Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

Band Platform Building

Today was the first day of construction in our new worship space. We’re not actually building a worship space; however, we do have a few things we need to build. This week, the goal is to have the band platforms, drum cage and tech “booth” (it’s really a counter) built. And I don’t think we have to build the booth. Today, we started with something easy–stage platforms.

I have a love-hate relationship with stage platforms. No, I take that back; it’s mostly hate-hate. The stage platforms I’ve used are heavy, hard to move and heavy. Call me lazy, tell me I’m getting old, but I just don’t enjoy lugging 200 pounds of stage platforms all over the place every weekend. I’ve always known there had to be a better way, and today we got to try to come up with one.

Most of the stage platforms I’ve worked with are made from 2x material as a frame, and topped with 3/4″ plywood. I’m a big fan of 2×4’s, 2×6’s and 2×8’s–when I’m building houses. But for stage platforms, I find them overkill; especially for the way we use them. So for these, I took a different tack.

We needed 4 platforms; two 4’x6′ and two 3’x5′. The larger platforms are 16″ high, the smaller ones are 8″ high. I reasoned that with proper adhesives and spacing, 1x material would be plenty stiff. So we built them out of 1×8 (the sides and ends) and 1×6 (the center supports, joists if you will). Here’s the basic idea.

Justin, Jon and Zach are attaching the legs. Justin, Jon and Zach are attaching the legs. Click to enlarge.I used a biscuit jointer to joint the corners of the 1×8 for some additional strength. We used PL400 adhesive and some really sweet self-drilling screws to tie it all together (after we pinned with a 15 gauge nailer to hold it in place). Perhaps nails, glue, biscuits and screws is overkill–but it is strong!

We then used 1×6 spaced 12″ on center for the “joists.” I went with 1×6’s instead of 1×8’s figuring that the 6’s would have plenty of stiffness when spaced 12″ on center, and only spanning 48″. These were also glued, nailed and screwed in place. We then fully glued, nailed and screwed 3/4″ floor-rated OSB onto the frame. By adding the glue, we made the whole thing a continuous diaphragm that is very stiff. There is excellent load transfer from one joist to the next, and the things don’t move at all.

The larger platforms are 16″ high. I didn’t want to go solid sides that high because I figured we’d be edge jointing lumber –that would create a moment of failure unless we did some serious bracing and that would add weight. Remember, I’m old and lazy.

So I reasoned that we could create strong corner feet to raise the platform up, and do so without adding a lot of weight. This is what we came up with.

Zach driving home some screws. Click to enlarge. Zach driving home some screws. Click to enlarge.I was thinking we would just do the 1×8’s, but Jon, our worship director and my co-hort in this adventure, suggested the 2×4 insert. It essentially braces everything and is all, of course, glued, nailed and screwed together. Because we have a full 7 1/4″ of connection to the rim joists, and 7 1/4″ of projection, I’m not worried about it snapping off; especially with the 2×4 insert.

When we flipped them all over, we were all amazed at how strong they were. The smaller platforms have no bounce whatsoever (they’re only 8″ tall–no legs), and the larger ones are easily as solid as any other platform I’ve encountered. Best of all, they’re light weight and easy to move. This is the preliminary final layout (like that level of commitment?):

Click to enlarge. Click to enlarge.If you look closely, you’ll notice a center support leg. We didn’t really need it; the 4’x6′ platforms had almost no bounce even with 2 people on them. But we figured, what the heck. We had left over 1×6, and some glue and screws, so we tacked it on. It really stiffens them up, with minimal weight penatly.

Best of all, the smaller ones will stow inside the larger ones for easy storage and transport. So that’s day one. Tomorrow we’ll start on the drum cage. I’ll post pictures when I have them.

16 Comments

  1. iammichaelshort@gmail.com

    very cool.

    so how much do you think total cost to build them?

    and how much do you say they way?

    I like the fact that they are stackable.

  2. iammichaelshort@gmail.com

    very cool.

    so how much do you think total cost to build them?

    and how much do you say they way?

    I like the fact that they are stackable.

  3. mike@churchtecharts.org

    I would guess the 4×6’ers weigh somewhere around 40-50 pounds. Maybe a little less. They’re very easy to manage w/ two people. The fact that they are 4′ x 6′ is really the only reason one person would be pressed to pick them up. The smaller ones are easy for one person to move, however. Those are under 40 for sure.

    We have a little under $250 into all four of them. That doesn’t include carpet yet, though. And carpet will add a little weight.

  4. mike@churchtecharts.org

    I would guess the 4×6’ers weigh somewhere around 40-50 pounds. Maybe a little less. They’re very easy to manage w/ two people. The fact that they are 4′ x 6′ is really the only reason one person would be pressed to pick them up. The smaller ones are easy for one person to move, however. Those are under 40 for sure.

    We have a little under $250 into all four of them. That doesn’t include carpet yet, though. And carpet will add a little weight.

  5. phillipgibb@gmail.com

    Nice,

    we had to do this (a stage) that was mobile and easily packed up. One of the really creative guys, HT: Johan. Put something together that worked fantastically.

    Phill(synapticlight)

  6. phillipgibb@gmail.com

    Nice,

    we had to do this (a stage) that was mobile and easily packed up. One of the really creative guys, HT: Johan. Put something together that worked fantastically.

    Phill(synapticlight)

  7. mikeallenmusic@gmail.com

    sweet! Zach, Mike, and Justin, these are the people I know to yell at if I fall in the middle of a service! Looks great though. If you need help with anything in the evenings or weekends give me a call!

  8. mikeallenmusic@gmail.com

    sweet! Zach, Mike, and Justin, these are the people I know to yell at if I fall in the middle of a service! Looks great though. If you need help with anything in the evenings or weekends give me a call!

  9. jrygel@hotmail.com

    Nice! 1x lumber or aluminum (if you have the skills/equipment) are definitely the way to go for portability, and fully glueing joists to the deck helps a huge amount. Is the stage going to stay roughly as small as you’ve shown? If so, and especially if you keep the bottom open, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the acoustics under the stage.

    I designed a permanent 12’x25′ stage a couple years ago and we ended up with the deck being a fully glued sandwich of 1″ OSB + 3/4″ MDF + 1/4″ temperd hardboard before we tamed the resonance in the stage from the subs mounted below it. The 8″x8″ hole we cut out for the stage pockets after the floor was done was a full two inches thick, completely solid, and weighed about 5 pounds.

  10. jrygel@hotmail.com

    Nice! 1x lumber or aluminum (if you have the skills/equipment) are definitely the way to go for portability, and fully glueing joists to the deck helps a huge amount. Is the stage going to stay roughly as small as you’ve shown? If so, and especially if you keep the bottom open, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the acoustics under the stage.

    I designed a permanent 12’x25′ stage a couple years ago and we ended up with the deck being a fully glued sandwich of 1″ OSB + 3/4″ MDF + 1/4″ temperd hardboard before we tamed the resonance in the stage from the subs mounted below it. The 8″x8″ hole we cut out for the stage pockets after the floor was done was a full two inches thick, completely solid, and weighed about 5 pounds.

  11. tylermckellar@gmail.com

    These are very cool. I will keep something like this in mind next time we have a youth rally at our church. At my old church our choir risers were made like this but were entirely done with 2×6’s and two 1/2″ sheets of plywood and were around 4’x8′. They were extremely heavy. Would take about three or four people to move one of them and we had six total.

  12. tylermckellar@gmail.com

    These are very cool. I will keep something like this in mind next time we have a youth rally at our church. At my old church our choir risers were made like this but were entirely done with 2×6’s and two 1/2″ sheets of plywood and were around 4’x8′. They were extremely heavy. Would take about three or four people to move one of them and we had six total.

  13. phil@philrowley.net

    Throw some heavy-duty casters on those bad boys and you’ll have a real breeze moving them around. We did that for our platforms (pre-fab, but modified legs w/casters)

  14. phil@philrowley.net

    Throw some heavy-duty casters on those bad boys and you’ll have a real breeze moving them around. We did that for our platforms (pre-fab, but modified legs w/casters)

  15. iflenory2006@yahoo.com

    My name isaia im one of the pastor at my church and we gettin ready for our church anniversaryand we need a stage builtbout time it come so email me back. Iflenory2006@yahoo.com thank you all

  16. iflenory2006@yahoo.com

    My name isaia im one of the pastor at my church and we gettin ready for our church anniversaryand we need a stage builtbout time it come so email me back. Iflenory2006@yahoo.com thank you all

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