Archive for the In The Workshop Category

Moving ahead

Posted in In The Workshop on 27 April 2009 by jschermoly

So it’s been a while since beginning news about the workshop and going’s on but unfortunately I was rather busy doing non-Quartet work, but I’m back to it now and I thought I’d give a little update.

The Steamdrone that forms the central set piece of the band’s stage show is a little bigger now and is reaching it’s capacity for pipes and horns and things.  The next phase will be to wire it up which will involve installing pipes to run smoke from a smoke-machine out of the horns and installing lights in the main horns and in the main box of the drone so that we can light it up through the smoke in different patterns. I haven’t figured out what lights will be best to use because I need strong directional lights that are small enough to fit in the the trombone horns (so small than GU10 birdie bulbs).  Suggestions welcome.

The next Quartet project is building the drum kit.  Ed and I went out with a friend, Peter, and scoured a couple of junk lots and metal scrap yards for some appropriately bangin’ junk which will make up about half of the percussion kit.  The other half is made up more conventional percussion instruments like triangles, clapsticks, a floor tom and such.  The bass of the kit will be provided by an old copper boiler which has a really nice boom to it.

So the challenge is to figure out how to organize about 30 different percussion objects so that two people can play at once and then have the ability to move it fairly easily.  I have a feeling that I’m going to need to build a rolling case for most of the instrument parts themselves, but the stand that they are on will be kind of like a clothes-drying rack idea with lots of hooks for hanging things, sitting on top of a table for storing flat objects with the boiler underneath.  The table is now built and looks kind of like a nice coffee table (or will once I paint it).  We found four Victorian carved mahogany coffee table legs at  a junk yard and used them for the base of the table to give it some weight and character.  I think it looks good.  Now I just need to build the rack and make it light enough and strong enough for transport and play, without access to a metal shop.  Welding the rack would be best but without a welder I’m trying to use harder/better quality wood stocks and good joinery techniques to make a lasting piece.


Building up!

Posted in In The Workshop on 17 March 2009 by jschermoly

I’m Joe Schermoly and I’ve been enlisted by the honorable Edward Saperia as the man to build the very exciting and fairly involved objects and paraphernalia surrounding the fabulously stylish Clockwork Quartet.

To aid in this project, we have taken up residence in a studio space in Bow that is now kitted out as a small workshop within walking distance of our houses (we live very close to one another).  The main set piece of the Quartet is the Steamdrone.  It’s a pseudo-organ that runs on steam power, or will do in a sort of theatrical magic way.  Right now it doesn’t really run, but eventually it will provide a veritable bonanza of steam and lights and pipe organ sounds.  The original box was constructed by the excellently skilled propmaker Will, who is himself the banjo player in the Quartet.  I’ve been altering the arrangement of the pipes and horns and generally adding a lot to the drone to make it a little grander and more imposing.

After the drone is finished in the next week or two, the main project is to build the two-man percussion kit for the band. It will constructed of abandoned objects like old boilers, pans, springs, sheet metal and various other kinds of banging objects.  Other projects include smaller objects like a Jacob’s Ladder and an ornate system of lenses and gadgets for the scientist in the band.

Check back for pictorial updates on the work as it progresses.