JARS v48n1 - A New Method of Exhibiting Rhododendron Trusses

A New Method of Exhibiting Rhododendron Trusses
Joy D. Bailey
Redmond, Washington

When the Cascade Chapter was formed a discussion on how to exhibit trusses was held. Various methods were discussed. Bottles? Cans? Containers of various shapes? Finally the discussion revolved around the possibility of an expansion of Ned Brockenbrough's truss carrier (see Journal ARS Vol. 46, No. 2). The resulting effort proved to be very successful.

Cascade Chapter new truss stand
Cascade Chapter Show with new truss stand.
Photo by Bob George
Truss stand design

One of the major causes of truss failure during a two-day show is that the containers holding the trusses run out of water. During the day, the containers are not topped off regularly enough, or they run dry during the night. Results are many wilted trusses on Sunday morning. Often it is the Blue Ribbon winners that are the most at-risk, as these are selected at their peak on Saturday morning.
The PVC display rack described in this article was used in the Cascade Chapter's first May Flower Show last year. The racks proved to diminish, if not eliminate, the problem of trusses going dry because of insufficient water in their containers. Adding water to the reservoir facilitated water being directed to the entire network. The reservoir and the mass of water available was able to sustain the trusses during the entire show, both Saturday and Sunday. Early Sunday morning there were only two wilted trusses out of over 300 entries; these two were found with stems too short to reach water in any type of container. The reservoir was topped off during the day as the racks were in full sun. Over night it was cool enough for the reserve to handle the normal truss demand.
The drawing shown here can be modified to fit any size platform; the one shown was made for an 8-foot table. Looking back now, these improvements on the design could be made:
1. The two-level display is great; the method of using plugs to isolate the upper level from the lower is a problem and it would be better to use dowels to separate the two levels. Use extra Tees to tie the two upper sections together, keeping the lower as is, as this design makes the rack quite stable.
2. We used black latex paint; a better paint would be an epoxy base. The latex is too soft and scratches off easily, necessitating touching up the paint quite often.
Making the job easier are a table saw and a finishing blade to cut PCV pipe. Be sure to tap a place for plugs so that they can be removed to drain the water. Carrying a rack full of water is not possible without making a mess.