I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!
Smithsonian Magazine has a great article on the history of the humble suitcase. It seems that every show that takes place in the twentieth century involves a suitcase. Even the shows that don’t require a suitcase often get them added in rehearsal (only to be cut during tech rehearsals when they realize they can’t carry their other props, and they don’t know where to put the suitcase at the end of the scene).
Popular Woodworking has posted a quick guide to screws. This downloadable PDF first appeared in a 2004 issue of their magazine. Now you can download it or print it out for easy reference to the different kinds of screws, different screw heads, and the best screws to use for common applications.
Dug North came across these nifty kits for getting started with automata. Timberkits are solid wood pieces that you assemble to make your own working automata. Seems like a cool gift if you didn’t get what you wanted this Christmas!
Chicago PD prop master Jim Zemansky talks props in this video, particularly the use of replica guns and blank-firing weapons. If you pay attention, you will see one crew member using what looks like a paintball gun off-camera during gun battle scenes; it appears he is shooting it to simulate bullets hitting around the actors. I found that interesting.
Not all screws are the same. Popular Woodworking Magazine tests several types of screws on the market to show how they act when driven into hardwood. Personally, I know drywall screws should only be used for drywall, but I still use them. I’m usually working with cheap materials anyway; if I am doing fine furniture out of hardwood, I don’t use screws at all (brad nails all the way).
Some cosplayers dressed like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gave a surprise performance to movie goers exiting a showing of Iron Man 3. The costume is basically dark suits and lots of guns, so patrons who weren’t in on the act called the police. Always keep in mind how others may perceive your props when carrying them out in public.
On the flip side of that, an amateur British theatre group found some old grenades to use as props in a show, only to discover they were still live. This story is from three years ago, but it was too interesting not to share.
Make Magazine’s “Workshop Wednesday” continues to provide great information. This week is Ten Tips for Screws and Screwdrivers. The tips are great, except for the ones about which screw head styles are the best (they prefer Torx over Philips). I’ve found screw head styles are almost like religion to some people, and it is practically impossible to make them convert to a different favorite.