This year for Christmas we wanted to get our kids something really cool, like rocket packs or something.
Since there was a lack of Consumer Reports info on these, I decided to make something instead. I was inspired by a bookshelf that my late grandfather had made me for Christmas many years ago. Although he was a skilled woodworker, I felt it was a simple enough project to try to emulate.
Both of the kids are huge Who fans. I’d seen many a TARDIS bookshelf on the internet, and decided to try my own take on the idea. Originally this just consisted of blue painted shelves, but quickly got more complicated…
We’ll call this adventure: THE TIME I DECIDED TO START A PROJECT A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS!
I started with a quick sketchup on a post it note and figured out rough dimensions so I could make a list of what I needed. There is a suprising number of linear feet of wood needed for shelves. Altogether with the wood, nails, screws, paint, and PL200 I spent about $120 on materials to make two of these. I could have got a finer quality of board, but since I was going to paint them I didn’t mind if there were knots in the wood.
Here’s the basic shelf I ended up with. I could have done this better by using a router to make slots for the shelf pieces to fit into, but in the end I just screwed them from the ends with a little construction adhesive on the joint. I drilled pilot holes for the screws to avoid splitting the wood. The router table is another project that I haven’t started yet.
The trim pieces on the sides covered the screw heads so I didn’t have to fill them. Since these were not structural, they are put on with adhesive and a few small finish nails. The nails are basically just there to hold it in place until the PL200 dries.
I used the table saw to 45 the corner pieces so the joint looked nicer. I put these on the same way as the side trim.
Starting to look more police box-esque, but not quite there. I felt the top needed another step on it, and that the police box signs across the top needed accenting somehow. I wanted to do this as simple as possible since I was running out of time at this point, and every change I made I had to do twice since I was building two at the same time.
What I ended up doing was cutting 3/8″x 3/8″ strips to outline the signs, and just cut a shorter, narrower board to add dimension to the top. I then used a wood filler to fill screw holes and some of the rougher knots.
I had not yet given much thought to the light, and found myself searching the house for something suitable. I raided Luxury Lane’s supply closet and came up with these jars. I screwed the plastic lid to the top of the shelf so that the jar twists on. The glass jar is painted white from the inside with spray paint. Eventually I may put an LED inside.
Finally all ready for paint. I thought about brushing the whole thing, but knew it would look waaaay better if it was sprayed. Problem was, there was snow on the ground outside, and I needed a usable spray environment. This smells like a new project…
I laid down some drop cloths in the corner of the basement, hung plastic sheeting, put a fluorescent light on the ceiling plugged into an extension cord and behold- temporary spray booth! I’m going to make a less temporary version of this someday in the coal room with some improvements; like a vent fan and more space, but this worked for now. The spray rig pictured was a bit overkill for painting shelves. One of those Wagner guns with the paint cup would work fine.
I used a latex Kilz I had laying around to prime the whole thing. Two coats covered well despite having to thin the paint some to get it to spray right. Now that I had the white base for the letters and the windows I had to mask them off. I used contact paper fed into a laser printer to make the letter masks. This worked, but not very well. You get a paper jam 75% of the time. I cut the printed letters out with an exacto and freehand stuck them on. The font used was London Tube. In hindsight, having decals made would have probably been a better idea.
I used spray can flat black over the signs, and accidentally oversprayed the windows that I hadn’t masked yet. I salvaged the situation by misting a light coat over the whole area to make it uniform giving the windows a somewhat frosted look.
The blue paint bled under the window masks necessitating outlining the windows in black permanent marker, another happy accident.
Since I had differing sheens between the different colors, I sprayed a final two coats of polyurethane satin clear over the whole thing to tie it all together. This step really made the finished product look a lot better.
I had to put fans on them to dry everything as quick as possible, I think they still smelled like paint on Christmas morning. Despite my rather average carpentry skills, I was pleased overall with how they turned out. I underestimated the time needed for these by far, I had almost 30 hours into the pair from start to finish. The only thing I would change would be to make them from 3/4″ MDF rather than pine boards. The pine wasn’t cured all that well when I got it, they warped quite a bit before I used them making the whole project more difficult. Something I will surely consider when I make my full size Police Box…