Smashing Beet Crates.

gafftaper

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Doing this new play from a local author. It takes place in a prison camp for German soldiers held captive in America during WWII. They work on a beet farm and at one point a character goes into a rage and is supposed to throw and smash crates. Black box theater and the audience is sitting only a few feet away. I've got serious safety concerns with the whole concept. I was thinking maybe I could build a set of stunt crate to smash and we could tone down the whole throwing things around.

I've been thinking about building crates out of 1x stock and cutting weak points into them so the crate can easily break in half but it's strong enough to not go flying into a million pieces. Any ideas of how to pull this off safely would be greatly appreciated.
 

Logos

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I nearly got arrested once for ordering a custom gobo that had a swastika in the centre and the words "Arbeit Macht Frei" curving around the symbol. It was for a production of "Playing for Time" by Arthur Miller.
We here can get what are called cabbage crates. They are a lot flimsier than most timber but stronger than Balsa. I have no idea what timber they are made from but it is very soft breaks easily but doesn't splinter. I will try and find out what the wood is.
 

gafftaper

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I'm thinking balsa wood crates.
And this gobo.
I was thinking about Balsa too, but I'm afraid it will splinter. Any shrapnel has to stay where it is the rest of the show. Thus my idea of building out of something substantial and setting it up so it can only fail in one place.

Interesting gobo... is that a Gam product?
 

bobgaggle

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Philadelphia, PA
rather than having the wood breaking, you could figure out a way to have the crate come apart at the joints in the wood. Maybe a small bead of glue on each joint that will fail when smashed on the ground...
 

SweetBennyFenton

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Feb 12, 2007
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Portland OR
Maybe strong, structural end pieces (1x stock) with luan strips running between them to form the walls of the crates.

I've used luan to break onstage in the past... the edges of the break are full of splinters, but it doesn't tend to throw off splinters or smaller broken pieces.

It also makes that great cracking sound. :)
 

gafftaper

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rather than having the wood breaking, you could figure out a way to have the crate come apart at the joints in the wood. Maybe a small bead of glue on each joint that will fail when smashed on the ground...
There we go! Build it out of stronger stock and hot glue it together so the crate can fail but the wood doesn't have to break. Thanks Bob that's the idea I was looking for.