March 24, 2017, Friday, 82

Front of House Boards

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[edit] What?

The front of house boards are put up during Fringe to display information about what shows are on, when, and any good reviews we've had. They're good, low cost publicity and somewhat make up for our inability to modify the exterior of the building.

[edit] History

The idea of Front of House Boards date from Fringe 2006 and were, according to him, Tom Latter's idea.

[edit] Construction


The boards are usually 8'x8' and usually made from whatever is lying around the workshop. It is vitally important that you assemble the frame outside the building because no door in big enough to get them through (except the front doors but there is rarely sufficient space in the box office to lay out the frames). 1.5"x2.5" CLS works quite well. Two 4'x8' sheets of 3.2mm hardboard are then nailed onto the front. In 2006 and 2007 old pieces of the stage were used but in 2008, Mal forgot to keep the right bits of the old stage and ended up using brand new hardboard which was fine too.


Cut four pieces of the timber you're going to use to 8' in length. These are you're vertical pieces. Then cut six length of timber to 8' minus twice the narrowest side of the timber you're using. For example, if using 1.5"x2.5" CLS, you'll want to make your horizontal pieces 7'9" long because 1.5"x2 = 3". This will make two boards

Take the timberand lay it out on the front area of the building. You should have two 8' lengths and 3 shorter lengths per board. Make sure the ends of your timber are square and will butt up against each other tightly. The three shorter pieces will need to go on the inside of the 8' pieces. You must ensure that the middle short timber is centred or the Hardboard will not be abel to be secured in the middle. If the timber is warped or twisted have a friend pin down the pieces you're connecting to make sure you get a tight joint. Use a 1mm HSS or wood drill bit to bore two pilot holes at each joint. Then use 3"x10 wood screws. Make sure the joint is nice and tight. Loose joints will be prone to move and will weaken over the Fringe.

Once all your screws are in and you're happy the everything is good take 2 sheets of 3.2mm hardboard per board. Lay it out on the frame and make sure that the seam between the boards is supported by the middle short length. If it isn't, remove the hardboard and move the middle short length.

Ideally, use a nail gun and 20mm staples to attach the hardboard to the frame doing a staple every 3" or so. Ensure that the staples are not driven in too deeply or the hardboard will tend to peel away. Do not use brads as they will not hold the hardboard. If you don't have a nailgun, use 20mm wire nails with heads of 4-5mm diameter - like those used on the stage. You'll need help to hold the hardboard in place whilst you put in the first few nails.


On the stage right side of the building this is best accomplished by hammering two 3' scaffolding poles into the ground with a sledgehammer. Be aware that in some places there are patches of tarmac beneath the gravel. The poles should be 8' apart and try your best to drive them in straight - do this by hitting them from different sides). Onto these you should mount two 4'-5' scaffolding poles upon which you will mount the boards. You can attach the boards with an Allen key scaffolding wall clamp (which can be found on Flints - but make sure you get the right size - I don't know whether they're size 6 or 8). Ideally, you'd use four in total with 2 at the bottom either side and 2 in the middle of each board. However, baring any persistent vandalism two will suffice. Secure the clamps to the boards with normal wood screws but ensure that the head is of sufficient diameter to hold the clamp securely. If the head is too small, use a plywood block as a head stopper.

Then, sink a third scaffolding bar (3-'4' long) into the ground behind the board 1.5' behind the board and roughly equidistant between the other scaffolding boards. Then use scaffolding poles and 90 degree clamps to joining the supports to the third bar. This will massibly improve the stability of the boards.

On the stage left size of the building, hammering scaffolding into the ground is less of an option because there is less space and because it's easier to simply tie them to the railing on the disabled access ramp. Place to board on the wall and drill holes at the height of the top bar at either side and at the level of the ground in the middle. Then feed steel cable through these holes and secure with dog clips. Ensure the cable is tight. The top wires hold it tight and the middle one prevent it spinning over the bar.

NB. Hammering scaffolding poles into the ground can be hazardous. Flying gravel from missed blows can hurt bystanders and you should clear the front of the building of members of the public/tramps before beginning. Hazard tape is a good idea as in eye and ear protection.

[edit] Painting

In theory, you should then paint all wood surfaces with wood primer and then use black waterproof exterior paint using at least two coats. However, in practice you will have run out of money and time. Paint the timber with whatever is to hand and won't look silly (Fringe 2008 used wood stain left over from 'The Crucible') and paint the hardboard with black emulsion. The more coats you do the better it will look. Additionally, you should aim to paint the back as well as the front because this will help keep it weather proof and prevent the hardboard from warping too badly.