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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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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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!
Thank you! It was your build and how you guys put it together that set off a lot of light bulbs for me. I think I am going to stick with black. I am hoping the glossy finish will help with the lighting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
I got the hearse done just in time to get it out in the yard. I had intended on making a harness for the horse, but I fortunately had a friend who had one sized for a pony and she lent it to me. I did decide to stick to my original plan and paint it black. It worked out pretty well with the yard lighting.
Hearse30 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse31 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse32 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse33 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse34 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
For the record, I know the night pics don't do this justice... which is the issue with black, but I'll bet in person it's fantastic even black at night. It looks like the real deal, Riff. Excellent work! I've enjoyed watching the build. 😁 Btw, where's the skeleton driver?? 😁
Thank you so much! The hearse has been the center of attention all weekend. I do have plans for a driver, I'm thinking a three axis skull build for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
You gotta do this community a favor. 😁 I was gonna say "do me a favor", but again, I'm just some dude on a keyboard. 🤣 Anyway, after you take it down and apart, you need to take a picture of it taken apart and stored. I honestly don't believe that sucker comes apart. The seams just seem too solid and perfect. Btw, is that a gloss finish? It looks like an automotive finish. 😁 Most people stick with a simple flat black. You seemed to have driven yours into a paint shop.
LOL, I actually meant to take photos of it apart while I was painting it but I was in one of those "oh crap Halloween is a week away and I have to paint this thing" modes. I will take photos of it when I break it down. The outside of it does have a gloss finish & I did flat black on the underside & interior. The hope was that the glossy finish would look authentic & help it show up in the dark and it seems to have accomplished both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
I broke the hearse down after work today so as requested here photos of the breakdown and parts Slasher
Hearse Breakdown1 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown2 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown3 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown4 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown5 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown6 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown7 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown8 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown9 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
Hearse Breakdown10 by Riff_JunkieSFR, on Flickr
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
This is gorgeous! I built a hearse in 2020, inspired by others on this forum and after a lot of planning. I also needed to be able to dismantle it for easy storage, and I wanted it to be lightweight while still looking solid. I framed the panels with 1x2s and skinned them with that plastic stuff that is internally corrugated like cardboard (can’t remember the proper name). The windows are cut from thin acrylic (cheap poster frames from the thrift store) and I used horrible gaudy plastic frames and furniture trim to decorate. To cover the bolts at the corners, I made spiraled 3/4 columns out of pool noodles and foam pipe insulation, which attach with Velcro. Carriage lights were wired and attached to supports inside the frame.

I went traditional glossy black on the paint job but highlighted all the trim by drybrushing with gold, which really helped with the nighttime visibility.
We used a 6’ banquet table as the base, with wagon wheels and pvc axles obscuring the legs. We made a coffin for the interior using more traditional woodworking techniques, so it was good to have a solid base.

Overall, I was happy with my lightweight build—what it lacks in authenticity, it makes up for in the fact that my 80 year old father and I can easily carry, assemble, and store the pieces!
Thank you so much! It sounds like you have a pretty nice build yourself. It's the portability & storage that really complicate a project like this, and it's tough sometimes to find that perfect balance between practicallity & authenticity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
So true! It’s the first question people usually ask (and it’s almost always the women that ask)—where do you store all this stuff?! I moved last year to a new house with a 2 car garage and a 3 bay workshop, and I still have storage problems (if only my husband didn’t insist on being able to put cars in the garage…) We really need someone to figure out pocket universes!

I wish I could have gone all-in as you have—and I hope I’m not stepping on your toes—but here are a few pics of how ours came out.
View attachment 22799
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View attachment 22803 View attachment 22799 View attachment 22800
That looks amazing, the gold really makes all of the trim pop. I get asked the same question about storage alot as well. We moved almost two years ago and have a storage unit we have been using to store most of the display in the off season but we plan to eventually build a shed in the back yard to hold it all.
 
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