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Welding/Theater welding table

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Question
Not a welder. I'm in the safety office and working with our theater scene shop folks to improve their welding facility. Not seeing much information about welding tables specific to theater work out there. Can you direct me to a good source of information? Thanks.

Answer
I was a union stagehand for 12 years, and my degree is a BA in Theatre Tech from Purdue.
I built operas, ballets and stage shows for years.

The best table for welding in theatre is a system of tables.
Not one big table, but several tables that can be combined and connected to make a table of any length or width.

Most theatre welding is pretty light as far at the welding industry is concerned.
Mostly thin wall tube, angle iron, channel and plate 1/4" and under.

You don't need huge heavy tables.
Light weight wood tables or tube steel frames are fine, with 3/16" or 1/4" steel tops

A lot of theatres weld on wooden tables, which is OK as long as you place pieces of steel sheet under the joint being welded.
There is no real danger of setting a wood table on fire, but the burning wood contaminates the shielding gas and gives you bad welds.

I built a lot of stuff on a modular system of folding steel sawhorses, with steel tubes laid across the tops, and then full sheets of 3/4" MDF for a top.
It is a very easy system to store and MDF is self extinguishing because of all the glue.
Also you can screw jig blocks anywhere you like for building frames and trusses.
I would just keep a stack of 6" squares of 16 gauge steel sheet to place under each weld joint.

There are welding table systems sold by Strong Hand and others that are very adaptable and versatile, but also expensive.

If you need drawings for some table systems I have built in the past, contact me directly at   ernie@stagesmith.com  

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Ernie Leimkuhler

Expertise

Questions about Oxy-Acetylene welding/cutting, MIG, TIG, Flux-core, Stick welding, brazing and soldering, bike frames, air frames, motorcycle frames, structural welding. Also questions about Welding Certifications and Inspections. All questions about fabrication of metals (stainless steel, steel , aluminum, brass, bronze, copper). Basic questions about underwater welding. TIG is my strongest subject.

Experience

Extensive background in most welding fields. 18 years fabrication of metal theatre scenery, 16 years structural steel, 2 years pipe welding, 9 years as a Welding Instructor at South Seattle Community College, and 5.5 years as a Welding Instructor at the Divers Institute of Technology. 16 years Industrial Welding Consultant for fabrication shops in the greater Seattle Area. 11 years Architectural Metal Fabrication. 8 years in Film/TV; SPFX/construction/set-deco/props/. 33 years Blacksmithing and Knifemaking. Currently a Field Welding Inspector for Otto Rosenau and Associates.

Organizations
American Welding Society - Certified Welding Inspector Washington Assoc of Building Officials (WABO) - Special Inspector - Structural and Reinforcing Steel.

Publications
Do a search on google groups for "Ernie Leimkuhler" in the rec.crafts.metalworking and sci.engr.joining.welding groups. http://www.stagesmith.com/ http://www.metalwebnews.com/ Blacksmith's Gazzette - Anvil Making

Education/Credentials
BA Theatre Technology - Purdue University.

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