Building the Stage

Are you the type of person that rushes into things out of eagerness only to find that you should have done things differently? Well, this is another one of those stories from yours truly.


The stage at Dakota Tavern. One of my favourites.

It all began when a friend told me that it would be a great idea to have a stage. Think of the open mics you can hold there, she said. You can design it like the stage at Dakota Tavern, she said. Dakota was a place where the inner southern country boy in me would venture off to when I needed the break from Karaoke and Pho noodles. I’ve spent many a nights listening to some great bands at Dakota, but secretly I went for the stage.

This seed was now planted and this beanstalk was unstoppable. I spent the better part of the next few weeks learning to use a 3D modelling program and drawing out designs on the computer to get them looked at by friends and the friendly folks at New Canadian Lumber (NCL). Once I felt comfortable that my design wasn’t going to kill anyone I went back to NCL to order my wood.

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I then biked down to the Toronto Tool Library to get myself a membership (only $50 / year!) and rented out a circular saw, staple gun, and stud finder, all for FREEEEEE. Now all I had to do was wait for my materials to arrive. The fun began when New Canadian Lumber dropped of my lumber with a massive crane. Being the city slicker that I am I didn’t realize it wouldn’t be door to door delivery like the previous night’s pizza. (Today I have the back of a 70 year old from carrying the tons of lumber up to the unit. Seriously I needy to learn how to ask for help.) But alas the hard part was done, or was it?


I went to work beginning with the support walls, having asked NCL to pre-cut the wood for me it was probably the easiest part of the project. It wasn’t shortly after I had finished making the support walls that I realized that they covered the electrical outlets. Mistake number one. After much internal debate I decided I needed to do this properly. I shut off the fuse and googled the instructions on how to move electrical outlets. Sure, looked easy enough. I pulled out the rusty bread knife and began cutting away the drywall.

To save you the boring details, but mainly because I just want to wrap things up, after moving the outlets I had discovered some mould in the corner with the window. I tore out that bastard, cleaned it up, and re-drywalled the entire corner. Not long after I finished drywalling my friend Ami turned to me and said, your floor is slanted. I pulled out the level to measure it and, it was. The concrete floor wasn’t level! Thankful she noticed before I had gone any further I raised the right side by 1.5″ and then the centre by some arbitrary amount that made it feel firm enough to hold something.


Finally after many gruelling weeks, inhaling copious amounts of dust, and having overdue fines on the tools she was complete. I painted the back wall with home made chalkboard paint and left the rest for later. Yeah, she still needs a proper step, trimmings, and a front facade, sounds like a winter project. Here she is in story telling mode…