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Plywood for Decking

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by Dustincoc, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    I'm constructing a deck in place framed with 2x4's on 18" centers. Do I realy need 3/4? plywood for the top or would 1/2" be good. I've got a few sheets of 1/2" in the shop and no 3/4" and the budget is really tight on this show so I don't know if I can afford to skin the deck in 3/4".
     
  2. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Project Manager, Stagecraft Industries, Inc.
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    How big of a deck, what's the final load going to be on it? how long will it be in service? is you don't know the exact load, how many people are going to be standing on it ? Dancing ? milling around ?
     
  3. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    lower level is 6" high and 3-5' deep. Upper level is around 5-8 feet deep. Both decks run the entire width of the stage which is about 16 feet.The show is running for 6 weeks with 5 actors who will be dancing, ect.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I would go with no less that 3/4" cdx with a Masonite top, or 5/8" OSB if you can find the T&G osb it's better for dancing.
     
  5. curtg

    curtg Member

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    Western Wisconsin, Chippewa Valley
    I concur with Van. 3/4 is minimal even with your solid framing.

    Will you reuse this platform. If so, make the argument that the platforms will be going into stock. Sometimes there is a budget for necessary stock items.
     
  6. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I agree with both previous posts. For me, I never use less than 3/4" ply on platforms with 1/4" masonite top. It is abaolutely worth the extra $$$.

    ~Dave
     
  7. Marius

    Marius Active Member

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    If your superiors give you flack about the extra cost use the magic word 'liability' should one of the dancers go through the deck. I tried using 1/2 ply for a 4'X4' that would only be walked on, and then practically developed an ulcer as I watched it flex every time it was stepped on. Never again.
     
  8. jwl868

    jwl868 Active Member

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    Although my experience is much less than the previous posters, stick with the ¾-inch plywood. We have a few 4x4 platforms with ¾-inch decks, and for a recent recital, we had to use an extra older 4x4 platform that had a 1/2-inch deck. It had way too much flex but only needed to be walked on. We reinforced it from below with more 2x4s. (Luckily, it only needed to be stepped on by one dancer, not danced on.)


    Joe
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    There is a school of thought out there that says you can use thinner woods... I believe "The Stock Scenery Construction Handbook" is in favor of thinner stock if I remember right. Some people use 5/8" or even 1/2". Unless it gets really abused, you have a lot of actors, or heavy actors on the platform the thinner woods will not break... do the math about the load, don't just guess. However, I have not been impressed with the results I have seen. Thinner wood flexes and that means, a stage that is moving which means more noise, and a hollow sound. It can be done if you need to for a traveling show but it's not a result you are going to be happy with for the most part (again do the math).
     
  10. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    If you have stock of 1/2" then simply double up, it will be stronger than 3/4, it is a waste of money in the long term but solves the short term problem.
     
  11. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    The plan got vetoed by the money people, I ended up changing the deck to be built with stock platforms and a couple custom built platforms.
     
  12. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    Gotta love the producers, what are they spending the money on? Rights and Licensing? Costumes? Some fancy pro Lighting guy? All the places I've seen give the least money to sets
     
  13. Dustincoc

    Dustincoc Active Member

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    The director is writing the script so no rights or licensing to deal with. Costumes has the amount we do($600). I am the lighting designer, lighting tech, co-set designer, and essentially the TD and Master Carp. We are borrowing the money and and want to make as big a profit as possible so there is money left so we don't need to borrow next year.
     
  14. Medryn

    Medryn Member

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    Have you considered doing stressed-skin platforms. The materials are cheaper, but you have to do some more construction work. THe bonus is they are light to move and take up less space to store.(if you are going to reuse them). The drawback is primarily that you have to use stud wall leggings in most cases
     

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