Guide Wall 101

Image of back stage guide wall system. Guide Wall 101 Questions and Answers

Image of back stage guide wall system. Guide Wall 101 Questions and Answers

Guide Wall 101

Have you ever been to a theater performance where the curtains glided open without a sound, the scenery changed seamlessly, and the lighting shifted effortlessly? Chances are that a high-quality guide wall system was working its magic behind the scenes.

At Thern, we’re passionate about creating stage equipment that empowers your creativity. Our guide wall systems are designed to be the foundation of your productions, ensuring smooth, quiet, and reliable operation for years to come.

Let’s answer some of our customer’s most-asked questions!

Q: What is a guide wall system, and why is it crucial?

A: A guide wall system is like a track running up the side of your stage. It keeps your counterweight arbors (the heavy lifters behind the scenes) moving smoothly and precisely. This means curtains rise and fall quietly, scenery changes are flawless, and lighting shifts are seamless. Without a guide wall, there is no counterweight rigging system.

Q: What does the Thern guide wall system include?

A: The Thern guide wall system includes the following components:

  • T-Strut Channel Sections: These vertical aluminum channels form the “tracks” for the counterweight arbors.
  • Wall Knees: Adjustable brackets that attach the guide wall to the building’s structural wall, compensating for any irregularities.
  • Wall Battens: Horizontal supports that connect the T-Strut channels and attach to the wall knees.
  • Channel Nuts: Specialized nuts that secure the T-Strut channels to the wall battens.
  • Channel Splices: Used to connect T-Strut channel sections for taller guide walls.
  • Wall Batten Splices: Used to connect wall batten sections for wider guide walls.
  • Arbor Stops (Top and Bottom): Limit the vertical travel of the counterweight arbors.
  • Fasteners: Bolts, washers, and lock washers for assembling the system components.

Note: Thern does not supply the fasteners needed to attach the wall knees to the building’s structural wall, as these will vary depending on the wall type.

Q: What makes Thern’s guide walls different?

A: We’re proud to say our guide walls are built to last. Here’s why:

  • Rock-Solid Stability: Our unique aluminum T-strut design is incredibly rigid, ensuring your arbors glide effortlessly even under heavy loads.
  • Quick and Easy Installation: Our system uses standard Unistrut nuts, so there’s no need for time-consuming drilling or spreader bars.
  • Reduced Glare: We offer a black anodized finish option to minimize any backstage reflections.
  • Smooth and Quiet Operation: Our 20-foot strut lengths and 5-bolt splice system keep the wall perfectly aligned, reducing noise and wear.
  • Customizable to Your Stage: We can pre-drill your guide wall for standard 6 or 8-inch spacing or create a custom layout just for your venue.

Q: What if my stage wall isn’t perfectly straight?

A: No problem! Our adjustable wall knees compensate for any irregularities in your building, ensuring a perfectly straight guide wall every time.

Q: How do I get a quote for this system?

A: It’s easy! Just provide us with the height and depth of your wall, and our experts will quickly respond with a quote.

Q: How do I determine the correct spacing for the T-Strut channels on my guide wall?

A: The T-Strut center distance is typically 6″ or 8″, but the exact spacing will be specified on your rigging drawings (blueprints). It’s crucial to follow these drawings for proper arbor alignment and system performance.

Q: How do I maintain my system to ensure optimal performance?

A: We recommend:

  • Cleaning: Wipe down the entire guide wall before installing arbors to remove debris that could cause friction or noise.
  • Lubrication: Thern does not recommend using lubricants on arbor guide shoes, as they can attract dust and dirt.
  • Inspections: Regularly inspect wall fasteners during rigging inspections to ensure they remain tight.

Q: Can I install a Thern guide wall system or hire a professional?

A: Guide wall installation requires specific tools, knowledge of rigging systems, and adherence to safety protocols. That’s where Thern’s nationwide network of theatrical dealers comes in. All Thern Stage Equipment dealers are experienced in overhead rigging and installation and are your best partner to install your system.

Ready to Elevate Your Stage?

Have more questions? Contact Us. Our team of experts is here to guide you through the process. We’re passionate about helping you create the perfect stage environment for your next unforgettable performance for years to come.


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