Glossary of Technical Theatre Terms – Tools

A.J. / AJ
Adjustable Spanner / Wrench (Screwfix) n. Jargon for an Adjustable Spanner. (UK) Known in the US as a C Wrench (short for Crescent Wrench).

Adjustable Spanner / Wrench (Screwfix) See A.J.

1) The sloped edge of a piece of wood or metalwork to smooth off the edge and make the piece more attractive. 
2) A tool consisting of two pivoting arms which can be used to duplicate an angle from one object to another. 

C Clamp (ETC) US equivalent of the UK Hook Clamp. Requires a spanner/wrench to tighten. Known as a PARROT CLAMP in the US film business.

US for SPANNER. (Abbreviation of Crescent Wrench).

Pyle Cable Tester A tool designed to check connections and terminations on a range of cables used in audio, lighting and audio-visual applications. 

Scaffold Double Coupler (Doughty Engineering) Equipment used to join two other items together.
Commonly refers to a SCAFFOLD COUPLER (also known as a SCAFFOLD CLAMP or TUBE CLAMP).
A scaffold clamp is known as a Cheeseborough in the USA, believed to be named after Chesebro-Whitman Company of New York City. 

Adjustable Crescent Wrench (Wikipedia) (US) A open ended adjustable hand wrench originally produced by the Crescent Tool Co. Known as a C-WRENCH.

An installed tool that has a circular saw on a track which allows it to cut across a piece of wood. A cross-cut saw should be fitted with safety guards and an electric brake to reduce the risk of harm to users. 

A wooden block with a tightenable bolt through it, threaded-through by a rope, used to clamp to the offstage edges of a cyclorama cloth with the rope tied to an offstage fixing, ideally above head-height. Enables wrinkles in the cloth to be removed, and also helps to minimise cloth movements caused by air currents (doors opening, actors walking past etc).

1) Colloquial term for a wire rope grip. Occasional a rope 'dog' or a girder 'dog' - a device that clamps.
2) See MOUSE.
Submitted by Chris Higgs.
E-Rigging - How to Install Wire Rope Clips

An object or tool that you're not sure of the correct name for. For example, 'Pass me the doofer so I can sort this thingy'.

G Clamp 150mm (Machine Mart, UK) Ironmongery fitting for clamping two items into position together. See also Hook Clamp.

Hook Clamp 50mm (Doughty Engineering) A clamp with a wing bolt for hanging a lantern on a horizontal lighting bar, so that it hangs below the bar.
Introduced in the UK in 1959 by Strand, replacing the 2-bolt and 2-nut L Clamp.
Hook Clamps should not be used to overhang items above a lighting bar. A BOOM ARM can be rigged on a lighting bar (horizontal) or a boom (vertical) to rig a lantern adjacent from the bar / boom. 
Alternative clamps are available from companies such as Doughty to rig a lantern above a bar. 

Metal clamp designed to fit onto the kader grooved roof beams of a clear span marquee. Typically, the clamps are rated with a safe working load around 150kg each, but the marquee supplier must provide you with information about what the roof beams are rated to support. Extra care should be taken if there are unusual loads on the roof (rain / snow / wind).

A canvas tool bucket originally designed for 'utility' contractors in the US, stout canvas with a rope handle and plastic or leather base. Ideally suited to and adopted for collecting hoist chain. Available as strong and large enough for up to 30m lengths of 7mm / 5/16' hoist chain.
Submitted by Chris Higgs

Klein Tools Inc. have been making tools since 1857, the 'tool' referred to is a generic term for two items, the 'Chicago' or 'Haven' grip, which are self gripping wire rope pulling tools, useful for tensioning catenary wires and general wire rope gripping jobs in rigging.
Submitted by Chris Higgs

1) Climbable piece of access equipment to reach a working platform or for short light-duty work at height. See ZARGES.
2) Non-climbable structure in the shape of a ladder from which lanterns can be hung in a vertical 'stack'.

Little Tom Clamp, Doughty Engineering A clamp made by Doughty Engineering, to enable a scaffold pole to be used at the top of a standard telescopic lighting stand to support two or more lanterns, or to form a vertical support for a longer scaffold pole to hang masking curtains or lightweight scenery cloth from. 

Pinking Shears (Amazon) Scissors with sawtooth edges as blades which produce a uniformly zigzagged edge instead of a straight cut. The edge reduces the likelihood that the woven cloth will fray. 

Woodworking tool used to shape wood by running a blade over it.

Ratchet Podger 21mm (Toolstation) A ratchet spanner with a long bar to use as a lever to tighten the bolt.
See also Quad Spanner

Quadbox Gearwrench Quad Spanner A double-ended, double-sided ratchet spanner designed to fulfill all of the requirements for a stage rigger.
In the UK, Quad spanners typically include 13mm, 17mm, 19mm, 21mm sockets, which fit M8, M10, M12 bolts and scaffold clips. 
A popular range in the US is made by Quadbox. 
See also Podger.

There are a number of types of saw used in scenic construction / prop-making.
Bandsaw - A thin saw blade in a continuous loop which is driven by an electric motor and can be used to cut fine details in sheet materials. 
Circular Saw - A powered rotating saw blade held in a housing with built-in guards and guides which allows it to be moved along a large sheet of timber to cut a straight line. 
Hacksaw - A thin metal blade which is held in a metal adjustable frame, used to cut metalwork or other fine materials, by hand. 
Mitre Saw - A powered electric saw similar to a circular saw, which is mounted on an adjustable hinged arm which allows it to be lowered at a range of different angles to cut a piece of wood held in a clamp on the base of the saw. 
Scroll Saw - A smaller version of a Bandsaw which is used to cut intricate shapes in smaller pieces of wood. 
Table Saw  - A vertically rotating electrically powered saw blade fitted with a guard, which is used to cut horizontal sheet material. Care must be taken to ensure the guard is working correctly and that the material is handled properly so the hand of the user is never in danger. 

The common Australian term for AJ's, c-wrenches, spanners etc.

System of low-profile scaffolding clamps using allen keys to secure them in place. Used for a range of theatre / exhibition projects. Made by Hollaender in the USA.
Hollaender website

Stanley Heavy Duty Stapler (Screwfix, UK) Essential tool for attaching cloth to wooden frames / flats. 

Faithfull Carpenters Try Square Drawing / Drafting tool used to either guarantee horizontal lines when using a drafting table, OR a smaller tool used to mark 90 degree lines on woodwork. 

Tin Snips - Irwin Gilbow Straight Tin Snips 10 inch (from Screwfix) Cutters designed to make cuts in thin metal sheet. 

American for SPANNER.

Zarges Skymaster Plus 3 part ladder (Zarges website) (Manufacturer) German manufacturer of a range of ladders. Commonly refers to the 3-part ladder used on many stages around Europe.
Zarges website
Access Equipment