|Project by CaptainKlutz||posted 07-02-2014 06:45 AM||1253 views||0 times favorited||4 comments|
Another project from my archives. Sorry, only have one picture due to the last minute nature of the work completed last fall.
Made six (6) of the above benches (2 seen waiting for the poly to dry) as props for a court room scene in a theatre play.
Used the cheapest hardwood (red oak) I could find to make them, as it was only 50 cents more per board foot than clear pine or DF available locally. I drew the plans on a post it note based on some sketch up models that popped up in quick search for benches. These had to fit in a 4’X8’ rolling stage platform and had a 46” long and 12” wide top, with 15” tall legs.
The seat is 5/4, the legs are 4/4. Once all the lumber was cut on table saw and edge rounded on the router table, assembly was fast. The legs and side braces are attached to the seat with pocket screws and glue. Wanted smooth seats, so I filled the seat surface grain with Behlen’s water based grain filler. Stained with a 2:1 blend of Behlen’s Nutmeg brown and American Walnut. Then completed the finish with 4 coats of Arm-R-Seal semi-gloss. All 6 took about a week to make and apply the finish.
FWIW – These were complete over kill for stage props, as normally one would see black painted 2X4’s and 2X12’s for something like this. The director asked if a stained real wood look was possible and this is what I came up with to fit the request. Additionally, I knew the cost/extra effort of using a decent hardwood and a durable finish would not be wasted as the kids also needed benches to replace the milk crates typically used during class room sessions. The benches currently get used daily in the studio & learning center, long after the 3 week run of the play finished.
Not pictured is also a pair of matching 4’WX 3’T square post banister railings that mounted on the front of the platform to complete the look of a court room. They were still tacky when they were taken to be mounted at the theatre.
Why stage props?
I have a teenage daughter that has been in triple threat (dance, sing, theatre) training for over 10 years now. She participates in 2-4 plays a year, and we are very proud of her efforts. For those that don’t know, children’s plays are primarily sponsored by parent volunteer activities. LOTS of volunteering. We are usually required to donate a minimum of 10-15 hours to each event. This can be as an usher at one of 2-3 dozen shows, back stage helping kids, creating/sewing costumes (my wife’s typical donation), or (you guessed it) set production. I am more of wood worker than a carpenter. My wife knows I really don’t enjoy the “meatball” carpentry of 2X4’s covered in corrugated paper painted by teens or tweeners to make set backgrounds in the smaller theatre groups and she usually won’t donate my wood working services. But this time OUR daughter was given the lead role in a local production of Legally Blonde, and SWMBO (and unknown to me) volunteered my entire wood shop as needed for this play. I found out I was helping with several set pieces as I walked into the set piece work assignment meeting that I thought was a standard “pick up the kid” trip. :(
So – Besides the 6 benches, and 2 banisters not shown; I also produced over the course of ~2.5 weeks (and with the help of another stage dad due the size of the pieces) – (4) 4X8 rolling platforms (plywood and 2X4’s with casters), plus one 8X8 curved front platform with 2X4 wall mounted, trimmed out and working double French door on top. Since I didn’t have to paint or decorate the other crude stage parts, I didn’t grab any pictures of the set pieces. Which is probably best, as any decent work worker would cringe when they hear the directors instructions: “Don’t sweat the details, it only has to look good to the people sitting more than 30-40 feet away”. As you can tell by this and my other projects, that is not how I like to do it. :)
Thanks for looking.
-- I'm not a woodworker, but sometimes I do occasionally find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!