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Full-Metal Prep: The Value Of A Well-Appointed Workbox At Every Gig

Numerous things that help solve the various challenges faces when setting up complex audio systems in different venues.

Clamps – A few 6-inch bar clamps and “C” clamps come in handy fixing wobbly stages, propping open doors, securing a piece of wood you’re cutting, etc.

Gaff and Spike Tape – We carry numerous rolls of black gaff tape in 2- and 3-inch widths, as well as a few other colors in 2-inch rolls. In addition, 1/2-inch rolls of colored gaff called “Spike Tape” are used to mark the position of items onstage that need to be moved then put back in the same place.

Other Tape – A few rolls of black electrical tape are also useful, as well as a roll each of red, white, blue, and green tape that we use to mark the legs of feeder cable. A few rolls of silicone tape also reside in a drawer. This tape provides electrical insulation and only sticks to itself. Silicone (a.k.a., “Rescue Tape”) is great for making power connections water resistant by wrapping over and around the connected plugs.

Drop Cloths – Plastic 9- x 12-inch drop cloths make excellent rain covers over loudspeakers, backline, etc.

Personal Protective Devices – Every workbox in our inventory carries numerous pairs of disposable ear plugs. Several pairs of safety glasses, goggles, gloves and some dust masks are also available for those using tools.

Phone and Tablet Chargers – These might be the most used items in our workboxes, both by us as well as our clients.

Computer Security Cables and Locks – We can leave any computers set up at front of house when we leave the room for a meal break.

Thumb Drives – Likely the second-most used items in the box. We always seem to need to transfer a file from a client’s computer to one of ours or hand the client a show recording at the end of the gig. We also have a few thumb drives with manuals for our gear in case we need to reference a manual at the job site.

Newly built wood “Theater Style” workboxes (a.k.a, “road boxes”) from Case Craft in Las Vegas ready to get shipped out to a customer.

Wire, Line and Cable Ties
– An assortment of nylon cable ties as well as some small-gauge wire and fishing line fulfill certain duties. The fishing line comes in handy to help suspend and position overhead chorus microphones. A roll of black braided cord called “Tie Line” (a.k.a., Trick Line) is used to position flown loudspeakers so they stay pointed in the desired direction or for securing plastic drops over gear when it rains on an outside gig.

Cleaning Supplies – We carry Deoxit spray along with swabs for electronic cleaning of faders and connectors, as well as Windex and Simple Green cleaning fluids with paper towels and rags for general cleaning. A few large plastic trash bags are in the box as well; they can be used for their intended purpose or as rain covers in a pinch.

Spray Paint – A can of black spray paint is available for touchups on cabinets and cases.

Lubricants – They say the “squeaky wheel gets the grease” so we carry oil and WD40 to reduce squeaks and lubricate things as needed.

Power Tools — While they live in a tool bag and not the workbox itself, we still consider them a part of the kit. We pack cordless drills and a reciprocating saw with an assortment of blades.

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We also like the Ryobi 18-volt One+ Series of tools because there are a bunch (125 unique tools last time I checked) that all use the same batteries and chargers. We just added a Ryobi battery-powered 40-watt soldering iron to our workboxes so we can still get things done even if there’s not a power outlet nearby.

What I love about show business are solving the various challenges we face when setting up complex audio systems in different venues. A workbox loaded with the tools inventoried here goes a long way in helping to solve any problem that may arise.

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