Super Overwhelmed!!

By Charles T. Jackson

Well…having become a victim of my own enthusiasm, I was again facing the reality of figuring out how the heck I was going to accomplish what I had designed and happily agreed to do. Since discovering the advantages of the using the Kreg Jig,  I was more comfortable with the process of making the frames for the flats so it wasn’t skills that I needed to figure out this time. It was how the heck I was going to fit in all the building and painting that I had committed to?!! I still believed at this point that canvas flats were the way to go, but was not happy with the weight of the drop cloth grade canvas. It was both actually heavy, and I thought, way to thick to be appropriate for theatre flats. I asked our Community Theatre director what she usually used ,and she said cotton duck cloth from a local fabric store, but thankfully added that she always waited for a good sale to buy it. Needing in the range of 150 yards, that was really sound advice.

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Although I was happier with the joinery on the Pocahontas flats, there was still a bit of noticeable twist apparent with just the three toggles even when the luan was secured to the frame. I suspect that this was impart due to the fact that I stapled the luan without any glue, but discovering that I needed to get away from stapling anything to the frames would take a few more shows. I attempted to add to the stability of the frame by adding braces in the corners with great success. Also secured with Kreg Jig pocket holes, the profile of the flat didn’t change one bit.

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Next I had to fasten the canvas to all the frames. I was not happy with the period of time, and all the energy it took to secure the canvas on my first flats the traditional way. Placing a staple in the center of the each of the sides and then area by area, pulling the canvas taught, and stapling. I figured there had to be an easier, faster way, so I put om my “ADHD wanna get’r'done NOW” thinking cap and thought, if there was a way to get the whole canvas under tension at one time, stapling could happen way more efficiently. Off to Home Depot I went and I got a load of the above pictured $.99 clamps and bungee cords and combined them to make tension clamps for the canvas.

Canvas End Clamp Pattern

I first laid out the canvas and then centered the frame on the canvas leaving about 6 inches. I attached two clamps to the canvas, and stretched them to the center toggle. I did the same on the other end, made sure the canvas was unwrinkled, and proceeded to do the same on both sides.

Clamp Pattern Long Sides

Above is the side clamping pattern. After making sure there were no wrinkles in the canvas under the frame, I went to town with the staple gun and stapled all of the sides down. With the clamps still in place, I wrapped the corners in the traditional manner.

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This really Expedited the process, but as always, there were still several ways to improve the process that I had yet to discover, and that’s what I will finally get to in my next post!! Thanks for stopping by!!