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A Met Box Build

Started by fivefingeredstyre, May 01, 2011, 06:10 pm

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May 01, 2011, 06:10 pm Last Edit: May 01, 2011, 06:15 pm by Scarfwearer
I've been a Doctor Who fan pretty much all my life, and for just about the same amount of time I've wanted to have a Police Box in my back garden and I always swore that when I had the space I would build one

I moved into my current home about 7 years ago, and one of the first things I did was earmark a spot where the box could go... The next thing I did was try to persuade the Girlfriend that this would be a really good idea, and that every classy home should have a replica Police Box in their back garden...

(You wouldn't believe how long that took I can tell you... She thinks it's going to be used as a shed for storage of Gardening equipment... Its not, I'm going to be using it to play Doctor Who!)

At this point I should point out that I have to admit that I'm not a fan of the current style of TARDIS the BBC are using. Steven Moffat's gag about the windows being too large aside, the dimensions are very wildly off the look they were trying to achieve. I don't dislike it (I mean I have several versions of it scattered around my office....) but to me it just seems a bit odd...
So I thought I would make my Box as close to the original Mk2 1929 Mackenzie-Trench Metropolitan Police Box the TARDIS was modelled on...

I've been working on the plans now for quite some time, and have been planning to start building various times over the last four years or so, but numerous boring house related projects kept on getting in the way... (flat roof repairs, landscaping, fencing... the list goes on...).
It looks like we may be embarking on another large project later in the year, so I thought I'd finally take the plunge and make a start on my build before it gets put back another year...

I'm a 40 year old Electrician who hasn't carried out any real wood working since he left school 23 years ago

I mean... How hard can it be, really..?

I have the attention span of a Goldfish, so I thought that the best thing to do would be to start on the fiddly, more detailed bits first  as I could run the risk of getting the majority of work done and then running out of steam when it comes to the complicated stuff.

With this in mind I started with the windows. I intend my windows to be openable, like those on the real Police box (with the idea that this may ease any condensation that may occur in the winter months). Therefore the windows will need to be hinged at the bottom so that they fall inwards when they open.

God were they fiddly...



It took a number of days but I finally got the inner and outer frames built



Here they are with the paint drying in the sun...


And the finished articles...


Next Episode: The Lamp...



This is the part of the build I am most worried about attempting... As I said, earlier I've not done any wood working since failing my CSE CTD back in senior school more years ago than I can possibly remember...

I can cut wood to length in with square edges, but doing something a bit more complicated than that is a bit daunting...

My thoughts behind this are that I should start it early on, so that if I mess it up I can always tinker with it whilst I am getting on with the rest of the build... I hope...

I've started by making the lamp base


My Fresnel lense has actually come from a free sample of a bollard light I acquired about 6 years ago (That's how long I've been meaning to start this project...) Its about an inch too small both in height and width, so to make up for the height i will need to sit the lense on a plinth section...


Next I have added the supporting struts:


And now comes the really hard part... Cutting out the disc at the top of the lamp...


My skills with a jigsaw are the best I will admit, so cutting out a circular section is surprisingly difficult.

Here it is attached to the lamp itself...


Next up is the dome at the top. I've been wracking my brains on the best way to do this for some time. The only way I could think of was to take a child's football and cut it in two (I bought the football, I didn't steal it off a child... Honestly...) and use one of the sections as a mould in which I can pour plaster. In order to keep the mould level, I "Borrowed" one of the Girlfriends sieves... (I cleaned it up afterwards, so she'll never know...)


I was quite pleased with the result:


It needed a little sanding and filling to get a few of the kinks out, but it doesn't look too bad on top of the lamp...


I'm sort of please with how it turned out, although one of the struts is a little wonky, and I have to say the upper disc is very slightly egg shaped... I will probably start painting the base of the lamp up whilst I have another go at cutting out the upper disc next weekend (I haven't fixed the dome to it yet). Like I said I can tinker with it a bit over the coming weeks...

Next Episode:
Probably the Base...


I like your windows ,very imaginative with the dome .
so let me get this straight,A thing that looks like a Police box standing in a junkyard,It can move anywhere in Time and space ?


Thanks...I was racking my brains for a while trying to find a way to add the dome...

I made two, so I have a choice of which one to use. I and ashamed to say did the obligatory gag of using them as comedy breasts in an attempt to make the Girlfriend laugh... it didn't work... :o


Another weekend, and more work on my box...

Not had a chance to do a great deal more, as the Girlfriend and I were staying in London on Friday and Saturday. But I did get the chance to work today, and I finished the base...

About a week or so ago I started work on this part... I'm building it in two stages, with an inner section and an outer fascia.

The inner part is made out of a framework with internal supports. The floor section is made of half inch plywood, as I wanted some rigidity to  prevent the bouncing effect you can get with thinner floors.



To prevent the base for rotting out over time I added a membrane of polythene, to give it a bit of waterproofing...


(Although this was not really that practical, as moving the base around for storage has already punctured the sheet... :o)

Next up was cutting up the outer fascia...


Which was then added to the out side of the base (with the nail and screw holes subsequently filled...)


And then the whole thing was primed ready for to be coated in "Oxford Blue" paint in the next few weeks...


Next Episode:
The Roof...


Another weekend, a bit more progress...

Time to tackle the roof.

This was another part of the build that had been worrying me... the rest of the box (Bevelling aside) is pretty much just straight cuts, however this part involves angles, and me and Pythagoras parted company once and for all on June 16th 1987, at around 2pm, which is when I left school...

I've never been particularly great with numbers... I know how many beans make five, but in my head two and two just equals "More", so I have to say I was dreading this part :o

First off I needed to create a framework...


I've used centre supports on my build, rather than run each supporting strut at 45 degrees, mainly because I will be covering the roof in a layer of fibreglass. In order to keep the weight of the roof down I'm only using 1/4 inch plywood for the roof panels, and I'm reliably informed that the application of the fibreglass could cause the panels to sag in the middle.

I also need the base for the frame to sit on...


Next up I needed to cut out the panels, I tried to work out all the angles using various formula I dimly remembered from my school days... and in the end I gave up and just offered the ply sheets up to the frame, and cut accordingly... It sort of worked OK, bit there was much fillering involved at the seams... :o


I couldn't resist offering up my newly painted lamp... ;)


Just had time to build the next tier for the roof to sit on...


And here's the two tiers offered up to each other...


That's about all I can do with the top part of the roof at the moment, as I need to get it fibreglassed... Its now sat in my study, as I don't want to leave it out exposed to the elements until its had its coat. I'm working next weekend, so I should probably get this done in two weeks time, when I also intend to build the final tier. After that I think I will probably start on the sign boxes.

Next Episode:
The Third Tier...


It's looking really nice so far.
Bill "the Doctor" Rudloff


Fantastic work its really coming to life very well indeed.


great work sofar. it is coming along very well. keep up the great work.


How Do!

Not had a chance to do much over the last couple of weeks, as real life has been getting in the way (Had to work last Saturday, and on the Sunday I paid another visit to the Doctor Who Experience... I call it research... :D)

I was going to work on the bottom part of the roof tiers this weekend, however I cut one of the sides too short! :o After much swearing I decided the with the help of my brother I would get on with the fibre glassing of the top story instead...


Once the coat had cured I sanded it back...


And then yesterday I applied a nice coat of blue... I couldn't resist putting the lamp in and seeing what it looked like all lit up... :D


Next Episode:
The Sign Boxes


After cutting short my attempts to make the last part of the roof, I thought I would make a start on my sign boxes. I have no idea why the TV props have the signs run the full length of the over door lintels.

Anyhow, I made a start by chopping my wood to the correct length (this time... :o) and cutting out the corners...


Then I added the vertical sections...


Next up I added the trim section around inside of the sign aperture and filled the joints...


Followed by a quick coat of primer...



Hopefully I should get around to giving them their first coat of blue in about a fortnight, as I should be off on a boozy weekend in Amsterdam next week... :D

Next Episode:
The Corner Pillers


Well I survived Amsterdam... (Although I don't think my liver did...)

Made a bit more progress... I now have blue sign boxes...


I've finally worked out how to get pictures off my phone, (Yes I'm that much of a numpty...) so here's a rather groovy dusk shot of my roof with the lamp attached...


Ignore the white stuff... That's just filler...

And I've built my corner pillars...

I've taken the tried and tested practice of building the external part of the pillars out of wood sections, whilst internally I will be using upright posts to give the roof the support it needs...


I've got as far as giving them a coat of primer last night, with the intention of giving them a coat of blue today; however things didn't work out as planned because I hadn't banked on the torrential and constant downpour we've had today...


Its funny innit... Yesterday I got a sun burned back working on the pillars... Today, its been chucking it down continually... ???


It's looking great so far!
Bill "the Doctor" Rudloff