Thursday, February 13, 2014

Wooden Rock

I have some pretty cool projects coming up from Lifeline's production of A Tale of Two Cities. This first simple one only took about an hour, and turned out very well. I'll probably use this trick again. 
I needed a large rock that would be used, by an actor, to hit another actor on the head and knock him out. The moment was well choreographed stage violence, so the rock never really comes in contact with the actor's head. Still a real rock would have been heavy, dangerous, and harder to control. 
After the hit happens, the rock is dropped onto the wooden deck where the actors are standing. The fake rock needed to be hard and dense enough to make a convincing noise when dropped. 

I decided the use a similar solution to the one I used for the axe a few months ago. I decided to create the rock from a large piece of wood. 
 I found this 4x4x6" piece in the scrap bin in the shop. 
 I started by taking it to the chop saw. I set a 45 degree angle and began cutting off corners to give myself a rough shape. I twisted and turned the block until I had made a cut on every square edge I could (as soon as I could no longer safely and firmly hold a flat edge against the fence while I cut, I stopped). 
 After the chop saw I took my rough-cut-crystal-looking piece of wood to the belt sander. 
 I used the flat part of the belt sander to round over all the hard edges and then used the rounded end of the sander to introduce new ridges and divots, trying to remove all flat and smooth surfaces. 
 After getting approval from the director on the size and shape. I took it to paint. 
 A first coat of brown paint provided the base, 
Then an uneven dusting of grey spray paint gave it texture.  
 The final piece is large enough to appear dangerous, easily gripped, light enough to be well controlled by the actor, but heavy and solid enough to provide a convincing sound when dropped. 

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