Buzzfeed(?) has a collection of diagrams to help you decorate your home. They have everything from antique chair back styles, to common furniture sizes, to the names of lampshade fittings. Most of us prop masters have a collection of diagrams like this to help in decorating a set, so here’s a chance to grab a few more.
“Do not let artisans discourage you from learning this or that trade because they have not made a success of it. They may tell you that a certain trade is overcrowded. Investigate a little and you will find that only the botch workman and chronic kickers are out of work. The cheerful, enthusiastic workman is idle only when misfortune overtakes the whole country.” Read more from this 1888 article on workmen over at the Lost Art Press Blog.
The following is an interesting diagram showing the various layers of traditional upholstery. It comes from a 1914 book called Furniture Designing and Draughting, written by Alvan Crocker Nye, PH.B (page 51). It was published in New York by The William T. Comstock Co. Enjoy!
From Furniture Designing and Draughting (1907), by Alvan Crocker Nye, we have this wonderful diagram on how to make a table.
The top row shows names of the common parts of a table.
The next two images show a number of ways of attaching the legs. The one on the left shows the frame both being doweled to the leg and using a mortise and tenon. The frame itself is connected with blocks which tongue into a groove in the frame. The drawing on the right shows a cleat screwed to the top, with a leg tenoned into the cleat.
Continuing down the drawing is a “section of a built-up top”. As a solid wood top is expensive and hard to come by, tops were often built up with a core and covered with a finish veneer to make it look like a piece of solid wood. A piece of cross veneer was placed between the core and finish veneer; this is a piece of veneer in which the grain runs perpendicularly to the core and finish veneer.
The bottom row shows various means of securing the top to the frame. The left shows a screw which is countersunk nearly halfway through the height of the frame. The middle illustrates a pocket hole screw. The drawing on the right shows the blocks which were previously illustrated up above.
Theatre and films seem to have an awful lot of tobacco smoking in it, so it can be useful to the props person to be able to identify the parts and anatomy of common smoking devices. Cigars, cigarettes and pipes have endless variations of shapes and styles and have evolved much throughout history, but they do have parts that have remained somewhat consistent over time.
foot – the end meant to be lit.
cigar band – a paper or foil loop that identifies the type and/or brand of cigar. The hobby of collecting cigar bands is known as vitolophily; you can find over 1,000 examples of old cigar bands at the “Up-in-Smoke” Cigar Band Museum.
wrapper – a spirally-rolled leaf of tobacco.
head – the end closest to the cigar band that goes in the smoker’s mouth.
tuck – where the wrapper is folded in to keep itself from unraveling.
tobacco – dried and fermented bunches of leaves.
filter – a cellulose tube not filled with tobacco meant to lower the amount of tar and other unwanted particles from entering the lungs. Invented in the mid-1920s. By the 1960s, the majority of cigarettes had filters, though even today you can still buy unfiltered ones.
foot – the end that goes in your mouth. On a fully-smoked cigarette, this is known as the butt.
band – similar to a cigar band but usually printed right on the cigarette paper. Can have the logo or just a simple design.
paper – a combustible tube-shaped wrapper to hold the tobacco.
tobacco – shredded tobacco leaves, tobacco by-products, and other additives.
bit or mouthpiece – where one puts his or her mouth.
stem – the part that joins the shank with the bit or mouthpiece.
saddle – a flattened part for easier gripping.
shank – where the mortise on the bowl connects with the tenon on the stem.
bowl – part used to hold the tobacco. The interior hollow area is known as the chamber. Unsmoked tobacco in the bottom of the bowl after smoking is called dottle.
lunt – another name for pipe smoke.
cover – folded paper or cardboard piece to hold the matches. Frequently contains advertising or logos on the outside. The abrasive striking surface, or friction strip, used to light the matches is on the back cover. The hobby of collecting matchbook covers is known as phillumeny.
saddle – the area between the front and back of the cover.
head – the part of the match that is lit.
matchstick – the stem of a match.
front flap – the bit of the cover tucked inside to hold the matches.
staple – used to secure the matchsticks between the cover and the front flap.
For long-term fans of my blog, you may have picked up that I am working on a book about props. It will be an expanded treatment of the paper I presented at the SETC Symposium in 2009, essentially setting forth a “scientific method” to approach the construction of any type of prop. It’s going to be a lot more fun than that sounds. To get in the spirit of things, here is a diagram and definitions of the various parts of a book.
text block – Everything between the covers.
front flap – The section of the dust jacket on the front of the book which is folded so it sits inside the cover.
endleaves – Two or more leaves at the front and back between the cover and the text block.
fore edge – The side of the book opposite the spine.
leaf – A single sheet of paper is a leaf, and each side is a page. The front page is known as the Obverse or Recto, while the back page is the Reverse or Verso.
gatherings – A group of leaves formed by folding a single sheet of paper. The text block is made of a series of gatherings.
headband – The narrow cloth band on the top and bottom of the spine. In hand-sewn books, it is functional and adds strength, in machine-bound books it is decorative.
cover/case – Whatever covers the text block. It consists of the cover panels and cover spine.
back flap – Like the front flap, but in the back.
dust jacket – Books used to have these to protect the covers. Of course that was before they had dust repellent paper.
front face – The front section of the dust jacket. The portion of the cover underneath is the front cover panel.
joint – Where the cover panels meet the cover spine.
spine – The back part of the cover where the text block is attached. It’s what you see when books are on a bookcase.
back face – The back section of the dust jacket. The portion of the cover underneath is the back cover panel.
head – The top of the book
tail – The bottom of the book
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies