Working Smarter. Not Harder.

Busy week on stage. Here’s what happened on the set construction end of things.

For years we used drywall screws to hold everything together. That took forever to assemble. Then after the show we would take it all apart and…wait for it…keep the screws.

Yes, a five pound box isn’t cheap but have you ever tried to reuse a drywall screw!?!

I finally got smart and as Scrooge McDuck always said, “Work smarter. Not harder.”

Work smarter. Not harder. 

It helped that I had taken a break from set building when my son was born. Taking a break from anything can help give perspective. It also gave me some new ideas on how to do things. For starters, I’m making more sections of the set modular with the idea that we can reuse it. Last year I built six half flights of steps. We always seem to need stairs. They aren’t light but should last forever.

Arsenic & Old Lace walls waiting to be repurposed.
In addition, as often as possible wall sections are built 4×8 or 8×8. Granted not everything can be these sizes but it’s a nice jumping off point. These were things we needed yearly, and I got tired of starting from scratch with every performance.  In fact most of the walls for the second floor are already done having been built for Arsenic & Old Lace this fall.

Another change was using a framing nailer for anything we won’t be taking apart or keeping. It’s hard to express how much faster that makes the process. Don’t get me wrong we still use those drywall screws. We use them to connect individual wall sections but when the show is over we throw out used drywall screws.

Also working smarter not harder is getting help. I’ve enlisted several student to help me. It’s hard to say no when you offer the use of a high powered framing nailer.

We made a lot of progress considering we started the week with an empty stage. Monday saw my five member student team framing wall sections. On Wednesday we started to assemble those walls into the first floor of the structure.

Thursday involved placing our 2x10s into place, more 8×8 wall assembly, 4×8 floor platforms for the first floor ceiling / second story floor, and sheathing some of the structure with lauan as wall coverings and rigidity.

 The real magic came Friday when we finished the first floor walls, placed the 4×8 platforms on top, and covered it with 3/4 inch plywood. You can now stand on top!

Next week’s projects include building the half staircases that go from the landings on both ends to the second floor. It was decided that the second floor isn’t big enough (*insert look of shock here*) so we are going to add another 4×16 platform to the back. So that’s also on the build list for next week. We will also berepurposing the Arsenic & Old Lace set for the second story walls.

I’ll keep you posted.

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