Sunday, October 2, 2011

How To Build A Custom Stage and Booth

A crazy idea struck us earlier this summer. We figured that building a new setup for all the shows we do at motorcycle, hot rod and music events would be a good idea. Of course this was all on the fly and didn't even really think on drawing up a fully fleshed out idea as our clever concept entailed obtaining all recycled material or at least mostly refurbished steel and wood.

Several sketches and quite a few beers later we posted a note up on the local craigslist looking for scrap steel. Within a few days we got an email from a couple about an hour away that had an old steel staircase that needed tearing down and offered the steel for free if we hauled it away. How could we pass up on the opportunity to spend ten hours and over 30 cut off wheels cutting down an entire staircase? Yes, we are gluttons for punishment as this was all accomplished in close to a hundred degree heat and southern humidity, our normal operating temperature.

With all the steel finally at the shop we could take measurements and really see what we had to work with. The beams were our main interest along with the pipe as that would be our main structural support for the floor deck and poles to support the roof. The steel was under a huge amount of tension with the step supports that were welded on as they had begin to flex over the forty years that the stairs had been in use. As we we were cutting off the support brackets the steel was snapping back into its original shape. If that won't rattle your nerves handling big beams, not sure what else will, as you can guess this stuff isn't light.

Knowing how big our projects can get I cast out a blank series of text messages for "volunteers". One lone ranger opted to show up and help and we thank none other than Jukebox Hank for rolling down for three days for some sweat equity. Without his help in getting all the grinding and metal prep done on the box frame, we truly would have been up shits creek. The setup of the beams should have been a three man job to line things up and weld in the brackets to hold the corner bolts but we did it with two and several cinder blocks. The beams now lock into place with a series of four large bolts and the supports of the crossmember wood and steel pipe hold it all together so its easy to assemble and disassemble. In all actuality, one person can build the entire platform now without any other help as I had to do close to seven times to really dial in the construction of it on the fly.

One of the last pieces that we needed was refurbished floor planks. Luckily we have a Habitat for Humanity a couple of miles down the road and was able to purchase a stack of eighteen 2 x 6 x 10's in a variety of lengths. With the planks, our floor could now be completed and we cut those all to length and placed them in a specific alignment to lock the wood in tight and employed a few shims to really tighten it up.

Our plan is that now with a solid floor we can also use this for indoor shows as a bike platform or a raised deck for a variety of setups. We dig having an old country store feel as it matches the vibe we are going for. This stage has been truly labor intensive to build, but it solidifies exactly what we are doing and doesn't look like a lame cookie cutter tent at outdoor festivals. Add in our wrench knives flags and a variety of roof options and we are set for just about any damn show we need to do. 2012, here we come!

Total Cost, just under $180 bucks with excess cut off wheels, bolts, welding wire, etc. etc. Who says cool things have to cost a lot of money, go out and make life happen.

Soundtrack to stage building 101 provided by Antiseen and Crank County Daredevils

Antiseen - Broke Down Blues by RustyKnuckles

Crank County Daredevils - That's How We Roll by RustyKnuckles
Crank County Daredevils - Coming Down by RustyKnuckles