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Giant Blue Tardis - A Garden Variety - Part I

Started by ascii, Jun 26, 2014, 06:33 pm

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Jun 26, 2014, 06:33 pm Last Edit: Jun 26, 2014, 08:33 pm by ascii
Greetings Builders and Fans,

I've recently embarked on the project of building a Tardis garden shed!  Some friends of mine decided to recreate the backyard of their new home, and asked if I could help them with the shed.  Since they are a few hours away from me, I've been making the drive as I can, and spending 2 or 3 days at a time on the build.  This is in the midst of a bunch of digging, gravel pathways, gardening and general garden makeover activities, so you'll see the surroundings improve during the progression.  This is my first build post, so please pardon my learning curve.

The actual box is a bit larger than most of the standard plans we found due to the need to have more interior space (I know, I know) for storing gardening tools like rakes and shovels in their upright position on the wall, and also to facilitate the standard building materials (2x4's and 4x4's and such) available to us.  The doors/walls alone ended up being 7ft tall by 49" wide.  The entire structure is over 10ft from gravel to lamp-top.

Here are a few starters of the yard before the paths were finished... I'll see if I can get a few more "before" shots to demonstrate what they actually started out with.

backyard1.png backyard2.png backyard3.png

Next we move on, there are gravel paths and we start the build of a solid foundation.  I went with retaining wall stones to keep the wood platform away from the gravel and potential pooling water.  The platform is very solid, and measures 64" square.  We used a standard porch paint for water resistance.


And the final platform was lowered to one course of stones simply because it was really high up, and the box was going to be slightly extra tall.

foundation11.png foundation12.png

Now we move on to the walls.  We found a bargain at the local plywood vendor, and did not realize till we got them home just how it would affect the design.  But, if you have to, you roll with it.  As we all know, a proper Tardis is grown, not built.  Our bargain was plywood that ended up measuring 96" long by 49", rather than 48" wide.


This resulted in a visibly non-optimal panel aspect ratio.  You can see they're almost square.  In addition, this was more of an artistic approach, a sculpture, than anything resembling a planned and executed design.  For the most part, I think I've got it down, but there were some very interesting moments.  We changed the sides of the doors/walls at this point.  Not 100% replica, but it did turn out looking good.


Some porch paint was used as a primer, since we had a gallon anyway, and it really does a good job on raw wood.  Then we had to pick out the appropriate blue.  This was left to the lady of the house, who has a perfect eye for Tardis blue.  Note the cool "distressed" and worn aspects after one coat of blue on top of the white.  Knots and other blemishes were not filled and left as-is for more weathered and used looking features.


The doors were simply built as half-walls.


Walls and Doors, a platform, a really cool door handle, and some prep-work to protect against the coming rain.  Oregon is wet.


Thus we bring to a close the first 3 days of build, following the completion of the landscaping and pathways.




Jun 26, 2014, 08:38 pm #1 Last Edit: Jun 26, 2014, 09:23 pm by ascii
Well, I've got a bit more time so I'm going to work on Part II!

At this time there were walls, doors, and a foundation.  Some blue paint has been applied.  Things are looking like maybe rain, or maybe not.  We go forward regardless.  For the corner beams, we used a standard 4x4 post.  By leaning the back wall on the fence for a bit, it was possible to get the next two walls up without too much trouble.  And the rain weather was kind to us.


the left wall...


The doors ended up being just a smidge too wide.  So I had to do a long rip with a circular saw, which is not my favourite thing in the world.


And the hinges are on and we're off again.


We needed some cross members on the top to secure squareness and vertical-ness.  A door latch, not bad.


Caulking and seal it up for the night.

raising19.png raising20.png

Some morning work under the plastic.


And some more working in the rain is always in the cards.


Now the work on the cap begins in earnest.  The whole cap together was too heavy to get on top of the box by myself, so I had to take it up in pieces.  There were quite a few adventurous moments during the process but the outcome was grand.


Some caulking!  Whee!


Here's a look from the inside out into the very nicely progressing garden.


And by this point, we're all starting to feel very pleased and like it is coming along, but we're still a ways off.  This is the end of the second round of 3 days (and 2 nights) of work.  You see it is now mostly sealed up from the weather, but needs a bit of paint.  Also, the pencil hand-drawn Police Box sign is in place-holder position #1.



Jul 04, 2014, 06:07 pm #2 Last Edit: Jul 04, 2014, 06:22 pm by ascii
Here's the latest from my picture archive.  Mostly the application of white primer and blue paint, but, it is quite necessary, the blue paint.  We awoke in the morning to a nice day and here's a few shots of the starting point and some of the added white primer.

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Next up, white paint all day, and then painting into the dark of night.


"Hey out there!  Do you want some light?"


And in the morning... a new roof coat (2nd coat is really blue) and some walls.


Let's paint the front doors!


We needed to add a bit of waterproofing for the next non-work stretch.  So, I added 4 white primed slats to shed water at the top.


That's all for now.  Stay tuned.


The panels aren't horribly square.  I'm not an expert on the post 2005 boxes, but it doesn't look that off from those to me.  I had a similar problem when I skimped on my corner posts. 
"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.


Jul 05, 2014, 05:18 am #4 Last Edit: Jul 05, 2014, 05:18 am by galacticprobe
I have to agree with volpone. Your panels look just fine. One glance and you can see that they're not square.

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


Aug 06, 2014, 05:01 pm #5 Last Edit: Aug 06, 2014, 05:08 pm by ascii
And installment number three of the tale of the garden variety Tardis brings you the beginnings of signs and a lamp, a better plinth and and more.


I found this crazy guy at the rebuilding center on Mississippi.


Then I went to town on it.


And the windows got started...


And the signs got started...


And this was all done in a few days, along with more painting and exterior caulking and much more.

Until I get another spare moment...


Aug 06, 2014, 05:17 pm #6 Last Edit: Aug 06, 2014, 05:50 pm by ascii
The end is nearer now than the beginning.  It is hard to say how long it will be, but we are getting much closer.  Sometimes all the right elements come together at the right time.  You'll love to see this amazing transformation in progress.   This is from about Day-12 to Day-13 of pretty non-continuous work on the Tardis.  Notable improvements on the front, top, signs, lamp, and more...

But without further delay, here's one of the most exciting parts to date.


Sun-Dried public call signs...


And you may remember these from before...


And then...


And since it's a tool shed, we need vents, a soffit for the top rear, where there is no sign...


And much-venting for the bottom rear, facing the fence... and more painting, and more caulk...



The freshly redone lamp...


The floor...

The Sign...

The windows...


Aug 31, 2014, 11:31 pm #7 Last Edit: Aug 31, 2014, 11:39 pm by ascii
The Floor is cedar fencing sanded lightly and a subfloor of 2x3 boards as risers.  In with the boards, out with the boards, adjust, repeat.  Fun stuff!


The crowning glory of this day was the sign created by Herr Dr. Profesor rAT.  This was a plain sheet of metal, lightly sanded, then coated with 2 layers of white spay primer.  The lettering was printed on magazine paper in revers with a laser printer then applied with iron-on technique.  The distressed look of some of the magazine articles also coming with the transfer ended up really cool so it was decided to keep it.  A clear-coat was added to darken the font and protect the paint.  Everyone loves the way it came out.


The step was added for convenience and easy access.  Pretty simple but very useful.


Another item of import are the windows and their frames.  Made from 3/4" square hemlock mouldings, cut and notched with a box knife and a small finish-work pull saw, then they are stuck together "lincoln-log" style and glued.  Painted white, and later blue.  The panes are just one sheet of textured plastic that is put in behind the frame and held in place by it as well.



Aug 31, 2014, 11:48 pm #8 Last Edit: Aug 31, 2014, 11:50 pm by ascii
More about the windows.  We did not get much of the good pics the first time and I think there's more to say about them.  So...

The windows exist on this box only in the front and on the sides.  We started out with white frames in the front with a clear textured pane.  When we did the sides we consulted the different era models and decided this one looks a little more like a blue frame box and also a white pane was used.  We like it, and you can see both here.  Then we tested the blue on the sides and it was good and that is our new standard.  :-)  The frames were notched and fitted and then glued and set under bricks to set up and then painted.  Here's some more viewable bits for you.