I have been working on Ragtime for several weeks now. The set-building in the workshop is going well. A couple of weeks ago we were building, sanding, and painting many, many I-beams that will support the upper platform of the Ragtime set. We also began working on Coalhouse’s car, which is looking great now. The photo above is the car as of February 17; we have since done more work to it. It now has back fenders and has been sanded down to look more finished, although it is still not done. It still needs a paint job and some embellishments such as the steering wheel, but so far I am really impressed with how it is looking.

We are also working on the train car. We ran into some complications with the running-board/step along the front edge, because it interfered with the wheels, and because it was too difficult to bend steel such that it would form a streamline step as originally designed. We resolved this by altering the design of the step so that it would be a bit easier to make, as well as more able to support the weight of the actors. I think the step looks great now, despite not looking as sleek as the original design suggested. We also had to devise a way to cover the actual rolling wheels (which have rubber tires and do not look like wheels from the turn-of-the-century) so that only the non-rolling wheels (which match the time period and actually look like train wheels) could be seen. This was a bit tricky, but I think it was been taken care of. We cut two curvy triangles to hang below the train car and cover the rubber tires from the front, and the non-rolling wheels sit in between the two triangles.

An exciting part of working on the Ragtime set has been learning about some power tools that I had not previously worked with. I had used the shop’s collection of saws, sanders, routers, staple guns, and the like for previous Hoof ‘n’ Horn shows, but Hoof ‘n’ Horn does not generally work with cutting, bending, and welding steel. I learned a lot about metalworking through the construction of the car’s and train’s axels and the train’s running-board. I have not personally been given the chance to weld (that would probably be a bit dangerous), but I have watched it done numerous times over the past few weeks, and I now understand a lot more about how it works.

From the workshop perspective, we are in great shape and on schedule for Ragtime. I am really enjoying working on this set, because when it is broken down into the small steps that we need to complete, the large, impressive set does not seem so overwhelming to construct.

– Karmyn McKnight, Pratt ’15