That’s the fact, Jack!!

By Charles T Jackson

Having missed out on the standing of all of the Annie flats, I missed out on two important aspects of getting that job done. I missed out on how they attach, and what they were attached to. The plan in my mind was that they would be attached to a set of what looked like flat frames that were uncovered and braced back to back. Turns out, as almost always, there’s a much easier approach. One of our Youth Theatre Dads had some early stage experience and used what he called “whalers and Jacks” to set up the flats on the “dollies”. He had the 2′ x 8′ wheeled platforms already set up, and threw together the whalers and jacks on the stage. The whalers were simply two pieces of 1″ x 3″ screwed together at a 90 degree angle, and are used to secure the flats together, and well as a screwing surface for the jacks. Whalers in use

Sticker placement

For additional stability, the dad added what he called “stickers” which were braces that were attached from whaler to whaler.

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Initially, my thought was “bigger is better” so I built these behemoth jacks to stand the flats for Magic Time, but found that they wouldn’t fit on the dolly next time I tried them. I built smaller ones for use with the dollies in much the same way as the big ones. The worked really well, but I found myself, not a small person, locked out of the middle of the dolly when securing them to the flats. My answer to this was to send in my skinny 13 year old son to secure the middle.

Flats with larger jacks

This was a solution to the problem until my 13 year old became a larger 15 year old and couldn’t fit in the space much better that I did, so I built even smaller jacks as seen below.

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I offset the the back brace on the left or right for two reasons. The primary reason was so that they could be clamped into place when setting up. The secondary reason, and if I’m being perfectly honest was an unplanned bonus, is that they nest inside of each other making carrying and storing them a pleasure. The middle jack jack above was constructed of re-purposed fence slats and has performed well over the last several years.

Flats with smaller jacks

Set up as pictured above, I have found that there is no loss of stability whatsoever. Thanks for reading.