A Short Ride to Stardom

The cast of the Skaneateles Middle School’s Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, State Fair, included a vintage truck built from scratch by ChaseDesign’s Todd Abernethy. The classic pickup had to be light enough to be moved on and off the stage by seventh graders, and narrow enough to fit through the school’s doors. And, of course, it had to be ready for the bright lights.

From a sketch, Todd created a wood frame on casters and then "floated" two tires donated by a local merchant.

Next he built the cab out of foam board...

... and hand-shaped it to rounded contours.

After a coat of joint compound and Elmer's Glue, the cab and fender were ready for real paint.

First a coat of flat black...

...then a coat of reddish brown...

...and then a coat of blue, which was sanded back to the brown to create a vintage "rusty" patina. And, of course, faux hay bales -- cardboard boxes given a coat of hay with a hot glue gun.

With the addition of a taillight made from a tuna can, the truck was ready for dress rehearsal...

... and Opening Night, taking the stage, playing its part perfectly, to tumultuous applause.

In all, the project devoured a month of Todd's free time; he credits co-worker Clint Smith with giving him the necessary encouragement as showtime approached. The finished truck weighs less than 150 pounds, can be moved with two fingers in any direction on the hidden casters, and is open to entertaining film offers.