Archive for October, 2012

Weathering a marquee to a house part i

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

The easiest and indeed the best way to weather a house is by positioning the end of the marquee (the 4m or 6m side) against the building. This is because:

  • It genuinely creates an extra room to the house (the goal of most marquees attaching to a house) without going through a corridor/walkway or similar
  • The apex design of most marquees means that water comes off the sides of the marquee, very little comes down the end because it is a flat gable. If you orientate the marquee like this then it requires very little weathering/guttering – generally you can just pull the flap of the roof up and clip it to the guttering of the house
  • There is no eaves rail in the end of the marquee, this means you can generally lift the gable of the roof up and over any door opening in to the marquee
  • Tie downs are always attached to the sides of marquees, even if the marquee is on a patio there are often flower beds or fence posts at the sides of the garden to use for anchoring points

Some other points:

  • Ensure some of the tie downs are angled towards the house, it is very easy to attach all of the tie downs at an angle away from the house without realising it which would allow the marquee to move. If there are solid fixings on the house (cast iron not plastic downpipes for example) then by all means attach on to them to anchor the marquee down
  • A house will often have an overhanging gutter so the marquee won’t go hard up against the house. In my experience it’s best to leave all of the sides off facing the house (especially if there’s a window that can look out in to the marquee) and block in the gaps either side to keep in the warmth. How to block in these gaps:
    • Cover one end of a groundbar or similar length pole with gaffa tape (if you don’t have this in your van as standard then you can’t call yourself a true marquee erector!)
    • Hold the pole up to the eave rail at the end of the marquee and very loosely cable tie in place (c’mon, you must have cable ties!) with the taped end towards the house
    • Push the pole towards the house until it’s touching (the tape prevents you scratching or damaging the customers house) and then tighten up all of the cable ties to hold the pipe in place
    • To actually fill the gap attach a wall or window to the corner of the marquee as usual by bungee-ing to the leg but cable tie the top of the wall to the jutting out part of the pole you’ve just fixed in place keeping all of the slack towards the house
    • Go and find something heavy in the garden (plant pots are good) and rest on the rain skirt of the wall tight up against the house – this keeps the bottom in place
    • Unless you are incredibly lucky and there’s something on the house  to cable tie the marquee wall to then that’s about the best you can do

Thanks for reading, I’ll run through the other methods soon

Spencer

PS Tim from the excellent OakLeaf Marquees sent me a link to this funny marquee-related youtube clip

2012 Showmans Show – review

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Thank you to everyone who visited us at the show. I think this is the bit where I’m supposed to say the show was FANTASTIC and as usual our stand was THE BUSIEST AROUND and how it shows we’re the BEST marquee supplier in the world. Ever. So there.

But…

Honestly? The show was very quiet this year. I’m not sure if it was the bad weather forecast that never really materialised or a sign that the industry is only looking to consolidate. Where in previous years there were crowds in each aisle this year it was only drifts of people, the site on both days seemed a bit quieter than usual. There were also a few gaps in the exhibitor stands.

Fortunately we only really use the show as a meet and greet for existing and future customers not as a sales stand so we just spend 2 days talking about marquees 🙂

I didn’t get much chance for a walk around but these ex-London Games plastic tables from Best Contract Furniture seem very cheap and worth a look.

Thanks for reading, it’ll be back to (hopefully) useful advice next week. Maybe something on different ways to weather a marquee to a house as that’s becoming increasingly relevant this time of year.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee electrics

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Electrics for a marquee are generally straight forward affairs, especially the way that we now wire up lighting. Everything is supplied with 16amp blue plugs and sockets that just daisy-chain around the marquee.

We would usually run all of the electrics around the marquee and then run the power supply lead across to the house.  A 13amp RCD adapter should always be used to plug in to a house, as standard this will then be wired up to a 16amp blue socket ready to connect to the plug coming from the marquee. But what if you’ve run all of the leads around the marquee the wrong way round and end up with a 16amp socket towards the house rather than a 16amp blue plug?

Do you:

  • a – cut down all of the leads in the marquee and pain-stakingly attach them all back up again the correct way round
  • or b – the much quicker and easier method of just taking off that 16amp socket and swap if for a plug so it all connects up easily?

You must must must always do a. Just take the time and run the leads the right way round. No matter how pressed for time you may be do not ever start swapping sockets for plugs. Louise (have fun on maternity leave) from Essential Supplies refers to them as widow-makers because they are just so dangerous. If you think about what happens when the lead is plugged in if anyone were to unplug a join it would be the plug that’s live, ie those large metal prongs sticking out would be like open live wires.

As I say electrics and lighting in marquees are very easy, safe and straight-forward as long as you don’t start taking anything apart. Just keep it simple.

Our demo marquee is up for sale on eBay: ex-demo DIY Marquee

There probably won’t be a blog next week as we’ll be down setting up at The Showmans Show.

Thanks for reading, hope to see you next week at the show

Spencer

Stacking, storing and transporting marquee dance floors

Monday, October 1st, 2012

The design of marquee dance floors are all very similar, battens across the back and small battens/teeth at one end. This enables the dance floor to lay nicely and each board to lock in with each other:

Back of dance floor board

There are a few issues with storing and transporting dance floors. If not stored correctly the surface can get damaged, if not stacked correctly the pile can be unstable (a pile of dance floor tipping over in a van is not good for the heart-rate) and a damp dance floor left in store can become mouldy or warped.

So this is what we did for all of our dance floors:

We would always try to transport dance floor boards face-to-face, that way you protect the surface. Carrying them in pairs helps this process but it depends on the muscle power available.

In transit we would stagger the pairs of boards so one pair had teeth at one end whilst the next pair had teeth at the other (see diagram above), this way the dance floor is nice and compact but still laying flat.

When storing the boards away we would use a slightly different system of putting the boards batten on top of batten (it’s not incredibly clear by my dodgy diagram but all battens should line up on top of each other!). The idea of this is that the boards are still flat and still stacked surface-to-surface but the larger gap allows more air around the wood -this allows the wood to dry out and ultimately will last longer before needing replacement.

Thanks for reading

Spencer