s with the 60+ 6" Fresnels, two 10" scoops, two 16" scoops, various PAR and MR-16 cyc lights - like ten banks of them, more fixtures for a paint brush to the designers than any community at best 40' wide black box concept theater has business in having.

    IN a box at work I have another one or two dozen Beckley and other versions different than the Altman 65Q shape of Fresnel waiting for upgrade to safe condition. The theater has no need of them. Were it not for safety, they could easily sell such fixtures off this given them not waiting for me to at least make them safe “as is” in no asbestos, if not proper safe in being re-wired for the cost of parts to them but operating conditon.

    Cannot sell fixtures if a responsible person that could be unsafe for the end user of them. Given I now have responsibility of these fixtures, they will neither go back into service, or be sold off until factory safe or better in conditon.

    Don’t care about the E-Bay world, my name assocatiated with something that could injure or kill either stays in my area or doesn’t exist. Would rather trash what’s not safe than potentially risk some well meaning person using gear they don’t know how to handle.

    That gear in the closet I would bring up to current standards were it me. Than either keep it as supplemtal inventory, or retail away to a good home. This be it by the net or to some needy local group that needs help. I often donate to those that need help but also track what they do with the help given for future help provided or not. Once I provide a leg up to some company that’s struggling, I had at best better see overall improvement and proper use or it’s the end of such support.

    Trash, na. Letting it rust away in a basement... not if you are a proper tech person - you will find the time to maintain all the gear within your inventory for the day that it’s used or necessary. Never know, might get a retro designer that needs to have a certain piece of gear you have lovingly maintained over the years or as if supplemental to it, that you can field in a working proper condition with the rest of the gear. Lights are lights, doesn’t matter how old or un-used, all are to be care takered both for use and or for resale if that’s the option.

    Best way to impress the board is to not just impress them by skill and ability but by way of no matter what is being used, it’s all cared for and in working condition. You make your warnings about funds spent at times to upgrade and care for such outdated gear, but in the end if replaced or not, all gear you supervise is cared for and in serviceable and safe condition. Gear walking away is also an affront to your ability to manage what’s under your supervision. First you take such gear permanently out of the active inventory, than it’s demise or storage is within question. Only with permission does gear slip between the serviceable active stock and that which could be trashed, sold off or just given away.

    They still don’t get it in bad cable lacks the concepts in education of why they don’t get it. Those that get it, understand and trust your observation and reasoning. Short of them understanding your observations, stuff you declare as one thing or another relies upon a half trust of your ability in being cost effective verses knowing what you are doing in costing money. Believe me, even if correct, if the bean counters don’t have absolute faith in you by way of understanding what you are doing, you are on the chopping block before suspicious cable that is not understood to be bad. Have a comptroller where I work.. He gives me a hard time at times or most of the time, yet where important as with all my boss’s they trust in what I do, and at no point do I other than earn or ensure they know why I do what I do. Freedom to act only follows ensuring such freedom comes after being on the same page as those trusting in you.

    These days if I want to delete a cable from the inventory due to dry rot say, my boss in after years of me consulting him about it knows and trusts my observation. It than is not questioned. Should I have started this practice without permission years ago, I would no doubt be working elsewhere. This much less if I gave away fixtures or made stuff go away without such an understanding and consultation. Cover your rear, it’s all you have in making a career.

    Beyond this, you are charged to care for what you have on hand. This by way of maintaining in ready to use servicable condition what you supervise, or making sure what you have goes to a good home while in safe condition - this dependant upon the need what profit or not you make from what you as a generational care taker of the theater gear you are responsible for.

    To a good home, and or ready to use.

    Hate to bring back up a military or priesthood refrence but it's a calling that of a true tech peson. What you do with the gear in the end is for the best of the gear, but in the mean time you are responsible for it. In the past I was was respnsible for a .50 Cal. Machine gun that dated back to before WWII in making. It still operated as per sepecification and would always under my care. That's my generation past and future generations in caring for one old gun that it could or would last as long and function as designed.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2007
  11. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Didn't read the whole thread, but you can always donate to my school. ;-)
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Depending on your level of need there's almost someone out there who would love to have your old garbage that you won't get anything for on e-bay. Call your local school and community theater and see if you can make their year by giving away some of your junk.

    On the flip side if you are an educational institution there are probably strict rules from your state government about how you can get rid of school property. So be careful.
     
  13. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    It usually involves two options, a dumpster or public auction.
     
  14. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Illinois puts these nice little tags on everything in the state University system that cost over 500 bux. Every year they "inventory" everything in the system. They get rather mad if something does not turn up. There is a HUGE warehouse in Springfield Illinois that is just sitting there because the university's don't want it anymore. They can't sell this stuff because it is state property, so it sits. Its a pretty interesting place to go, I was up there years back to drop off some stuff from a local university. They have EVERYTHING. Old computers, really old fixtures, everything.
     
  15. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Now there is a garage sale or give away we all would wish to attend. My fixtures and gear were given to my local theater - sorry, my Fresnels are still in flux but will also go away at some point if I don't use them. As for the theater, don't know what they will do with them but given budget will probably E-Bay them off if they ever get so organized.

    City of Chicago at one point was closing down their round house which was the scene shop for all park distract theater centers. It was an actual train revolve building which had fallen into disuse. One morning they opened up the doors and all with non-for profit status, or those with a good home for the gear were allowed to cart it all away. Amazing the stuff in this building even if a lot of it was already given away before the sale. You un-bolt it, you could even have the painting frame as an extent of what was going out the door.

    Got lots of stuff for me, a theater I was associated with and for the city's MOSE shop I was also associated with in gear they might find useful.

    Been to quite a few closing down of theaters over the years and even hoasted one of my own where we ended up trashing more stuff than we will have wished given other theaters no less broke than we were, couldn't be bothered coming out and getting our stuff in the end. Years of going to what a shame another place closing down, safe what you can.

    Really interesting to hear of this state's own collection of gear, there is a place I would like to go. This in having also grown up listening to tales of those who got to repell into bricked up stages in saving what's left of them. This repelling in from the roof between ancient hanging drapes painted in the classic style, and just left there in waiting for the day the wrecking ball took the final structure. Tales of those lucky enough to enter a 20 year closed down building to get what they could etc. An active collection of gear that should be sold off or given off to needy places in saving me some from taxes about at very least heating and lighting the storage building, and putting out
    what others might find useful... What a shame.

    Back when some in the round dinner theaters closed down a few years ago, the stages and trailers full of gear were opened up for giving away. Missed out on them given I had nowhere to put such stuff I might acquire. Back than however I still had my ear to the wall in knowing about what was available for saving from the scrap yard.

    IN going to the scrap yard, one day I really did look out of one of my theater's windows and see some broken down pickum up truck transporting scrap steel to the scrap yard. It was full of while not new, still servicable scoops and Lekos. I chased that truck down the block in just missing it. What a shame, we could have used any fixtures we could get back than also.

    Still art was made with what we had or could acquire. It's not how large the painting pallet, it's what you do with what you have in the end that's most important. This be it a theater that has more gear than they know what to do with, yet still doesn't know how to light the stage, or some place making art with clip lights. The art is the thing. Remember it.
     
  16. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    One of the other guys in town that I work with picked up 18 pieces of applied electronics 12" box truss from an aluminum scrap yard. He paid $22 per 10' stick. I was a little jealous, but I would have sent them to be tested, as no one knows their history. I have seen some truss that had been ridden hard and put up wet, and would not trust something like this, at least not until it was tested. I would have bought it in a heart beat.
     
  17. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    I was under the understanding that selling bad truss with out destroying it was bad practice and big liability. I don't know what it costs to have truss tested but I would imagine when you know nothing about the history it can't be cheap.

    Also he paid less then a buck a pound which seems a bit low as one can sell cans to a scrap yard for 70 cents a pound, I would have thought truss would be made of better quality and there for worth more.
     
  18. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Ya, I would agree, but then again, odds are it got dropped at the scrap yard and the dropees thought it would be melted down or cut up in a matter of weeks. Whenever I throw anything away that has to due with anything involving life safety I always cut it up first, this is ladders, rope, wire rope, all of that good stuff. The scrap yard probably didn't know what they had.
     
  19. stantonsound

    stantonsound Active Member

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    That is a GREAT practice. Not only from a liability standpoint, but I would hate to have someone get hurt on a piece of equipment such as rope that I know is damaged or a ladder that is not safe.
     
  20. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Having spent some time junk yard shopping I would try and get the yard workes to break it, just to get an idea of what a stick of truss can really take. Sure its rated to takea ton center point load but whats its real breaking strength. Besides any time I get to watch big machines rip stuff apart I get a kick out of it.
     

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