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Sigh of Relief

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Today went much better than yesterday, all I had to do was stay AWAY from the electrical wiring.  haha  I went back to doing some other things in Junebug that I’m much better at.  I feel like I got a lot done and am feeling pretty good about how things are looking!

It was raining this morning, so I decided to run some errands before getting started.  I needed to return some things to Lowe’s and pick up some new items, plus go grocery shopping.  I finally found the other matching mirror at Target that I had been searching for so that I could install it behind the star cutout in my bench.  I already had one and needed another one.

When I got home, I started working on finishing the benches.  I also bought some spray foam gap filler so I could fill in the holes in the closet where the drains used to be.   I thought about closing the holes some other way, but this seemed like the easiest.   It worked great!  Later I will sand it down and paint over it.

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Here’s the hole where the power inlet used to be.

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These holes were for the sink drain and vent. There were galvanized pipes here, and I promptly did away with those. They were taking up way too much space!

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The hole after spraying some foam into it. It expanded into a bubble, it was kind of funny.

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After it dried, I cut the excess off with a kitchen knife. This stuff works great!

After installing the mirrors behind the star cutouts in my benches, I noticed the mirror was reflecting the backside of the wood, and it wasn’t pretty.  I decided to remove the mirrors and paint the backside purple so it would look better.  Then I reinstalled the mirrors and secured the benches to the floor.

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While the purple paint was drying, I decided to hang the curtains.  You can see them in the above photo, but I’ll post another one here at a different angle.  I think they look so nice against the shellacked wood!

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I also finished adding some wood trim around the window in the kitchen.

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My friend, Tracy, gave me this doormat with a J on it.  I’ve been using it for the house, but now I can also use it for Junebug, how perfect!  biggrin

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Next, I needed to add some vinyl welt in the seams between the walls and the ceiling.  I was supposed to do this before I attached the ceiling panels, but I totally forgot.  oops  My cutouts for the wall panels weren’t exactly the right size, so I needed to add the welt (similar to the original design) to cover up the gap.  I nailed it in using tiny nails so they weren’t too noticeable.  It isn’t perfect, but I think it looks pretty good and it covers the gap.   I actually found this welt through a boat supplier.  It’s meant for marine upholstery, but it works great for this purpose too!   http://veada.com/marine-vinyl-boat-upholstery/vinyl-welt-cord-piping.html.

 

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Before

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After

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Street side – after

I also added some trim pieces to the door frame.

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Here’s a picture of the exterior street side.  Can you spot the mistake I made cutting the new skin and had to cover up?  I don’t think it looks too bad.  You can see it, but it’s not a glaring mistake at least.

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While I was at Target, I picked up a couple of frames for my owl art that I plan to hang in Junebug.  Oh yeah, in case I didn’t mention it before, I’m obsessed with owls and plan to have an owl theme in Junebug. smile

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I was really hungry after doing all of the things I just mentioned, so I took a break and made myself a filet mignon with grilled okra and portabella mushroom.  I burned my filet a little because the grill’s fire was too hot.  Luckily, the flavor was still awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  After eating, I got back to work.  I wanted to finish making the bench seats today.

In order to make the seats, I had to take apart the seat backs that I had made back in December.  I wanted to reuse the foam and material since it was so expensive.   I also removed the material from the long seat cushions since I didn’t need those to be purple anyway because they’ll be covered up with bedding.  The foam wasn’t the right size, so I had to cut it and piece together a couple of different sizes to get it to work.   Once wrapped with the batting and material, I don’t think the seam in the foam will be noticeable.

 

 

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Foam cut and ready for the batting.

I discovered that my good serrated kitchen knife worked great to cut through the foam!  I wish I would have discovered that the first time I was making these seat cushions.   Live and learn I guess.

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Batting is stapled down and the cushion is ready for the material.

 

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Adding the material.

 

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Seat cushion is complete!

 

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All the seat cushions and seat backs are now complete! The black cushions in back are the original ones from the camper and will be used for the bed. They are actually pretty comfortable!

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Seat on curb side. I added my Shasta pillow for the full effect. It looks pretty cute!

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Here’s the street side seat. I sat on it to try it out and it’s quite comfy!

Tomorrow, I’m planning to finish the bed and closet, then install the Fantastic Vent if it’s not raining.  If it’s raining, I may only be able to do interior work.  I also need to finish moving the hole in the floor leading to the exterior plug underneath the camper.  This wasn’t an urgent item, but it needs to be done, especially with the electrician coming on Tuesday.

I’m feeling pretty excited now that everything is coming together!  I can’t wait to get more done tomorrow.  smile


 

Let There Be Light!

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I think there have been a few days where I was really frustrated and wanted to quit, but today takes the cake.  I knew I wasn’t talented at electrical work and today proved me right.  After spending quite a while hooking up all of the new fixtures and outlets last weekend and during the past week, I was ready to finish hooking up the breaker box, power inlet, and ground wire so I could plug the camper in.  I managed to finish the breaker box and shore power inlet pretty quickly, as well as drilling a hole in the floor for the ground wire and attaching it to the frame below the camper.

In order to figure out how to wire the new breaker box in the first place, I consulted my favorite forum, http://vintagetrailertalk.freeforums.net/thread/2368/71-shasta-loflyte-amp-upgrade.  The thread I just linked is one that includes step by step instructions on how to upgrade your standard 15 amp system to a 30 amp.

 

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I followed the instructions from the forum on my iPad while I worked.

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I removed the 60 amp breaker that this box came with and replaced it with two breakers, one 20 amp (left) and one 15 amp (right).  In this pic, I have already connected the 20 amp circuit to the breaker.  It will feed the lights and outlets inside the camper.

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In this picture, I have connected the 20 amp circuit (seen on bottom of pic) and the shore power inlet. I used 10 gauge wire for the shore power inlet and 12 gauge for the other wiring.

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And here’s the box with the last circuit installed that will go to the external outlet for the AC (and twinkle lights :)). Since the AC draws 7 amps of power, I thought it would be best for it to run on its own circuit.   You can see that I used a jumper wire to complete the circuit from the 20 amp to the 15 amp breaker. I used 10 gauge wire for the jumper wire.

After connecting all of the circuits, I went outside to hook up my shore power inlet.  I had to buy another hole saw for the job.  Not sure what I’ll do with these hole saws when I’m done!  I ordered my stainless steel 30 amp power inlet from http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/.  I looked around online and they actually had the best price on these.  I also ordered a 30′ cord to connect to the shore power plug at the campground.  Both of these items are made by the same manufacturer, Furrion.  The cord even has an LED light on the end near the plug to indicate if polarity is reversed.  If it’s lit blue, that means the trailer is wired correctly and if it’s red, that tells you that the electrical current is not running as it should be, which is probably due to incorrect wiring.    I thought this was handy seeing as how there was a good chance I did something wrong on the trailer wiring!

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Here’s my stainless steel power inlet and the 2 3/4″ hole saw I needed to make room for it.

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Hole is cut and ready to install power inlet.

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All installed! It’s nice a shiny, just like Junebug’s skin!

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Here’s the interior pic of the power inlet. I accidentally removed a little too much of the sheath over the wires, so I added a bit and taped it down, just for added protection. I’m pretty sure it will be fine but I wanted to be safe. I used screws that were a little too long and they poke through the wall, oops. Luckily this will be hidden by the bed anyway.

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I used some insulated staples to secure the wires.

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The final task was to connect the ground wire (seen in green). I drilled a hole through the floor and ran it down below the camper and wrapped it around a bolt attached to the frame.

After hooking everything up, I was ready to plug it in!  I was so nervous that my knees were literally shaking.  I don’t like to mess around with electricity.  I went in the garage and plugged in the end of the cord.  I went back over to the camper and didn’t see that the light had come on.  I stupidly went to the fixture and pulled the chain.  It shocked me! eek  And.. it didn’t turn on.  ugh  I went back and unplugged the cord.   So disappointed…  I got online and posted some pictures on Vintage Trailer Talk to see if anyone could help me.  I also chatted briefly with a guy who works at RV Masters here in Houston to see if he could help me troubleshoot.  We both agreed it was either a problem with the ground or there was a piece of hot wire touching something.  I went back outside to check all my connections.  I disconnected the light fixture above the bed and then noticed that my ground wires had come loose inside the j-box near that fixture.  I reconnected those and everything worked!  I unplugged the cord again and reconnected the light fixture above the bed.  When I plugged it back in, everything wasn’t working.  ugh  Back to square one!  After at least an hour of messing with it, I realized that one of the hot wires inside the fixture was exposed and was touching the ground wire.  This was causing the whole fixture to be live.  Once I fixed that, everything was working again, yay!

I screwed a light bulb into the fixture above the sink and it worked!

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Then I went back to the troublesome fixture above the bed.  I put it back together and screwed a light bulb into it.  I went back out to plug in the cord, and when I returned it was on!!

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Unfortunately, even though it was working, the stupid fixture and the j-box next to it were electrified when I touched them with my voltage sensor.  ugh.  At this point, I was fed up.  I called the guy from RV Masters, and he said he could come by next week with his electrician to take a look at it.  I can probably fix it, but I’m wasting a lot of precious time on this when I need to be finishing up other items!

I’m so disappointed that I couldn’t get this all working perfectly on my own.  I’m so close I can taste it!  That being said, I really don’t want to hurt myself or my camper.  I’d better leave it to the professionals.

After giving up on the electrical, I finished a few trim pieces around the kitchen window and secured some smaller pieces of countertop that go around the stove.  I also hung some curtains in one of the windows.  I didn’t get pictures of these two things.  I guess I was too annoyed about the electrical work not to mention I was running out of daylight.   I think the curtains are going to look really cute in there!

Here’s the list of everything I still have left to do before the party (in no particular order).  The list looks relatively short, but I know how long it takes me to do things so I’m sure it will take me right up until the party to get these things completed.   I hope I can do it!  I’m starting to feel the pressure..

  • Install mirrors in benches (behind starburst cutout)
  • Secure bed and benches to floor
  • Make cushions for benches
  • Finish painting closet and patch holes
  • Get electrical system working properly (electrician will take care of this!)
  • Install Fantastic Vent
  • Paint tongue and bumper (maybe wheels too if time), also paint propane tank
  • Install Shasta emblem and other little emblems as well as door catch
  • Finish installing vent for AC to go on cabinet face
  • Install baggage door
  • Polish wings and reinstall
  • Seal cracks and staples on exterior with gutter seal
  • Finish hanging curtains and add other decorative items

Tomorrow is a new day and I’m not going to let my electrical system woes get me down.  I will ignore that for now and get busy on the other items.

 

 

Determination

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Determination

I can’t remember what life was like before Junebug.  What did I do with all of my time??  Sure, I had other hobbies, but I didn’t do anything nearly as obsessively as I work on this project.  It’s kind of like trying to imagine my life before the internet or my iPhone. haha  Maybe I was just relaxing more or perhaps watching more movies.  

Both of my neighbors admitted yesterday that they doubted me in the beginning and didn’t think I could do this project on my own.  Little did they know, I am a very determined person, and when I put my mind to something, I will do it no matter what!   One of my neighbors also said that I had done a good job for a girl.  rolleyes  That offended me, and I told him so.  He then backtracked and said he meant that he didn’t think there were many girls who would take on this sort of project.  He might be right, but I’m hoping maybe some other women who aren’t sure about doing something like this will come across my blog and see that they can do it!  All you need is time, money, and a lot of determination. 

This weekend, I got a lot done, but I still didn’t completely finish my electrical system like I had planned.  I had no idea how difficult 12 gauge wiring was going to be to deal with.  I still feel pretty good about where I’m at, although I’ve only got two weekends left until the unveiling party, so I am a little worried about time.  I will probably have to work on a few things during the week just to be sure I finish in time!  Luckily, my next two weekends are three day weekends, so that really helps.

I think I mentioned in my last post that I had lost my keys.  Wouldn’t you know, they were hanging on a nail in the garage the whole time!  I have become so disorganized with this project, this is unlike me!  I now have a little camper key cover on my keys.  Maybe this will help.  If nothing else, it’s cute. smile

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I was off on Friday, so I got up early and started working on finishing the exterior of Junebug to get her ready to take to Oscar’s shop to finish the bumper and spare tire mount.  I had to finish stripping the paint off of the drip rail, and of course, it took forever!  I don’t know how that paint was so stuck on there.

After doing that, I polished the eyebrows and installed them over all of the windows.  

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Before

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After

 Oh, by the way, I’m not going to post any more full exterior or interior pictures until after my unveiling party on September 12th.  I don’t want to ruin the surprise for my friends who will be coming to the party and also read this blog.  For anyone who can’t make it to the party, sorry, but I promise to post lots of pictures after that!  

It took me most of the day on Friday to finish up the exterior, and around 6pm, I started getting Junebug ready to go to Oscar’s shop.  I noticed that my jack had become really hard to turn.  I got the camper out of the driveway and hooked up to my car, but I couldn’t get the jack to go back up so I could get on the road.  Apparently, it had decided to break on me. grr  My nice neighbor came to the rescue, and he helped me remove the jack and put it in my car.  I went on my way to Oscar’s place to see if he could help me with it.  Once I arrived at Oscar’s shop, he immediately got ot work on my bumper with his son and his friend as his assistants.   I got really nervous with the welding so close to my beautiful pre-polished aluminum skin.  That stuff scratches so easily!!  They put a few new scratches in it, but in the end, it turned out fine.  I snapped a couple of photos while they weren’t looking. hehe

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I’ll wait to post a pic of the finished bumper with the spare tire mount.  It still needs to be painted, and I want to wait until after the unveiling to show it off anyway.  

I noticed that my side running lights and license plate light didn’t work properly when plugged into my car.  I was really worried I had wired them wrong, but when Oscar hooked Junebug up to his two vehicles, everything worked great!  

Since it was late on Friday when I took Junebug to Oscar’s place and my jack had quit working, I decided to leave her overnight at his shop and pick her up in the morning.  On Saturday morning, I took my VW to Master Hitch since that’s where I got the wiring installed, and they said everything was working perfectly in it.  ugh  I guess I’m going to have to take my VW and Junebug to Master Hitch because it doesn’t seem like the problem is my camper.  Luckily the most important lights are working, the brakes and blinkers.   I went ahead and bought a new jack while I was at Master Hitch, and Oscar installed it for me.  It only cost $29, so that was a relief.  It works great too!

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I’m planning to paint it when I finish painting the hitch.  I can’t decide if I want to paint it silver or purple.  

On the drive home from Oscar’s shop, I noticed Junebug was swaying a little bit.  She didn’t sway at all before, so I’m wondering if it’s the new bumper and spare tire.  I had to install the spare tire to the side in the rear so it wouldn’t cover up the license plate.  I’m thinking this is messing up the weight distribution.  Hopefully by the time I install the propane tank and fill up Junebug with stuff, it will all even out.

After getting home on Saturday, the first thing I did was install the two holes for the AC.  I wanted to finish wiring the receptacles inside the camper, but I knew it would be way better to do that with the AC on!  

I got my AC from ClimateRight.  It’s an 8200 btu unit that is AC only, no heat.  A little space heater warms up Junebug just fine, so I didn’t need a heater.   This little AC sits outside the camper and connects via two hoses that are actually the hoses you would use for a dryer exhaust.  Their website said to install the two holes for the hoses on the side of the camper, but I thought that would be ugly.  I decided to drill two holes in the floor underneath the kitchen cabinets for my intake and output.  I haven’t finished making it look pretty yet, but it’s working great!  I got this kind because a window unit would look ugly (in my opinion) and Junebug’s frame isn’t strong enough to support a roof unit.  Other people have installed a window unit under the bed and vented it through the baggage door or through the floor, but I didn’t really want to go that route either.  This seemed like the best option for me, and so far, I’m happy with the decision.  It has a little infrared remote control that serves as the thermostat so it knows the temperature inside the camper at all times.  

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I had to buy a hole saw and the attachment to go with it. It cost around $40 for both so it wasn’t cheap!

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One of the holes I had to cut was going to go through the old asbestos tile. I was a little nervous about this, so I wore my mask and kept spraying the floor with water while I was cutting. I then carefully gathered up all of the shavings after I was done.

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The one on the right will be under the fridge when I put it back in its spot. It’s for the output. The one on the left will be the return air vent, which is under the sink.

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Here’s a pic of the one on the right after I drilled the hole and put the attachment in it.

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And both are installed! I added some ductwork to the output and a screen to the return to keep particles out. The ductwork is a little too long since I will be putting a piece of wood back in the space below the fridge. I am still trying to decide how to cover the space and have a vent. None of the vents at Lowe’s were exactly what I was looking for.

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Here’s the unit hooked up outside. I am going to find a base for it with little wheels. I also need a way to secure it to the hitch so someone doesn’t steal it from the campground. I will worry about those things a little later.

Once I got the AC hooked up, I got to work on the electrical.  Unfortunately, it was late in the day, so I didn’t really get anywhere.  I made more progress today. 

I ended up deciding to replace both the fixture and the fixture box above the dinette.  I didn’t like the idea of having the plug on the fixture itself like the original, it didn’t seem as safe.  The wires in the original fixture were old too.  The only thing I don’t like about the new fixture box is that it’s blue, and you can see the top of it when standing over by the kitchenette.  I may go back and replace it with a different one later, I don’t know. I also had to add a j-box between the outlet and the fixture above the dinette and pigtail the wires from the outlet.  It was too difficult to get two sets of 12 gauge wire into the little outlet box because it’s so thick.  I also had so much trouble accessing the boxes in this space because the ceiling is curved.  

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Before connecting the wires inside the j-box. The old fixture box is still here.

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With new j-box and wires all connected and stapled down. I really hope this works when I hook it up to power!

The 12 gauge wire was so difficult to work with!!  It took me forever to hook up each receptacle thanks to the 12 gauge wire.

After finishing the dinette, I installed the outlet under the sink for the fridge.  It was an easier one because I only had one set of wires connected to it since it was the end of the circuit.  

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I then moved over to the closet.  I wanted to add an outlet here for general use, but also because I ran the 12v wires from the Fantastic Vent over to this area.  I bought a voltage converter and a plug so that I can plug the Fantastic Vent into a normal outlet(it comes in 12v only).  Later down the road, I plan to upgrade my system to include a battery so that I can have electricity off grid.  That’s too much to take on right now though, so I’m just hooking up the fan this way for now.

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I bought some fancy new wire cutters, specifically made for stripping 12 and 10 gauge wire. They really made my life a lot easier.

 

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Here’s the closet receptacle. I bought a double outlet box so I would have room for the wires to the side. I put a cover over this so you can only see the outlet now.  I will also be painting the box and area around it purple.

And the pictures below are the fixtures all hooked up again!  

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I also installed an outdoor plug underneath the camper to plug my AC into.  It has its own dedicated circuit (15 amps).  It only draws 7.2 amps, but I wanted to be on the safe side and let it have its own.  I accidentally picked a spot for the outdoor plug that was too tight initially, so I had to move it, and in doing so, I exposed some of the wire (rated for interior wiring only).  I may need to go back and redo it later.  I’m going to leave it for now because I have so many other things I need to finish first.

The pictures below are the underside of the camper.  On the left, you can see the outdoor plug I installed.  Above that is the air vent for the AC.  It didn’t come with a cap, and I really needed one, so I was excited to find this adjustable cap at Lowe’s.  It expands when you turn the wing nut so that it fits snug inside the opening.  I bought two of these to cover the holes where the AC hoses connect when it’s not in use.  They worked perfectly for this task!

 

 

 

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All that’s left of the electrical system is the power inlet and the breaker box with corresponding wiring.  I also need to run a new ground wire.  I ran the old one and bolted it to the frame, but it’s a really high gauge and won’t work for my new system.  I bought a piece of 8 gauge wire to use for the new ground wire, so I’m going to have to fish it down to the frame, hopefully using the old piece.  If that doesn’t work, I may just drill a hole through the floor and run it to the frame that way. I hate to drill more holes in the floor though, I think I may have reached my quota! 

Hopefully I’ll have some time during the week to finish installing the breaker box and inlet, otherwise I will start out next weekend a little behind schedule.  We’ll see how it goes!   Two weeks to go until I need to be finished…deep breaths…. 

 

 

Crunch Time!

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I just sent out the Evite for Junebug’s unveiling party this past week.  Evite even had a little Shasta camper template so it couldn’t have been more perfect for the event!  The date is September 12th and now the pressure is on to finish.

I thought since I now had September 12th as my new deadline, I would get extra done this weekend, but that’s not really how things went.  On Saturday, I applied a third coating of paint stripper to the drip rail.  I let it sit and went in the garage to finish rebuilding the door.  I thought the door wouldn’t take me that long to finish because I finished stripping the paint off the frame pieces during the week.  Unfortunately, it took me almost all day!  I initially thought it would be a good idea to add some putty tape around the edges of the door frame to seal it.  That didn’t work at all.

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What ended up happening was that the putty tape was too thick and I couldn’t get the frame piece around it because it’s supposed to fit tightly.  Then I tried some gutter seal, and that just made a big fat mess everywhere, so I gave up and didn’t add any sealant.  If some water gets in there, oh well.

Once I was done rebuilding the door, I got ready to install it.  I first put the screen door back in the door frame because it was still attached to the hinge.   It was at that time that I noticed the screen no longer fit in the doorway!  When I retiled the floor on top of the old tiles, it added just enough extra height to the floor that the screen was too long.  ugh  I was planning to make a new screen door one day, so I guess that day will come sooner than I imagined!

I removed the screen door and then installed the door.  After I found the handle for the exterior and interior, I went to look for the keys and then realized I had no idea where they were.  I searched high and low and still haven’t found the stupid keys!  I usually don’t lose things, but this project has made such a mess of my garage and house that I have been losing things right and left.  I went ahead and installed the handle, but now it won’t lock unless you’re inside the camper.  I may have to pay to have it rekeyed…again.

Later that day, I tried scraping off the remaining paint from the drip rails.  Unfortunately, some of the paint would not budge.  I ended up deciding to use the wire wheel on it to scrape the rest off.  It leaves scratches all over the aluminum, but I was too tired of messing with it.  Even using the wire wheel, it is taking me ages to get all the paint off!  I still have two more pieces of drip rail to go before they’re all cleaned and ready to install.

Today (Sunday), I installed the drip rails that were finished and ready.  I also spent an hour at Lowe’s looking for various pieces I needed to get my AC installed correctly.  I had to get a bit creative, but I’ll save that post for another day.  smile

After installing the drip rails, I also installed the license plate.  It is really starting to come together!  I’m still a little nervous that the tail lights won’t work when I hook them up again.  Fingers crossed that none of the wires come loose under all the skin!

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The lines don’t exactly match up on the left side of the door for some reason. It’s not that noticeable so I’m hoping no one will see it. I’m definitely not taking the door off and starting over!

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Awning rail installed! There’s one screw sticking out a little because I ran into a screw behind it that was holding the frame together. I think I may cut this screw short so that there’s still a screw in that hole.

It’s really starting to look like a complete camper again!

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I’m going to try to work on the electric wiring during the week this week just to get a bit of a head start on the weekend.  My new 30 amp plug and cord came in the mail today, but I’m still waiting for the 15 amp adapter that I will need to test it out at home.  I still need to finish installing the breaker box and all of the receptacles first anyway.  Next week’s post should be electric!  hehe

Light at the End of the Tunnel

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I’m finally able to see the finish line!  I still have quite a few things to do before I’m totally done, but I can finally look at the list of things left and not feel overwhelmed.

I took last weekend off because I went to my grandma’s near Austin and spent time with my family.  My brother and sister in law drove down from Kansas with their two kids and my parents were there as well. I don’t get to see all of my immediate family together very often, so I really enjoyed spending time with them.  The picture below is the morning sun rising over the lake from my grandma’s boat dock.  Pretty nice scenery to wake up to!

 

IMG_2006I came back from my grandma’s feeling refreshed and rested.  I had a busy Monday and Tuesday at work, but toward Tuesday afternoon I starting feeling a little sick.  By Wednesday lunchtime, I had to go home and was stuck there for the rest of the week thanks to whatever illness I had contracted.  I don’t know how I managed to get sick right after a nice relaxing weekend.  confused emoticon

By this weekend, I was finally feeling better, so I slowly got back to work on Junebug.  Even though I got off to a slow start, I did finally end up making quite a lot of progress.

First, I went by a metal fabricator in town to see if they could make some new pieces for the door frame out of my pre-polished aluminum skin I had leftover.  They said that they could, but unfortunately it would cost me around $400.   Yikes!  I decided I would pass.  I then spent several hours trying to fabricate my own pieces.  They looked pretty good, but today I made up my mind that I’m just going to strip the paint off the old pieces and polish them.  It was too hard for me to get the new pieces to look exactly how I wanted.  Oh well..

I finished the wood part of the new door this weekend.  First, I needed to glue a few more support pieces to the frame.

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I then shellacked the interior part of the door.  It’s going to look so pretty!

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Natural without shellac

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After one coat of amber shellac

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After 3 coats of amber shellac and 3 coats of clear shellac

I then stripped the paint off of the hinges to the door and screen door.  I still need to polish them so they shine like the new skin.

While I was stripping paint, I also started stripping the paint off of the drip rails and the baggage door.  I had to pull all of the old skin out of the garage so that I could actually find the stupid drip rails.  They were buried under all of the crap in my garage.  I can’t wait until I can clear it all out and actually park my car in it again!

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Pile of old skin. I think I’ll take this to the metal salvage place when I’m done to see how much money I can get for it. Some of the pieces are still good but others, not so much. There’s no way I could sell it to someone for their camper.

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I chopped up some of the old pieces of wood I won’t be reusing and am putting them in the garbage. I had to get rid of some of the clutter in the garage.

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Here are the drip rails – paint stripping in progress

I will have to coat the drip rails again with more paint stripper next weekend and scrub them.  I’m hoping one more coat will do the trick.

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Still a little paint left but I got most of it.

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It was hard to get the paint out of the awning rail so I might end up just leaving a little there. I don’t think it will be that noticeable.

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There were already some scratches on the baggage door, so I went ahead and scratched it some more with my wire brush while I was getting the paint off. It will just have a nice brushed aluminum look!

 

Next, I cleaned the jalousie windows, polished them, and then installed.  They turned out really nice!

It was so hot outside, I decided to do the window cleaning inside.  I turned my bathtub into the cleaning area.  It made quite a mess, but I cleaned it all up later.  I got most of the grime off but the window screens are still rusty.  I figured I can replace those at some point if it bothers me.

 

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I was really pleased with how shiny I was able to get the jalousie windows!

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Before installing the window, you have to apply putty tape around the back edge of the window to seal it water tight.  After screwing it down, I came back and cut the excess with a razor blade.  Fingers crossed it sealed properly!  I don’t want any leaks in my “new” camper!

 

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I also started peeling back a little more of the protective film.  I needed to remove it from the window before installing and then I guess I got carried away.  smile emoticon  I also finished installing the taillights.  I haven’t checked them again to make sure they work.  I hope one of the wires didn’t come loose when I was securing the covers or something horrible like that.

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After installing the windows, I moved inside and finished making the bed and benches (mainly the benches).

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Finished making the frames for the benches.

I already did one cutout a while back, so I just needed to finish the cutout for the other bench.  I used my oscillating tool to cut out the shape after tracing it onto the wood.

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And after applying 3 coats of amber and 3 coats of clear shellac, they’re all done!  Now, I just need to finish making the cushions for the tops and secure the benches to the floor.   I laid down on the bed today to see what it felt like and it was pretty comfortable!  I can’t wait to spend the night in Junebug again!

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I still need to add the mirror behind the starburst cut out.

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Next weekend, I will be connecting all the new wiring and hopefully hooking it up to some electricity!  I really hope I don’t burn down my camper in the process.  I will be doing quite a bit of studying online before connecting anything to a power source, that’s for sure!

I’ll leave you with a cute picture of my cousin Anderson and Baxter.  He loves Baxter so much and tells everyone that Baxter is his dog that I just keep for him.  He’s such a sweet kid. smile  I’ve promised him that we will camp out together in Junebug as soon as she’s finished.  He’s excited and so am I!


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Slow and Steady

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Slow and steady wins the race, right??  I’m starting to get impatient because I was hoping I would be further along by now.  Not that I haven’t gotten a lot done though.  I guess I just keep thinking each task will go quickly and that’s not what happens.  You think I’d have learned by now that this project is just going to continue to be like that!  haha

I didn’t get to work on Junebug at all yesterday because I had a brunch scheduled with two of my girlfriends and then we did some shopping.  By the time I got home, it was evening, and I decided that it was too late to start on anything.  This morning, I spent too much time messing around with the photos on my computer and then taking Baxter to the park, so I didn’t get started until around 2pm.  Oh well, sometimes I just have to do something else for a little while to regain the energy to get back to my project.

I’m getting closer to finishing the exterior of Junebug, so that’s exciting!

The first thing I did today was roll Junebug out of the driveway and hook her up to my car to make sure my tail lights were still working.  I connected them to the wires last weekend but didn’t try them out.  I was having trouble getting the batt connectors to close over the wires tight enough, so I was nervous that maybe they wouldn’t work today.  Thank goodness they did!

After finishing that task, I rolled Junebug back into the driveway and set about finishing the street side.

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My neighbor gave me these cut resistant gloves. They work great and I sort of look like a transformer! haha

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I trimmed the street side bottom edge and folded it under.

I think the bottom edge looks ok folded under, so I may wait until later to add the trim.

Next, I finished the rear panel.

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Rear is folded under and secured!

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Can’t wait to get the bumper on so the look will be complete.

 

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Still has the stupid creases in the metal on this side. I tried to get it to smooth out but it wasn’t happening. I’m hoping the bumper will cover it up a little.

 

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Screwed this little trim piece down and peeled back a little more of the protective film. This piece isn’t perfect since I made it, but it works! I will make a few more to go around the whole door frame.

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Next, I drilled little holes in the four corners of the remaining windows so I had a guide for cutting the hole.  Then I used my sharpie to trace the outline.

 

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All cut out and ready for a window!

Then I got to work cleaning the windows.  They had paint and who knows what else from years of exposure to the elements.  I also had to remove the bits of putty tape from the inside edges.  I used this wire wheel attachment for my drill that I picked up at Harbor Freight.  It worked really well but it also scratched up the aluminum pretty bad.  I don’t really think it will matter in the end though.

 

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My neighbor gave me this tube of metal polish. It works great!

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All clean and polished!

I thought my window was so shiny until I put it up against the pre-polished aluminum skin.  I don’t see how I would ever get it that shiny so I will just live with it.  It doesn’t look bad though.

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I had to peel back some more of the protective film to get it out of the cracks between the skin and the window. It looks so beautiful!!

 

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Another angle. 🙂

So my work is done for today.  I need to finish cleaning and polishing the other three windows and then they’ll be ready to install.  I am also planning to take some of the leftover skin to a sheet metal shop to get them to fabricate some frame pieces for the door.  They are folded too tightly for me to do it myself without it looking bad.  Hopefully I will be able to easily find a place to do it for me.

Next week, I’m going to visit my family at my grandma’s house near Austin.  I won’t be able to work on Junebug for a little while, but that’s ok.  I’m very excited to see my family since I usually only get to see them a couple of times a year.  I will post an update as soon as I am back at it the following week.

 

 

Battered and Bruised

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Warning:  The first part of this post is a bit depressing.  If you’re not in the mood to handle a depressing post, you can skip the first paragraph and come back to it later when you’re mentally prepared.

I feel like I took a beating this week.  Monday started out ok, nothing special happened.  Tuesday, however, was the day from hell.  First, I spent part of the night feeling sick and had to go into work a little late.  Maybe my body knew somehow that the day was cursed and was trying to avoid it.   On my way into work, I spilled coffee all over my white shirt.  Then, when I got to work, I accidentally stuck my smart card (my badge that I have to insert into the computer to log on) into the cd drive because someone had the clever idea to put the card reader directly above the cd drive just to mess with people like me who are having a bad day and not paying attention.  ugh Of course, I couldn’t get it out and I couldn’t go anywhere without my badge, so I had to recruit a coworker to go with me to the IT floor to get someone to help me.  The guy took my computer apart, but I finally had my badge again after about an hour of wasted time!  After that, I thought things could only get better.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.  It was a nice day outside, so I decided to forego my usual spin class and head home to take Baxter for a run in the park by my house.  While we were out on our run, I saw a guy on a motorcycle hit a gravel patch, then the curb, then lose control and crash.  I wasn’t very far away, so I ran over immediately, thinking somehow I could help.  I don’t know what I was thinking since I didn’t have my cell phone, not to mention that I had a dog with me.  I guess it was just instinctual.  I was the first person to arrive on the scene, and as soon as I saw him, I wished I hadn’t.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet, and his head injuries were pretty severe.  I asked if he could hear me, and he didn’t respond even though his eyes were open.  He also wasn’t moving.  I noticed another car had stopped at this point, and the woman was calling 911.  I was relieved.  I thought the woman would get out of her car and come over, but she didn’t.  The furthest she got was to open her car door and step right outside of it.  She kept her distance and yelled over to me to answer the 911 operator’s questions.  A guy then runs up to me and frantically asks, “What do I do?  What do I do?”  I was trying to hold it together.  I guess everyone handles emergency situations differently.  A few seconds later, a nurse pulled up in her car and, with a somber expression on her face,  quickly walked over to the man, holding some type of first aid kit.  I stared at the man for another minute as people started showing up from all around.   I wondered if I needed to stay to talk to the police.  I didn’t know if anyone else had actually seen the accident.  Since it was only him and no other driver was involved, I thought maybe I didn’t need to stay.  At this point, I thought I might start bawling uncontrollably, so I decided I’d better go.  I knew he was getting help from the nurse until the ambulance arrived, and I was just in the way.  When I got home I cried really hard.  I don’t think I’ve cried that hard since my dad died.  I think I spent the rest of the week trying not to think about this man but failing miserably.  He was the first thing I thought of when I woke up and the last thing I thought of when I went to sleep.  I tried to look up information online about him, because I thought I could have some sense of closure if I knew what happened to him.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t survive, but I couldn’t find anything online about it.  Unfortunately, these types of motorcycle accidents are WAY too common.  If only he had been wearing his helmet, he would have been ok!   This whole incident got me thinking a lot about what is really important to me in life.  My family and my friendships are by far the most important things to me.  And Baxter too of course.  I want to tell my family and friends how much I love them every day, but that’s not always possible and would be a little over the top if I really did that I guess.  I hope that they know how important they are to me without me having to say it every day.   I kind of feel silly spending so much of my time alone, working on Junebug, when I don’t know how much longer I will have to spend with the people I care about.  Life can be over so quickly and unceremoniously.  I guess I keep working on Junebug because without a goal to work toward, I would feel lost.  And I felt lost this week and needed something to take my mind off of it.

So, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I will switch to the updates on my progress this weekend.  Junebug has a few bruises as well thanks to my mistakes.  It didn’t go perfectly (but when does it ever?), but I did finally finish getting the roof folded over and stapled down.  it was definitely the toughest job I’ve had to do yet, even harder than putting the side skins on last weekend.  Maybe because I was doing it alone, but I think it was just physically exhausting.

I started yesterday by finishing the insulation on the back panel.  I realized immediately that Oscar, my welder, had forgotten to leave some wire for the license plate light. ugh!  I had to call him because I wasn’t sure if I should wire it myself since that didn’t work too well the last time. haha  Luckily, Oscar is a really nice guy and was able to come by my house around 6pm yesterday to fix the problem.  He tested all of the wires and they worked, so let’s hope they stay that way once the lights are hooked up!

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Wires are all ready to go and insulation is in!

 

Next, I set out to patch up the mistake I made when cutting the side skin.  I cut a piece to fit over it and overlap slightly, then sealed the gap with gutter seal.  It doesn’t look perfect, but I’m hoping maybe it won’t be that noticeable once the drip rail is on since it’s up high.

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Mistake – before patching

 

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After patching – the protective film is still on the patch

On Saturday, I also finished trimming the bottom edge of the curb side and then folding it under.   I put a few staples in, but not many because I will be screwing in some trim along the bottom and sealing it with gutter seal.

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I made this little piece to go in the doorway from leftover skin. I will be doing the same for the top and sides of the door frame. I would also like to use some of the skin for the door itself, but the way it’s bent, I will likely need to take the skin to a metal shop where they have the right tools.

Today, I first removed a few of the stainless screws I had put into the curbing (the little strips of wood all along the outside of the frame that the roof staples into).  I decided that now that the curbing was in place and the curves were achieved, I didn’t need quite as many screws.  I was also worried about the screws being too close together and getting in the way of the screws that will hold the drip rail in place.

 

After that, I started securing the skin.  I started at the front, and worked my way toward the rear.  I did small sections on either side, going back and forth to hopefully avoid any buckling in the aluminum.

 

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I used a sharpie to draw a line after measuring so that I could cut the excess skin and only leave 1/2″ to fold over.

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Here’s what it looks like after cutting with my metal shears. I cuts a little slice right out of the middle. This allows the larger piece of metal you’re cutting off to stay put and not have to curl up. It’s pretty neat how it works!

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All ready to start folding over. I only cut sections at a time and then folded over.

 

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Here’s what it looks like after holding down a wood block close to the edge, then hammering over the edge with a rubber mallet. This was definitely a good arm workout!

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Front panel is getting close!

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As you can see here, I cut little triangular notches in the aluminum on the really curvy parts so that they would lay flat after folding over. It worked really well!

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Ugh! Buckling! I’m not sure what caused this, but I think it might have been the insulation on the opposite side that was sticking up a little too much.

 

I eventually corrected the buckling, but unfortunately the whole roof moved slightly toward the street side as a result.  Luckily I had enough skin left on the curb side to make up for it.  It was slight enough of a change the it didn’t make the pattern in the skin look uneven (thank goodness!).

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Here’s a close up of the patch I did now that the roof is stapled down. It’s not really that noticeable I don’t think. Hopefully it will be even less noticeable with the drip rail over it.

 

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Front is all secure! Just need to cut out the window now of course.

When I got to the rear of Junebug, I realized that I needed to go ahead and attach the tail lights so that I could make sure the excess wire was safely under the skin where I wouldn’t accidentally put a screw through it.  I thought that would be an easy job, but it actually took forever!  I couldn’t get the Batt connectors to hold the wire like Oscar could.  I didn’t have a crimping tool, so I had to make do with my wire cutters.  When I crimped the batt connector, I accidentally cut through it a couple of times.  confused I finally got the wires to stay, but I’m a little nervous that the lights won’t work when I hook them up.  I didn’t have the heart to try them tonight in case they didn’t work.  I will try them next weekend when I’m not so exhausted.  If something went wrong, I’ll have to undo the back panel and then restaple it after fixing the lights.  It’s doable, but I REALLY don’t want to do that!

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Unfortunately, I ran into another buckling problem, right at the end!  You can see where the buckling occurred, right next to the steel beam.  I also cut the holes in the skin in the wrong spot and had to make them much wider, thanks to my initial buckling problem.  So… Junebug is going to be far from perfect at the end of this.  But I’m not perfect either.  I mean, who wants to be perfect?  That’s so boring.  hahaha

I’m hoping that the bumper will help to hide these little blemishes.  I am also rethinking my plan to put the spare tire on the tongue, and may put it back here after all.

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And here’s a shot of the whole thing after two hard days of labor.  I still need to finish the very bottom of the rear, but it’s almost there!  I also need to finish cutting out the window holes and add the drip rail and trim.

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I’m glad this week is over.  I am hoping that next week will be better!