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Where do you buy your rigging supplies?

Discussion in 'Scenery, Props, and Rigging' started by gafftaper, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm getting ready to place an order of eye bolts, black aircraft cable, and turnbuckles and I got to wondering where the rest of you buy them.

    I've been buying all my CM hardware from Grainger and everything else through Fehr Brothers or Sapsis.

    Anybody shopped around lately and have a good source for better deal? Feel free to PM me as well if you don't feel comfortable posting here.
     
  2. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I second Silver State Wire Rope & Rigging.

    I have no experience with this company: Riggers Page, but because they have a very informative website, I would add them to the RFQ list.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I use NW Wire rope, and Riggers supply here in Portland. They look at me funny sometimes as they are used to dealing with Loggers a lot of the time.



    I'm used to it though, a lot of people look at me funny.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  5. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    In no order specific for price or type and only a sampling of sources:

    Most theater supply shops (lighting and scene shops included there as often also in addition to being production company, also theater supplier) would stock or be able to get rigging, some even specilize in it in part like Grand Stage or Fisher Theatrical, Mainstage Theatrical, Tiffen Scenic, Texas Scenic, Chicago Scenic, Stage Technologes, Secoa/Stage Technologies etc. as part of their role of doing rigging installs or maintinence. (Heck, even I supply rigging for resale at times.) Heck, even Rose Brand, Production Advantage, BMI, BML, ELS, Production Advantage, Premere etc. as on-line theater suppliers amongst many supply rigging.

    After that, McMaster Carr, Grainger, Fastenal, MSC, Total Tool, amongst others in industrial supply offer all but the black powdercoated wire rope.

    Than rigging suppliers local for the construction industry offer smaller than say crain type rigging or can get what you need such as in Illinois amongst many state's suppliers, Rockford Rigging, or John Sakash on my short but not extensive list.

    Rigging production companies such as Atlanta Rigging, Entertainment Structures, LVH, Reed Rigging, Stage Rigging, can also resale products.

    After that, and in no way of what's cheapest or most efficient for you or perhaps cheapest, theatrical rigging suppliers such as Fehr Brothers, Peak Trading, Sapsis Rigging, Ver Sales, & I-Weiss, etc. are suppliers.

    In all cases, at times if you place an order thru one, you get your product drop shipped by way of another. Don't matter, it's more about their discount factor for a product over your's direct with the supplier. McMaster say might have a better discount factor with John Sakash than you might in going direct. Sapsis with Peak etc. Buying gear ain't as much about it's source than at times your end price and shopping around or leg work will at times pay off. On the other hand one also has to compensate for say 50# worth of gear shipped for you in shipping costs verses gas milage and hourly rate in picking it up locally over a few cents saved. This plus how much time you spend on the phone or on-line in pricing out the cheapest price verses what else could you be doing instead.

    Here is the thing with rigging. First, it's getting more pricy and rare domestic tracable parts. Hopefully that terriff on domestic steel is overwith, but given there isn't much left domestically for domestic manufacturing, at least the domestic prices have or might have come down some in often being better quality. This given I don't think there is any wire rope domestically available any longer. Save the sales memos and all info you can, this and buy domestic where ever given the choice - especially with galvanized parts - especially especially with turnbuckles but also anything threaded such as even eyebolts.

    Once sent back an entire shipment of turnbuckles from a very well respected source because I didn't think their thread class safe for the intended load even if rated for it. They were not of that opinion but they did take them back and looked into my observation further. Galvanizing especially if other than domestic means extra thick say paint like coating on the materials which could vary much lot to lot in thickness. Given this coating, often the materials and actual threading or thickness of that coating on screw threads require the actual steel of the threads to be downsized so as to compensate. In the case of the above galvanized turnbuckles, this was to the extent that only the galvinized coated tips of the screw threads engauged the female part of the thread in carrying all the load. I would in general caution against anything galvanized for stage rigging and would never again buy a galvanized load rated turnbuckle unless I inspected it.

    A few weeks ago I got some galvanized shoulder eyebolts for a project. They appairently were not downsized and instead, other than the nut provided would not thread a off shelf nylock nut onto it. Given the added coating after the 3/8-16 screw thread, this coating was applied in being too thick to fit a nylock. Spent a half hour on-site re-threading and removing the coating from the first bolt in making it work with a standard class nylock nut, found a bench vise on-site to re-thread the second one, but not good in not fitting normal nuts.

    Given my hourly wage, I will have saved money in buying the non-galvanized bolts, this even if galvanized was cheaper. Something like a shackle that only screws into itself, sure galvanized and not as concerned about thread class given co-axial instead of axial loading. Still tracable elements in even if "made in china" for brand instead of "Chicago Rigging" or others for brand, you have records of where you bought that part for out of liability.

    A caution. Galvanized wire rope, even black oxide coated galvanized wire rope... sure standard. For rigging parts attached to it that shares the same vertical or horizantal axis with the wire rope such as a turn buckle or eye bolt in threads of it holding the load, I might avoid galvanized steel rigging. For a shackle or pear ring, shure perhaps in different axis to load of the screw or welded joint.

    Further note. Chicago group verses say Crosby group verses "China" verses others just for shackles alone. No standardization in shackle. Say a one of one brand will fit within a chain link, another won't. This especially about the screw eye female part of the shackle. Some won't fit thru a wire rope thimbled eye as easier as others etc. Test and don't be stuck to one brand if it don't fit but you want a certain size of say shackle or other rigging piece.

    Recently at work was about wire rope rigging steel. Someone else's steel got into our inventory. Their 1/2" wire rope in double ended thimble crimped steel (1/2" wire rope with ends terminated in looped thimbles) was simply terminated inside a crimp. Ours as a standard even I didn't know about is braided in terminating into the dead end strands into line side of the wire rope, and only than crimped with a special crimp. Big difference for safety at least with us in both woven and crimped steel. This plus a detectable non-tracable element piece of rigging in our inventory which could be a problem - even if each piece is inspected before going out and inspected on the jobsite again.

    As with Turnbuckles, Shackles, even steel has it's way of seperate standards in the industry in size or safety. Tracable elements = just as you don't want to go repelling on someone else's rope or "found" repelling carabiners, you only want what you know you bought and can trace from install to use by way of paperwork also. Do this and a future lawsuit will have less problems in your role in a problem. This also in part why Controlbooth can not go into depth about details rigging also. Liability. Cover your rear in paper trail even if to the extent of switching suppliers, you in some way mark one supplier verses another or stick with the first even if more expensive in continuity of supply.

    Not just rigging, ensuring what you use is quality and beyond that, ensuring you have the paperwork for liabilty.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2009
  6. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    We order primarily from McMaster-Carr and Grainger, if we can't find what we need there then usually we try to order from as close to the manufacture as possible. We might even travel a third catalog to order from, but I've never looked at it.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Just checking out the website for BC Wire Rope like Rigger suggested... Check out these killer pictures! Sadly, all I'm doing is making a foam archway that weighs about 30 pounds fly. Maybe I can fly an locomotive in my next show.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2010
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Well after all the advice in this thread I kind of forgot about ordering things for a while. :doh: Late last night, it hit me that I've got to get my order placed and shipped immediately or I'm in troulbe. So I went back to my old stand by Fehr Bros. I put a note on the order that I need it by the 5th if at all possible. I got an e-mail back from them before noon today that my order is already on the truck heading my way. Quick service! Also love their online shopping website, it's nicely organized and just about everything you need is available. There are probably better package deals out there but when you only need a few pieces of hardware and time is important, the Fehr website rocks.
     

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