I think MDO was not much more expensive than ordinary plywood when I built my box, but it seems to have taken a jump up in price in the last few years. As you say if the texture is thick, it won't make much difference. You can get nice sanded plywood too...
When I went looking for plywood, the "one side good" plywood (that is one side is pine, sanded smooth with no knots) was over double the cost of quite knotty spruce (who's been a bad boy!) that I bought.
Of course, these prices will vary greatly depending on what market you're in. It could be that the differences in prices are not as large in your area.
I know a few days ago I mentioned that I should have picked up the faster setting resin, but I think I've changed my mind.
When I want to glue the pieces together, I: 1) mix up the batch of resin 2) paint some resin on each of the pieces that are being glued together (to hopefully let some of the resin sink into the wood) 3) mix in the filler to get it to the right consistency 4) smear the now filled resin onto one side of the joint 5) clamp together (using my hinges) 6) clean up the joints, scraping off the excess that squeezed out of the top joint, and trying to push some more into the bottom of the joint wherever I can reach.
I just timed myself today. This process takes me just over 20 minutes in total... and the "pot life" of the slow setting hardener is <insert drum roll here> 20 to 25 minutes.
Maybe I picked the right stuff after all.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to finish the 4th edge. I was expecting to finish it today, but between my fiancee's laptop dying and going to archery practice, there wasn't enough free time yesterday... if only I had some way to move around in time so I could get everything done... There's something I seem to remember that could do something like that... oh yeah! that time turner thing from Harry Potter! ;D
Is this fibreglass resin you're using? I don't know much about fibreglass (I can't stand the smell or the itching) but I'm told that it gets most of its incredible strength from the layers of matting that you bury in the resin... The dalek builders use this stuff quite a bit for making those domes, but also for general attachment, like sticking those angled skirt panels together when they're made of MDF, which is somewhat similar to TARDIS roofing. Last time I built a dalek I stuck strips of thin card behind the skirt panels with wood glue to stop the filler falling through. I didn't do it with my new TARDIS roof, though, as the slopes were the last things I added, so there was no way to get inside.
Out of interest I spotted 1.125" thick plywood in Home Depot today, tongue and grooved, used for flooring.
So did you take the laptop to archery practice ;)?
EDIT: I've noticed that with a time machine I tend to end up with less time, not more... And you wonder why the Doctor is always in a hurry?
There are actually several types of resin that people can use with fiberglass. Basically when we (in North America) talk about fiberglass, we're usually talking about fiberglass cloth or matt that's been embedded in some sort of resin. I believe in Europe, they talk more about GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) or GRE (Glass Reinforced Epoxy) which is a bit more accurate.
I believe GRP is more common, using a polyester resin to bind the glass. It's cheaper, it's smellier and I understand that it doesn't bind as well to wood. So I'm using the more expensive GRE which isn't as stinky, is an excellent glue, is more waterproof, but is also more susceptible to UV light (so I've got to paint it, not a problem). The epoxy also can't use the fiberglass matt as it has binders that don't interact well with the epoxy. I'm not interested in a thick coat, so I'd want to go with cloth anyway.
The epoxy is a little stinky, but nothing in comparison. I'm wearing a respirator anyway (since I don't want to breath in any of the very fine powder that is the filler), so I can't really smell it.
When I eventually cast the windows, I'll have to use the polyester resin (that's been UV stabilized) so that they can handle being out in the sun.
If it costs lots to get the laptop fixed, I'd be tempted to bring it to the archery range as a target, but it'd make more sense to sell it for parts on eBay. The thing is, I just bought it this year (refurbished, no warranty). It was cheap, but I figured that it would last for a bit at least.
If GRE is less smelly, that's encouraging; but how about itchiness? - That's been the other big turn-off for me. If there's a way to use these products that's not itchy or smelly I might be tempted to have a go.
I suppose an arrow would go right through it... Old meets new.
I haven't dealt with the fiberglass cloth beyond purchasing it. I understand that the itchiness comes from loose glass fibers floating in the air (which I would think would be more likely in sprayed applications or fiberglass mat than woven cloth). To be honest, I don't remember being terribly itchy when I put more insulation in my attic (dealing with both fiberglass batts and blown fiberglass insulation). I was, however, wearing gloves, a mask, and Tyvek coveralls (for example, see: www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&p=20046&cat=1).
Spending a little money on protective equipment is always a good idea.
Various manufacturers of resin claim to have less or no smell. It's something that you'd have to look at on a brand by brand basis.
I should make one further note about polyester resin that I didn't mention before. From what I've read, there are two types of polyester resin - one that's for fiberglassing and one that's for casting. The stuff used for fiberglassing doesn't harden in air, so the surface remains sticky (which is great if you want your next layer to really be part of your previous layer). The user apparently has to add wax to the last coat so that it will cure solid. Obviously, you don't want to use this for casting parts. I just thought I'd mention this in case someone's reading my post and wondering why I just don't use one resin for my fiberglassing and casting needs. Since I read about this, I now understand what happened the one time I tried to cast a part with some resin that someone gave me. It happened when I was a kid, and I just remember it being stinky and the product being sticky.
All four plywood pieces of my roof are now epoxied together. All the pieces line up, and there are no gaps on the top and the 1/32" gaps on the bottom side are filled with epoxy. I appear to have achieved the elusive dream of getting my math and my cuts done correctly... so I celebrated today by making mathmatical errors and cutting wood in the wrong place!
I decided to cut the pieces of plywood and lumber to make the stepped part of the roof. Things went great until I was cutting the notches in the lumber, when I realized I was enlarging the slot in the wrong direction. Thankfully, I was making the rise of the step too high, so in the end I just trimmed off the excess (and my roof will weigh slightly less because of it).
Next it's a matter of cleaning up the slots...
and gluing all the step pieces together before attaching them to the rest of the roof.
I started out by gluing (and screwing) the top two pieces of the stepped part of the roof together. I'm fitting plywood pieces into notches, so I took a scrap piece of plywood to check the depth of the notch all the way along (and chiseled out all of the high spots. I then smeared piles of glue all over the plywood bit, stuck it in the groove, and screwed it down in a few places to make sure it wouldn't move around.
Let's not fool anyone (myself included), this roof is going to be HEAVY. I feel like I'm just going overboard, but I can't stop now! Now that I have a massively heavy roof, I'll have to make a massively strong (heavy) everything else to hold it up!
I talked with my dad tonight. My mom's coming to visit in February, and he said that he'll pack her suitcases full of wood for me. Who knows what she'll be wearing when she gets here, but I'll be able to make window frames. He's also going to send back the router he borrowed off of me.. I guess that'll be my mom's carry-on luggage. ;D
Well, not much building happening at my place this week. I'd like to say that it's because Christmas is upon us and I'm just too busy.. but the reality is that I need to adjust my mitre saw to 45° which I've been putting off. I did try for around 2 hours on Thursday, and while I managed to get it closer to 45°, I also mistakenly adjusted the 90° stop so it's now out. I also ran out of scrap wood (it's a process of adjust a bit, cut a piece, see if I've made it better or worse, repeat), but today I bought some more.
I did have something nice happen to me yesterday though. A package arrived for me with a piece of pebbled glass and two handles! No, it wasn't Father Christmas arriving early, it was TimeGirl being nice to me ;D "the cheque is in the mail" (well, that's not strictly true, but it sounds better than the electronic money transfer is in your PayPal account).
Looking at the labels on the handles made me wonder about something though:
"Liberty Hardware"... could that be American? It looks so, but after doing a bit of poking around the web, I still can't find anything on these handles. If anyone wants the info (and doesn't want to squint at the pictures, here's what's written on the labels:
Well, yes it is www.libertyhardware.com but they don't exactly have much information on their site (at least for consumers). I've looked through many online stores (including these two) and haven't been able to spot these handles. Honestly, I've spent hours looking for them and haven't been able to find cast handles that screw in from the front:
All the drawer handles I've seen screw in from the back, and the handles that screw in from the front are formed sheet metal (which I really don't like).
I'm guessing that knowing the model numbers and such, it might be possible to go to a store that stocks liberty hardware and getting them to special order it (though I don't need to do it at this point).
Today I finally managed to align my mitre saw after failing on several other occasions, and sawdust once again filled my basement.
When I assembled the top two "steps" of the roof, I thought this would make it easier to do, but had made the mistake of calculating how thick the piece of wood that could be cut based off a 90° cut instead of a 45° cut. Consequently, I can't cut all the way through the piece as part of the saw bumps into the wood I'm cutting.
I finally decided today that I'd just saw through the remaining bit with a hand saw, and this went much better than I anticipated. Now I've got to attach the four pieces of wood together, but would rather do this on a flat surface (of which I don't have a large enough one in the basement), so I think I'll buy some more plywood before I continue. I guess the question would be if I would do this again knowing what I know now and to be honest, I'm not sure. Maybe I'll have a better idea when I get around to attaching the bottom step.
In other news, my dad called to let me know that there's a box of yellow cedar that's currently on a plane heading to Winnipeg. Someone he knew wasn't carrying their maximum allotment for luggage, so I'm getting this a bit earlier than I thought I would. He didn't go as far as making the windows for me, but he did trim all the pieces to the right width and thickness so it shouldn't be too hard to produce my window frames. ;D
I actually did remove some of the wood to let me move the blade lower, but in the end there were still things on the other side which prevented me cutting all the way through. The amount of wood that I did cut provided a nice guide when cutting through the rest with the hand saw.
Yesterday I received the package of yellow cedar and stacked the pieces a corner of my living room so they would dry a bit more.
When my dad told me that there was a strong odor to the wood, I somehow thought it'd be like red cedar which has a lovely smell. This one was different - not something I really wanted the whole main floor to reek of. Thankfully after a day of sitting around, the smell has mostly gone away and is now just a background scent in the living room.
I decided to put the roof bits that I've done together to show myself that I'm actually accomplishing something.
It turns out that some of the stepped pieces are a little warped, and I'm going to have to use some brute force to get them together. I guess it's time to start mixing up some more epoxy.
I noticed about a year ago that the fir 2x4 studs that I buy have begun to smell... well... now I know why them call them "tree farms". I think they must be using an organic fertilizer or something. The smell of fresh lumber is not what it was. Sigh. It could be worse - at least they don't smell of formaldehyde.
At this point, I don't notice the smell at all. My fiancee said that she actually liked the smell of the yellow cedar. My big problem was that it was just so over powering.
So I've been gluing the stepped part of the roof together. Today I glued the fourth side. Just in case people think that I'm an expert carpenter and am having no problems at all, here's the before picture:
As you can see, the wood doesn't quite line up. After some "brute force and ignorance" are applied:
It looks much better. ;D
I suspect that I might have caused further problems for myself by doing this. I know that this is not square (the diagonals differ by 1/2"), but am thinking that what I might do is to make the bottom "step" (which isn't attached) square, and try to fit the two pieces together. It's not a terribly happy thought as I'm sure that it'll require a fair amount of manual shaping to get the pieces to fit together, but I'd rather not have my box be completely wonky because of what I just did.
Colin the person who brought you... Sorvan's TardisTMnow withBrute Force and Ignorance
I don't think I've commented on your build yet as I've not been around much since you joined the boards here (you joined as I started a new job with 13 hour shifts), anyway, I'd just like to say that your build is looking rather splendid. I had the same problem with my roof as you and I did the exact same thing to disguise it. Once the roof is on and up on the rest of the box, it's pretty impossible to tell that it's out of true!
I had wondered a bit what happened with your gorgeous build, it seemed that you were almost at the end and then there weren't any new posts. I really love your texturing and hope I can manage to do that for my box. Since mine will be an outside box, I'm not sure what kind of material I'll be able to use, but I'm a long way off from that at this point.
I'm actually not concerned that anyone will be able to spot that the roof isn't square, I just don't want to have to tweak a lot of other pieces to get the box to fit together.
Thanks for the encouragement, I don't think I'd ever have gotten this far without the people on this board. It's nice to think that if I accomplish something, someone on here will actually notice.
Unfortunately I've nothing to report today. I was planning on working on the roof, but came down with a touch of the flu and spent most of the day watching Doctor Who (Hartnell episodes). In one of the episodes someone describes the TARDIS as a wooden box which I hadn't remembered - I guess that's something I wasn't concerned with before. ;D I don't care, I like the concrete look.
After the holidays were over, I caught the flu and while I haven't completely shaken it (getting close to two weeks), I decided last night to get back to building my box. I went downstairs, cut some wood, and realized that one the four pieces of the bottom step had developed a little twist, and one had developed a serious twist (I swear, they weren't like this when I left them!). I guess I have to go out and buy more lumber.
These days I'll usually buy a dozen 2x4 wall studs and keep them around for a few weeks then use the ones that haven't twisted. Usually I can find a use for the twisted ones by cutting them for short sections or using them in places where it doesn't matter. Wall studs are cheap though: it'll be annoying when it's supposed to be good wood...
Scarfwearer, that's a good idea - I don't think I'll do it, but it's a good idea.
I really don't want to have extra wood sitting around as what I should be doing instead of building a police box, is digging up the basement floor - and so I really shouldn't have anything down there at all... Does this make any sort of sense? Now that I'm writing it down, I'm thinking no - but I'll go ahead with it anyway... Come to think of it, making a police box for a garden shed doesn't make a whole lot of sense in the first place, so why worry about it?
Anyway, my plan for wood is to buy straight wood, and stick it together before it tries warping so that hopefully any warping pieces will counteract each other. That might not make much more sense than the first bit, but I'm sticking with it.
So I bought two more 2x6 boards today, and have cut them and put epoxy on the ends (I've read that letting some epoxy soak into the pieces before you glue them together creates the best bond). I then smeared the remaining epoxy in a thin coat on the top of the roof to get ready for fiberglassing it (whenever that may be).
So I've finally glued the fourth corner of the bottom step piece.
I really wanted to make sure that this is square, so I used a ratcheting tie down to pull the wood into square when I was gluing the 3rd side, and found it was out of square by 1/8". I think I did a much better job of getting it this good because I decided to pick up a pair of fairly heavy duty right angle clamps.
I think these were an excellent investment, but suspect they might not be that easy to find. I know I didn't see them at either Home Depot or Rona (two of the large hardware stores in Canada). I picked them up from Lee Valley (my favorite tool store).
I've been gluing the corners with epoxy, but since I'm using the metered pumps to give me the right ratio of epoxy to hardner, I wind up with more than I need so I'm putting the excess on the top of the roof.
It does look a little funny now, but my instructions for fiberglassing tell me to coat the wood in epoxy before applying the cloth so it makes sense not to let the stuff go to waste.
It's getting close to the point where I'll be attaching my three pieces of roof together. After that's done, I think I'll switch back to working on the windows again.
For Christmas, my father got me a digital caliper "they were a good deal, so I got you one". I kind of wondered why I would want one, but last week I found out why. The yellow cedar sitting in the corner of my living room is dry now, and so I used the caliper to measure each of the pieces. They aren't exactly the same, but I now have the pieces grouped so that each window will be the same thickness (within 0.01").
As I mentioned before, the top two steps of the roof aren't quite square so I decided to make the bottom step square and then fit the top two to it. This meant that I needed to do some trimming off big chucks of wood. It took me a while to figure out the best way to do this, but I finally decided on using my jigsaw to shave off the edges to make them square.
You can see how this worked by looking down on the corners.
Two corners with gaps that I shoved shims in, and two corners which were trimmed.
I'm quite happy with getting the bottom step square, but wondered if it was flat so I ran some twine from opposite corners to see if they touched in the middle.
It turned out that it was a little out, so when I attached it to the top two, I torqued it a bit to make it a little less.
It's not perfect, but I don't think it's going to matter if it's out that little. The enormous weight of the roof will probably take care of any gaps that might otherwise be there. ;D
I've slathered epoxy in the cracks, and maybe tomorrow I'll try to figure out how to cut the plywood top of the bottom step.
I built my roof on top of a plywood 'ceiling' which I used as the guide to keep things square (they still aren't, but are closer than they would have been). I only used screws in the preliminary stages to hold things together - epoxy seems so final... Given my joinery skills I usually cut some primary dimensions and then cut the things that join them to fit the actual gap rather than the theoretical measured gap. In my case there's usually a slight difference A belt sander is handy in a pinch. I think most of my box is accurate to within half an inch Looks like you're going to have one solid box. Are you also in an earthquake zone?
I live far away from any earthquake zone - pretty close to the center of North America actually. We sometimes get severe weather, but nothing like the hurricanes or tornados that pass through other areas. Our region does deal with flooding occasionally, but the city I live in has a floodway which makes this a non-issue for my house.
I'll probably be sticking it under a tree in my back yard. I thought I'd make it strong enough to withstand a branch falling on it - I might be overdoing it a bit, but would rather over do it than have it break. When it's done, I should be able to stand on top of it if I want to trim branches.
I'd like to have the lightbulb in the top accessable from the inside so would rather not have a false ceiling or bracing in the way. I 'm also doing this for looks as well - no doubt I'll be showing my "shed" to a lot of people when it's done. I think it'll be nice to look up and see the steps of the roof reflected on the inside.
Yes, the epoxy is final. It's also strong and waterproof. I just have to make sure not to make too many mistakes.
So I have built a done a bit more on my roof, but things aren't progressing as fast as they might. I'm getting married in May, you see, and it seems that the planning of that event is dragging me away from by basement. I'm hoping that I'll actually be able to finish the box by the wedding so I'll have some amusing wedding photos to post when I get back from the honeymoon.
In any case, I managed to attach the plywood top to the bottom step. I had cut the strips of plywood quite a while ago, and when I was attaching the bottom step I needed a few small pieces. I looked at the plywood strips and having determined that they were far longer than I needed, proceeded to cut off the ends of all of them. You can in fact see where I used one in this picture to hold up the "bottom step" when the whole thing was upside down:
Of course, it turns out that when I originally cut the strips, I had cut them to the correct length, so they were now short! So what I ended up doing was to cut each of my strips in half, putting them in place, and then sticking the short bits in the middle. It doesn't look that great <no picture, possibly due to embarrassment> but I'll just cover the whole thing in epoxy so in the end you won't be able to see it when it's done. Thinking about it afterward, it may have been a good thing to be using two shorter strips, they were a pain to get into the slots I cut, and having one longer piece would have been even harder.
I had initially wondered how I was going to get the compound angle cut for the corner where the plywood strips met, but in the end I just grabbed a scrap piece of wood that had been cut at 10° and used that to hold the piece while I cut at a 90° angle.
As I work on it, I keep having to flip this piece over. It's large, heavy and awkward to deal with (especially in a room with a low ceiling). It's going to be lots of fun to move around when I've got the top part of the roof attached. Maybe I'll have time to find out just how fun this weekend.
Oh, one more thing. Last week my mother popped into town (stop over on her way to Cuba), and dropped off my router that my father was borrowing. I'm thinking that once I finish with the roof I'll set up the router and do all the windows with it. That'll be a nice change of pace!
My lack of posting this last week is not reflecting a lack of progress on my build. After attaching the plywood strips to the top of the bottom step of the roof, I let everything dry for a while, trimmed off the excess, and got down to attaching the sloped part of the roof to the top of the steps.
It turned out a little more difficult that I had anticipated - the plywood of the sloped bit was a little warped, and so it wasn't simply a matter of dropping one bit onto the other and let gravity hold it all together while the epoxy set. No, I had to drill holes and pull the pieces together with screws and washers (so the screws would actually pull down on the plywood instead of trying to go through it) - and while my roof bit was square, the top two steps aren't, so I had to spend a bit of time playing around to figure out exactly how to place it properly. In the end, I slathered some epoxy on the top of the stepped bits, got my mom to help me maneuver the sloped top, and screwed it all together. In the end, there were a few gaps, and so now I'm in the process of filling all of those with epoxy. It'll soon be at the point where I can do the fiberglassing which is something I don't want to do without better ventilation (most likely outside when it's warmer).
To make it easier to fill in the cracks, I've placed the roof on it's side. Since the underside is exposed I decided to do something about it, and went out to buy some spackling compound. In town we've got a used lumber/hardware/whatever store and since it was on the way, I popped in to see what they had. A full gallon of good quality exterior primer that had been tinted blue - for $7.50 (it's usually around $35)! That was a no-brainer to snap up, and when I got to the hardware store they added even more tint in it, so it's now a fairly dark blue primer. ;D I like saving money.