Friday, June 21, 2013

Bring Out Your Dead

Got off work early tonight, so I thought I'd knock out a quick post. I know it's only been a day since my last post. Don't get used to it. BTW, you may notice that some of these builds I did for Origins 2013 are not up to my usual quality. That's because they were done on a very tight time table with a small budget. I only had about three weeks (while working 60hrs a week) to complete three major builds and a few small ones.

So for this year's LARP, "The Strange Tower High in the Mist", one of the key scenes was a funeral. The Game Master was insistent that he needed a coffin for the procession and service. Of course he would have been happy with a long cardboard box with a sheet over it, but I would not have. This build took me about seven hours to complete (not including drying time) and wasn't even started until the day before we left for Origins. That's one of the reasons why there are so few pictures.

I started with two sheets of 3/8" plywood, a few sticks of 2x2 (actually, recycled ripped down 2x4s), and some brass drawer pulls. I needed this coffin to be light weight, cheap to build, simple and easily transportable. After a few aborted design concepts, I decided on a flat pack design which would be assembled on site with minimal effort.
Eschewing the traditional pinched toe coffin design as being too complicated for my time frame (needed to be done about two days prior), I went with a simple rectangular design, 24" wide, 6' long and 16" tall. The top and bottom were made identical. Each was a 24"x72" rectangle with a rectangular frame built on (with wood screws). The frame was made from 2x2s, inset from the edge by the thickness of the plywood (3/8").
The foot and head ends were cut to 16"x24". A stick of 2x2 was set upright along the corner, sitting on top of the 2x2 frame of the bottom side. it was cut to meet the bottom of the frame that would be on the lid, i.e. 16" minus the thickness of the top frame (2") and the bottom frame (2"). Two of these uprights were cut for both the head and food panels. They were screwed in place along their edges.
Finally the side boards were cut to 16"x72". No 2x2s were affixed to the sides. All the pieces were sanded with a belt sander and finished with two coats of Royal Walnut stain with Polyurethane premixed. When the finish was dry (the morning of our departure) I added the brass pull handles, three to each side. To prevent the screws from poking through to the inside of the coffin, and because 3/8 plywood is pretty thin and weak, I added small 4"x4" pucks of 3/8" plywood to the inside of the spots where the handles were screwed on. I just held the pucks in place firmly while the screws were driven into both plies of wood.
Once on site, the pieces were assembled. A few wood screws through the side boards and the head and foot boards into the fixed 2x2 rails to connect the sides, head, foot and bottom. I did not screw the top to the rest of it, so that the lid could be removed. It was a tight fit. I should have left a little more slop in my measurement. A quick wooden cross decoration hot glued to the lid and Bob's your uncle. Total build cost, about $60. Build time, about 7 hours (not including drying time). If I had to build a second one, I could probably do it in about 3 or 4 hours (not including drying time).
During the LARP, one of our minions popped out of the coffin in a ghoul mask. The pics from the LARP are pretty crappy. I will try to get some better pics of the finished coffin before I disassemble it and amend this post.
 Maybe for next year I will build one a little stronger and line it with polystyrene sheets and make it into our snack cooler!

No comments:

Post a Comment