80 percent done; 80 percent to go

Done. With the addition of two lauan triangles yesterday major construction on the set is now complete. That’s assuming, of course, the director doesn’t have a surprise up his sleeve for me.

Do you, Kevin?

In less than five weeks’ time, we constructed the fictional two story interior of East High School. That isn’t Amish barn raising fast but still pretty good considering I have less guys helping. I’m not done, done. But I’m done enought that the paint crew can work their magic and the tech crew to perform their technical wizardry.

Our’s on top. Their’s on bottom. Just wait until we get our red racing strips painted.
I once read that you can get 80 percent of a project done with only 20 percent of the effort. But the remaining 20 percent to finish the job unfortunately consumes 80 percent of the effort. Maybe that’s why so many of my students only ever do part of an assignment.

For me all that remains is detail work and there lies that dreaded 80 percent. There’s minimizing seams, squaring corners, adding trim, and installing decorative railings. I spent most of this week working on those things.

Almost everything here forward except for the railings will be difficult to notice. With some of this detail work I’m not even sure if anyone in the audience 40  feet away would even notice. But I will, and it would bother me.

Painted lauan can prove challenging. Like paper that has dried after being damp, the edges curl. Wall intersections that were tight together pre-paint  have curled apart with paint.

The solution? More screws. But every screw I put in means there’s a screw waiting for me to remove in March.

Every screw that goes in has to come out. *sigh*
Stabilizing the walls is also challenging. They aren’t going to fall over but keeping them from shaking as the cast dances on the set is a real trick especially when I can’t screw things into the stage floor.

I wish I had some great trick of the trade to share with you.

But I don’t.

Here’s what I’ve learned. Nothing earth shattering I promise. Diagonal bracing helps but what really makes a difference is pieces of lauan. When you buy a cheap cabinet the manufacturer includes a thin piece of cardboard for the back. That simply addition somehow manages to hold the piece stiff.

Well, lauan on the works like that.

I add sheets of lauan anywhere possible. Not only does it stiffen the structure, it helps to square it if I worked off the manufactured edges.

Another minor project this week was moving the large Es for aesthetics’s purposes.

We’re moving the Es to the outside edge.
Next is trim work. For Arsenic & Old Lace, we faked the fancier molding you might find in a turn of the century home. Look at the corners around the doors and windows.


For High School Musical, we looked at the doors in the high school. The door headers were extra thick so we tried to emulate that.

It will look better with paint.
With a month until the curtain rises for opening night, I’m prepared to say I’m ahead of schedule.

Famous. Last. Words.



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