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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

I wanted to start a thread to share the progress of my horse drawn hearse build. Thank you to lewlew & jdubbya for inspiring me with their build last year to finally get this one done. I bought the lights on clearance at Lowes about eight years ago with the intention to build a hearse to mount them on; better late than never I suppose. I have designed it to be able to be completely disassmbled for storage; the top comes off, all of the sides & sections are bolted on. I had planned on painting it a high gloss black, but now I am wondering if it would be better to paint it a high gloss white. I want it to be the center piece of a front section of the yard, and I have purple LED landscape lighting which gives the yard a purple wash. I would love to hear your opinions on painting it white vs black.

Hearse1 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse2 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse3 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse4 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse5 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse6 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse7 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse8 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse9 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse10 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse11 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse12 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse13 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse14 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse15 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
 

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Hey Guys,

I wanted to start a thread to share the progress of my horse drawn hearse build. Thank you to lewlew & jdubbya for inspiring me with their build last year to finally get this one done. I bought the lights on clearance at Lowes about eight years ago with the intention to build a hearse to mount them on; better late than never I suppose. I have designed it to be able to be completely disassmbled for storage; the top comes off, all of the sides & sections are bolted on. I had planned on painting it a high gloss black, but now I am wondering if it would be better to paint it a high gloss white. I want it to be the center piece of a front section of the yard, and I have purple LED landscape lighting which gives the yard a purple wash. I would love to hear your opinions on painting it white vs black.

Hearse1 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse2 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse3 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse4 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse5 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse6 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse7 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse8 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse9 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse10 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse11 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse12 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse13 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse14 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse15 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Dannng! That is a serious build! I can't wait to see more!
 
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Dannng! That is a serious build! I can't wait to see more!
Understatement of the year, lol ! :p

As far as color. Dunno - I could picture it as either, but I had to do some searching for inspiration:


Looks like black is more popular, though there are white options, too. Guess you could always jazz it up with other options... gray? White base coat, black overcoat and buff off some of the high areas to give accents? White under with black crackle paint over for an aged finish? Or vice-versa? Black with white curtains so it still stands out? Black with flames, smoke and demon eyes inside?

Can't wait to see what you come up with!
 

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That is quite an ambitious build! I have wanted to make one of these for years, but never did, and I'm afraid if I did it now, my husband would have a fit, LOL!

It looks fantastic. I think I would make it black, but white would be different than all the other ones, so it's a tough choice.
Oooh, what about a deep blood red. That would look awesome with those lamps!
 
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Building it to be easily disassembled is smart. Makes storage a whole lot easier.

Black is a very traditional color for a hearse and would look great with gold as an accent color. White would be appropriate for a ghostly phantom hearse with a ghostly driver. You can’t go wrong either way.
 

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I have built three carriages. The original was black and the others were white. Black definitely is imposing and seems to put more dread at least to me. The white does show up better with lighting.
Mine also breaks down into pieces for easier storage.
 

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Beautiful craftsmanship! Really well done! Taking it apart for storage is always a good plan too.

I like the deep red idea too! Black is always stellar and way more menacing than white but in the dark, it’s easy to get lost so you’ll have to be careful on lighting. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.
 

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Hey Guys,

I wanted to start a thread to share the progress of my horse drawn hearse build. Thank you to lewlew & jdubbya for inspiring me with their build last year to finally get this one done. I bought the lights on clearance at Lowes about eight years ago with the intention to build a hearse to mount them on; better late than never I suppose. I have designed it to be able to be completely disassmbled for storage; the top comes off, all of the sides & sections are bolted on. I had planned on painting it a high gloss black, but now I am wondering if it would be better to paint it a high gloss white. I want it to be the center piece of a front section of the yard, and I have purple LED landscape lighting which gives the yard a purple wash. I would love to hear your opinions on painting it white vs black.
First, I have to say the craftsmanship is excellent. Love the work you're doing. I plan to take on this project in the next few years, but not yet. I also plan to make mine to be disassembled, but I have to say I don't believe I'll be able to build it like you have. Your wood work is above my abilities, but if I want mine to look old and shabby anyway, I think my woodworking ability should be sufficient. 😁 This will be a great thread for me to bookmark for my own build. 😎 Sorry, back to yours. Fan-effing-tastic! I can't wait to see this come together.

As for the color, allow me offer my opinion, some of which has already been said. It's how I've thought about my own eventual build. In my opinion, from worst option to best:

  • White - Pros are that it will show up nicely at night, and based on choice of colored lighting, essentially you can make it any color you want at night. Cons are that white hearses are generally associated with new life, and if you're looking for a drab, and spooky feel, I don't feel white achieves that.
  • Black - Pros are that it's creepy as h3ll, and looks excellent in a home haunt during the day. It's also obviously associated with death which makes it most appropriate. Biggest con is when you're putting so much work into the build of your centerpiece, you don't want it to be nearly invisible until people are up close. You'd like it to stand out which is why I think it's the second best choice. Lighting black at night doesn't work well. You can see it when you're nearby, but far away it blends into the background regardless of gloss or flat finish. Colors just won't show up and you'll find yourself lighting it with white lights to get it show better.
  • Gray - This is my personal choice but in a darker shade. Pros are that gray is still drab like black and conveys death and doom, but maybe a little more ghostly. If you plan to weather your hearse a bit, it will show up much better on gray than black. If you make it white, I'd recommend not weathering at all. Gray will also show up better at night, and still reflect any colors you shine on it. Not sure how your cemetery is lit, but if you light with blue, a darker shade of gray will still be visible from a distance. Cons for gray is that it's not common and not associated with death and a general feeling of death like black is.
Those are just my opinions anyway. I'd suggest gray, but if not gray then black for sure. IMO white just doesn't have that same feeling of spookiness in a Halloween display. I'm sure it'd still look great because your design is fantastic, but I'm just thinking about what would really add to the display rather than be a distraction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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Still looking great! I don't see how this will be easily dismantled for storage, personally. It seems so solid. I'd be afraid to take it apart. 😁

Regarding the axles, do you plan on making this hearse functional... in the sense that it will be able to roll around on it's wheels? If so, I'd probably recommend NOT doing that for a couple of reasons. Considering the weight of the hearse, rather than making functional axles and wheels which would need to bear the entire weight of what is certainly already a very heavy prop. You might be better off using PVC or wood rods for the axles just for the look, but then behind each wheel install a vertical steel pipe to bear the weight of the carriage. That way you get the look you want, and also a sturdy prop that won't crush the axles you make below. Also, if you make the wheels functional, you might tempt someone to take it for a ride, or potentially steal it. Perhaps in your neighborhood that's not a concern, but you'd be surprised how brazen some folks are when visiting from outside the neighborhood. You might want to avoid a functional carriage. Just my opinion though. 😎
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Still looking great! I don't see how this will be easily dismantled for storage, personally. It seems so solid. I'd be afraid to take it apart. 😁

Regarding the axles, do you plan on making this hearse functional... in the sense that it will be able to roll around on it's wheels? If so, I'd probably recommend NOT doing that for a couple of reasons. Considering the weight of the hearse, rather than making functional axles and wheels which would need to bear the entire weight of what is certainly already a very heavy prop. You might be better off using PVC or wood rods for the axles just for the look, but then behind each wheel install a vertical steel pipe to bear the weight of the carriage. That way you get the look you want, and also a sturdy prop that won't crush the axles you make below. Also, if you make the wheels functional, you might tempt someone to take it for a ride, or potentially steal it. Perhaps in your neighborhood that's not a concern, but you'd be surprised how brazen some folks are when visiting from outside the neighborhood. You might want to avoid a functional carriage. Just my opinion though. 😎
Thank you! That is the beauty in the trim work, not only is it decorative I'm using it to hide all of the seams. There are 1/4" bolts behind the blocks on the bottom of it and on the inside there is angle brackets at mid point and at the top of the walls. The top of it just slips down on the top section of the walls and the crown hides that it is a separate part. I do not plan to make the functional as the wheels I have are just decorative wheels from Tractor Supply and would certainly be crushed by the weight. I plan to use 1/2" iron pipe to make the axels and legs that will extend down to support it. I just want it to look authentic so I have the leaf springs and how I am going to attach them figured out, just working on the look of the front axel & yoke still.
 

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Thank you! That is the beauty in the trim work, not only is it decorative I'm using it to hide all of the seams. There are 1/4" bolts behind the blocks on the bottom of it and on the inside there is angle brackets at mid point and at the top of the walls. The top of it just slips down on the top section of the walls and the crown hides that it is a separate part. I do not plan to make the functional as the wheels I have are just decorative wheels from Tractor Supply and would certainly be crushed by the weight. I plan to use 1/2" iron pipe to make the axels and legs that will extend down to support it. I just want it to look authentic so I have the leaf springs and how I am going to attach them figured out, just working on the look of the front axel & yoke still.
This is a question that stems from ignorance... did horse-drawn carriages/hearses of that era have leaf springs? Just curious. If so, then your attention to details is fantastic. If not, then I think it solves your problem. 😁

Okay, before clicking "post reply" I decided to Google it. They were invented by the French in the 1700s. I'm thinking you can skip it if it becomes too difficult because at the very least it was rare and not widely used in those days. I guess it depends on the era you're shooting for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This is a question that stems from ignorance... did horse-drawn carriages/hearses of that era have leaf springs? Just curious. If so, then your attention to details is fantastic. If not, then I think it solves your problem. 😁

Okay, before clicking "post reply" I decided to Google it. They were invented by the French in the 1700s. I'm thinking you can skip it if it becomes too difficult because at the very least it was rare and not widely used in those days. I guess it depends on the era you're shooting for.
I think I pretty much have it sorted out, just need some time in the garage to get it all completed, although Halloween is quickly approaching.
 

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Looks fantastic! Glad we could inspire, but you’ve taken it up a few notches for sure!
We want black because it set off the projection inside really well and with the lighting in and behind the cemetery it stood out nicely.
You do you! Whichever way you go, it’ll be an awesome piece of hauntwork!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Looks fantastic! Glad we could inspire, but you’ve taken it up a few notches for sure!
We want black because it set off the projection inside really well and with the lighting in and behind the cemetery it stood out nicely.
You do you! Whichever way you go, it’ll be an awesome piece of hauntwork!!!!
Thank you! The projection inside your hearse was an awesome idea and it turned out amazing! I'm still trying to decide which route I want to go on the paint, but if I had the time I think corey's black with flames is they way I'd go; it has a very Ghostrider feel to it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Not a lot of progress to share, I didn't have a lot of time to spare in the last week to work on the build. I finished the trim work, started on the axels & supports and since I had to figure out the mounts for the curtains I decided to hang them as well to see how they would look. From this point I needed to start disassembly to finish the under carriage and start sanding & prepping for paint. I was gone from the garage for a bit and when I returned I found my youngest son had moved a pillow, blanket, stuffed animals and other items into the hearse. I decided to let him play in it and I will disassemble it another day.
Hearse22 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse23 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse24 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
 

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Looks fantastic! Glad we could inspire, but you’ve taken it up a few notches for sure!
We want black because it set off the projection inside really well and with the lighting in and behind the cemetery it stood out nicely.
You do you! Whichever way you go, it’ll be an awesome piece of hauntwork!!!!
I agree with lewlew! Haven't been on the forum in quite a while and just saw this thread. Your hearse is gorgeous! I like the variations you put into it. Having it break down will be one of the best things. We'll be getting ours out of storage and setting it up in the next couple days. Really looking forward to seeing yours come to life (or death, as the case may be)! My two cents on the color is that black is very traditional and lends an ominous look to the carriage, but it's a matter of personal preference. Strong work!
 
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