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Platforms: weight vs strength, 2x6 vs 2x4 best practices

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Uncle Dirtnap, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I’ve seen one but it had been permanently set open. I’ve never built one.
     
  2. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Me! Me! Me! That was the old system back in the day.

    Our current stock risers use triscuits on a knockdown 1x pine frame assembled with 1/4-20 bolts and T-nuts;. The frames bang together pretty quickly but the decks are a bit finicky to align. Coffin locks would be a better option for holding those down. Storage space is at a premium in the venue.
     
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  3. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Me! Me!! Me!!! Too! Too!! Too!!!
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  4. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    Here’s how we do our show decks. Steel framed decks, lip & ledge connections. The corners share a 3/4” plywood block.
    C4BCF8E6-2569-42EA-A287-A75723AEE3AA.jpeg
     
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  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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  6. JohnD

    JohnD Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    Oh wow, how about bronze powder?
     
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  7. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    A friend of mine uses hide glue when she builds chairs, but she’s a props carp, and they’re weird. ;-)
     
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  8. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    You guys are killing me with all these 2x4s. Hem/fir is way too heavy for scenery.

    In my carpentry days I built #3 pine 1x6 (5 1/2") frames, 3 (or 5 stiles for dance) w 1/2" CDX. And wood glue - stronger than screws! Compression legs bolted on of course. Easy to carry, stacks for simple steps (6" tall), stores well and not so expensive we couldn't beat them up and build new.
     
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  9. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    True. I think "compression" here is referring to the joint between the leg and the platform. With a bolted leg, the weight transfers through the bolts and friction between the surfaces; with a compression leg (or studwall / trestle) the weight transfers straight down through compression. Both are acceptable in some circumstances; compression is better. Not acceptable (and seen all the time) is a non-compression leg joint held on by screws.
     
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  10. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    I have for certain circumstances (a touring / repping show) but not often. Today's design environment does not lend itself to stock scenery. Designers don't want to be constrained to the sizes and heights of platforms you have in stock. 2x4 platforms are quick to build and easy to customize.
     
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  11. microstar

    microstar Well-Known Member

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    Same here. In my scenery-building days I was a firm disciple of Bill Raoul's "Stock Scenery Construction" handbook where everything was made of 1x. Platforms were 1x5 1/4" framing on 2' centers with 3/4ply lids, also giving the built-in 6" step. Screwed and glued. They lasted well over 20 years of 4 shows per year.
    Legs were 1x3 "step legs" extensively X-braced if over 18" or so tall. The "step" directly supported the platform framing as below.

    step legs.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  12. StradivariusBone

    StradivariusBone Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I inherited a space with a ton of stock 4x8's built with 2x4 framing and 3/4 ply tops. I've built a few more over the years, but I have done several with 1x6 if we need a one-off. Soooo much easier to move around. However, HS kids have more trouble with the 1x vs. the 2x in terms of aligning fasteners. One day I'll bite the bullet and start replacing the "concrete forms", but it is very cost-prohibitive in the south. Don't know if 1x is cheaper elsewhere, but 1x6 that's not treated is hard to come by in Florida.

    As a TD that took a very roundabout way to being a TD that book is a Godsend. 1x for days.
     
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  13. Ted jones

    Ted jones Active Member

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    We used to build them when I worked in a scene shop in Baltimore. The parallels were easy to store and so were the tops being plywood with no framing. And easy to build.
     
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  14. Richard Young

    Richard Young Member

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    I don’t think the kids could build one if their life depended on it, let alone afford the clear 5/4 stock.
    Knee walls ( standard in film construction ) are the next best thing. 2x4 legs and bolts are just stupid amateur night. You can’t level that in anything that could remotely be called a short period of time. And try to do that on an outdoor gig.
     
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  15. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Richard Young @BillConnerFASTC In 1973 we built parallels of 1 foot and less (8") using 3/4" ply and windowing it to reduce weight, create hand-holds and feet. Standard 5/4 stock with glue, clinched nails and corner blocks et al were more economical both material and labor-wise for our 2', 3', 4' and 5' parallels. All tops were 3/4" 4' x 8' ply with corner blocks and were identical. We built at least 8 of each height plus a couple of 4' x 4' and a couple of specially angled units for choral riser set-ups. Fortunately we had a large trap room for convenient storage and soon added dedicated storage / transit dollies.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  16. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    I once saw someone rip 3/4 ply into 5 1/4 strips for deck framing, claiming it was far cheaper than #2 pine.
     
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  17. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    I’d have to compare prices, but it IS straighter and more consistent.
     
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  18. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    We do this from time to time, not for any cost saving but for dimensional stability.
     
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  19. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @RickR EXACTLY! Plus you save on IA labor to cut, assemble, glue, nail and clinch so many, many, joints. Use at least one bolt on each half of every hinge and rock on.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  20. kicknargel

    kicknargel Well-Known Member

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    We frame flats out of ply for dimensional stability, and I would do platforms that were sitting on the ground. I would not use ply for platforms legged up in any manner, because I don't trust fasteners into end grain of plywood for structural uses.
     

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