HOWTO build a Tardis, the adorable German schoolteacher way

Sillysparrowness, a self-described "German teacher with a leaning towards silliness," described the process by which she came to build a beautiful, obsessively finished Tardis.

I built a TARDIS (Thanks, scottiep!)


  1. that was longer than i expected, but in the end, totally worth every moment. now i’m jealous, and want one myself. i’ll have to stay away from, though ; )

  2. 1) Helloooooo, nurse! Er… teacher.

    2) Wow – nice work.

    3) All that hard work, but is it just me or is that blue waaaayyy off?

    1. I think that depends on what season/what film stock of the episode you’re watching. It seems to varying depending on the lighting.

    1. Yup, not alone.  I’m smitten.

      She’s cute, speaks at least two languages, and can build a f’ing tardis.


  3. My stones retracted when I saw her use the table saw:

    a) without the guard, and
    b) without a fence, free-handing both sides


    No, seriously. Someone who cuts corners like that (ar ar) is not responsible enough to use such a tool.

    Now google image search table saw accident if you want proof. (Please check the front seat pocket for a sickness bag before you view)

    1. Using tools without “safety features” simply requires greater caution, plus either experience, strong oversight, or an appropriate attitude.

      1. Table saws are remarkably unforgiving machines,  and frankly, the fence isn’t s a safety feature. I suspect with a screwdriver and some duck tape, you could use a microwave with the door open too. 

        1. Your first two points are valid, and I agree.  The fence is a useful attachment for bandsaw or table saw, not really a safety feature.  There are cuts you can’t do with the fence, but usually you want it.

          Your comparison doesn’t fit, though – using a table saw without a fence or guard is about as dangerous as using a big chainsaw in the woods, or cleaning your gutters on a 25′ aluminum ladder.

          Knowledge and caution are better than o’erweening fear, but everyone has to judge for themselves what their limits are.

          My table saw is a 1959 Craftsman 10″ that I salvaged and rebuilt.  When I got it, the saw guard had never even been used – it still looks brand new, except for the yellowing of age.  Yet, the prior owner lived to be old enough to give up using the saw!

          1. Chainsaws and small table saws are the most dangerous power tools about. There are hundreds of fatal accidents with both 

            A table saw has a vast amount of raw power. The blade spins incredibly fast and it can grab the wood and kick it back at you. If it hits you it will most likely hit you on the left side and slam your body round so your hand goes into the blade.

            It is not just for safety either. a mitre guage is essential for getting accurate cuts. 

            You should always use either a mitre guage or a fence on a table saw and the blade should protrude no more than 5mm out of the wood. That gets you a perfectly good cut and limits the damage if you do get a kickback.

            I always use a blade guard with a splitter and anti-kickback prawls unless I am doing dado cuts.

          2. @google-51d3d52278f14d857b2e62d11d1da8dd:disqus    Don’t forget bandsaws!  I use all three about once a week on average…  the 12″ bandsaw is gnarly with power.

            I used to say no amount of attachments would ever make the big saws safe.  However, those table saws that stop cold if they hit your finger have proved me wrong… someday I’ll be able to buy a power tool so smart I’ll be able to use it blind drunk.

            Your recommendations are all excellent!  I have to point out, though, that you’ve already mentioned one of the many cuts that requires removing the guard.  I can’t use the guard when I’m cutting large diameter pipe, either, like I did on Tuesday.

      2. Don’t wear a seatbelt! Just be sure to drive with greater caution, plus either experience, strong oversight, or an apporpriate attitude.

        I usually bank on my righteously appropriate attitude.

          1. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, just like my granddad did, not screaming in terror, like his passengers.

        1. I tried to google my way to understanding:

          • Woman killed after being ejected in Northwest Jacksonville
          • Survivors wore seat belts; deceased didn’t
          • Teen’s death is a reminder of need for seat belt usage
          • Dandridge Man Ejected And Dies In Crash
          • Speed And No Seat Belt Cause Death Of Two Tennesseans

          All I was able to confirm was that every driver on the road is an inexperienced idiot with a bad attitude

          ….but everyone knows that already.

      3. Using tools Riding a motorcycle without “safety features” helmet and leathers simply requires greater caution, plus either experience, strong oversight, or an appropriate attitude.


        edit: Drat! Grey Eyed Man of Destiny beat me to it—and did a much better job :)

        1. Your analogy is more akin to using the table saw in the middle of the highway during rush hour.

          The table saw’s safety features decrease your chance of hurting yourself.

          Leathers and helmets arguably decrease your mobility, vision and hearing, making it easier to hurt yourself, but they increase your chance of surviving any accident.  Since many motorcycle accidents are unrelated to the actions of the rider, armor makes good sense.

          I remain blithely unconcerned by this charming woman’s decision to cut without a fence or bladeguard.  She clearly has plenty of appropriate attitude!

  4. such a funny, tenacious, silly, beautiful, intelligent, self aware woman.
    my world is a much better place today because of you.
    keep on trucking little sister !

  5. Zooey Deschanel must now cede the adorkable crown.  Also you should probably change the Boing Boing Girl-with-a-jackhammer girl to be a SillySparrowness icon.  I’m sure a design contest would get many entries.  BTW – I think (one of) the BBC tardi is also collapsible since they too have to transport it and wedge it into tight spots.

  6. It’s always amazes me to see Europeans who know at least two languages fluently other than their native language, speak English better, and have a greater vocabulary than 90% of Americans you meet on the street.

      1. I dunno.  Anytime I travel, everyone knows their native language, English, and at least 1 more.  Go to Netherlands/Denmark. There, it’s minimum four or five languages: (English, French, German) plus Dutch/Danish.  Then, I customarily cut my trip short because all the Euros have so humbled me with their language skillz.

    1. 99.8% of Germans speak worse English though, and probably even 80% of English teachers. I know this because I learned how to speak English from these people and it’s a pain to have to listen to me.

  7. If she consents to marry me, I will happily wear the Bag of Shame whenever she requires.  At my best, during college, I could speak German at the level of a slow first grader, so I’ve got that going for me.  Right?

  8. This is everything I come to boingboing to see :).

    I now inexplicably want a vintage British phone booth.

    Also funny to hear her sortof-german british english accent. Really enjoyed it. Watching her build reminded me of my wife suddenly deciding she would build two giant wooden creatively shaped bookcases and me coming home to a terrifying mix of wood scraps and dangerously utilized high-speed cutting tools from my garage. I spent the next several hours teaching her critical safety skills.

    And that’s the only downside here. Please practice proper table-saw use! You seem too nice and friendly to risk losing a couple digits! I cringed the entire time she cut that board, just waiting for something really bad to happen.

  9. Charming sci-fi loving German schoolteacher with a slight English accent and a maker mentality? Yes, please.

    1. Likewise. Seen a lot of Dr. Who schwag and read about it on the Internet, but haven’t seen an episode. But that woman’s just convinced me that I either have to watch some Dr. Who or wear the Bag of Shame.

  10. I agree and don’t use the safety features on my table saw ever, but I cringed when I saw her using it because she had no guides whatsoever.  Using the fence or the square to guide the work piece IS a safety feature – it makes your cuts a ton more accurate, sure, but it also keeps the piece moving squarely through the blade.  Having the work piece not go through squarely is inviting kickback.  Kickback is scary and can hurt you as bad as hitting the blade with your hand.

    That said, she got to the end of the project, has actually FINISHED the project, it looks good and she’s got all her digits and both her eyes, so I should just STFU and look at all the TARDISs I HAVEN’T built.

  11. This was really fun!
    Great (foldable) Tardis building tutorial, and:
    Adorable German Schoolteacher is Adorable.
    Nose Flute + Singing Saw + Bass Clarinet > Ukelele!

  12. Look, everybody – a _woman_ is doing something interesting on the Internet!  She’s practically _begging_ us to treat her as a sex object!  Let’s all make comments about how she’s cute / adorable / the subject of our adulterous lust!  It’s totally cool!  Because when men do stuff on the Internet we all act exactly the same way!

    1. Did you watch at all before you got the vapors?  Did you notice the sign 10 seconds in that said “Interested in my private life…? … Marry me?”  She’s cute, she’s aware of it, and she plays it up a bit.

      Also, next time Marina Orlova is mentioned, can we please restrict the discussion to her philological knowledge?

  13. It’s about time we had our first female Doctor. (Well, there was Joanna Lumley, but that was just for a few minutes in a charity special).

    I don’t see why she shouldn’t be the one. She has her own Tardis and her own vocal mannerisms. What more do we need?

  14. I am a teacher and a maker as well (though I stick to miniatures), and it was thoroughly enjoyable watching a kindred spirit persist in the completion of a project.

    I am curious what she plans on creating next.

  15. Everybody is so full of thoughts of marriage that there’s still no “German Engineering” comment? It’s foldable!

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