Our small town, Fairbury, Illinois, pop. 3,800.......still has a couple of jail cells in our 1892 old City Hall. Although it would make a great photo op for citizens and visitors to take their pictures, it needs a lot of renovation work.......and it is so small that it is hard to get a picture in such a small room. One of our local town improvement group members, saw where another town made a wood photo op........
Our Old City Hall has an outside corner, where we can add a wood wall decorated as a photo op.........
I measured the old 1892 building, and entered it into Google Sketchup.........
The shorter woman is the average female height of 5'-2" and the taller woman is the average male height of 5'-9". The Sketchup Warehouse does not have a good model of a man to use, so I just repeated the female with 2 different heights.
I plan on using just 2 quarter-inch plastic anchors with screws on each side to hold it in place. That way it can be easily and quickly installed or removed.
I put this in Google's Sketchup Warehouse, you can download a copy here.
Frame in Place
Because the walls are probably not straight on the 1892 old City Hall, I decided it was best to frame the mock-jail in place. I decided to try out using Kreg pocket screws for the framing. Initially the pocket screws seemed to work ok, but I put too much downward force on 1 of the horizontal 2x4's after it was screwed, and it ripped the screws out of the pocket. I didn't realize the Kreg screws are strong pushing down, if the screws are on the bottom.
I traced the top arch curve on the dog eared pickets from inside using a pencil. When I got the frame back to my home shop, I added on about 1.5" to the marked curve, so the frame matches the arch brick curve.
I printed the full scale text words from Google Sketchup onto paper. I then used a pencil and carbon paper to trace each letter. Then I used an artist's brush to carefully and slowly paint each letter. I put the black enamel paint on thick, because I did not want to do 2 coats.
I drilled 1-1/8" diameter holes for the 1" dia. dowels. I wanted some clearance so I could slip then into the upper holes at an angle, then move them down in the bottom hole. I used a galvanized nail through the 2x4 into the dowel..........to hold the dowel in place.
Community Sale Day
I installed the mock jail the day before our annual Community Sale Day. I also made a hand printed sign to direct people to the restrooms, and the city jail photo op........
The mock jail proved to be very popular with families. Many families had fun getting their picture taken, including our new mayor and his family :)
Closing Thoughts on This Project
This was a fun project to design and build. We are going to store the mock jail in the real old jail in the same building, so it will be easy to install it for future events. I also installed my little 2-step stepladder for the day, so kids could stand and get their picture taken. I put a lightweight chain and padlock on my little stepladder so it wouldn't walk away :)