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Wood Type for Outside Use

Started by jamo, Mar 24, 2011, 12:45 pm

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Hey All,

So I'm starting to think about specifics for my 2010 style Tardis, which will be used as a shed outside. I live in Buffalo NY, so needless to say it snows.. a lot.

I want my Tardis to be really strong, and stand up to the elements here. Can you give me suggestions on what type of wood I should use? My local lumber yard (http://www.lencobuffalo.com) has so many different types of wood I just don't know where to start.




Mar 24, 2011, 01:55 pm #1 Last Edit: Mar 24, 2011, 01:57 pm by action_mat
For a quality build, the 8 x 4 sheets of Marine Plywood would be good for the roof and panels.   Treated lumber for posts etc., or cedar if money's no object :)     Cedar also acts as a natural insect repelant, but it's quite soft.  

On a budget, you're looking at treated pine and standard ply and plenty of caulk and quality exterior paint.


The marine plywood is a little pricey, but maybe the best bet. I'll have to do some calculations. But it looks like my thoughts on the treated posts wasn't too far off the map.


If you are going to build a 2010 Matt Smith Box then I suggest you take a trip over to the Replica Prop Forum and check out the build thread for Rebelscum and his TARDIS banned that is Banned here on TARDIS BUILDERS and in several countries and alternate universes.


Phillip does an excellent job detailing his construction. To weather proof you simply need to make sure you caulk all joins with paintable laytex caulk. If you can afford it I would also go with Treated Lumber.


Iroko which is very close to burmese teak which was what the real police boxes were made out of. Iroko is actually used as a substitute for teak and is available at most lumber/wood yards and suppliers including Howarth Timber.


Hmm Iroko sounds interesting.. Unfortunately it looks like it may be a little hard to find here in Buffalo, NY.

Looking at Phillips job on the "build that must not be named", I see that he built 4 "four sided" posts rather than the two sided posts that I have seen in other builds. I'm wondering if simply buying a solid 4x4 or 6X6 would do the job as i have no desire to take the Tardis apart once it is built. Plus having those really chunky support posts would definitely help hold up the heavy snow pack on the roof. 


Nothing wrong with solid posts. Considering your location, that would be the best idea.  Also, maybe making your roof out of 1" thick wood would laso help it against heavy snow.
Bill "the Doctor" Rudoff


I have a few thoughts here I can share.

I'm in the process of building an outdoor Tennent TARDIS for a good friend. Actually, I'm just heading it up, somebody else is doing the actual woodworking this time.

I've selected white oak for the build, with the panels made up of MDO plywood (sign board) and the actual flat part of the panels made up of white oak veneer being glued to the MDO.

The assembly will be built very similar to my Smith build so it can be transported and assembled in his backyard.

Differences are that flat horizontal surfaces will be somewhat sloped to pitch off rain, all joints will be sealed with paintable acrylic caulk, the doors will have weather stripping and the top will be fiberglass and some other things to make it weather resistant.

All assembly will be with Titebond III and Gorilla Glue Polyurethane adhesives.


As someone who had a TARDIS built last summer and in my Yard for the winter I can tell you do not worry about the weight of the snow on your roof. If you build with 3/4 ply wood and use normal bracing the area of the roof isnt big enough to have an issue Just make sure you cut your edges the correct angle of the pitch so when the 4 trapezoid pieces come together they are hitting each side correctly. Besides there isnt really enough area on the roof to have an issue with.   This winter we had one storm dump nearly 20 inches of snow it didnt phase it one bit. And with the slope roof and 10ft height I noticed the wind usually took care of most snow.

Weather seal on the doors is a good idea however I have seen torrential rains on my box and very little water seems to get inside without seals. As I said earlier the most important part is getting a good latex paint or several coats of paint on your wood and the latex caulk on the joins so water cannot leak behind and into the structure.

On the solid corner posts vs hollow I will recommend Hollow. My corner posts were 1/2 posts having only 2 sides. They were very heavy, I could not imagine a hunk of lumber that you would need. As you stated probably a 6x6 which at almost 10 ft would be way too difficult to manage. I like Phillip's construction using the tite bond glue and biscuits if you can do the biscuit thing make it hollow and save yourself some agony I think in the end you will be pleased. One thing to consider with a solid piece of timber is you must manage to secure it to the base. A chunk that heavy if it gets off balance will potentially damage anything in its path. The argument that you would need it to support the roof is false thinking again for my 2 sided posts I can easily support my 300 plus pound 6'5 body from my inner roof support. I pulled myself up on it to test the strength. Not an issue once the 4 walls and posts were attached she became a stable strong box. I can tilt my box by lifting under the sign box and tipping her back so I can check under for any water issues. When I tilt her again she is one solid piece. Follow the construction guidelines that Phillip has done or anything from the build manual and I guarantee if your plumb and secured you will have no issues with stability once everything is connected.


Philipw, thanks for the idea on sloping the flat surfaces. That makes perfect sense. Though, with my extremely limited woodworking skills it does make it a little more difficult. But nothing that some extra planing can't fix.

Gemini, good to know that the "standard" construction can hold up dense snow. I was just worried as my next door neighbor's shed collapsed this past winter with all the snow we got. Though, 53 inches in 3 days isn't normal either.   


Quote from: jamo on Mar 25, 2011, 04:40 pm

Gemini, good to know that the "standard" construction can hold up dense snow. I was just worried as my next door neighbor's shed collapsed this past winter with all the snow we got. Though, 53 inches in 3 days isn't normal either.   

True but your neighbor's shed is prob a typical A frame and has a good 7 or 8 ft span. Your TARDIS will have about a 4ft span at the center built as a square with 4 trapezoid panels These panels, constructed correctly, will work off each other to carry the load. Given the short span and style of roof it really is a very sturdy design. Again as the roof is small the snow isnt going to stack up too high before the wind takes it off.

Good luck with your build


Jamo I didnt know that you were based stateside because Howarth Timber which I mentioned is only available here in the UK. But Iroko should be available in most parts of the world including america. I am sure there are some wood suppliers where you are who sell Iroko though its only available in planks not in sheets.