Friday, January 30, 2015

A Place for My Creepy Things

Spent a few hours the last couple days working on my mini coffin built at the Florida Haunter's Make and Take. I don't have any skeletons this small and probably wouldn't use it in our graveyard so decided to make a curio shelf out of it.

Mini coffin curio shelf

The original construction was from cypress planks for a fence which is pretty rough wood so I just opted to paint it flat black. I removed the door and then I wood glued some Poplar wood braces across the back, and screwed in a couple "D" ring hangers so it could be hung from the wall.

Used some wood glue and a pin nailer to put a couple supports across the back.

Shelves and shelf brackets were made from some scrap lumber and painted black as well. The shelves were actually thin 1/4" plywood so I used some black and white Ebony wood across the front of each shelf to hide the edges pf the plywood. I love the look of this exotic wood but it does have pretty limited applications. This seemed like a good use for it.

Finally have a nice place for our skull we bought during our trip to  Sedlec Ossuary outside of Prague
Overall it was an easy conversion. Most of my time was spent painting. Thinking I might like to build one from scratch so I can give the wood a nicer finish and maybe make a  glass front from the coffin door. Most likely I'll never get around to it....

This one will go up in the shop where it won't alarm the non-Halloween visitors.

If you want to make a mini coffin you can get the dimensions from John Nilsen's "Spyderwood" Facebook page. The dimensions are located in a photo folder called "Rustic Coffin".

Monday, January 19, 2015

Florida Haunters First Make and Take 2015

Got to meet up with some of Florida's home haunters this weekend at the home of host haunter Bethany  Smith-Globing. The event was building some 38" toe pincher coffins from pre cut wood kits put together for us by haunter John "Spyder" Nilsen.

John's "prototype" toe pinchers
Couple of us used my own patented method of assembly which I use on almost all simple assembly projects:

Step One: Assemble color coded wood pieces,
Step Two: Using power driver, screw each piece together,
Step Three Unscrew and disassemble all the pieces,
Step Four: Assemble them correctly 
Step Five: Re-screw all the pieces again...
Repeat as necessary

 Though it has taken me many years to develop this process, feel free to use it on your own projects.

Evelyn Coleman of "Team Coleman"and yours truly battle it out with power drills.. Cue  the "Face-Off" music!
Photo courtesy Tammy Kane
These toe pincher coffin kits were inspired by the "Mini Coffin for Willie" created by Sharon and Hamilton Timmer a year or two ago.  They aren't so big they could also be used as part of an interior decoration. Just a couple ideas, you could build it with a couple shelves for your Halloween knick knacks, or a vertical rack inside for your Halloween DVD's.

John designed the size of the coffins to fit the 36" skeletons usually available at Halloween.
Photo courtesy of John Nilsen
Once the coffins were assembled our hosts provided us with an excellent lunch and we spent the remainder of the afternoon talking Halloween crafts, prop building, and the upcoming conventions. Bethany showed a rather extensive collection of Halloween crafts she has made. I'm always at a quandary as to how people find time to create and decorate inside their house as well as outside at Halloween. Maybe I'm not that motivated... or just lazy.

Haunter Bill Ramsey tacking on the bottom of his coffin. John in the background telling me I'm doing it wrong.
In my defense there was an engineering flaw with my kit!
Photo courtesy of Tammy Kane.
I still have to put a paint or finish on the one I created so I'll probably do another post at that time. Was a good day of meeting up with folks of a like mind to create something fun. Special thanks to Bethany Smith-Globig and John Nilsen for putting  all this together!

There are some instructional photos at Jon Nilsen's "Spyderwood" Facebook page if anyone would  like to create their own Rustic Coffin. Spyderwood Disclaimer ; "measurements may not be exact"!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2015 Shingle Creek Manor Pre- Planning

Christmas is over, decorations are down... and mostly packed away,  a New Year has started. I can't help myself but to begin planning for improvements to Shingle Creek Manor 2015. It really is a half year of figuring out what to do and the other half year of trying to make it happen.

Even though there is much to do in the "real" world and it is highly unlikely I would pick up a tool or paintbrush to do anything except household repairs, now is the time to start looking for materials and coming up with reasonable ideas of things we can complete.

2014 -Young Captain Jack Sparrow with Neithra "the Summoner" - old enough to know it's all make believe but young enough to still be cautious, just in case  it isn't. A great age for building Halloween memories...
If the planets are in correct alignment, no unforeseen bills find their way into our mailbox and a few other variables don't work against us, attending Transworld's 'Halloween and Attractions Show' may finally be a reality this March.

This is the largest haunt industry show in the world and mostly for entertainment industry people, but they open it up to home haunters if you meet certain criteria.  The show is full of props, costumes and special effects that no one is going to find at their local Walmart. I'm really hopeful we'll walk away with some new ideas and maybe a prop or two for 2015. At the very least, I'm pretty certain I can find some trouble to get into there.

Not sure how much of a fair fight this is, our zombie has no legs...
Overall we're pretty happy in the direction we've been going but just want to take it up a notch!