What a week, campers! After last weekend’s freak snowstorm (with thunder and lightning!) we’re all set for a sunny and mild two days off here. King Lear opens next Tuesday, Love’s Labor’s Lost closes on Sunday, Titus Andronicus began rehearsals and Mike Daisey’s show continues making audiences think. Let’s see what’s on the internet:
This has already been making the rounds, but if you haven’t seen it yet, NPR’s Morning Edition had a story called Objectively Speaking, It’s All About The Prop Master. It talks about what a Hollywood film prop master’s job is like; you can check out photographs at the site, or listen to the story that played on the radio.
The American Package Museum (via S*P*A*M) is a fantastic collection of images of packaging through history. They do not list the years the various packages were in use, but they include size and scale references.
Here’s an interesting rant over at the Full Chisel Blog: Please Do Not use modern glue to repair old furniture. It ties into one of my own rants about how chairs were built to come loose over time, because the alternative is for them to break. The author rails against all modern glues, but polyurethane glue gets the brunt of his complaints (that’s what Gorilla Glue is). I’ve never used hide glue before, though I’m tempted after reading this. If you really, really do not want to set up pots of boiling water in your shop, the article points you to some modern alternatives of “hide glue in a bottle”.
This is actually a PR release rather than a news story, but Airsoft is making more realistic guns for Hollywood. They’ve long been popular with prop masters because of their affordability and light weight; now it seems the company is recognizing that market and making more realistic replica models and custom orders. Of course, Airsoft weapons remain illegal here in New York City, so it’s pretty much a moot point for us.
I’ve come across these great resources in the last couple of weeks:
Bolt Depot has these handy printable charts for identifying bolts and machine screws. You print out the PDF with page scaling turned “off”, and you can lay your bolt down on the different drawings until you find a match, and it will tell you what the diameter and thread count is. It has already helped me identify a metric bolt on a piece of furniture I needed to replace. Normally, I’ll check the bolt against my nuts to find a match, but I don’t have any metric hardware in the shop. Bolt Depot also has other handy information about nuts and bolts.
A different and interesting site is Make & Meaning. Rather than focusing on how to make things, this site explores what “making things” means, and how it affects our lives.
The Household Cyclopedia is a reprint of an 1881 book which contained how-to information on all sorts of household tasks. Back then, of course, “household tasks” included farming, making your own paint, and casting metal. It’s useful for both learning how to do these various tasks, and also as a historical perspective to aid in period research for the late nineteenth century.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies