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Washington State
484 Posts

Profile of Magicduck
I must confess, for my act I have used a roll-on table for about 25 years... it is a trooper and just needs re-finished every once in a while. A tip there - neatly upholstering one with a dull finish black shower curtain looks great and wears like iron. If you get an occassional tear it can be glued to the wood behind. It looks smoother and wears better than paint.

The reason this includes a confession. My roll-on has two convenient shelves behind to store props. This is convenient but it also means that, a time or two, it is necessary to grab something out of there. And there have been other discussions, which I agree with, that state it is not great stage managment to be ducking behind a table. I agree with this but based on convenience, the need to have a limited number of tables in many settings, I have never totally resolved this issue.

If I am on a full-stage I make sure everything is out. But setup in a corner of a large conference room, with room only for the roll-on and a small side table, I find I have to resort to the roll on storage. My compromise is I try to get the props quickly and never put anything away... just put it in the back or over to the side.

Does anyone else use the "classic" roll-on with shelves behind? If so, what do you do. No point in packing it all around if you do not use the shelves. Also they are great as far as keeping items away from prying hands and eyes.

Scott F. Guinn
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Inner circle
"Great Scott!" aka "Palms of Putty" & "Poof Daddy G"
6584 Posts

Profile of Scott F. Guinn
I don’t think there’s any problem at all with bending slightly to remove a prop from a shelf. My suitcase table has two large shelves. Everything is set to go on the top shelf. In the bottom "bin" shelf are all the boxes, bags and bins that the props pack into, and I just drop the props into their approriate containers. If you’re going to use some larger props, you’re either going to have to pick some up and set some down at some point or have ten different tables! "Packs small, plays big" is good advice for a lot of venues, but it is not a law. Bending down is not against any laws either--just don’t squat down behind the table, searching for a prop with your entire body hidden from view, and don’t stay bent over at all for more than a second or two--OR get a taller table with higher shelves!
"Love God, laugh more, spend more time with the ones you love, play with children, do good to those in need, and eat more ice cream. There is more to life than magic tricks." - Scott F. Guinn
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Profile of magiccarpet
I use the roll-on suitcase table. You have to set it up so you don't
hide behind the table. You just reach behind and get the item fast.
It is the greatest thing to set up and pack away fast. You don't want
kids playing with you stuff when you are packing up.
Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20518 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders
My last three homemade roll-on tables have lasted me about 30 years. (I used to build mahogany furniture.) They are all exactly alike except for color: one red, one black and one yellow. They were color coded to match the shows they were packed with. They are marine painted wood with black interiors. They come apart and fold flat. The tops are black velvet with a loop trim that I have never seen again. The tops have been recovered about every eight to ten years. The casters are replaced about every five years.

The two shelves are very usable. Placing a 36” silk over the top conceals the top shelf until (and after) show time. Hanging top loads are hung as the silk is removed. Floor loads are placed as the silk is “tossed” away under the table. Therefore, in 45 seconds things are show ready.

The black one is the least popular one. But the fronts of all three have been covered with posters for “whatever” many, many times. They are valued billboard space.

If I started over with tables today, I would likely use square metal tubing for the frame instead of wood because screws in metal last longer. I would also have to change the type casters used. Locking casters could be nice. Otherwise, nothing would be changed. Check back in thirty years and see what actually got done! (Don’t expect much. I’m still happy!)

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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