Tag Archives: injury

Props are Back on the Menu

Fake ‘n Bake: Ay-may! – It has been nearly four years since the Fake n’ Bake blog was regularly updated. That is about to change as the talented Aimee Plant takes over the site! Fake ‘n Bake has long been one of the go-to destinations for making fake food, and I am looking forward to learning some all new tips and tricks.

20 Secrets Behind the Scenic Designs for Wicked, Sweeney Todd, and More – Playbill looks at the design work of Eugene Lee and presents some of his early drawings, models, and renderings for his iconic sets. I count maybe a dozen secrets, so I don’t know where the other eight are. Still, it’s a great glimpse into the evolution of his work.

Polone: The Unglamorous, Punishing Hours of Working on a Hollywood Set – I’ve never worked on a film set, but a lot of my readers have. Fourteen to sixteen hour days are the norm, and it destroys the body, ruins relationships, and has even led to death. It seems insane to have such brutal working conditions in an industry with so much money.

When a stagehand gets hurt, who pays? – Speaking of bad working conditions, we’ve probably all worked at a company that wrongly paid us with a 1099 instead of a W-2. Besides the tax issues that arise, this also means the company is not covering you under their worker’s compensation insurance, so when you get hurt moving a large statue of Virgin Mary during a scene change, you’re on the hook for your medical bills. This article highlights some of the theatre workers fighting to change all that.

Below the Surface – The River Amstel in Amsterdam was recently pumped dry, and archaeologists were able to dig up over 700,000 objects that spanned several centuries worth of history. They have photographed over 11,000 of these artifacts and present them at this website. The objects range from contemporary gambling tokens to prehistoric pottery fragments.

Here, have some Prop Stories

See How the Met Built ‘Tosca,’ Its Biggest Production of the Season – Lovely photographs accompany this article taking us inside the production shops at the Metropolitan Opera as they build the set, costumes, and props for their next iteration of Tosca.

Inside the Art Studio That Brings Broadway Shows to Life – Joe Forbes himself narrates this video that shows the scenic artists at work inside Scenic Art Studios. Forbes is one of Peter Feller’s “five heads” who started his own studio when Feller Scenery closed (the others being Nino Novellino with Costume Armour, Roger and Shelley Gray with Center Line Studios, and someone needs to help me remember the others).

May the 4th be with you: Elstree and Leavesden prop maker looks back on Star Wars – Though Star Wars Day was last week, I didn’t see this article until after I posted last week’s blog. Check out some of the early days of Star Wars when the props team were first creating some of the most iconic film props of our time.

The show must go on? Many theater performers, crew members don’t report head injuries – Props people, especially props run crew, are not immune to head injuries. A recent Ohio University study showed that theater professionals do not report head injuries at an alarming rate.

LAPD investigating disappearance of original Iron Man suit used in Marvel film – The iconic suit of armor from the first Iron Man film has recently gone missing from a Pacoima warehouse. It is hard to believe it has been ten years since that film came out!

And don’t forget that Ashley Flowers and I have started a new podcast called “Silk Flowers and Papier Mache Hearts.” Look for new episodes every Tuesday, and be sure to rate us on iTunes!

Friday’s Rehearsal Notes

The Food Network gives some credit to the shows’ prop master (or design director). Wendy Waxman is responsible for decorating and accessorizing the sets of all the shows filmed at the Food Network’s studios at Chelsea Market.

Congressman Das Williams has introduced legislation to make flesh or proximity detection technology mandatory in all table saws sold in California after January 1, 2015. I have mixed feelings about this. I think safety is important, and I feel in a lot of situations, companies will put out unsafe products until forced otherwise; this is more true with chemicals and toxic substances. But this kind of feature on a table saw is expensive and unwieldy. The vast, vast majority of table saw accidents happen on untrained home hobbyists. 1 This law would make trained users pay for a safety feature that’s more needed for untrained users. Not only that, but job site saws and contractor saws are far too small and light to utilize this technology; I’m only guessing, but I would imagine these kinds of saws are more likely to be used by home hobbyists. Why stop at the table saw? Why not legislate these features on band saws, planers and circular saws? Is it just because a table saw is statistically more dangerous? Because if we’re looking at statistics, a door causes just as many finger amputations per year as a table saw; why not require flesh detection technology on all doors? Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months.

Speaking of dangerous tools, AnnMarie Thomas makes the case to let kids use real tools to build things, and not those cheap toy versions. She mentions how an engineering professor asked his class of 35 first-year students whether anyone had ever used a drill press before, and not a single hand was raised. Looks like props people are single-handedly preserving manual-arts training in higher education. Maybe if kids were taught to use tools, we wouldn’t have so many table saw accidents (the majority of which are sustained by men in their 50s; age does not make one safer, only training does).

I’ve wanted something like this for awhile, but never actually sat down to plan one out. But this adjustable sanding jig for a disc sander looks like it’s the perfect design.

The Studio Creations website has a nice tutorial on vacuum forming plastic. Don’t have a vacuum forming table? No, problem, they have a tutorial on how to build one of those as well.

Notes:

  1. Popular Woodworking analyzed the injury statistics for table saws put out by the CPSC last year.

Ouch

You may have missed a blog post the other day. In addition to spending the whole weekend at tech for Slave Shack at the Algonquin Theatre, I went ahead and stuck a screw gun into my hand.

Punctured, originally uploaded by Eric Hart
Punctured, originally uploaded by Eric Hart

Natalie cleaned and bandaged my wound, but at the end of the day, about 8 hours later, it was still bleeding and fairly swollen. They convinced me to go to the hospital; as the lighting designer pointed out, “It’s your hand, and you make a living with your hands.”

Luckily, Natalie and I had our last Tetanus shots in July, right before our wedding (to make it easier to remember when our last Tetanus shots were). The doctor gave me some antibiotics and this big ol’ bandage you see in the picture above. He told me to not use my hand for two days, and the bleeding should stop sometime this week. Nice.

I could throw in a safety lesson here, to make this more blog-appropriate. Don’t jam things into your hand. But really, most accidents I’ve had or witnessed were during the most mundane tasks, and it’s because your comfort level makes you pay less attention and keep less focus than you should.

But don’t worry, I’ll keep on blogging. Coming up soon is a run-down of the more interesting props in Slave Shack and the challenges they posed. Until then, don’t get screwed like I did!

The Ten Most Dangerous Tools in Carpentry

I found a great post at ToolCrib about the ten most dangerous woodworking tools. What makes it great is that it attempts to survey what woodworkers think are the most dangerous tools in the shop, and also lists the statistics about the most common injuries from woodworking shops. Often, what we think are the most dangerous tools does not always coincide with where the greatest hazards lie. This is especially true when you look at your own individual experience; if you witness someone chew their fingers up on a router, you will be more biased to believe a router is the most dangerous tool ever. This can also be the case if you work in a shop with poorly maintained tools. A table saw which shakes and wobbles is much more dangerous than a well-maintained table saw with multiple safety features.

by Eric Hart
by Eric Hart

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