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Stage floor repair

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by lieperjp, Apr 21, 2008.

  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Alright, I did some searching around and I can't find ant tips.
    our stage deck is a hardwood floor that has taken quite a beating. I want to get some funding to re-finish it. Does anyone know of any quick and easy methods of sanding a large area? Also, any good sealants? Yes, it is a hardwood floor (the stage was installed in 1920 and was refurbished in 1970.) Right now I'm thinking just go to home depot or menards and pick up some good hard wood sealant and give it three or four coats. They (the administration) will not let the floor be painted. The only problem is the floor has several very deep gashes... and they do set construction on the stage since we don't have a scene shop, not to mention that a wind ensemble practices on stage four days a week. It needs to be done, the floor is chipping and it is only getting worse. We can't put gaffers tape on it anymore because it pulls up some floor with it when we remove it. Sugesstions?
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Don't go refinish in yourself. It can be done, but is not an easy thing to do. The space will have to be shut down for a good period of time, sanded, and then re-sealed. Throwing more sealer on top is not going to fix it. Get the guys in there that take care of your gym floor, usually its about the same process. I know way to many people who have spent days trying to strip and re-seal stages only to paint it black because it was not taking the stain correctly.
     
  3. RiffRaff54

    RiffRaff54 Member

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    Get someone else to do it. Speaking from experience, it's long, hard work. I would HIGHLY recommend going with DawnChem's StreetShoe as you're topcoat. We've used it at my theatre for years and we have a high school set crew that builds on it (even though we have a scene shop, go figure) and a band, an orchestra, or a choir that rehearses every school day on stage and it holds up. If you call Dawn they'll send you a list of what all they recommend doing and with what products, or I can send them to you if you give me your email.

    For the love of god don't use what the gym uses, they usually use a high gloss finish and if you do that you're lighting people will hang you from you're FOH positions.

    Also once you've picked your finish, sealer, etc. make sure you shop around online for good prices, I'd suggest floormechanics.com, but that's just me.

    Hope this helps
     
    lieperjp likes this.
  4. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Another vote for finding professional to do this. you might think it would be more expensive, but in the long run, it will save you money, grief and lots of time. Plus you don't have to worry if something goes wrong - just make sure their contract ensures that the job is 100% guaranteed.

    We tried it once in our black box and ended up having to rip the floor out and replace the entire deck. We were out of service for nearly the entire summer and paid nearly double what it would have cost to have brought pros in.

    Char5lie
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    You may also need to face the fact that even if it's a 38 year old floor, it may be at the end of it's useful life. If in fact it's hardwood, even oak or maple, if it's been mistreated, (stage floors take much more abuse than home floors) it may need replacement. Often theatres were built with hardwood for the first 10' and then pine the rest of the way upstage, specifically so the pine could be replaced at lesser cost. Another legend I've heard is the reason for the hardward downstage is for the star tapdance number. At a roadhouse I once worked, we eventually gave up and laid black battleship linoleum over the entire stage. Over time, humidity issues, particularly dryness in winter, can destroy a floor.

    I agree with all of the above. Your only course of action is to have it professionally sanded and refinished. Painting it would not be a good option, and could make it worse.
     
  6. Techiegirly

    Techiegirly Member

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    I hate it when the powers that be have NO CLUE what REALLY needs to be done for the safetey and/or well being of the theatre yet they have all the power and money making decisions and control. It gets in the way SO OFTEN.:evil:
     
  7. RiffRaff54

    RiffRaff54 Member

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    I was told this was done so if audience members approached the stage they would see the maple/oak not the pine, thus making the stage appear nicer and more lavish.
     
  8. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Actually I'd go with a homogenized version of the two.
    Since most of your older auditoriums are multi use the idea was that when you installed a set you needed to be able to screw into, or set stage screws into the floor. Since this usually happened upstage of the set and most sets didn't start till quite a ways past the first ten feet then the first ten or so were of a hardwood for appearances and the upstage area was made from pine which is/ was cheaper and easier to repair / replace. Since it's a multi -use facility you close the Olio or main rag and you have a pretty stage picture / floor for graduates to walk up on to receive their diplomas.
    So many schools forget that this was why the deck was built in such a manner, then you get silly rules like " No Screwing into the stage floor ever!" which is really stupid if your trying to do good stuff. I'm sure plenty of administrators would have a cow if you showed them how to set a real stage screw.
    As to the original question I can only echo what others have already posted. Get a pro to do the repairs. They can tell you if you need to replace the whole floor of if there is one more re-finish left in it. Most good flooring guys can also pull up and replace individual boards without disturbing the boards around them. < it's a neat trick and saves tons on not having to pull a whole floor just to replace a few boards.> As for finishes I'd again listen to the Pros. but also keep in mind that originally a lot of stage floors were not " Finished" Sanded, yes, Stained, Yes, perhaps a coat of sanding sealer. But the pine parts were purely utilitarian.
     
  9. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    I'm in a high school. We have the admin who says, "all of your props and set pieces can't be in the wings or backstage because the band needs to get their stuff in there."

    Help me out here people. we can't put our sets and props backstage. okay, we'll put them onstage. but wait! if the band needs to get through the wings and backstage spaces, it must be because they need to get on stage to play. which means we can't put our stuff there. the assistant principal suggested we (the drama department) buy one of storage Pods to put all our stuff in. which would mean carting all of it through the hallways to the back of the school, scraping up the floor as we go, because the custodians won't lend us carts to haul it, and then they'll yell at us from scraping the tile. sigh.... not that 15 8x4 flats would fit in one of them to begin with...along with the stock staircases, spare 2x4, multi-use black cubes, costumes, and the hoardes of stuff we've got crammed into every nook and cranny.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008
  10. RiffRaff54

    RiffRaff54 Member

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    If you have a lobby tell the music department to practice in the lobby. That's why my place does when the play/musical are up.

    Or tell them to build a music room :D
     
  11. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    They have a band room. Apparently, it's too small... :evil:
     
  12. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    wow. you're high school sounds like my high school... except you at least have an auditorium. We had to build a stage and rent everything!!! Not to mention that we took up the gym, so we had to schedule around sports events, so we only were able to be set up for two weeks... Not to mention custom building stadium seating for every event without scratching up the new gym floor...
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Which real stage screw?

    Standard,
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Economy,
    [​IMG]

    or Improved?
    [​IMG]


    Since I couldn't find a picture of a Standard Stage Screw anywhere on-line, I took a picture of my own. I also scanned in page 87 of Stage Scenery, Its Construction and Rigging, by my hero, A. S. Gillette, 1972, complete with my hand-drawn notes from 1980.
    [​IMG]

    And found that I'd forgotten the difference between "New York Peg" and "Comfort Pattern." Honestly, I've never in my life used any other than the Improved Stage Screw version. I venture to say 90% of the stagehands in Las Vegas have never seen any of the above.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2010
  14. RiffRaff54

    RiffRaff54 Member

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    What you do then is split the band. The high school I work for and went to their colors are grey and red. So, we have Grey Band and Scarlet Band. We also have Wind Ensembal. More work for the teachers but they get use to it. One is a Class A and one's class B, or AA and A, whatever.

    And make sure both don't get schedualed during the same period.
     
  15. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Oh the Standard, Definitely! They do so much damage to a stage it's unbelievable.
     
  16. sloop

    sloop Member

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    Yes, but some elmers glue and a piece of dowel rod pounded into the hole fixes it.
     
  17. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Oh that's the thing to do for a hole from an " Improved Stage Screw & Insert", but sort of like the Spainish Inquisition, "No One repairs a hole from a Standard Stage Screw"
    :mrgreen:
     
  18. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Anyone know the history of the Improved Stage Screw and Insert? It's not in my 1972 book, but we did learn about them in 1980. I can't imagine all the damage done to stages before then, or anyone ever allowing the Standard Stage Screw. It does remind one of the Spanish Inquisition, though.
     
  19. Lemonjello

    Lemonjello Member

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    To the OP: Depending if your floor was top nailed or toenailed and the remaining thickness of the floor you can usually refinish or have it refinished. Call a refinisher for a quote, can't hurt and it gives you a reference to go by as far as cost to rent floor sander vacuum etc, buy paper, finish and tools to do the job and your time. You might find it to fairly close.
    The floor needs to be sanded/ prepped carefully and thoroughly or your finish will not adhere properly. Recoating or touching up is a bad idea especially if you are not 100% sure exactly what type of finish is already on the floor. May not bond and will peal, chip or orange peel finish below. Loosing all your hero points....
    If your floor is in physically good shape other than cosmetic, don't replace anything. A good refinisher can do some patches on really bad spots if necessary.
    Good luck!
     
  20. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Well, it seems that the money went somewhere else - I noticed they decided to spend an extra $16,000 to upgrade the baseball field when they've already spent $300,000 this year to completely tear up and re-do the soccer fields and football fields... And they haven't spent any money on major renovations in the auditorium since 1970. I seriously doubt much of the electrical system for the lights is up to code anymore, let alone the cosmetic defects of the scratched up floor and faded and dusty curtains. I was just looking for a project that could be done by students to show that the students cared for the auditorium, and maybe that would show the administration that it's time to spend some money. :think:
     

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