ADC Workshop

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The ADC Workshop is where the bulk of sets for ADC shows are built. Some external shows also build and store their sets there – this is subject to a charge.

Keep the Workshop as tidy and organised as possible – it benefits everyone! If you have a particularly messy get-in, get-out or build session try to find some time afterwards to restore things to their correct locations.

The Workshop is covered by a variety of rules which are detailed on notices on the front door and behind the mitre saw, or may be obtained from ADC Management on request.


The Workshop contains a variety of tools. Their use is subject to ADC policy which supersedes anything here; however at the time of writing all hand tools may be used by anyone, a short list of power tools may also be used by anyone, and all other power tools require training by the ADC Management before use. However, you should of course seek guidance before using tools you are unfamiliar with.

"Personal tools" are owned by students, societies or alumni; these are indicated with two colours of LX tape somewhere on the tool. You should seek permission from the owner of the tool before using it, and if you damage a personal tool try to contact the owner and have your show fund a replacement. If you would like a tool code, see the list in the Workshop or at the ADC website, and email to request one not currently in use.

Axial-glide mitre saw

Possibly the most versatile saw in the Workshop, the mitre saw will cut through most wood like butter! This requires Management training but should be one of the first tools you're trained on. The saw can be angled in both axes (the “mitre”) and can be pulled out towards you for larger pieces of wood (the “axial glide”). There is also a smaller portable mitre saw, kept under and to the right of the permanent saw. This is useful for set-building on stage during a get-in – not that set-building on stage is usually the best approach! The mitre saw is generally easy to use for straight cuts but can become more challenging and risky if mitring at a steep angle. If cutting a piece of wood to be chiral, mark it extremely carefully!

Panel saw

Another of the first tools you should seek training on, the panel saw cuts sheets (or panels) of wood as its name suggests. It's fairly simple, cutting only vertically or horizontally, but can be temperamental. Jamming is common.

Pillar drill

Useful for drilling where accuracy or more power is required. Essentially this is just a more powerful drill mounted so that it drills vertically and without wobbling like a hand drill will. During training you'll be reminded to always secure your work and there's a reason for this; if the drill bit jams into the workpiece, the drill is powerful enough to spin the workpiece at high speeds and injure you. That said, the pillar drill is very useful, and the only practical way of drilling big pieces of metal.

Hand saws

There are a variety of hand saws in the Workshop. Though they follow the same basic principles as a powered saw, they take a bit more skill. They also take much more time!

A hand saw can cut on the pull stroke (when you pull it towards you), the push stroke, or both. This is determined by the shape of the teeth. When picking up a saw this is one of the first things to work out. Either way, it's important to not apply too much force on either stroke: if you feel like you're fighting the saw, it's stuck, and you need to take it out and try again. For best results, hand saws need you to move them fast, along as much of the length of the blade as possible; there's no need to shove them in. Of course, when starting, move slowly to avoid the saw jumping around, then speed up when it's secure.


Despite popular belief in the ADC, chisels are not just misshapen screwdrivers. They should be nurtured and cared for, whether they are the “nice chisels” or the chisels which “still deserve respect”. Anyway, they're used for carving wood. They can be hit into wood perpendicular to its surface with a mallet, or the can cut along its surface, being pushed by hand or with a mallet. Unlike a saw or drill, they are very sensitive to the grain of the wood, so inspect the wood closely before chiselling. Moving slowly with a chisel means you're less likely to be taken by surprise when it changes direction to follow the grain of the wood; you can then take it out and move it slightly to continue the path you wanted. They should be sharp: a blunt chisel is useless and should be sharpened on a sharpening stone. If the end of the chisel is bent or severely dented, it's not going to work as well as it should.

Cutting with a chisel takes practice, so don't be disheartened if your first attempts go horribly wrong! Practising on scrap wood first really helps. A good application for a chisel is cutting indentations into a door for fittings, but if you were in a hurry (and suitably trained) you could use a router instead.


A large stock of hardware is kept in the Workshop; small shows should be able to make use of the wheels, brakes, hinges, handles and other items without needing to buy their own. (Some of these can be surprisingly expensive!) If possible, put these items back where you found them when you have finished. There is a small stock of consumables such as screws and drill bits freely available but most shows with significant set will have to buy their own, e.g. from sundries.

Wood storage

Space is provided in the Workshop to store wood, both wood that is owned by a specific show and "gash" wood that has been left over by shows and is now freely available. There are two racks: entering from the yard, then immediately turning left, the strip wood racks are on your right and sheet wood to the left. Both of these contain a gash rack that is dedicated to spare wood rather than a specific production.

While you should not put gash wood containing screws into the racks, be aware when taking from the racks that someone else might have done – take care!