OK, so this is something I wanted to post for a LONG while now.
See, I keep a look out on sites like Etsy and eBay and places like that to add to my Tardis Key collection and something I've noticed is people selling replicas of the key Rose uses. That's all well and good but one thing that bugs the CRAP out of me about it is the prices. Anything from $15 USD PLUS shipping to $50 USD PLUS SHIPPING...for a key on a chain that is typically inaccurate. That...that is outrageous. I want to set the Dr Who cos-play fans and replica prop fans and Rose Tyler fans out there straight a bit.
In the picture you can see a screen capture of Rose's key in her hand taken from the Series 1 episode "Aliens of London". Next to it is my replica. Note the D shaped piece sitting under the key. Note the chain and the spiral ring it's on and the size of everything. Note that my replica matches almost dead on.
Now, please look at the picture below of what all of this looks like laid out in plain view. You'll notice the chromed key and the chain and a better look at the D shaped piece on the other end. This is all the key chain is. Now, to get this result you need:
1: A 5/32 inch stainless steel D-Shackle. This cost $4.00 USD or less. I got mine from a seller in Florida but these can be found being sold in Europe and out of Asia. They are typically stainless steel and sell for as low as a couple dollars and ship for a couple dollars. Literally this cost me less than four dollars. If you live near a marine and boat supply then it's cheaper as you can just walk in and buy it, no shipping. Typically these are used to attach lines and rope and pulleys for sail boats to other things on sailboats. The way it works is the rod that goes through the shackle is threaded on the end and you put it through the shackle and thread it into the hole in the other end. Why did they use something meant for a boat? You have to remember they were kinda going for a nautical theme with the 9th Doctor which is why he is wearing a U-boat captains jacket from the 1940's. Originally the 9th Doctor was also going to be wearing a sailors turtleneck sweater but it just looked odd so they dropped it for the V-neck. All of this is the reason why the Tardis is more submarine like inside and why there's coral as a part of the structure and the reason why Rose's key has a D-shackle from a boat on it.
2: A foot of thin steel curb chain. About...a quarter of an inch diameter or a little less. I got this one complete with the spiral split ring the key is on at Lowe's for literally $1.50 USD. It's just a chain with a ring and usually a spring "lobster claw" catch to attach the chain to your belt loop, just break the "lobster claw" off the end, it's easy. You can find them typically where they cut keys. You can buy curb chain by the foot but I bought the pre-made key chain because the ends of the chain each have one enlarged link to put rings through. This is handy because the D-shackle listed above has a rod thickness greater than the links in the chain and you'll need one larger to put the chain on it.
3: A 1 inch steel split ring. It's that spiral ring the key is attached to. It's diameter is almost the same size as the round part of the key's head, just a little bigger. So find one to match. Also try to find one that's easy to pull open with your fingers so when you put your chromed key in place you don't scratch the chrome. These sell for SO cheap they usually sell a pack of five for fifty cents or ten cents a piece. Guess where you can find them...Lowe's next to where you'd buy the chain above.
4: the Key. Arguably the harder to find part of this, I got mine and my blanks from a supplier on eBay BUT if you say, want three already cut keys that fit into a lock like the one used on the Tardis prop from the show, you want an ERA lock like this: [link] We already know you want an ERA brand because even though Yale makes both the key and the lock similar to this, they don't chrome their keys and thanks to an older BBC article a few years back we can see ERA stamped keys hidden in the prop Tardis from the 10th Doctor era here: [link] So, if you want to get the right key and maybe even a lock you can get those for about $20 USD or less and like I said, you get three precut keys that way. Blanks will cost you even less than that IF you can find a UK lock and key dealer that has 5 pin ERA keys for sale. If you do they usually run about $2.00 USD which is pretty darn cheap. I bought 6 blanks like that. Getting them cut is easy as any hardware store will cut them for free if you supply the blanks, HOWEVER, remember that they need a key of a similar type to get a tooth pattern from. Any 5 pin Yale Y-1 key will work for that so if you have an old key like that you can copy, you are all set. You HAVE to make sure though it's the same. Yale Y-1 and the 5 pin ERA keys both have special channels cut in them. If you use the wrong key it will not cut right and you risk ruining your key.
So for those following along so far, you have a replica key and chain that cost ME approximately $7.60 USD to make. By contrast the key that sells for $15 is an uncut generic chrome key that costs a dollar and it's on a chain without the D-shackle that costs $1.50 meaning you're paying $15 for a $2.50 inaccurate replica that isn't even a cut key. The $50 one is a bit better in that they actually modified it buuuut it's not chromed, it's sanded and blanked and probably would make a better 11th Doctor key but it's literally a cheap key that's been sanded and polished on a silver chain that is wrong. Even if you count that it's had some work done to it IE it's a cut key and it's been sanded and polished it's still not worth the price. It's literally ten minutes of time to file and polish a key out by hand with no power tools, I know, I did it to my Pertwee keys. Even the silver chain can be bought for a dollar a foot in sterling silver so that's three dollars of material and MAYBE if you stretched it five to ten bucks worth of time and effort, less if you used a Dremel tool to polish it. Please keep that in mind when you are looking at key replicas online and see a Rose Tyler or even just a modern series key replica. Look at the details and look at the price and hopefully realize when you are getting screwed on a price. Obviously if you feel like it's a good deal and you are happy with your purchase it's no problem but if your purse is feeling a bit light don't spend the extra. For that $50 USD you could make 6 of my screen accurate/prop accurate key.
It really isn't that difficult to replicate. All the clearly non-accurate ones for sale make me giggle and wonder what show they were watching.
My boyfriend made me a Rose key as a surprise gift back in February before we started dating. He went as far as to blow up the promo picture and count the links on the chain to make it as accurate as possible. He wanted to give me the TARDIS key all properly and did the whole "TARDIS key. About time you had one" even though he does Ten. What made it even better was him telling me that it would open his TARDIS soon. It's definitely one of the best gifts I've ever received.
No, it's not. I wasn't even trying too hard. XD Your BF did a good job in counting the links though. I just guessed a foot XD I may actually try it myself though. Only problem is finding a high enough resolution picture to get the link count from the white part of the picture. Thing is though that that shows how easy it is to get enough reference material to make one accurate. I wouldn't mind the inaccurate keys buuuut...to charge upwards to fifty dollars for something that cost the maker three to make is just terrible.
No problem ^_^ I've spent a lOT of time collecting keys and studying screen stills to get things accurate. I wouldn't care ordinarily but these prices. The $15 key I had seen was literally a $2 key on a $1.50 chain...it's SECONDS of work. It's also not accurate without the shackle. XD So I'm happy to help people know what to buy...I half expect to see these accurate ones show up online for like $50 now XD
Well if you're building the full box you'll be able to buy the lock cylinder at least...well unless you go classic and just put a slot in the door. Either way this is mainly to warn people and inform them on the replicas they buy of overpriced keys that should never cost that much. I have hand sculpted, hand cast replicas made by the best craftsmen around that cost less than an off the shelf Yale-type key like the ones people are charging ridiculous asking prices for.
I am building a Mixture. I am going with the Newbery prop and it will have a proper lock on it, similar to that of a Yale lock. Couldn't find a proper Yale lock that was a decent price. I'll be sure to post pictures of it when it's done. And yes people are stupid.
Well, it's not that I think people are stupid so much as I think people are huge fans and when they want to have something from the show but don't think they can make it, they become victims of their own fandom and people will take advantage of them. On things like sonic screwdrivers and more complex props, it makes sense that those are going to be expensive as they have to be made from scratch, but a friggin Yale-type key on a chain? That's inexcusable to me XD
Sounds like a neat project. Would I to have a bigger yard to put one in I'd love to have one in the back of the house to use as a shed XD
This is a portable Tardis. I say people are stupid because there are many people that will pay that obscene amount of money for something they could make them selves. But I am a bit of a Misanthrope, Just slightingly.
But yes the TARDIS will be able to be taken down, It's mostly like a prop. No extended time out side really. When I move out it will be a Conversation peace in my apartment or dwelling. And will be taken to conventions and such for pictures and what have you. I plan on "parking" it in front of the English Import store in my Town. It should be done by the end of this summer.
Lol, yeah some people DO indeed have a bigger disposable income than they do brains. XD
Sounds like a blast. i seem to recall some nice prints someone was selling for a nice looking and easy to disassemble police box prop. I would still love to make a more durable one to use as a shed and garden tool storage space. It would be fun. XD
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More