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Monthly Archives: July 2009

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20 07, 2009

Focus On: Traveller Track

By |July 20th, 2009|Education, Products|1 Comment

Previously I did a post titled “Focus On: Traveller Curtains.”  Today, I thought I’d give you a little information on Traveller Track (also known as curtain track).

Traveller track typically consists of a track channel that is either fixed into the roof studs, mounted to a pipe that has been hung from the roof studs, or  suspended by chain directly from the studs.  The channel may be constructed of aluminium or galvanized steel.   Depending on the track model, channel is typically shaped like a box or an I-beam.  2800_channel

Box-Style Channel

1400channel1

I-Beam Style Channel

Small steel parts called “carriers,” which have small nylon, polyethylene or neoprene wheels (some with ball-bearings) slot into the channel.  For each length of channel, there is usually one larger master carrier and then a number of smaller single carriers.  The curtain is then attached to the carriers (or, as in the case of the pictures below, to a piece of trim chain that is attached to the carrier).   For ease in attaching the stage curtains to the carriers, often a top finish of Webbing, grommets & S-Hooks is specified for traveller curtains.

2802_master_carrier1

Master Carrier for Box-Style Channel.  The chain hanging from the bottom is an option called “trim chain.”   In most cases, however, carriers are furnished without trim chain and the curtains are attached directly to the triangle-shaped bit at the bottom of the carrier.

2801_single_carrier

Single Carrier for Box-Style Channel

Track is installed as either one-way draw or bi-parting.  For a one-way draw, there is a single continuous length of channel, with a single master carrier at one end.  When the curtain is open, the entire curtain stacks at one side of the stage.  For bi-parting, there are two lengths of channel that cross at the center (typically with a foot or two of overlap), each with a curtain attached.  There are two master carriers, one for each length of track (inserted at the onstage edge of the track).  When the curtains are open, the two curtains are stacked on either side of the stage.

Curtain track may be walk-along or rope-operated.  In the case of walk-along, the curtain is manually “walked” open or closed, with a person grasping the edge of the curtain (or an attached drapery baton) to “walk” the drape open or closed.  In the case of rope-operated, the operator stands at one side of the stage and pulls a cord to open and close the curtain(s).  In the case of a rope-operated bi-parting configuration, the same rope opens both curtains.  Motors are sometimes used to in conjunction with rope-operated traveller track, so that the operator can open and close the curtain(s) with the flip of a switch, rather than by manually pulling the cord.

In most cases, traveller track is straight; however, some aluminum box-shaped track can be curved, either at the factory or on-site.  There are certain limits to the degree of radius that traveller track can be curved; if the curve is too extreme, the track will not function properly.

This is just a basic introduction to traveller track.  There are many different factors that determine which track is appropriate for a specific project, including the weight of the curtain, the stage width, and much more.  The best place to start if you are considering purchasing traveller track is to review the track selector guide.

16 07, 2009

Fabric Flammability

By |July 16th, 2009|Education, Fabrics, Flame Retardancy|1 Comment

Continuing on the subject of flame retardancy, I thought I’d give a brief synopsis on the flammability of fabric.  Consider the flammability characteristics of different fibers (in their natural state, not factoring in topical FR treatment) may assist you in making decisions on the type of fabric to choose for your next custom stage curtain.

Many synthetic fabrics are, naturally, extremely flame resistant.  When they do burn, however, they will typically melt.  The result can be extremely dangerous if it comes in contact with skin.

Natural fibers typically do not melt.  However, depending on the fiber, some burn more quickly and readily than others.  Wool, for example, is slow to catch fire and may actually self-extinguish.  Cotton, on the other hand, can ignite quickly, with the flame spreading rapidly as well.

Fabrics made of a blend of natural and synthetic fibers can offer the “worst of both worlds,” combining the quick ignition of the natural fiber with the melting characteristic of the synthetic fiber.

Luckily, in many cases, chemical treatments can be used to make many fabrics much more resistant to fire.  However, not all fabrics can be chemically treated for flame retardancy (such as most metallic fabrics).  When in doubt, ask your fabric supplier if the fabric you are considering is flame retardant (or can be treated to be flame retardant), and make sure you get a Certificate of Flame Retardancy when you purchase.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, I have written an article that is available on our website.

14 07, 2009

Stage Curtains in Action

By |July 14th, 2009|Education, Products|0 Comments

Since I started this blog, one of my goals has been to educate those readers who are new to the world of stage curtains and rigging.  Based on that, I have written various blog posts and included photos and links.  Today I thought I’d point you to some short videos that will show you stage curtains in action.  I hope you will find the videos both educational and entertaining.

Sew What? Inc. has posted several videos on You Tube.  This video shows an Austrian Drape being raised and lowered.  Make sure you turn the sound on your computer when playing the video – I think you’ll like the soundtrack!

We have also included an LED Star Drop that we made for the rental inventory of our sister company, Rent What?  I love the way the lights twinkle and flash – it is really a dramatic sight in a dark theatre or concert venue (again, try it with sound).

Our website has a large number of videos on it as well, showing a variety of