A Coroplast Tailbox
by Kent Peterson (email@example.com)
On Sunday December 21st, 2003 my friend
Mark Vande Kamp and I rode up to see our mutual friend Jon Muellner in
Port Townsend, Washington. Mark took these pictures of my coroplast
tailbox in Jon's backyard. I've gotten several questions about my
tailbox, so I put this web page together to explain a bit about how the
tailbox is constructed.
The tailbox is constructed from
coroplast, a tough plastic material similar to corogated cardboard. In
the Puget Sound area, many political candidate's campaign signs are
printed on sheets of 4 mm coroplast. While the candidates are supposed
to remove all their signs within a week or so following the election,
some signs wind up fallen by the roadside and abandoned. In late
November and December, I harvest these abandoned signs and throughout
the year I use them in various projects. This tailbox was constructed
entirely from the material in one very large sign left over from
the 2002 Jennifer Dunn congressional campaign. In fairness to Ms. Dunn,
her workers did a very good job of recovering most of her signs. This
large sign was the only one I found from that campaign and I think it
had been missed because it had blown over in a high wind.
The tailbox is constructed using the same techniques I've described in
previous articles describing how to make bicycle fenders and a handlebar
bag from coroplast. Those articles can be found here:
Coroplast Fender Construction
The tailbox is made entirely of coroplast stitched together with nylon
zipties. The box is held onto the rear rack of my bicycle with nylon
cord that loops through small holes I cut in the bottom of the box.
Elasticised nylon cord forms a web to carry extra gear (like a rain
jacket) on top of the box. Elastic cord is also used to latch the box
The box is made from three main
parts. The top and bottom of the box are roughly teardrop shaped, while
the front, sides and back of the box are one continuous strip of
coroplast which follows the curved edges of the top and bottom pieces. I
used a saucepan cover as a template for the front curve of the box and
a straight edge to mark out the basic teardrop shape. The box is
aproximately 50 cm long, 23 cm in width at the widest point and 8 cm
wide at the tip of the tail. It is 18 cm tall.
I cut both the top and bottom pieces with an excess flange about 3 cm
wide. In the curved section of the box, this flange was further cut into
smaller tabs. I bent the flanged portion and puched holes in it so I
could stitch the long body sheet around it. The bottom and sides are
fully stitched with zipties, while the top is stitched at the front.
In addition to the three main pieces,
the top of the box has two smaller strips running the length of the edge
from the hinge to the back. I also cut two small coroplast disks, each
of which rest on two smaller coroplast disks. These disk stacks work
like a button and the elastic cord loops over them.
The lid of the box hinges up. I
didn't need to make any kind of a hinge, I simply scored the coroplast
along a line where I wanted the hinge to be. In this picture you can see
some of the things I carry in the tailbox, including my Topeak Morph
pump, my bag with tools, tubes and a patch kit. I also carry a pair of
rain pants and a thermolite emergency blanket. On the far right of the
picture you can see a taillight wich is strapped to yet another small
bit of coroplast.
Here is another view of the tailbox fully opened up.
This is a shot of the interior of the
empty tailbox. You can see the cord which loops through small holes
punched in the bottom of the box. The cord goes through these holes and
ties the box to the rear rack. I kept some extra cord in case I ever
need to lash anything into the box to keep items from bouncing around or
from bouncing out if I overpack the box and cannot close the lid.
Another shot of the interior, showing
how the flanged bottom is stitched to the edge. You can also see one of
the edge buttons that secures the lid strap.
That's it. If you were looking for a
detailed "How To" you're out of luck. But the info here should give you
enough information that you can make your own tailbox. If you do build
one for yourself, please drop me a note.
Kent Peterson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Issaquah, WA USA
December 25th, 2003