As you may have noticed, there’s now a new place to pick up The Forge at school in the counseling office. The Forge’s newspaper box has been repaired and is now ready to dispense the school’s news for years to come. But this box isn’t actually new. After re-discovering it in a dilapidated state near the English Block, it was taken into the Journalism classroom to be repaired. However, I thought it needed more than a little bit of cleaning, so I offered to take it back to my house to give it a deep clean, and a new coat of paint. Little did I know, it would turn into a months-long project.
The work began on November 3, 2023. The first step was disassembly. I took the box off of its stand and removed its handle, a panel on the right side, and the lock for the change deposit box. After prying the change deposit box open, I found many chewed up pieces of gum, a few candy wrappers, a pen, three pennies, and a printed note that read “Community Service is Due.” After taking the box apart, it needed to be stripped of its paint. This step took the longest out of everything. At first I tried to use a paint stripper, which was a viscous yellow liquid that reeked similarly to gasoline and had to be applied outside. This foul formula managed to take the layer of green paint on the outside off. However, the layer of black paint and the red primer underneath it remained.
I decided to switch to an angle grinder, at the advice of my dad. It took some time to get used to, but it took every layer of paint clean off in just seconds. The paint stripper had taken 15 minutes to activate per coat, so the angle grinder was much better. Though the angle grinder was fast, it could only perform well on smooth, flat surfaces. Paint stripper and a heat gun had to deal with the rest. After doing a deep clean on the box with a hose on December 26, I was almost ready to paint. After waiting for both the box and the stand to dry (the same paint stripping process had been done to the stand), I used a tack cloth to remove the last of the dust, and applied a coat of primer. After a lot of waiting for paint to dry, (no, I didn’t watch it the whole time) I applied two more color coats. I also painted the parts I removed during the disassembly process. I used spray paint for both the primer and color coats. The stand is black, and the box is hunter green.
Lastly, the assembly process. Again with the help of my dad, we ordered a sheet of plexiglass to install in the front of the box. After scoring it to break it into shape, we drilled holes in the plexiglass and screwed it in. I reattached the plate on the right, the lock for the change deposit box, and finally, the handle. My aunt printed a stencil for it, but disaster struck as we applied it! One of the sides of the box is concave, so there was a large amount of overspray. It still proudly displayed the SBHS logo on the sides, with “The Forge” written underneath. I waited for the paint to dry, and painted over the overspray. On January 17, it was done. Now this newspaper box is in the counseling office, where I hope it will remain for many years to come.
The old The Forge newspaper box (left) and the new one (right). Image Credit: Cole Weaver