Colleen hired me to replace a bathroom cabinet. I took out the old one, sealed the wall/floor a bit, and built a new one from scratch. The countertop was done by another company.
I used standard soft-close ball bearing drawer slides as I usually do. However, the company I normally get hardware from suddenly went bankrupt so I had to order from the States with a new brand. They seem to be ok but they are a different brand than I’m used to.
The drawer faces and doors were custom made stile-and-rail, ogee panel. I used 1/4″ white melamine for the panels and mahogany (I think) for the frames. It was time-consuming to get everything square and exact as possible. But also quite satisfying to do some “real” carpentry for a change!
I had some trouble with bleed-through while painting. Even with several layers of different types of primer and several layers of premium cabinet paint, the frames were slightly yellow. Finally I did 2 minutes of google research and found I needed to seal it with shellac first. The Zinsser BIN shellac primer worked wonders and was very quick. I still had to do some more sanding, filling/caulking, and repainting anyway as they weren’t good quality enough for my customer at first, but they turned out very nice.
Gallery 7 (www.gallery7theatre.com) is now showing Jeeves Intervenes on the stage at MCA Abbotsford. It’s a delightful farce/comedy. I had the privilege of designing and building the set.
I really enjoyed reading the script. In my research I read some of PG Wodehouse’s other works and watched the TV series “Jeeves and Wooster.” What I enjoyed most was the ridiculous amount of privilege that Bertie Wooster enjoys, and how even though he has problems like everyone else, he can muddle through them with grace given by his manservant and others.
So…how to build a posh London 1920’s flat with a modest budget? I spent a lot of time hunting for “vintage” furniture on Craigslist and Marketplace. It started off with a beat-up turn of the century wardrobe and the collection built from there. Many items were cheap but needed refinishing or reupholstering. I had many volunteers for this show, who were all helpful in making Bertie’s place come to life.
Below are some pictures starting with the concept drawing and then showing a few building pictures.
I have built a set previously for Gallery 7 for the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I applied for a set design contract for an elementary school, Vancouver Talmud Torah, for this same show, and also built it. It was slightly more work than I expected, and I expected a lot! But it turned out very well and they had a great run at the Norman Rothstein Theatre in March 2023.
I visited the venue, then worked with the director, Keri Smith, to come up with an original design, and after a few tweaks we had a solid plan in place.
The main plan was a set of moveable stairs that stayed on the stage throughout the show (partly due to space constraints). Scenes were built around these, using their versatility. Following are some set build pictures and a few from the stage as well.
Tent: I saved this til the end because I couldn’t figure out how it would work. With some help from my friend Charlene it got done!
Floor: I painted a rented vinyl floor to look like sand. Then gave it a clear coat of satin varathane so the set could slide on it. It was a lot of work and there were a few hiccups, but it worked out surprisingly well!
In the theatre: I also made large screens to hide the musicians. Thanks to Lighting Designer Victoria Bell for a great look!
Gallery 7’s production of The Secret Garden (the musical) finally took place 3 years after it was postponed by the advent of Covid-19 in Canada. It played in March 2023 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre.
For those 3 years, I was able to store most of the set in G7’s storage container, plus a bit at their office and a bit in my workshop. It was a matter of re-assembling what we had, checking with the stage management team about any changes, and finishing the paint job.
The set is divided into two main parts: the house, and the garden. Flies, scrims, and wheeled set pieces were used.
Set Design is by Matthew Piton. Set Coordination (painting, greenery) is by Andrew Potts and Charlene Crawford. Props and Set Dec by Dianna Lewis. Director: Ken Hildebrandt. Lighting Design: Gabe Kirkley. Costumes by Dani DeJong. Stage Management: Brittany Suderman.
Here are some photos from Load-In:
Here are some publicity photos, taken by Dianna Lewis: (click on picture to see entire image)
And here is the large cast!
It was a haunting, beautiful, artistic, complicated show with lots of heart and soul. But, all good things come to an end. I have stored some of the set, but a large part of it has been repurposed, given away, or sold. Onto the next one!
The latest show for Gallery 7 is now playing. The set was a large one with a few complications. Following are some photos of the build.
Set Design including paint is by Jeff Kiers and Director is Kate Muchmore Woo.
Jeff’s creative design was shared as a model:
He also provided basic dimensions and (most importantly) fly line locations for the 3 flies.
I realized that to build this I would need to draw this out to make sense of it. There are a few moving parts.
Then I divided it up into parts: risers, steps, walls, flies, observation deck, benches.
Here are some pictures of the flies. I made them in 8×12 sections with plenty of cross-bracing to help eliminate sag. (They are 24 feet long) One fly has 3 working doors so had to be structurally sound.
There is a wall that flips down to become a floor for scene changes. It is heavy as it is made of 3 sheets of 3/4″ plywood.
Jeff painted the outside of the train, and my assistant carpenter Karen worked on walls.
Things started to come together but there was still so much to do!
I was treated to a beautiful double rainbow at the workshop one January afternoon…
Load-in day at the venue came and with several volunteers we got the basic set together so that lighting design could commence.
It’s always nice to see things start to come together under the lights!
Gallery 7’s latest one-man Christmas show is now playing. This was one of the simplest builds I’ve done for them. It needed to disassemble quickly due to some scheduling conflicts at the venue; the set designer (Lora-Lynne Frewing) did a wonderful job of keeping the set to a minimum.
Here are some photos of the build.
Note – I also have a separate post with some instructions for how to make these wagon wheels here.
These last two photos show a sneak peak of part of the set!
I’ve had to make a ship wheel and wagon wheels for various plays in the past, and they always turn out okay but are quite time consuming. This time I needed a pair of wheels for a cart, and decided to just cut them out of plywood. They did need to be perfect circles because they actually get used practically.
I used 3/4″ standard fir plywood. Cheap, rough, but strong.
So here is how I did it in case you are curious. You will need various kinds of saws and a router.
Start with your square piece of plywood and measure to find the exact center. Drill a small hole in the center. Use a scrap piece of plywood to draw a circle by putting a screw in the center and then drilling a hole x inches away, where you want the radius. Stick your pencil through the hole and rotate the ‘compass’ piece in a circle.
Screw down a plunge router with a cutting bit so that it will cut the edge of the circle. Push it down into the plywood 1/16″ to 1/8″. You could cut right through the plywood, but that would be hard on the bit…this way you are tracing the circle for your jigsaw. Jigsaw very close to the cut line, then trim perfectly with the router all the way through the plywood. You will now have a perfect circle.
Use your stick to make a new circle inside, then trace and cut. Routing is not too practical for the inside (and it doesn’t have to be perfect here). Cut out the spokes with jigsaw and/or circular saw. Don’t cut off a spoke!
Cut out small circles to build out the middle axle and rout a small round on the cut edges to keep out the splinters.
Attach with 3/8″ lagbolts and washers, or whatever you want to use for an axle.
These proved to be quite strong but we only put about 80-100 pounds of load on them. I wouldn’t want to put much more without doubling them up. In our play we blocked up the front of the wagon so that the wheels were not quite touching the ground. Then the actor could walk on the wagon without it breaking.