For the past couple of years, the hearse in front of the house has been fun to have around. The neighbors and visitors seem to enjoy it quite a bit.
People really seem to get a kick out of its large scale, and the dimensional nature of it, so it can be a pretty fun centerpiece for a ‘traditional’ haunt theme.
Of course, the problem with a prop of this nature is often a storage issue. Like many here, space is a primary concern for us, and the hearse was built with this in mind.
In the event it will help anyone here, I thought I would post a few images of how a near full-size hearse can be stored, and not occupy the space reserved for your significant other’s car.
For a sense of what we were trying to accomplish, this is a picture of the hearse broken down, and put away (the axles/wheels hang from heavy duty hooks):
For anyone interested in tackling this type of tomfoolery, a basic overview follows.
I would not consider this to be anything remotely resembling a tutorial, but I thought it might provide some basic notion of how to build something similar, if desired.
The hearse is essentially a big box, but we want to be able to pull it apart with and put it together with a minimum of hardware and fuss. One fundamental concept was no screws for the elements that would have to come apart and go back together regularly. The determination was made early on that it should kind of ‘snap’ together like big-kid Legos.
First, we have a base with raised sides that will house/contain the side-walls and front and rear of the box. The base is drilled through to allow for carriage bolts and wing nuts to quickly attach the axles/wheels. The front and rear axles are just threaded pipe, and a lazy-susan that allows things to be steered a bit:
Once the base is in place, the walls go up. They attach to each other with simple lift-off barrel hinges at the bottom of each wall to form the corners. Just set one piece into the other:
Once they are all together, the cap sits down over top of everything, and holds it all firmly in place from above. The cap is notched out to fit the rails of the side walls.
The cap and walls then basically hold one another together; gravity holds the cap down, and the notches secure all four walls at the top, while the lift-off hinges do the job at the bottom.
Notches up close:
The LED strips are permanently mounted on the underside of the cap, and the wiring then feeds through to the empty space that forms behind the driver’s bench. (this is where the co-pilot jack-o-lantern plugs in as well as the lanterns on the carriage itself):
Top view of the cap:
The driver’s seat bench is then set in place, and clamped on, and bolts are run through the side wall to provide extra stability.
Again, I know that this is nothing like an actual tutorial, but I thought it might be enough that it’ll get someone’s wheels turning to get yet one more hearse in another yard for 2015.