Put up my Christmas Tree anyway

2xmstrI wasn’t going to do it because I’ve virtually lost the spirit of Christmas and nobody would even see it except for me but I really want to feel something before the season is over.

I considered buying a real tree because the smell is so wonderful but I don’t think I have the energy to deal with it.  I have a pretty good artificial tree so I pulled it out and set it up.  It still looks pretty good.

I thought about not putting any lights on it.  The lights represent commercialism but the corner is pretty dark.  I decided to go ahead with the LED lights.

I like they colors of the LED bulbs but they lack the soul that the tiny filament bulbs have.  I also like the way they use so little power.

2ornmnt I got out my favorite ornaments.  They are old-fashioned glass ornaments from the 50s that belonged to my parents.  They are ancient and tarnished.  Some have little color left on them but they mean the world to me.  They remind me of a time when I was happy.

I threw out all the newer ornaments that people had given to me over the years.  It was a little hard because they are supposed to remind you of people who care for you but I’m not sure there was a lot of care involved.  Not the kind I need anyway.

On the top of the tree I put my TARDIS ornament I made last year.  A star is customary.  Some people use angels for some reason but everyone knows it’s about the star.  I prefer the TARDIS.  Too bad it is just paper and doesn’t light up but it’s fine with me.

This may be my last Christmas so I think I should at least try.  I’m glad I set it up.  At least I’m trying.

 

 

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Building a TARDIS – Part 13. The Final Chapter

Go to Part 1 if you missed it.

The End Has Arrived

It’s time go get the Police Box out of the garage and into the back yard.  If you have friends you might get them to help you carry it.  Two or three should do.  If, like me, you have nobody then you will have to manage on your own.  A person can do anything by himself with the right tools.

I put together a couple of temporary axles using 2x4s and some wheels off a disabled person’s scooter I had scavenged for parts.  Cut the axles to size then screw the wheels on with lag bolts.

It doesn’t have to be pretty.  It’s purely utilitarian.

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Use some clamps to hold them in place as you move it.

Due to the ceiling height in my garage I had to tip the TARDIS and drag it out the door on a cardboard sled before I clamped the axles in place.  I removed a section of the back yard fence and simply wheeled it ’round back.

That section of the fence needed replacement anyway so two birds, what?

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If you are going to have the sign on the door, use some scraps to build a frame that fits tightly in the door frame.

Use the same technique as building a window frame.

Paint it up.

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I made my door sign by printing the text on a 11×17 page and laminating it to protect it from the weather.

You can get the printable file here if you don’t want to type up your own.

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Now you will need to light the inside.  I picked up a cheap outdoor light fixture for under five dollars and screwed it into place on the ceiling so the bulb was right underneath the opening in the roof for the top light.

This placement works out perfectly so that one bulb lights the interior, the signs and the top light nicely.  Only 13 watts with a compact fluorescent bulb.  Use a LED bulb and it will only use 4 watts.  I’m going to switch to LED soon.  I love to be efficient.

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Route the cord down the corner and drill a small hole in the back to pass it through.

I used cheap lamp cord from the hardware store.  It is 39 cents a foot.  I got 75 feet and a plug for the end.

The cord runs long the fence and plugs into a timer so the light comes on automatically at 7:00 and goes off at 11:00.

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Here’s the finished TARDIS in its final resting place.

After you assemble the roof be sure to seal all the joints well with caulk and cover it with a final paint job.  Use some polyurethane to paint the roof to make sure it is watertight and the wood is protected.

I seated six stepping-stones on the ground making sure they were level.  The TARDIS will sit on these pads to keep it off of the dirt and protect it from moisture and bugs a little better.

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Here’s a picture in the evening after the light came on.  Awesome, huh?  Was it worth the work.  I think so.  It would be nice if someone had something to say.

Adding up the receipts I saved as I went along, the total cost was approximately $392.00.  It sounds like a lot but it is less than a simple shed and is much more TARDISey.

It was a great project to keep me occupied for four long,  drought-ridden, face melting hot summer Texas months.  Having something to keep your mind off suicide is always a good thing.

So what’s next?  I might remodel my spare bathroom.  I haven’t been in there in years.

Any comments?  Anyone?  Please?

Building a TARDIS – Part 12

Go to Part 1 if you missed it.

Time for Paint

Now that the majority of construction is complete it’s time for paint.

Start with an exterior primer.  Prime every surface.  You may think you can skip the primer but don’t.  It is an important step.

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After the primer dries well.  Start with your first coat of blue.  It will look bad but that’s OK. It’s only the first coat.  I used Behr preimum plus Exterior satin enamel from Home Depot.  The color code is S-H-550 Sapphire Sparkle.

You will need at least three coats.  Let each coat dry completely.  Don’t rush it.

While the blue exterior is drying you can paint the inside and window frames with a standard white color.  You can use blue if you want.  I thought I would replicate the white color of the classic TARDIS interior.

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Once interior painting is complete sand the floor and make sure there are no bumps or holes.  You can leave the floor bare plywood or paint it white.  I am going to install vinyl tiles so the floor should be as smooth as possible.

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I picked up some cheap vinyl tile at Home Depot.  Thirteen squre tiles will do the trick.  Cut them as necessary then peel and stick.

Wow.  It really did a nice job finishing off the look of the interior.

I took some scraps of wood and cut them down to make little baseboards to cover the edges where it touches the walls.  Now it really looks finished.

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Installing the windows

Just like making the exterior window frames we will cut down scraps and cut them at 45 degree angles to make a squre interior frame to hold the plexiglass in.

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Remove the frames and paint them separately.

This way you won’t smear paint all over the plexiglass.

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Get your plexiglass at Home Depot.  They will cut it to size for you.  Write down your measurements and take them with you.

Using a palm sander and 320 grit sandpaper scuff up both sides of the plexiglass.   You can leave it clear if you prefer.  I like the effect it will have when the light is on inside the box.

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We don’t want any rain getting in so run a bead of clear caulk around the frame to glue in the plxiglass.

Pop in the plexiglass and then hold them in with the interior frames.  Use finish nails to hold them in place.

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Here are the finshed Windows.  Nice, huh?.

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Find the center of the roof and cut a hole for the light.

My plan is to use one bulb to light the interior, signs and the top light for maximum efficiency.  I have ideas for getting light to the top light but I’m not sure how well it will work.  If it doesn’t work out I can always put a bulb up through the hole.  Stay tuned on this.

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.Go on to part 13.  The final chapter.

Building a TARDIS – Part 11

Go to Part 1 if you missed it.

Building the light on top.

 I picked up a perfect glass lens from the electric light department at Home Depot.  UPS number: 030721816178.  Less than four dollars.

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This part actually came to me in a dream.  No kidding!  I was wondering how to build the light assembly when a dream told me to look for parts at Hobby Lobby.  I went there today and found the perfect circular wooden pieces with nice routed edges.  I also picked up a dowel.

Center the lens on a wooden circle and draw around the base. Cut it out on a jigsaw.

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With the lens in place, figure out where you want to put the dowels.  Mark them then remove the lens.

Drill half way through the piece in four places.

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Place a piece of paper on top and poke holes where the holes in the wood are.

Flip the paper over and place it on the BOTTOM of the other piece of wood.

Mark the hole locations with a pencil and drill HALFWAY through.

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Now you have the top and bottom drilled.

Sand them nicely.

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Measure the length of the wooden dowel you will need.  Cut four of them to the same length.

Dry fit the whole unit together.

Don’t glue it yet.  We will want to paint it first to avoid getting paint on the lens.

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Here is the TARDIS so far.

Get back to filling knot holes and cracks with wood filler and sanding smooth.

After sanding, use paintable silicone caulk to seal between the walls and the corner posts.  Seal anywhere that might allow water in.  Smooth the caulk with your finger so there is no excess.

Remember that we have NOT permanently attached the top frame yet.  If you have a high roof in your workshop you can do it but if you have a standard 8 foot ceiling you will not be able to tip the box to get it out later.

Go on to part 12

Building a TARDIS – Part 10

Go to Part 1 if you missed it.

Building the Police Public Call Box Sign

Earlier we made a test sign to come up with a procedure.  It worked out pretty good so now it’s time to make the real signs…

I used a poster printer with a cutting function to cut out some reversed letter stickers created in Adobe Illustrator.  Here is the file you can use to create your own.  Any shop that has a cutting poster printer will know what to do with it.  Get five sets made in case you mess one up like I did.

Also print out a black and white version to use as a guide for placing the letters on the plastic.  Here’s a file for that too.

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Tape the guide to the back of the plastic or glass sign base.  Measure from the edge of the plastic to the edge of the letters to make sure it is properly centered.

You can use this guide over and over to make all four signs.

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Now peel of the stickers and apply them to the plastic using the guide to get them set properly.  Take your time and do it right.

This is time-consuming but important for getting a professional look.

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Once the letters are applied you can remove  the guide.  Take it outside and apply three coats of black spray paint.  Three coats are REQUIRED to make sure you don’t have light coming through the blacked out areas.

Let the paint drive for a day or two before going on to the next step.  Get all four signs painted.  Remember which sign goes on which side for a proper fit later.

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A little out of step here.  Carefully remove the stickers from the painted sign before the paint dries completely for sharp edges.  Now let it dry for a few days.

Use some adhesive remover and your finger to rub all the goo from the stickers off of the letters.  Get it nice and clean. Careful.  The tape boogers will get everywhere.  Keep them corralled.

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I was going to use a thin coat of white paint like in my prototype but decided to try some glass frost paint I got at Hobby Lobby.  I can always put on a coat of white paint from behind if it doesn’t look right.

I think it will look cool this way with the light on inside the box.

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Here’s the finished sign from the front.

Pretty sweet!

Put them all aside in a safe place for later installation.  Don’t do it yet.  We want to paint the box before installing the signs so we don’t get paint all over them.

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Go on to part 11

Building a TARDIS – Part 9

Go to part 1 if you missed it.

Framing the windows

On my prototype tardis I never really got around to doing a good job on the windows.  It took me years before I finished them off so this time I’m making sure it is done right now.

You should have lots of whitewood scraps round.  Rip them down to 3/4 x 1/2 strips. Do this as you need them.

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Measure the lengths and widths of the sides and cut the strips on 45 degree angles to fit TIGHTLY inside the window openings.

Measure and cut each one separately.  They may not all be the same lengths.

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 Test fit the pieces then glue them into place.

I decided to have the frame stick out slightly for a nice shadow line.  This is up to you.

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The important thing is to leave a ridge inside to hold the glass in place. There will need to be enough space for the glass and a small strip of wood to hold it in.

I opted to go for a single pane of plexiglass rather than spending weeks trying to frame and fit 48 small pieces.  That is how I did the prototype and though it is more correct, it’s a pain in the butt.  It’s up to you.

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In the same manner as before, cut strips that are 3/4 x 3/8″ for the small framing.

Cut them separately to fit tightly.  Find the vertical center then glue in the horizontal middle piece.

Divid the horizontal span by three then cut and glue in the four vertical pieces.

This is time consuming but it is awesome when it is done.

Looking good!  The end is in sight.

Go on to part 10.

Building a TARDIS – Part 8

Go to Part 1 if you missed it.

Building the Roof

  First we measure across each top side and cut a pressure treate 2×4 to fit between the corner posts.  A notch allows part of it to rest on top of the post and a 45 degree angle will allow each to fit together nicely.

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Here you can see how the roof sides come together.  Make surey the bottoms are flush with the sign box tops. (Not secured yet.)

Glue and brad these togther at the 45 degree angles but don’t attach to the TARDIS yet.  Make sure it is removeable for now.

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Once the frame is dry, remove it from the box and place it on the floor for easier work.

Cut a pressure treated 2×6 at 45 degree angles to fit inside the first frame.  Be sure to allow for the notch in for the corner posts.

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I used some scrap wood to raise it above the notches for the corner posts.

Glue and screw the second frame to the first frame.

Allow it to dry.

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Using a router cut a rabet in the top inside edge of the second frame for the roof panel to fit into.

The router will leave rounded corners.  You can either square them with a chisel or use a belt sander to make the roof panel fit.

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Use a good quality plywood panel and cut it to fit into the rabet.

There are many ways to build a police box roof.  Some are angled but that’s a lot of work.  For simplicity sake I am going with the flat roof of the older models.

Whew..  Time for a rest.

Go on to part 9.