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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Third Time’s a Charm!

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Plumbing is apparently not one of my fortes.   After installing the PEX pipe and then replacing the faucet with a brand new “vintage style” faucet, my fitting was still leaking!  If you want to laugh at my many failed attempts, you can watch the video below.  I just about gave up on this endeavor […]

Plumbing and Other Disasters…

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This weekend, my main challenge was plumbing.  I knew I hated the idea of plumbing, but now I know for SURE that I hate plumbing.  Of course, I like to have the use of functioning plumbing in my house and hopefully my camper, however I don’t want to be the one who has to actually install it.  I forged ahead with this task despite my fears and had a frustrating weekend, but in the end, I got most of the plumbing hooked up.  (note that I said most and not all, ugh)

I decided to start with a little video of my various trials with PEX pipe and my leaky faucet.

Ultimately, I decided to order a new vintage-style faucet:  It’s very similar to the old one although not identical.  The best part is that it won’t leak (I hope).

In addition to plumbing, I also finished the countertop this weekend.  I was supposed to order a slot cutter for my router to cut the groove into the side of the counter for the trim, but it was going to cost me $50 so I decided to try cutting the groove with my oscillating tool instead.  It probably took a lot longer, but it actually worked!


First, I measured and drew a line where I needed the groove to be cut.


This is after I cut the groove. It isn’t perfect, but luckily you can’t tell now that I’ve attached the trim.


I cut the end of the trim and then bent it slightly around the corner to give it a rounded corner.

I had a difficult time cutting the trim.  I didn’t have the proper tool and used my aluminum shears instead.  It took a lot of tries and some elbow grease before I finally got it to cut through.


This is what it looked like after a few attempts. I had to press and then wiggle the shears from side to side to get it to finally cut through.

Next, I installed the city water connection.  I decided to use an existing hole that was already cut in the floor under the sink, thinking that would be out of sight yet still easy to reach.  Wrong!  rolleyes Once I got it installed and tried to screw the water hose into it, I came to the annoying realization that the beam under it was so close that I couldn’t really get the water hose into the tight space.  I later decided to move it to a more accessible spot still in the floor under the sink.  I’ll be using the previous hole for the sink drain so at least it’s still getting used.


Original spot where I put the water fill. Bad idea.

After the disaster cutting the PEX pipe the wrong size on Saturday, I got to work today trying to get it right.


I measured the PEX pipe and marked it, then cut it with the PVC cutters you see here.


Next I measured the end that goes into the push fitting to 7/8″ since the diameter of the fitting is 1/2″. This is how far it should go into the fitting.


This is the hand pump faucet after attaching the first fitting. I wrapped it in plumber’s tape to ensure a tight seal.


This is after I attached the second fitting. You can see that the end is now ready for the PEX pipe to be inserted.


And both faucets are hooked up! The city water faucet is there for now until my new one comes in the mail. I will switch them out when it arrives.

I started working with the fresh water tank, and after realizing I was going to need several more PEX pipe fittings as well as some sort of adapter for the water fill inlet, I gave up on that for today.  I can only take so much plumbing in one weekend!

Instead of finishing the plumbing job, I decided to work on altering the cabinet to fit my new mini fridge.  I looked and looked and couldn’t seem to find a mini fridge that was the right size for the original opening.  I probably could have found one eventually, but I really didn’t want to spend more than $100, so I figured the best option was to go with the standard size which is 18″ wide.  Since my cabinet opening was only 16 1/2″ wide, I had to make some adjustments.

After a bit of sawing with my jigsaw, I finally got it to fit!  I ended up having the remove one piece completely, hopefully it doesn’t compromise the strength of the cabinet.  I checked and there are several other places where there are plenty of reinforcing pieces, so it should be ok.  I also installed the sink with some sealant, so it’s definitely getting closer to the final product!


I had to build these little legs to go under the fridge. I will secure them to the floor and I think the easiest thing to do with the fridge is to tie it to the base with some sort of strap or rope.

new trim

Here’s a good view of the trim.


It fits!

I’m thinking about painting the fridge or covering it with a wrap.  I also might remove the old knob from the original ice box and glue it to this fridge to make it look more retro.


The last thing I got done today was to install the shelf I made for the rear wall.  I also reattached the light fixture, although it’s not fully hooked up yet.  I’m going to call my electrician to come finish the wiring since I want to add another plug for the fridge.  I just want to be sure it’s done right.


Since it was raining a bit today, I didn’t remove the tarp completely in case you’re wondering what the blue stuff is in the window.

It was so hot today that I felt really exhausted at about 5pm, so I called it quits.  I will resume my work next weekend!  Hopefully my new faucet will arrive quickly so I can install it and test it out. I am so ready to be done with the plumbing part of this project, that’s for sure.  Until next time…




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Did I mention I love purple?  hehe  I couldn’t think of a good title for this post, so I figured I would just go with purple because it makes me happy.  smile

I made a lot of progress today, but overall this weekend, I didn’t get quite as much done as I thought I might.  Luckily, I made up for it today for the most part.

On Friday, I tried to get some things done, but it kept raining and messing up my productivity.  I did manage to seal the tiles and put three coats of polish on them to prevent staining.  I will add a few more coats once I’m a little further along.  I also started to rebuild the door on Friday.  I can’t finish it until the new skin arrives, but I can at least get it ready for the skin.  I will need to do the same with the baggage door.




This is a picture of the door before I removed the metal frame, hinges, and other hardware. Pretty nasty!



Here’s the inside of the door. I noticed that the wood along the bottom of the frame is totally rotted. It also didn’t have any insulation inside! I will be adding insulation to it before putting the new skin on.



And here’s the new birch plywood with frame pieces glued down. I’ll add some twist nails to provide more support later and then shellac the other side.

After that, I decided to try out my new metal polish on one of the window trim pieces.  It works pretty well but I’m still not sure if it’s any better than just using Windex or something similar.  The bulk of the work was done with my steel brush to get the old paint and grime off.


This is the brand of polish I got from Home Depot.




After (this was after lots of scraping with the steel brush, it sounds like scratching on a chalkboard, not enjoyable!)


On Saturday, I did a bit of shopping and then went to my cousin’s house for her son’s 5th birthday party.  I didn’t get anything done on Junebug that day unless you count the cute drawer pulls I picked up from Anthropologie that I will be adding to Junebug’s cabinets.


The owls are for the cabinet above the kitchenette and the sparkly one is for the little door that I’m going to build for underneath the bed.

Today, I was pretty productive.  The first thing I did was go to Lowe’s to pick up some more wood, a spade drill bit (for drilling bigger holes), and some more stainless steel wood screws for the frame.

When I got back from Lowe’s, I decided to pull out the old countertop so that I could replace it with a new one.  It proved to be very difficult to remove, thanks to the fact that they glued it to the frame.  I finally pried it loose after a lot of sweating and cursing (and help from my neighbor). haha






I had to use the chisel to remove the sink since it was stuck as well.

I used the old countertop as a template for cutting the new countertop.




I then used my spade bit to drill a starter hole in the sink cutout so that I could finish the cut with my jigsaw.  




This MDF (micro density fiberboard) is super messy!



Done with the cutouts!

Next, I applied the contact cement and then let it set for 20 minutes.


After 20 minutes, I put some wood strips over the MDF so that I could be sure the positioning was correct for the laminate before it permanently stuck to the board.


Once it was positioned correctly, I removed the strips and applied pressure.


And now it’s time for the router to do its job!


This is after I trimmed the edges and around the hole for the sink with the router. It didn’t do a perfect job, but any blemishes can luckily be covered up with the trim.


Next, I added some more support boards across the rear and attached the rear panel.  IMG_4515



All ready for the wiring, insulation, skin, and then the window! I will probably add at least one more piece of wood across for extra support.


Interior pic. Now you can see how shiny the floors are after sealing and polishing! Almost a mirror finish!


New countertop as well as towel rack. I also put some leftover stainless steel along the edge to see how it would look. I have another piece that’s one continuous piece that I think I might use. I got my trim pieces in the mail, so that will give it a more professional look once i get ready to fully install the backsplash and any other pieces.


The oven is back in! I haven’t finished with the countertop yet, it still needs to be screwed in and then trim added.


Overall, I’m pretty pleased with everything I got done this weekend.  I still need to order a new router bit to cut the groove in the new countertop for the new trim.  Unfortunately that’s going to cost me around $50.   Too bad I didn’t already have all these tools to begin with!  That’s about half the cost since I’m starting from scratch.  Oh well, after this I’ll be equipped to do any kind of woodworking project!  Now it’s time to relax and finish doing laundry so I’m ready for work tomorrow.  See you next weekend!


Hot and Sticky…Very Sticky

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It’s that time of year again in Houston, the time when you must be crazy to work outside all day.  It was ONLY 90 degrees today, and by Houston standards that’s not too bad, however I was sweating bullets most of the day and my neighbor stopped by to inquire how in the world I could stand to be outside.  What can I say, I’m not going to let a little heat get in the way of my camper obsession!  I even had a random guy stop by today to ask what I was doing.  The first thing he says is, “What is that, an Airstream?”  Why is it that the only vintage camper most people can think of is an Airstream??  I love Airstreams, don’t get me wrong, but I am getting rather tired of people asking me if Junebug is an Airstream.  She looks nothing like an Airstream.  Geez.  I know I’m being unreasonable, I guess one of my vices is that I get annoyed too easily.  I’m now on a mission to educate the world of people who don’t know about vintage campers one person at a time. haha

I thought it was going to rain today, but I lucked out and it was nice and sunny all day.  I was able to lay the tile today as well as continue repairing some of the exterior framing.  I also had fun painting the wheel wells and part of the closet purple, my favorite color!  I think I’m going to use the same shade for the lower half of the exterior of Junebug later down the road.


Before putting down the tile adhesive, I had to fill in a few cracks around the edges with this sealant.


After filling in the cracks, I painted the wheel wells purple. They look so much prettier now! It doesn’t matter that no one will see them. haha



I had some paint leftover in my little pan so I started painting the closet (bathroom) as well. Eventually I will paint all of it and then add some silver starburst accents. 🙂



Tiling in progress. I had already cut the edges to size, so I layed those down first. It took me a minute to remember the order I had gone in, and I was a little worried at first that I would mess it up!

I got some adhesive on my fingers and shoes during this process and then I was sticking to everything!  I finally got the adhesive off using some denatured alcohol and then washing my hands with soap.


In the end, I had to trim the last tile because it was slightly too large due to a slight misalignment. I don’t think anyone will notice though. They turned out quite nice!


Another view. Next step will be to secure the rear wall panel now that the tile is in place.

After laying the tiles, I decided to spray some primer on the frame.  I will later paint it silver, but I didn’t get to that part today.




After primer

Next, I got out my trim router that I bought for only $30 at Harbor Freight.  I didn’t want to get a more expensive one because I wasn’t sure if I would ever use it again after this project.  The drill bit I had to buy to go with it cost half of that!  After at least 30 minutes of messing with it, I finally figured out how to use it.  This tool is awesome!  I can’t wait to see what other things I can cut with it.  I didn’t get to trim the laminate today, but that’s what I’ll be using the router for when I get ready.  I did manage to find one use for it today, I used it to trim the last piece of vinyl tile.  I should have used it when I was cutting the tile a few weeks ago, it was so easy!


Trim Router

My last task of the day was to cut some curved pieces of wood to replace the rotted plywood around the edges of the roof frame.


Old rotted edges


I decided that I would use a solid piece of wood and trace the line around the curve so that it would be sturdier.  I then used my jigsaw to cut it to 1″ thickness.  My jigsaw vibrated a LOT trying to cut through this wood, I think it’s poplar.  It must be very dense, or maybe I just didn’t have it secured as tightly as I should have while cutting.  Either way, I was quite happy with the result!  I’m still using plywood strips for most of the edges but this edge piece will hold up nicely. smile


One piece cut and one to go for the other side.




Next weekend is my Friday off, so I’m hoping to make some more good progress.  Next steps will be to secure and trim the laminate and start to install plumbing.  I have a new plastic fresh water tank that will need to be installed with pipes leading to the hand pump.  I also need to install the city water connection with a hose that will go to the faucet for the sink as well as another outlet for the tankless hot water heater that will be installed in the bathroom.  I’m hoping the PEX pipe will be as easy to install as it looks in other people’s videos…

Here’s a list of everything left to do that I can recall at the moment:

  • Glue down laminate countertop and trim edges.
  • Install fresh water tank and pipes for hand pump, city water, and hot water heater.
  • Finish installing stainless steel backsplash once my trim pieces come in the mail.
  • Install shelf along rear wall and secure rear wall panel.
  • Reinstall oven, then replace front wall panel (waiting to do this until all plumbing is installed but need to remember to put oven back in its place first because it’s too big to fit through the doorway)
  • Finish rebuilding shelves along side walls then install.
  • Purchase mini fridge that is the right size, might need to adjust the cabinets a bit.
  • Call electrician to come out and check wiring for lights, run new wires for additional plugs.  Thinking of adding a plug on exterior under camper to run strings of lights as well as additional plug for fridge.
  • Use leftover laminate to cover doors that go in shelf over kitchenette
  • Paint undercarriage with fence paint or other type of sealant.
  • Build new frame for bed and benches.
  • Build table and use leftover laminate for table top.
  • Modify old cushions to fit new layout – full size bed across rear and two single seats in front of it.
  • Order air conditioner ( and figure out how to install air vents in the appropriate locations.
  • Order new pre-polished aluminum skin from Hemet Valley RV.
  • Install new skin (this is a big one, will definitely need to call in reinforcements for this task)
  • Re-install windows with new putty tape and stainless steel screws as well as j-rail and eyebrows.
  • Rebuild door and re-install.  At some point I’d like to build a new screen door out of birch, but depending on time, I might save that for a later date.
  • Add finishing touches on interior like hanging curtains, pictures, add mattress and bedding, etc.
  • Have unveiling party for Junebug and invite all of my friends and family who wonder where I’ve been all this time and are starting to worry about my obsession.
  • Go to first vintage camper rally in Lake Charles, LA the weekend of September 20-21!!

Phew, that’s a lot to do in the next three months.  I’m getting exhausted just looking at that list.  I think I’ll go to bed now..


Junebug Does Not Sing in the Rain

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A couple of weeks ago, I started replacing the ceiling panels in Junebug.  I had already spent countless hours shellacking them to perfection, and wouldn’t you know, I accidentally cut the one that goes over the kitchenette the wrong size and had to scrap that piece. ugh  It was getting late in the day, so I went ahead and put the tarp, then the waterproof cover over Junebug and went inside to make myself something to eat for dinner.  The next day, Memorial Day, Houston had a torrential downpour.  I stayed inside all day and cleaned house and watched movies.  It was a nice, relaxing way to spend my Memorial Day.  On Tuesday, I got up and got ready to go to work.  As I was walking out the front door (it was still raining, fyi), I noticed that Junebug’s cover was pulled up a bit in the front.  My mind immediately thought of the open hole in the ceiling where the panel was still missing.  I didn’t even think to put any support there because I had no idea we were going to get so much rain!  I ran to get the ladder to look at the roof and assess the damage.  It was WORSE than expected.  The tarp over the hole had sunken in and there was about enough water collected in it to fill a bathtub!  I squeezed my way under the tarp to get inside the camper to see if I could lift up the tarp from the inside and make the water come out.  That was pointless, it was way too heavy.  cry  I was freaking out by this point.  I could hear the wood inside creaking and I thought it was about to break at any moment.  Tears filled my eyes, and I knew I had to act fast.  I ran and got the water hose and tried to siphon the water out.  It started coming out but too slowly.  Then I ran in the garage and got the hose that goes to my paint sprayer, it’s much bigger.  When I put it in the water, initially nothing happened.  I had to suck on the other end to get the water flowing and in doing so, I managed to swallow a bunch of nasty water from the roof that had who knows what in it!  I didn’t even care though, I just wanted that water out of there!  Finally I got all the water out.  I then put several pieces of wood on top of the camper to give it some support and create a slope so that the water would run off.  I later went and bought another tarp too, just to be on the safe side.  Unfortunately, a bit of water leaked inside the camper and I dried it up, but it caused my countertop to expand and warp.  mad


You can see that it’s curved upward on the left corner by the sink. ugh

I didn’t notice the warping until today when I took the covers off Junebug to start working again.  I thought about it for a bit, then decided I would just order a wider countertop trim and leave it.  It’s slightly curved up at the edge, but hopefully no one but me will notice.  I can always remove the countertop at a later date and replace it if it starts to bother me.  I just didn’t have the energy to take on another task in addition to everything I already still have to do.

Today, I had big plans to finish the ceiling panels, apply the laminate to the countertop, and apply the tile adhesive to the floor in preparation for laying the tiles tomorrow.  I only got the first task completed.  Why does everything always take me so much longer than expected??  In the meantime, I also got eaten alive by mosquitoes.  If rain is Junebug’s #1 enemy, mosquitoes must be mine.  I did manage to cut the laminate down to size so that I can apply the contact cement when I’m ready.  Then all it will need is trimming.

I chose purple laminate since my theme is purple and green. smile


It’s obviously not glued down or trimmed yet, but I wanted to show what the color will look like.

Now that I got the ceiling panel cut the right size, it looks great!

IMG_4433 IMG_4430

I also made a new shelf to look like the original scalloped shelf in the Shastas of this era.  I don’t know why mine didn’t have the scalloped piece.  I think it turned out pretty nice.  I haven’t installed it yet, I just wedged it in to see how it would look.  The rear paneling piece is also just clamped in and not yet installed.  I wanted to lay the tile first before permanently installing that last panel.  It’s really starting to come together though!

IMG_4435 IMG_4437


I’m hoping to get more done tomorrow but it’s supposed to rain again. We’ll see, I’m hoping maybe the forecast will change as it does frequently around here.  In the meantime, I made ABSOLUTELY sure that Junebug was completely wrapped up and protected from the water this time!