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So I started last week building a hearse that could disassemble and basically lay flat for easier storage. The wife told me I could build one only if I could find a way to take it apart. My plan once done is to just store it on the side of my house and cover it with a tarp. Dimor's build was my inspiration here in terms of concept. Mine won't be as nice nor functional, but that doesn't bother me as it's just meant to be a prop in my yard haunt. It just needs to look cool in the dark.

So far I spent one Saturday from 10am to 5pm and also today from 10am to 4pm working on this.

General parts list follows. I'll be honest that I didn't inventory everything, but you'll be able to see what I did in the photos.

42" Wheels - purchased from At Home. (Formerly Garden Ridge)

Axles -
1/2" flanges used on wheels and for supports.
1/2" pipe used for axles
3/4" to 1/2" t-joint used to connect supports to axle.

Base frame -
2x4 - 2 lengths run longitudinally about 8' long
1x6 - 2 lengths about 42" long for connecting axles

Main box -
1x4 framing connected with pocket joints and additional clips
1x2 to support box on base frame
1x2 strips to support roof
Door hinges x 2 per corner
Gingerbread corner detail are shelf brackets
Cheap decorative moulding for top edge under roof

Front End -
1x6 for main support/structure
1/4" plywood for decorative element and foot rest
1x2 for foot rest support
1x12 for seat
Straps for strength
L-brackets to support sides

Roof/floor -
1/4" plywood
1x4 strip for center roof support
1x2 scraps for alignment

Still to be figured out:
Plexiglass
Removable carriage lights(may go with hanging battery powered)



 

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Discussion Starter #2
First step was getting the wheels to line up and work. I don't need this thing to be fully functional and turn etc. But I would like the illusion that it would work.





 

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Ok. All good. Now take off the wheels and flip it over and you've got a nice work surface/saw horse basically.

On to building the frames. I did the basic 1x4 with pocket joints like Dimor did. For the bottom parts of the side runs I added a 1x2 strip to the inside. This gives it a surface to rest on the 2x4 frame below. I'm trying to keep from screwing things together for structure so this was my way of getting the big box to work with the base.





 

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Discussion Starter #4
Whew its 95 degrees here. Gotta keep hydrated.



Close up of how I mounted the hinges. I intentionally spaced it so that screws went on each side of the joint to strengthen it.


At the front end I neglected to take into account that I was letting the back overhang. So I had to notch this out. Yeah it's not perfect, but this part will also never be seen.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We've got a foreman supervising my work. So typical.


Well she wanted it to look prettier, so on went the gingerbread and trim.


If you look close here you can see the center supper I put in for the roof. I attached a 1x6 to the underside of the roof to sit on this ledge.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
On to day 2. Which was today. Luckily for me the foreman was at school and I ditched work, so it was a peaceful day and a pretty comfortable 92 degrees!

Today was spent reinforcing the frames, building the front end and getting a base coat of paint down. I'm using that rubber flex seal paint for the roof to keep it water proof.

Stronger.


Cut out the front shape with a jigsaw on 1/4" plywood. It's flimsy material so I backed it with 1x6 strategically.


Here you can see where the seat/bench will go as well. I'll just lay a 1x12 across. And the 2 L-brackets you see are how I keep these side pieces up. For set up and take down the only screws I will have to take out will be here. Everything else comes apart from the hinges or just rests on supports.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
With that done I got to cutting more plywood. I cut pieces for the floor of the box and also for the footrest. Doing so left me some properly sized pieces to use to floor out where the seat area is so i'll probably do that.



Starting to look right.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
And then everything got a coat of black paint.


Out of time for the day so everything had to come apart and store away until I can get back to it.


If you've got any questions let me know and I'll answer to the best of my ability. I have a little more work to do on the inside to get ready for plexiglass. And I still have to figure out where I am going to get the plexi. Then I need to finish painting and also paint the wheels. The wheels make me nervous as they don't seem to be super sturdy. I hope they can sustain the weight(which I've tried to minimize). To help them out I have used wood glue in all their joints.
 

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Just a prop in your yard haunt.... Blasphemy! ;) :D I have always dreamed of having one of these. In fact I was just talking about it today!
Finding wheels have always been a sticking point. Well, that and actually making it! Lol I love your flat design. It's looking really kewl so far! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just a prop in your yard haunt.... Blasphemy! ;) :D I have always dreamed of having one of these. In fact I was just talking about it today!
Finding wheels have always been a sticking point. Well, that and actually making it! Lol I love your flat design. It's looking really kewl so far! :)
Google shop for wheels. They can be found. I came across these at At Home and scooped them up. They were $39/ea but then 25% off.
I just hope they are sturdy enough!
 

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Witch Of The West Coast
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What an awesome idea!! I have one that can't be broke down and is SOOO heavy that it is a pain getting it out every year.. I love this so far!!
 

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Ok. So did a little more work today. Seems there is always something to tweak. But I'm pretty confident that now I only need to do plexiglass and I'm done. (Pending the whole hanging lantern thing)

Started off furring out the inside to be able to mount plexi flat.


Decided on some decorative trim.


Then I did a bunch more painting and started to put it together on the wheels in my yard.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
This was the first time I assembled it with wheels on.

Looks a little high.


Yep. Definitely too high. But all I have to do is take back the 24" pipe and exchange it for 18". Dropping it those 6" should put it just barely above the wheels.



Close up of the seat bench and trim.



And I drilled some holes in the floor area for being able to run plugs to put lights in later.

 

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Love the door hinge trick, that was genius of dminor. Why not flip the hinges though so the pin is on the inside of the hearse? This way you could close the gaps at the corners? Alternatively you could put some trim work that would be attached on one side of the panel and overlap the other?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Love the door hinge trick, that was genius of dminor. Why not flip the hinges though so the pin is on the inside of the hearse? This way you could close the gaps at the corners? Alternatively you could put some trim work that would be attached on one side of the panel and overlap the other?
So I put the hinges on the outside for the simple purpose of being able to access them. With the plexiglass on I wouldn't be able to easily get in there to get them in/out.

Good idea on the trim though. I'll have to see what options there are. I'm worried about durability for that though. Taking this thing up and down every year will give it some abuse I think.

Also, after looking up pics of hearses I decided to go with 12" risers for the axles. That should leave the top of the wheels about 6" up from the bottom of the main body of the hearse. That seems to be fairly accurate.
 
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