My Tardis Build – Stage 8

Over the past week I’ve continued to lose myself in the time vortex. I’ve been quite frustrated at the time it takes me to get things done. I must admit, though, that there have been lots of little fiddly things happening with the build.

First of all I tried out blue paint and settled on a colour I like. I’m using a blue called Mystification in Dulux Weathershield. I’ve never painted with such a dark colour before. Getting it to cover is another challenge. It’s going to take at least three coats, but then the more paint that goes on, the more the wood is protected. I also painted the windows. The frames will be the last things to go on.

It's a blue box

It’s a blue box

I decided to use wire mesh for the mail shelf. Then if rain gets in it will easily drain away, rather than sitting there, rotting wood and keeping the mail soggy. I have no doubt that the roof will be hard to completely seal so I expect it will leak, even if only a little.

The wire mesh mail shelf

The wire mesh mail shelf

We also decided to put in a mail slide from the slot to the wire shelf, mainly to reduce the size of the mail cavity. It’s a huge space and we don’t need to use it all; we certainly won’t want to be reaching all the way from the back to the front to get our letters out. The only problem with this idea is that I forgot to put the slide in until after I started putting in the supports for the roof tiers.
I had to cut the piece of ply I was using for the slide in half so I could fit it in. That was easy enough to do and it fitted nicely. I siliconed the join and the edges so there’s no risk of letters getting lost down the sides. The silicone also works to keep the slide in place.

The letter slide

The letter slide

Putting on the first roof tier

Putting on the first roof tier

The second roof tier goes on

The second roof tier goes on

The next step was to get the lamp base built and fitted onto supports that would place it at the right height. This was quite fiddly. I had to make sure the box that makes up the base was square, that the roof supports on each side were at the right height for the proper slope, and that I placed it right in the centre of the roof space.

Then I had to measure and cut the roof panels to fit together nicely. It all went together fairly well, though a couple of the gaps are a little wider that I like. Thank goodness for wood putty and silicone sealer.

Filling the roof gaps

Filling the roof gaps

The roof is on and ready to paint

The roof is on and ready to paint

I’ve been looking everywhere for an appropriate lamp for the top. Over the years there have been plenty of different styles of lamp on the top of the different Tardis’. I’d like to find something similar to the current one, but haven’t found anything like it so I’ve settled for a solar yard light. I cut a hole in the top of the lamp base so the light sits in position and is stable. I’ll silicone it in place so it’s secure, but can be easily changed if I come across something I like more.

The lamp on top of the Tardis

The lamp on top of the Tardis

I’ve painted the panels for the sign boxes. I want to put 2 coats of paint on the Tardis before I fix the sign boxes in place.

My Tardis Build – Stage 7

What did I learn today? That even using a mitre box doesn’t mean that you’ll end up with nicely fitting mitred corners.  A proper mitre saw would be a nice thing to have but the cost just wouldn’t be justified.

I cut four lengths of  90mm x 35mm treated pine for the base of the box. I tried cutting mitred corners but they didn’t work so I had to recut and refit the ends to get minimal gaps and the least amount of filling.

Once I got the baseboards on and filled, I undercoated. I’ll have to paint the ends of the baseboards tomorrow, once the filler has dried and I can sand them. I’m not happy with the colour I painted the windows so I’ve painted over them with undercoat. I’ll have to get some new window paint and I’m ready to buy blue paint now!

I have a couple of small things still to do on the box and then I’ll start on the roof. I have to do the roof supports and the shelf supports. I also still need to do the window beading and the trim for around the ‘police box’ signs. They’ll be some of the last things to go on, so I’m getting them painted and ready.

I haven’t put too much thought into how to build the roof up until now. I just try to stick with whatever I’m working on at the time. The tardis builders forum has some great resources so I’ll be  having a good look at the roof reference posts.

Painting

Painting

The undercoat is on

The undercoat is on

My Tardis Build – Stage 6

Today I sanded back all the filler and got the box assembled.  Putting the first three walls together was easy – once I’d been to Bunnings to buy the appropriate screws. I put braces in the corners below the window area to add support and to rest the mail shelf on.  I also put some corner brackets in the lower corners for extra strength.  Screwing the brackets into the back wall was quite a challenge. I had to stand inside the box to do it. Awkward, but I got there.

The box is super heavy – and it doesn’t have the roof on yet.  But it’s also very stable. One good thing about it being so heavy is that once we get it in place out in the front yard there’s a lot less chance of anyone taking off with the box.

I had hoped to get the undercoat on as well but, once again, I was trapped in time. I won’t get a chance now to paint until Tuesday.

The front and sides assembled

The front and sides assembled

Screwing the back wall on

Screwing the back wall on

All four walls assembled

All four walls assembled

Hey  mum, isn't it supposed to  be bigger on the inside?

Hey mum, isn’t it supposed to be bigger on the inside?

My Tardis Build – Stage 5

It seems that it’s been a week since my last update. What have I been doing for the last week? Well live goes on and we have a time vortex in our garage. I get lost in the vortex every time I go out there for “just a few minutes”.

It doesn’t look like I’ve done a lot on the Tardis but I’ve been plodding away at it.

  • I picked up the ‘police box’ stickers. They look great. I made the door sign myself. I’ve decided that instead of the St John’s Ambulance sign, I’ll put our street number on the right side of the front.
  • I put in over 200 screws, screwing down all of the trim that I’d previously glued. While I used glue that’s fit for outdoors I decided not to trust it to the weather.
  • I filled all the gaps and the nail heads.
  • I wasn’t happy with the mail access doors on the back. They looked messy and really spoiled the back of the box. They didn’t close easily and I had to mitre the sides so the doors would open properly – a result of poorly placing the hinges due to lack of experience. This left gaps and gave the doors an unfinished look that would have been only slightly improved with paint. I took the doors off and replaced them with a flap that’s hinged at the top. This looks so much better. The new door/window is just a bit smaller than the windows on the other sides. This is because everything had already been assembled in the wall and I didn’t want to have to rebuild it from scratch or try to disassemble things that had been glued and screwed. Either way would have meant too much waste and buying of even more wood. It seems that I didn’t get a proper photo of the original doors.

I’m almost ready to undercoat the walls, now. I just have to sand back the filler to give it a nice, smooth finish. I’ll get the undercoat on and the walls assembled before I do the roof. Or maybe three of the walls properly bolted together and the back just tacked on with a couple of nails for now so we can more easily put it in place and bolt it to the existing mailbox. But that presents issues of it’s own and I’ve learned not to concern myself with anything more than I’m working on at the moment or I won’t get any sleep at all!

The back wall without the windows/doors

The back wall without the windows/doors

Fitting the new mail access flap in place

Fitting the new mail access flap in place

Flap fixed in place in the wall

Flap fixed in place in the wall

The hinged flap

The hinged flap

 

My Tardis Build – Stage 4

While I haven’t updated the blog every day, work on my blue box has been continuing. Some things have gone as planned, some haven’t quite. I’m learning a lot and I’ve spent a lot of time puzzling over how to do things.

I’ve finished the bulk of three walls. I have finishing touches to do – filling gaps, window beading, painting, signs. I’m working on the back wall now. The window area in the back wall will be doors that open to allow access to the mail. This is proving to be harder than I thought and I’ve probably overcomplicated things.

Once I get this wall done, I’ll have to tackle the roof. That’s going to present it’s own challenges.

Setting up one of the walls

Setting up one of the walls

Working with power tools

Working with power tools

The front wall and both sides

The front wall and both sides

Setting up the back wall

Setting up the back wall

My Tardis Build – Day 3

I had trouble sleeping last night. I suddenly realised I’d marked out the wall panels the wrong size. This meant that I painted the windows too high. That, combined with thoughts about how I’d make the mail slot, and how I’d design the access to the mailbox itself kept churning around in my brain and conspired to keep me awake until the wee small hours.

I was up early to take Stephen to the station and as soon as I got home I brought the walls inside to redraw the panels. I laid them on the rug and Jet immediately took up position on them.

Jet making sure that I get my measurements right this time, before she lets me near the walls.

Jet making sure that I get my measurements right this time, before she lets me near the walls.

I then had to put on a bit more primer and spray the grey. The finish isn’t as clean this time, because of adding new paint, but the beading and recessed panels framework should cover any problems.

This afternoon I started my first cuts. My lack of experience with the power saw is showing itself. My cuts aren’t perfect so there’ll have to be a bit of filler. But I’m happy with my first wall. I’ve started with the front wall. The front doors won’t actually open. The mail will be accessed through the back wall. I’ve cut the font wall a bit shorter to allow for the mail slot. I’m going to cover the slot with the ‘Public call box’ sign, which I’m planning to make into a hinged flap on this wall. Hopefully the postie won’t have trouble working out where to put the letters!

I got most of the lattice cut for the recessed panel framework on this wall and glued it all into place. Tomorrow I’ll add the front posts, then I’ll move on to the back wall.

Tardis Front Wall

Tardis Front Wall

My Tardis Build – Day 1

I’ve been talking about building a Tardis letterbox for ages.  I’m basing my build on The Blue Box Project. My build will be a little bit different due to metric timber measurements and to the fact that I’m not quite so fanatical as some about my Tardis being ‘perfect’.  Also mine is a letterbox so the front doors won’t open. Instead I’ll need to incorporate a mail slot and some type of door at the back, or perhaps a hinged roof. The Blue Box Project is a great place to start, though. I’ve been reading through and doing my own calculations over the past week. Like the Tardis in that project, my Tardis will be approximately half real size. Today I finally bought the timber to make a start.

I need to make sure my Tardis will stand up to the weather, being a letterbox, so my walls are 12mm marine ply. The posts are treated pine and the trim that makes the recessed panels is made from Tasmanian oak. I won’t be putting in real windows; I’ll just paint the ‘glass’.

I had a little helper all afternoon. Jet wanted to be right there with me while I was working on the floor. I had to repeatedly ask her to move as she seemed to really like laying on the plywood.

Laying out the first wall of my Tardis

Laying out the first wall of my Tardis

Jet was my helper as I laid things out

Jet was my helper as I laid things out

Jet holding the plywood in place while I set up the layout

Jet holding the plywood in place while I set up the layout

Jet making sure I draw my lines straight

Jet making sure I draw my lines straight

Jet holding a straight edge in place  while I drew the pattern

Jet holding a straight edge in place while I draw the pattern

It took quite a bit of redrawing to get the pattern right

It took quite a bit of redrawing to get the pattern right

Grass roots gardening…

Saturday

Today was a fairly easy day. I planted up the seedlings and broad beans seeds in the veggie beds. We have tomatoes, golden beetroot, two types of kale (Tuscan and Scarlet), broccoli, coriander, cos lettuce and pak choy. We’ll also plant silver beet (chard), rocket and basil. It’s late in the season to plant basil, but the netting should protect against the weather and keep the temperature a couple of degrees warmer than outside. We have lots of self-sown rocket coming up around the chillis that we moved from the veggie beds. We also have self-sown basil. I’ll transplant these once the seedlings have grown enough to move.

Planted veggie beds

Planted veggie beds

Stephen planted several thymes around the chilli hill. There are a variety of flavours in addition to regular thyme, including lemon, caraway, bush bbq, pizza,bergamot and Jekka’s thyme.

Chillis and thyme

Chillis and thyme

Our timing was perfect, it started to rain just as we finished planting.

Sunday

Today we started the day working to clear the grass from one end of the front verge. This corner has always been a bit of a problem due, in the first few years to the next door neighbour’s gardener scattering grass seeds our way when he mowed the lawn, and in recent years to our current neighbour’s lack of care of their front yard. We’ve tried to keep up with pulling out the grass, but the groundcover we planted there was a bit sparse and straggly and wasn’t helping. The grass was out of control.

Starting work on the verge

Starting work on the verge

The overnight rain ensured that the job would be as easy as it could be – not very easy. We had to pull out the groundcovers that were planted there and then pull out the grass. We both worked at it for a few hours and finally got it  done mid- afternoon.

First we removed the groundcovers, leaving a pretty dense layer of grass

First we removed the groundcovers, leaving a pretty dense layer of grass

There was a huge amount of grass to pull out. The roots were deep and strong. We know that, while we managed to pull out all of the visible grass and as many of the roots as possible, there are still plenty of roots in there.

We pulled out all the grass

We pulled out all the grass

We’ve planted several new plants, mostly groundcovers and low growing grevilleas.

New groundcover plantings

New groundcover plantings

We have a  groundcover that we really like, Myoporum parvifolium (Creeping Boobialla), growing at the other end of the verge. It grows in a dense mat and it should be the perfect thing to grow and cover the ground between the other plants. We’ll put in several plants of that and then  put down weed matting before we mulch.

New plants in the cleared area

New plants in the cleared area

A netted garden…

The garden netting arrived yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised. We still had the horizontal length of poly tubing to put up so we’ll have something to clip the netting to when we want to access the garden, so we took care of that yesterday afternoon. We had exactly the right length of tube left to fit around the whole garden, we just needed to buy a joiner.

The horizontal line

The horizontal line

This morning Stephen taped the tops of the start pickets so the sharp corners wouldn’t tear the net.

Taping the tops of the star pickets

Taping the tops of the star pickets

Then we draped the net over the framework. The size is just right, so that’s a bit of a relief. We found that the ends of the cable ties that we used to secure the poly tube to the pickets were catching on the net, so they all had to be taped as well.

The netting is held in place by clips that can be easily moved.

Clipping the net in place

Clipping the net in place

The net is pretty secure, though we do need a few more clips. I’m really happy with the way it’s all come together.

The netted garden

The netted garden

The sides of the net lift and clip to the top bar and allow for really easy access to the beds.

The net opened down one side for easy access

The net opened down one side for easy access

Once everything was done I prepped the bed that we have decided to plant broad beans in by raking in some lime.

Prepping a bed for broad beans

Prepping a bed for broad beans

We went shopping and bought veggie seedlings, we’ll plant them tomorrow. While we were at Bunnings I noticed that they do sell similar netting, just not in the size that we needed.

Veggie seedlings waiting to be planted

Veggie seedlings waiting to be planted

Netting the veggie bed is something I’ve wanted to do since we first put the planters in. I feel like we’ve finally achieved a major goal. Only time will tell how well it all works.