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How to Build Elevated Platforms for Stage Productions


By Prev Info - October 17, 2022

 Elevated platforms are an essential prop for stage performances. Short elevated platforms are often used as risers for choirs during concert performances. Taller platforms are used to rig lights and create elevated locations for cast appearances. For low and high platforms, the most important factor is the safety of those who stand on the platforms and those who have to walk, work and perform around them.


Things You'll Need


2-by-4 construction lumber

2 1/2-inch all-purpose screws

4-by-4 construction lumber

Builder's saw

Cordless drill, with assorted drill and driver bits

Hammer

Measuring tape

Pencil

Framing quick square

1/2-inch thick OSB flakeboard

1 3/8-inch ring shank flooring nails

Dark-colored indoor/outdoor carpet

Utility knife

Paintbrushes

Dark-colored flat enamel floor paint

Scaffolding

Scaffolding outrigger legs

Scaffolding safety rails


Instructions


Low Wood Platforms


1 - Build a rectangular floor platform. Start by building a 48-inch-by-96-inch platform out of 2-by-4's. Turn the lumber on its edge so the narrow edge sits on the floor, and points upward. This will create the strongest platform. Cut the lumber so the outside diameter of the platform is 48 inches by 96 inches. Arrange the inner joists so they are 16 inches on center apart from one another, and then screw the wood pieces together by driving screws through the outer perimeter pieces called “cords,” into the ends of the inner joists. Make sure the top edges of all the 2-by-4's are flush with one another.

       

2 - Sheath the platform. Nail one sheet of OSB flakeboard to the surface of the platform. Nail the sheet down with 1 3/8-inch ring shank nails so that the edges of the board are flush with the outside edge of the platform.


3 - Add the legs. Cut the 4-by-4's to the height you need for the platforms. Position one leg in each corner of the platform. If the platform will hold more than six people, put legs in the middle of the 96-inch-long side as well. Screw the legs to the platform through the outer perimeter cord and through the flooring on the top of the platform. If the platform is more than 12 inches tall, cut 2-by-4's on a 45-degree angle, and use them as braces for the legs so the platform doesn't develop a wobble.

        

4 - Apply floor covering. The OSB flakeboard is slick when uncovered, so cut a piece of inexpensive carpeting with a utility knife that is 8 to 12 inches larger than the platform. Tack the carpet around the perimeter of the surface of the platform, and then wrap the carpet down over the sides of the platform. Use the ring shank nails and tack the carpet in place.

     

5 - Paint if necessary. Most stage productions require props to blend in with the dark backdrops. If the platform is visible, paint the exposed light-colored wood legs with black or dark-gray paint.


Higher Tower Platforms

        

6 - Determine the necessary height. Scaffolding is built from 48-inch tall sections. Determine the needed height for the high platform or tower based on the production or lighting specifications.

     

7 - Assemble a scaffolding tower. Scaffolding requires no tools when assembling. An end frame is first attached to the crosspieces, and then the crosspieces attach to the other end piece. The end pieces stack on top of one another, and the entire tower assembles like a large version of a LEGO play set. Once erected, the towers are ridged, and safe to climb.

        

8 - Install guard rails. Before using the tower, install a set of guard rails on the top level of the tower. These guard rails protect workers and equipment from accidentally slipping off the edge.

        

9 - Install outrigger legs. If the tower is more than 15 feet tall, you may want to, or be required to, install outrigger legs. These legs extend the base of the tower outward, and create a more stable structure.


Tips & Warnings


If your tower is more than three sections tall, consult local workplace safety authorities to ensure your production operates within local regulations.






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