Question for all you woodworkers

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LtPinkerton

New Member
Hello!

First let me say that I really hate posting here when I don’t have a project. Reason being I hate clogging up the search results. You have no idea how many times I’ve been looking for reference photos and find an rpf thread that’s just someone asking. I’ve attempted my own research but I’m hoping for some insight on people who actually have used wood in their props.

I’m attempting a build of a full size TARDIS. Reasoning being that since I’ve been laid off, I have been doing more and more ambitious projects that I always used time as an excuse not to do. What better next project than a time machine!

So I’ve done my research and I’ve got plans I’ve found from other awesome people here and there. However, I get overly ambitious with new projects, and forget to think logically. Especially when exploring a medium that I haven’t really done much in.

My question is; can this be done in an apartment? I have plenty of space for the finished Tardis, but I am afraid about cutting wood. I don’t care about getting in trouble with my land lord, but I’m worried if it’s possible to make a project this damn big with only power tools I could use in an apartment.

Of course I would cut outside as to not have wood dust everywhere, but I don’t have a lot of space outside. I could maybe try to cut at the theatre shop on my campus but I think my school is still closed.

Sorry for rambling, but this is one of my favorite parts of a project. The research!
 

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TheForgeProps

New Member
Short answer : you could make it in an apartment, but you would struggle and would get dust everywhere.

Long answer : your biggest issues when woodworking in an apartment, especially something this big, are going to be space, and dust. Woodworking kicks up a HUGE amount of dust, which can be incredibly harmful for your lungs. Even if using proper extraction, you'll still never get 100% of the dust. And if you don't use power tools and opt for hand sawing, you'll still get some dust, and it will take forever and probably not have particularly straight lines on long cuts.

You're also going to run into the problem of cutting the wood panels for the sides- sheets tend to come in 2440*1220mm, and having the space to lay these down on trestles to make the cuts is problematic.

For a build this size, I would definitely recommend doing it in the theatre shop once school has opened! Not only will it save your health, but will also probably end up looking much neater.
 

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hello,
I started building guitars in my appartment a few years back. I managed, it's possible.
However, as theForgeProps mentioned, you'll get dust everywhere when cutting, this is bad for your lungs and it will stay in the appartment.
Secondly, this will be the same as what I did for my guitars, when I used my router for the first time, It made a huge and large mess of small wood shavings everywhere in the kitchen. it was seriously everywhere. I did it just one time. This is the same as the dust, it's just more visible, so you see the issue right away.
After that, I found a small place in the basement of the building where I installed a desk and did all the power cutting there with a mask on. and after a couple year, I rented a bigger basement.
Most of the assembling, even the painting can be done in your appartment, but for the wood working itself, it's probably not a good idea sadly.

good luck for your project, it's a fun one :)
 

PB Props

New Member
I've built several TARDISes over the years in cramped spaces such as in back end of my house, including fibre glass TARDISes and to be honest, it's not ideal... especially if there are other people living with you who need to get past what you're doing as they move about the place.

Once the thing starts coming together, it can get very unweildy and you'll find that the tool that you want is always on the other side of your build, just where it's out of reach. It can get to a point that the lack of room to properly move around it (and access what you need) can become rather counterproductive. That's not to say that it can't be done, it can, but the frustration can set in quickly.

If you cut and pre-assemble some or most of it outside or offsite, then I guess it'd be no different to assembling a large Ikea wardrobe, but then you come to the painting stage and that really is rather messy.

I have about three that need my attention right now, but because of my personal lack of space, I'm simply putting it off until I can attend to them properly in a space where I can freely move about.

As the co-founder of TARDIS Builders, I wish you the very best of luck with your project!
 

Duncanator

Sr Member
Yes, you can.

Obviously there are obstacles to overcome: dust, noise, space, etc... but with good planning and patience, they can all be dealt with.
I've done it, so can you. (Not a Tardis, but other large projects with limited space) Your project will take longer than if you had a big shop, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. You'll have to decide how much mess you can tolerate during the process. It'd be best if you clean as you go, and that adds time.

You said that you have a small out door area to work in (Yay!), so you'll need to be thoughtful about how you use it. The more orderly you are, the smoother things will go. You'll want to plan for what needs to be done outside and what can be done inside. I plan on doing any messy, dusty, smelly work outside. I also designate an area to store the materials, parts and tools so stuff doesn't get all spread out. I take tools and materials outside to cut, route or sand, and then bring them back inside to assemble. You'll track dust as you go in and out, so the tidier you keep you keep your messy workspace, the safer and and cleaner everything else will be.
You build sub-assemblies, and then put those all together. It just takes planning.
 

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TazMan2000

Master Member
I can't believe that you wouldn't get into trouble with your landlord. I've lived in an apartment, and I got the neighbours pounding on the ceiling and walls when I dropped a pencil. I don't know what size of an apartment you have, but cutting sheets of 4x8 foot plywood takes up a lot of room, makes a lot of dust and noise. The walls are very likely to get damaged.
Are you planning on making it so that it could be taken apart easily for transportation? If its going to be 1:1, will your ceiling accommodate the height?

TazMan2000
 

Bigdaddy

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
A lot of dust and wood shavings can be mitigated with a decent shop vac attached to the tool. Even outside it reduces the mess and danger to your lungs (still wear a mask!) If you're cutting on a table saw, you'll need more than twice the size of your sheet since the saw is stationary. Alternatively you can use a circular saw, keeping the wood stationary while you move the saw instead. If you're new to this keeping the saw straight can be close to impossible for a long cut, especially for furniture grade accuracy. A long aluminum straight edge clamped to the sheet as a guide would be helpful.
 

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