Mobius's Baroque Victorian French steampunk art-nouveau closet Tardis build

Started by mobius, Dec 16, 2012, 10:50 pm

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This is looking cooler and cooler! (Love that clock face hanging in the background in the one photo - very surreal.)

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


thanks. I should probably put a battery in it, my shop clock. no time to work in it today, alas, maybe sunday I'll be able to.
It's always a matter of time...


I need to figure out how I am going to physically affix the window frames to the walls and doors. can't nail through cherry that thin without splitting it, unless I pre-drill, which I might do, but hammering, hard to do with no room to swing a hammer. could use my finish nailer, but that'd split the cherry too. I'll have to use an adhesive. the gold frames, same deal I guess. I don't like using glue, but I think in terms of being able to take things apart, screws are much easier to unscrew than nails are to unnail, or glue is to unglue, especially wood glue. I want an 1/8th" reveal, backset from the front of the door/wall to where the gold frame begins, the frames behind that will butt right up to those, on the walls, which are an inch thick that will add up to 3/4"for the wood, (2 x 3/8") plus the 1/8th backset, is 7/8", and the plexi is 1/8" so that will fill the space, I will need a frame of some sort to hold the glass in place, which will be removable in case of glass breakage. tried to make those with lauan but it wasn't happening. they were also going to be too small, has to be bigger than the hole, obviously. oops. and I rather want the muntons across the frames on the inside too to hide the divide of the different glass types, regardless of whether I use contact paper on clear lucite, or textured plexiglass, or real glass if I happen across some. I'll use real glass if I can even though it's a hassle to work with, I like the sound of it better. plastic would feel cheap on this thing and detract from the sense that it's an antique. (which, hey, eventually it will be!, Zarquon willing.)
     I'm also still mulling over the signs in my head. my original design called for the font from the metro in Paris, since it's a metropolitan police call box, the original box was only going to have a front and left side (as you face it) so I only had 2 signs, the front over the doors will have the traditional text "police public call box), but the left sign was going to say "metropolitain" in the classic metro logo. now I will have a 3rd sign though on the right side, if I follow this design it should logically also say metropolitain on it, and the back, which doesn't exist, would match the front. but some little voice in the back of my head is resistant to that idea. it's saying that side should say something else altogether (no, not bad wolf), but I don't know what, maybe something in another language altogether. I don't want this to look more like a subway entrance than a police call box. the right side will be the least visible side, it'll be effectively in a small alcove with an angled ceiling. at one point I was thinking about stained glass in the windows, or faux stained glass, but I think that'd be too far from the original design, I want it to be recognisable as a call box. even if it's a fancy one. these things first appeared in the early 1900's right? the concept for this one is to wind it backwards in time, if they had been around a hundred years earlier, or 200, how would they have designed them? more ornately certainly. when people first see this, whether or not they're familar with the show, my hope is that they will assume it is genuine and very very old. a lucky antique store find that probably either cost a pretty penny or has been in the family for decades.
  I could put my last name on the right side sign. nah. probably go with plan A. don't mind me, mad genius thinking out loud.
It's always a matter of time...


Quote from: mobius on Mar 14, 2014, 11:14 pm
don't mind me, mad genius thinking out loud.

...he says laughing like Renfield. ;D

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


captain's frog, stardate, uhh... 3-17-14  no carpentry today, but I went to buy my paint, have to start with the final colour at least around the windows before installing the frames since I'll have a 1/8" reveal backset around them. changed my mind at the last minute about what colour to use. theoretically a quart would be enough but I think I want 3 generous gloppy (but not too drippy) coats on this thing to help age it. I suspect the best way to make it look like multiple coats of paint have been applied, is to apply multiple coats of paint. the tuff-board is bright white, shiny and smooth, I have some very rough old plywood in use too, more paint will help average out the texture. not to mention fill in the gaps I didn't caulk enough. so I got a gallon.

also took a chance and picked up a can of copper coloured spray paint. I wish I had seen this colour when I was looking for paint for my radiator, which I painted shiny gold. wanted copper, couldn't find it then. I experimented with a window frame, but before I sprayed it I thought, I like the gold too... but it's almost too shiny and new looking, so I taped off the top and bottom flat parts and only sprayed the intricately carved middle part with the egg and dart pattern, so it will look theoretically like a gold frame around a copper bit. it looks good, hard to tell from this photo,
experiment I.jpg

the top one is copper in the middle only. the blue painter's tape (which I almost never use for masking when painting with a brush, I'm  just careful but with spray paint you need to for masking), pulled off some of the gold to my dismay, you wouldn't think that would happen to paint several days old. some of them needed a 2nd coat anyway tho, so I sprayed them all gold again, generously, and will repeat the tape experiment, if it pulls off a noticable amount of gold I will go over the gold with a clear protective coat of something.

I'm typing on a laptop with one of those trackpad things, tho I use a wireless mouse, if I breathe on it too hard suddenly my cursor jumps halfway up the page and I'm typing iin the middle of some random word, drives me mad. maybe I can reduce its sensetivity. also challenge to type with a big bandage on my left index finger. again, wear safety gloves kids, I still have all 10 fingers, but they have a scar or 2. d:

anyway I ended up of course painting every finished, and partly finished surface I have. took pics with my camera as well as my phone in hopes of capturing the colour properly. didn't quite. it's darker than it appears in the photos. I like the shade I got though, it felt right and ultimately that's what matters. oh on saturday in my comic book shop flipping through the Previews catalogue I spotted a life size "3-d" cardboard Tardis for sale, licensed. $250! crickey you could almost buy your own ship for that. can I post that in the Tardis spotting section? I took a photo of the catalogue page.

oh yeah I painted the octagonal frame copper. the paint did not dry too fast, chilly in my secret basement laboratory.

and now picture time

drivin myself crazy:

walls final colour layer 1.jpg doors evening blue.jpg top corner 2.jpg bottom corner 2.jpg octa.jpg
It's always a matter of time...


For what it's worth, whatever color blue you've chosen looks perfect on her so far... that blue, stained/varnished window muntons, gold filigree window frame trim, a copper frame for the St. John logo... "Sheer poetry, dear boy!"

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


once more into the fray

today I tried the spray experiment again, this time with 2 coats of gold on the trim, the masking tape didn't take off as much gold as before, tho it still took off a little. I have a spray can of gloss fixative, but might need to pick up some more to protect it. the effect of the 2 different metal colours is more subtle in photos than in person, pics below.
     Then I made the floor, chopped and ripped my 2x4s the central one, the threshhold was the tricky bit, had to make 3, no 4 passes all together on that one, first the short 45 degree bevel for the front to match the sides, (later had to go over that to pull it back another 1/8"), then the interior cut, a very steep one, always a hairy table-saw maneouver, (sp?) the cutoff I then ripped down, flipped over and glued to make the internal ramp for a nice smooth transition up and out as you exit the Tardis. the floor will just be the fir floor of the room. might put a rug down. it is a 1.5" tall thing to step over, so this design should help reduce tripping, at least on the way out. The outside has to match the sides so it is what it is. My assistants will just have to step over it.  I could always make a little platform floor later if it seems dangerous. the next step is to pick up a couple of 5" screws to attach the sides of the floor to the front of it. or maybe I was going to use small L brackets inside, have to consult the plans. hmm. yes well anyway, it's plodding along slowly but surely.

is anyone here in the facebook group "TARDIS and Dalek Builders Super Top Secret Public Facebook Group"? I hype this board there, and we should have a new member as a result. the url is

and now some neatly organised ones and zeroes for your viewing pleasure! (or dismay, as the case may be)

experiment II.jpg zigma results.jpg floor 1.jpg flooring.jpg t-hold cut.jpg immensely clever 1.jpg floor .jpg
It's always a matter of time...


edit is not working so I'll comment, in the photo with the 2 metallic frame bits, the bottom one is all gold, the top one is copper in the middle, subtle as I said, less so in person. a bit of work, but worth the effort. if I'm putting all this effort in to make this thing I might as well not cut corners, er, except those that need to be cut!
It's always a matter of time...


I like that look of the copper bordered by the gold. Could get a bit stressful, though, having to do this for eight windows, with each window having four bits of frame to it. Thirty-two bits of trim to paint like that: tape, paint, let dry, tape again, paint another color... Now that is what I call dedication and pouring one's heart into a build. (And the end result is well worth it!)

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


thank you, well I've only got 6 windows, and once I tape them I can spray them all at once in a trice. the taping is a little tedious but other people have worse problems than that d:

Update: this morning I applied wood filler as needed to holes and gaps in the "floor". one table saw boo-boo (whoops) and a few screw holes. later today I should be able to sand it, and possibly do a little painting. thinking about test fitting the floor in location to get a feel for its footprint, also might have to make a small notch for a pipe.
It's always a matter of time...


did a test fitting of the floor in the location today to see what the footprint is really going to feel like, and even scaled down as mine is, seems big! calculated notching for a pipe and some trim moulding. sanded it after having done some patching earlier today, and painted it. after painting I wiped off the excess paint (before washing the brush) on the cellar loo door, which I am going to Tardis up later. no need to waste paint or send more than needed down the drain, even if it is low V.O.C.

exciting! woo.

test fit floor.jpg plan view.jpg pipe notch.jpg blue floor.jpg loo progress.jpg
It's always a matter of time...


captain's log, stardate, uhh... 03212014, got some stuff done today on the walls, text will be interspersed with photos

so, I was about to attach the floor, which should probably be called the feet, to the side walls when I noticed they were 3/4" too short.

short footed.jpg

I blame gremlins, but not to worry, I put them on the wood stretcher. the right one I had to pad out in the middle as I had already notched it for a pipe, the left one I just added some meat to the back.


that's better

47 cents for nails? yes, well you see, once I finish I will go back in time and buy these cheap nails, and then leave them in my cellar to find oh, 40 years later.

attached casing tops above the rosettes (which do echo the roundels, as do the columnar casings on my posts echo the console room columns),

wall toppers.jpg

also set in the 3/4" quarter round shoe moulding into the corners

shoe foot.jpg

twas then I was looking at my baseboard and cap plinth block and thought "why didn't I make the return 3/4" longer so it could turn the corner and disappear into the vertical stile instead of into the plinth block itself, as one would do in a home?

and I realised the reason was because I'm an idiot. however, if I did that on the sides, and not on the front, it would look unbalanced, and I wouldn't want to do it on the front, and reduce the open space in the entry way, which is already narrow.

once I painted the corner shoe moulding, suddenly the columns came to life

come together.jpg
gettin there.jpg

if you're wondering why the rosettes aren't at the top, with their bottom aligning with the top of the window as on my blueprint, this is simply because I screwed up.
but I kind of like it. it looked awkward until I put the extra casing on top (I toyed with adding some other filigree moulding above it) but once the shoe was on the corner and it was painted it looked fine, and right somehow. so, yeah, I meant to do that.

I then masked off the outside of the brass radiator grille/vent material which will be in the 2 open panels on the right wall, (next to my cast iron radiator, also painted with the same gold paint I used on the frames), to let heat in, I spray painted the inside face of it white, since the inside will be white, but masked it off so no paint would bleed onto the outside. decided not to paint the outside blue for now.
masking vents.jpg spraying vents.jpg

I then went to home depot and bought some mullion moulding for my centre detail stiles and attached them to the side walls, along with the feet (floor)
mullions and patched foot.jpg

the mullion has a plinth block of its own made from a vine embossed moulding which I also used for the centre stile on the doors, attached to the left door
mullion plinthage.jpg

it might seem almost too fancy to have a mini plinth block under the mullion, but as I screwed up and bought pieces that were too short, I needed to pad them out, so that solution presented itself to me, and I frankly dug it. Art is all about happy accidents.
mullion plinth.jpg

the vine moulding has regularly spaced divots as part of its design, perfect place for small nails!
front stile.jpg

the right floor is screwed on from below with pre-drilled countersunk holes and long framing screws very carefully placed, pre-drilled to avoid splitting the plywood
floor attached right.jpg

while painting the central door stile, I had to really work the paint into the grooves of the pattern, and then I thought, I shouldn't have done that, it looks kinds of nice like this

but I had already worked it in at the top
blue vines.jpg

my pal Dave was hanging out in my workshop and suggested exactly what I had just been thinking, paint the vines and leaves gold with a fine art brush. I might do that. it might be too much, but I can always paint over it with blue. I don't love the pattern, it's a bit simple, but we'll see. I like the subtlety as well, if it's all blue, you won't notice the pattern from a distance or at first, and that has an appeal.
left door with stile.jpg

it's beginning to look a lot like TARDIS

walls drying.jpg

tomorrow I might have to work, I hate tiling and swore off ceilings forever, so naturally I'll be tiling a ceiling. next up I have to move the walls into the next room so I can set them up, attached to each other, hang the doors so I can build the sign level, then the roof. then I can rule the world bwahahahaha, I mean, help people on other planets, and this one and not rob banks.
It's always a matter of time...


handsome feet.jpg blue roses.jpg

I think I exceeded the image limit on my last update as these didn't show up, tho the code to display them did, so I deleted that code and am adding them here.
It's always a matter of time...


I really like the look of the vines. Sort of reminds me of the first bottle they used in 'I Dream of Jeannie' back in the mid-1960s, when that show was in B&W. If you want to try getting them to be gold, rather than going mad with a fine brush, why not use a test piece and see if you can rub the gold paint into the detailing, sort of like rubbing wax onto a car? Just a dollop on the rag and "rub-n-buff" away. If it works on the test piece, great, and if you like how it looks, then you can get the gold vines on the Old Girl with far less effort than going blind, painting each little line with a cat whisker.

Even if it works on the test piece, but you still like the subtlety of the all-blue vines, then nothing's lost but a few minutes of testing.

Just a thought (and just before I read the part where you said what you were thinking as your friend said it, I was also thinking it; the vines did look awfully nice standing out against the blue, and would look great painted gold!). I guess great minds do think alike. (Or in my case, semi-great mind... or is that just a semi-mind? Still haven't figured that out yet. ;))

"What's wrong with being childish?! I like being childish." -3rd Doctor, "Terror of the Autons"


I'm enjoying this build. A couple random thoughts:  If one were doing a non-canon TARDIS interior, one could do worse than the rubber matting in the one picture, with all the circle holes in it.  It would be interesting to replace the circle detail of the rosettes with the Seal of Rassilon.   Maybe you could fill one with plaster or wood putty and either carve it or imprint it (OK, I'm not sure where you'd get the imprint).
"My dear Litefoot, I've got a lantern and a pair of waders, and possibly the most fearsome piece of hand artillery in all England. What could possibly go wrong?"
-The Doctor.