Emergency Telephone Call Box
Telephone Call Box

Roadside Call Box

I always wanted one of the yellow roadside call boxes. I never had a pick up truck when I saw one whacked off the road. Looked a bit on eBay and found they were getting very expensive. Picking up a sign is no problem, but the box was another story. The Fire, Police and Call Boxes that were metal and old school were in the 200-300 dollar range in poor condition. I just happen to spot this gem for $40 bucks. It was an all metal outdoor phone box that look like it could be a call box with a bit of work. The above pictures were as received from eBay.

Upon receipt the box look very good except for the paint and missing lock. It has a magnetic latch as well.

First thing was to to hit it with the sandblaster, which wasn't working all that well. I got most of the crap off in the areas that would be difficult to sand and then took it home. I got the sandpaper and gave it a good manual sanding. Note the door hinge is pinned in to prevent theft I guess, and to keep someone from just lifting the door off the hinge to get into the box.

After getting it somewhat clean I shot a couple of coats of "Self Etching Primer" on it and it looked very good.

Next was the Rustoleum Bright Yellow paint. It took some time to get it all covered and while on the last coat on the front the paint started crazing! I had laid up too much paint too quickly. I waited a day for the paint to dry and sanded it down again. The paint was much thicker then I expected and difficult to remove.

After all that I shot another couple of lighter coats and it was all good!

Next was to find the Lock, or something to plug the hole. My friend gave me a Mortice Lock Dummy that I thought was going to fit, however the standard diameter is 1.25" and this hole was 1.125" (1 1/8). After some internet scavenging I found the lock on eBay, but it needed a special cartridge (SFIC) for the key, found that too. When it arrived I put it all together and had only to trim the lever a bit to make it fit.

It was ready to mount to the wall!

Call Box Mounting Template
Back Side of Call Box
Garage Traffic Stuff
Mounted Vintage Call Box

Making a paper Template

I use some painters masking paper to make a template of the holes on the back of the Call Box. Then found a wall stud (this is a pretty heavy box) and marked it up. Only the left side of the holes are into the stud, the other side will have to get Drywall fasteners. I did use a level on the holes to make sure they were horizonal, hopefully it worked...

Mounted Vintage Call Box

Wall space is getting a bit thin, but I found a nice spot for it. After painting the box Yellow I used a  flat blade XACTO knife to scrape the letters. They could use some more work, possibly a bit of sanding but the Yellow paint came off clean and left a nice dark gray primer underneath and it look OK. I was really sick of sanding. You can see the new lock and key. The lock ended up costing about as much as the Call Box when all said and done. But it looks 'Authentic' with the heavy duty lock. This is a nice piece, not sure what I'm going to stash in here, but if I had cars with keys I would likely use it as a key safe.

I think Gray was the original color of the phone box, but the yellow looks very nice. It's not quite the same color as the traffic signs (they have a touch more orange in the color) but still looks official.

Back Side of Call Box

The back of the call box had plenty of holes. As seen in the template above I used the outer 4 holes.

Traffic Signals and Call Box

Here is another view of the mounted box. You can see the color difference between the real traffic signals and the Vintage Call Box redo. It's fine, and look great on the wall. Look for these gems at garage sales and on eBay but don't pay a lot they are around for cheep if you look and search correctly (Tip : Look for outside phone box not CALL BOX!)
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