Rental Broke!


Ahh! Last night in our production of "Into the Woods" our borrowed cow's frame snapped! We borrowed the cow from a professional theatre company, so needless to say, I'm a little freaked out. 8O

Unfortunately, we can't really fix it because the frame is metal and needs to be welded. We've managed to brace it with bamboo sticks, duct tape and strips of fabric- at least it stands now!

The actor stumbled with the cow and (we thought) bent the leg. When we took a look inside we saw the frame had snapped along the joint in a crucial weight bearing spot! I don't actually think it's our fault, I don't think we could have prevented it- the break looks like metal fatigue (It's an old cow), but we've got to get this thing through two more show, and then return it.

They say something goes wrong in every production, and I guess it's true. :cry: I still feel guilty, as I am the one in charge of sets and props.

So- advice? comfort? similar experience?
No sense crying over spilled milk.
HA! Get it? It's a cow... milk! I happen to think it is quite funny.

But really, you didn't break it, it's not your fault.
Part of the price of doing rentals is paying for the repair of equipment and it's wear. One of these days I have to read that script.

Chances are the break won't be a problem especially if it's not your fault. The renter instead is the one on the spot now not you. You are renting gear for the production, if it breaks during that production, and it's equipment failure it is their responsibility. Read your contract and immediately call the renter to inform them of the problem, advise them of you fix and seek their approvial for further use of the gear if not them needing it back to properly repair and get back to you in time for the next show. This way if they know about the problem, and cause of it, they are on the hot seat as to fixing the problem or replacing the goods, not you for not telling them about it. A certain amount of quick fixes to get the show up can be expected - if not reduced from your rental cost given the gear is expected to be in servicable condition, but it all has to be re-negotiated, plus you don't have to pay for the gear if it does not function to the extent you pay.

If I rent a follow spot, you bet I'm on site within an hour to make it function, otherwise any repairs necessary are taken out of the bills. There is a certain amount of responsibility for the renter to ensure their gear will function properly. Track your hours and materials necessary for the fix, it might be reimbersed. At least by them knowing about the problem you won't be charged for destroying their gear. I don't expect your repair will be a problem but cover your rear in it. Bamboo for the repair... interesting and interesting. Very imaginative.
Thank you both. Radman for making me laugh, and Ship for the good advice. I really am a newbie and this is the first really bad thing to happen in one of my shows. I will talk to my director (She rented it), and get a look at that contract ASAP.
haha, wow, yea, i know what its like to have something break durring a show. Ours wasn't a rental though, but a crucial set piece. We did Kiss Me Kate, the play within a play, and we put a futuristic spin on it, we made "taming of the shrew" into a futureistic outerspace set, and Petruchio's house was a mushroom, and the mushroom cap could lift off to expose the people inside. well anyways, we have to take it down after the scene and while we we, all of a sudden, *SNAP* the wireing holding it together just snapped and it wasn't good. we took it off stage quicly and we worked on it (silently mind you) un fortunately it was needed one more time in act 1 and we didn't get it fixed till Act 2, but the show seemed to go fairly well. I don't think that the Cappies noticed...why does everything happen on Cappies night? well, good luck with ur cow, and when in doubt use DUCT TAPE!!
The last person that made refrence to duck tape in my theater was a "dance dad" said that and carboard was a stagehand's best friend. I was so mad I went inot the shop. Granted this was at 830 and the rehersal was over at 630 but we were on the clock so it was that bad.
but it leaves residue all over, if some one were to tape down my cables with it they would then get to clean them. While gaff is a little more and can be a little less sticky I think it is worth it.
Rocko said:
when in doubt use DUCT TAPE!!

We did, but it was no use. We used every type of glue know to mankind (epoxy resin), and we spent about a week trying to fix it in between shows. It was all no good because it was a crucial spot. It usually managed to hold for the first half hour of every show, so we did get through it. :?
First of all:

Once upon a PEP show, Radman said, "Hey Allison, could you tape down those cables for me? Use the balck gaff tape."
"Sure," said Allison, "what's gaff tape?"
"It's the only black tape we have, it's in that box."
Five minutes later, Radman found all the cords to be taped down with none other than the grey devil its self, DUCT TAPE! Radman couldn't show up for work for work next week, he was still recovering from trauma.

And secondly:

\/ !
Rocko said:
...well anyways, we have to take it down after the scene and while we we, all of a sudden, *SNAP* the wireing holding it together just snapped and it wasn't good. we took it off stage quicly and we worked on it (silently mind you) un fortunately it was needed one more time in act 1 and we didn't get it fixed till Act 2, but the show seemed to go fairly well...!

At least this occurred behind the curtain. The previous night of the same show, during the scene where Fred spanks Lilli, the (mushroom-) table that Lilli was leaning on clean broke off of its center post, right on stage (in front of a closed curtain to boot). In hindsight, it was very amusing, though at the time we were kinda in shock.
ok, heres my reply to the whole gaff vs duct argument we seem to have gotten started. I know gaff is better for taping down wires and such that will be most likely temporary, but if u want to try and get a permenant fix to something, use duct tape. im my experience with gaff tape, gaff doesn't seem to hold as well as duct, unless gaff tape is stuck to itself :) , yea, it has happended to me, a pain to get appart, and once u do, its useless. but, ok, say ur spiking a stage, taping down wires, marking something temporary temporay, use gaff tape, but if u want a stronger hold and something more lasting, use duct. like for set repair use duct tape for a quick fix, and gaff tape to like patch up holes (it works rather well if u put it on smoothly) so, yes i know when to use gaff, and what it is used for, but i still love duct tape :D . so thats that i hope
No, not really. Depends upon if you are buying cheap gaffers tape verses cheap duct tape. Cheap duct tape will de-laminate with time and heat almost on cue, plus it’s adhesive will become the common duct tape goo during that period especially when it’s necessary to remove it much less it in being permanent - have to touch it. Common duct tape while it might become impossible to remove completely is certainly not what anyone would call perminantly adhered to the surface... just touch it. Duct tape has grades, Gaffers tape has grades. For strength in general a duct tape will have thicker fibers to it than gaffers tape. Five wraps of even for the most part cheapest duct tape means something that is not going to rip apart. Five wraps of gaffers tape might rip apart because it’s usually made of finer strands of fiber. That is until the gooyness becomes a factor. The adhesive in tape frequently will creep in becoming a sort of liquid blob allowing the tape to move about if not the vinyl surface come loose from the rest of the tape. Cheap even some expensive gaffers tape will also do this creeping at times too. Gaffers tape for the most part has a better amount of adhesive on a par with better grades of duct tape at least on the glue withstanding temperature. Some duct tape that is more gaffers tape with a vinyl coating is better than normal thin crap gaffers tape. Such tape frequently will have a more dull surface and the vinyl is better adhered to the fibers. This tape might not seem as sticky, but that’s more a question of the gooeyness as an adhesive quality.

Here is another thing, adhesive don’t stick to dirt. You try to adhere cheap gaffers tape to a dirty floor as opposed to gooey cheap duct tape and it is not going to stick well because the thickness of the adhesive layer is more refined and does not sufficiently adhere to the surface. Wash the deck, provide a for the most part a smooth surface to adhere to and the gaffers tape sticks just fine and does not have as many problems with heat in re-activating the adhesive. The gaffers tape’s main selling point is in it keeping the adhesive on the tape and not left on the surface. Wash the deck after the tape is down and the duct tape becomes a gooey mess. The cheap gaffers tape will just peel up. What’s better... don’t know, I don’t use cheap tape.

Between the higher priced lines of Permiciel/Pro Gaff which is the same manufacturer and any type of Spectape or SurTape, you can find gaffers tape that will adhere to surfaces better, or at least as good as the best of gaffers tape grades short of the stuff that’s more goo than useful. Same stuff for the most part, different coatings and fiber thicknesses. Normally duct tape with thinner fibers that are closer spaced together will be the better grades of it. On gaffers tape, there is a defiant difference in thickness which is the adhesive most noticeably a part of.

Our wire rope truss ladders have a longer pipe taped to their bottom so as to make it easier to roll them up neatly much less allow for standing on them. Of recent days, it has come to importance the need to add some more pipe bottoms to truss ladders without it. New people were doing this and instruction was necessary. Five layers of duct tape in three bands across a 12" step than at least three layers of gaffers tape above it is what we use in this condition. The duct tape is sufficiently strong to hold a few hundred pounds, the gaffers tape keeps it in place and able to touch. Simply said, it’s using both types of tape to their greatest advantage. Used to tape 2x2 vendor booth sign posts to tent poles in another past job. Duct tape in at least a cheap grade or better yet in that above semi-flat best grade was used universally. It both was far strong enough to attach a wind sail to the frame of a tent and given the better grade of tape, even in the hottest of summers, it came off cleanly from the pipe and lumber. Gaffers tape would also work to some extent but you would need more layers for the same strength - at least 7, and such tape was 15 times more expensive.

On a budget, perhaps duct tape is not that bad. A semi-flat duct tape will even take latex paint to some degree. As opposed to buying dollar per roll stuff, perhaps stuff costing five bucks per roll might be the best balance. Otherwise a change of brands given you can find suppliers for the other tapes than Permiciel, or Permiciel in it’s better but more expensive grade would work best overall.

Take a wander around the Permiciel website. Believe they offer both gaff and duct tape. This would provide more fuel to the opinions to date.

Taping down cable is also frequently better done by either cable ramps, vinal floor runner over it, or Cable Path tape which is gaffers tape that’s wide but normally the lesser grade of gaff tape. A floor layer of good gaff tape might be needed to adhere cable path tape. Beyond all of this, you also start getting into entertainment cable/convention center grade flat cable. Try putting a round cable five pole twist plug on the end of a 8/5 gauge flat cable. There is a challenge in something that’s taped to the floor or under carpet yet still fairly flat.

End results: Don’t use duct tape on fixtures or anywhere where it’s going to get really warm. Once the thick adhesive bakes onto the surface, it’s not coming off. On the other hand, cheap gaffers tape will usually chip off the surface decently. Never put tape on a fixture but when neophytes do it and you have to get it off you will be glad for gaff tape. Goofoff while useful for removing adhesive from surfaces in general becomes a gooey mess when the duct or gaffers tape is still on the surface. This will cause the vinyl to de-laminate making you have to peel off vinyl, than web fiber than thick adhesive from the surface one gooey layer at a time and a putty knife won’t work - just your fingers. Gaffers tape while it won’t de-laminate a vinyl layer since it does not have one, still becomes gooey. In this case, cheap gaffers tape has the advantage especially when old in removal. The longer the tape has been on a surface, the harder it is to remove. Heating it up can help to remove it unless baked on, but not always neatly.
find a crew member who can weld
Being able to weld and being a certified welder are two different things. Much less being a welder certified for structural elements. I can weld also, even had a class in college that got me up to the point that I would be able to pass certification with a little more practice in all forms of it. Have not had the chance however.

Given this, I would not even attempt to weld something someone can get injured off of without that certification saying My welds are good. At very least, a certified welder in a school setting is required to suprevise and inspect.

A friend who can weld is far different than a certified welding friend working for a welding company that has liability coverage for what they weld, much less a certified structural component welder that not only has basic welding coverage on insurance, but the company they work for has certified that what they weld will function according to specification.

Lots of lawsuits coming from accidents. Welding is tricky, one burn thru can cause a set to fail catistrophically and kill people. One's best buddie that can hack a weld together might be fine if it's a question of a lighting fixtrure with a safety cable, but for anything more it's a definate certified welder necessary.

Don't know where the topic of welding came from but it's a caution all the same.
Well ship, u seem to know ur duct tape, gaff tape, and welding. haha. i think they should make a "who wants to be a millionair, techie eddition" and u should be on it :) . u got some good info in that noggin of urs. ha, i can barely keep peoples names right.
Into the Woods, that was my school's musical this year.... now I know of 3 schools who did it, us (RCDS in NY) a school near us (got nominated for some awards in the paper) and you guys.....

I enjoyed the show, i think it is a very well-done show and fun to do.

quick question, what did you do for the giant. We acutely made a big foot out of foam and stuff and had it 'walk' on stage and when the giant died the foot came in toes up. really cool to hear and see the audience when the giant foot comes and walks on stage......

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