Scaffolding

The_Guest

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Detroit, MI
I'm currently using a LOT of scaffolding in a set design. It has worked out really nice. Best of all; it's cheap to rent. One problem it's all painted yellow as a safety feature. I need it to be black. Unfortunately, I can't paint it because it's a rental. What should I do? Black fabric? There is a problem with fabric. Performers have to be able to climb around on it. Loose grip + four stories of scaffolding = liability. Any tight forms of black fabric? Maybe washable paint? Help!
 

Foxinabox10

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May 1, 2004
Location
Boston, MA
What about the foam that is used on pipes to insulate them? You could wrap them around the pipes on the scaffolding, still allowing a good grip.
 

falcon

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Dec 11, 2004
You can always just rent black scaffolding. I see it all the time at work, although, it is mostly covered in sheetrock 90 and paint, but it is all made out of black steel tubing.
 

Footer

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i know its not the best solution... but gaf it... in long strips... it would eat up alot of rolls but it would do the trick.. and give better grip at the same time...
 

drawstuf99

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Feb 5, 2006
We did Bye Bye Birdie at my school and all the sets were on various pieces and levels up to three levels high of scafolding. I wasn't on tech for the show, I was actually in it, but I know they had lots of those plastic and metal hangers and various corrugated plastics, foams, and metals that we had for scenery that would just hang onto it to make a bedroom and stuff. It's hard to describe, but looked very amazing.

They just gaf taped the parts that were scene by the audience, and also kept a few parts silver for effect.

One thing to consider is, backstage it's dark and having huge sets of scafolding that are black can really hurt running into them during a quick crossover or costume change (I did that... haha). Also, the audience won't be able to see it really well unless decorated. But I'm sure you knew that.

Black Gaff or masking tape. Works well, and it just peels off. You can use it to conceal wires for lamps and stuff depending on your designs.

Andrew
 

The_Guest

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Detroit, MI
First and foremost, gaff tape is way too expensive to do that. There (4) four story towers of scaffolding. Roughly 70% is visable to the audience. Is there a black tape out there that isn't too shiny, won't rip off the yellow paint on the scaffolding when I remove it, inexpensive (need lots of it), and possibly has a larger surface area (don't want something as thin as electrical tape)?

Thanks for all your advice so far.
 

jwl868

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Aug 31, 2004
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
How about wide masking tape, then painting over that? or maybe plastic curtain rod covers?

But, your comment of about falling four stories caught my eye – surely you have railings along the scaffold.

You didn’t mention how the actors ascend and descend, but if its by ladders (integral or otherwise) you’ll need to carefully evaluate how or if to darken these. Tape could loosen in the middle from use, sag, and create a tripping hazard.

And if you have ladders to ascend and descend, the access to the ladders may lack the fall protection railing. Could be an issue in the dark.

Finally, you should have someone inspect all this each day to make sure nothing has come loose and to make sure nothing is left high up that could get knocked off.

Sorry to digress…

Joe
 

Chris15

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jwl868 said:
You didn’t mention how the actors ascend and descend, but if its by ladders (integral or otherwise) you’ll need to carefully evaluate how or if to darken these. Tape could loosen in the middle from use, sag, and create a tripping hazard.

And if you have ladders to ascend and descend, the access to the ladders may lack the fall protection railing. Could be an issue in the dark.

Finally, you should have someone inspect all this each day to make sure nothing has come loose and to make sure nothing is left high up that could get knocked off.

Sorry to digress…

Joe
Taping any of your ladders could lead to a severe downgrading of their safety. Tape could come off, or stick to shoes or the like. Also, given the nature of backstage environments, you would want to be making sure that any ladder is well lit whilst in use and keeping these yellow if at all possible, simply because they ill be more visible and so you lessen the risk of missing the rung.
 

jonhirsh

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Dec 11, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario and Valencia, California
So you have a 40' vertical climb of scafold? What are you securing off to? Do you have a structural engineer to work with you on implementing the design.
Because this is an extremly dangerous venture that you are attempting, forget makeing the cords of the scafold not yellow first make sure that you have made it safe.

ok now that i have said that.

You can get paper tape which is gaff but paper. or you could paint it black and then restore it to yellow.

So yah be safe have someone who knows scafold there to confirm the safty.

JH
 

DarSax

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May 3, 2006
Location
Bethesda MD
I think a lot of what you're going to do is dependant on what exactly people are going to be doing on it. What does "climbing around" mean? Does this mean you can basically face the entire side with paper, fabric, luan, etc, or do you need individual rods painted black?

And personally I'd say for the parts that no one is going on, blue painter's tape is probably dirt-cheap and designed to not peel off any paint. (On the downside, it's not exactly the strongest tape).

You could also be creative and kind of make draping tapestries? that were very thin width wise, yet would go from the top to the floor. Like
______
|| ||
|| ||
|| ||
|| ||

Basically long, thin sheets of black fabric. Attach them at the top and let them hang vertically down the front of the scaffolding. Might look cool? Dunno.
 

kingfisher1

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Jul 14, 2005
I really would not recomend the foam pipoe insulation, its slippery and will make holding on really difficult. (i know from experience)

Has your rental company specifically stated you can't paint it black?

can you paint it black, then paint back to yellow?

i personally would try to use soft goods and tape as much as possible. i thinks if you're carefull about the tape then it won't become a hazard, but again be vigilant!
 

gafftaper

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I would go back to calling rental companies until you find one who doesn't mind if you return them freshly repainted.
 

kingfisher1

Active Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
me too,
really the foam sucks as something to grab onto. we have a few supporst in our booth that are sorta at head hight so we covered tehm in the pipe insulation stuff which makes walking around up there much less dangerous unless you slip on a fallen paper (like i did,) grab the foam covered pipe and watch as it rotated around the pipe (its impossoble tpo secure) the my fingers (which are pretty strong from climing) sorta slid of the slick plasic.
anyway bad memory and big bump on head