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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.

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

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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

 

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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. 🙂

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Before

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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!

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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.

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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

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

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Done!

 

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 (www.climaterightair.com) 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

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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

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

Hope

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“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.” — Barack Obama

Something about this project fills me with hope.  I am enjoying the challenges that come with it on a daily basis and don’t have any misconceptions about how difficult this project is or will be for me, and I’m loving every minute of it.     I am also enjoying the dreams I have of the places I will go when it’s all complete!  I just signed up for my first vintage camper rally this year.  It will take place in Lake Charles, Louisiana the weekend of September 20-21.  I’m really excited at the thought of camping in Junebug for the first time and showing off my hard work to others who have an appreciation for things old made new again.  This means I’ve got only about four more months before I need to be done!  I’d better kick it into high gear!

Yesterday, I came home from work and discovered a letter taped to my front door.

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My heart sank.  My first thought was, uh oh, someone has finally gotten fed up with this disassembled, eye sore of a camper sitting in my driveway and they’ve written me a letter to complain about it!  I don’t have an HOA in my neighborhood, thank goodness, and so far, I haven’t had any complaints about my little project being in front of my house all the time.  Luckily, when I opened the letter, it was just from a developer wanting to buy my house instead. haha  smile  I’ve always been the kind of person who sees the glass as half full, so I guess it was out of character for me to think the letter was something negative but I couldn’t help but wonder if my luck had run out.  Not this time!

Speaking of the glass being half full, I’m trying to maintain that outlook about my dating life, and I am afraid me posting about it on here is jinxing it or that’s what I’m telling myself anyway.    A few posts ago, I wrote that I was happy to have found someone and then less than a week after that, I was single again.  rolleyes  Dating is so unpredictable!  I decided that from now on, I will not be sharing any more updates on my dating life.   Maybe somehow that will lift the curse.  And if not, at least the only failures you will know about are my failures with Junebug.  haha

So, I’ve gotten quite a bit done since I last wrote.  Last weekend, I screwed in the replacement pieces of wood that I cut a few weeks ago for the framing.

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I also patched a hole in the subfloor where the old rusty water tank had its drain pipe.  I think I did a pretty good job for an amateur anyway.

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Here’s a picture of the hole from under the camper.

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I cut a piece of aluminum to cover the hole and screwed it over the hole under the camper.

 

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And here’s what it looks like after screwing the flashing on and spraying with a bunch of rubber sealant. I will also be painting the undercarriage later to make sure it’s all waterproof.

 

After finishing this task, I screwed the carriage bolt to the other side of my newly made steel crossbeam, and then secured the new overlay on my subfloor to cover the old tiles and create a smooth surface.

Then I screwed in all of the new wall panels.  I had already measured and cut the new birch panels a few weeks ago, so this task was pretty easy.  I used my new electric staple gun to secure them where you couldn’t see the staples, and then I covered the staples with little strips of one inch thick birch plywood held in place with twist nails.  I started drilling pilot holes for the twist nails and they aren’t such a pain anymore!

After that, I decided I really wanted to get all of my tiles laid out and cut to size.  I followed the instructions that Larry shared on his website, http://www.cannedhamtrailers.com/, and it worked perfectly!  I chose purple and white vinyl tiles since my theme is centered around purple. smile

 

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I am almost finished in this pic, I just had the doorway left. That was the hardest part though!

 

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I’m so proud of how well this turned out!

 

 

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Another view from the rear.

After I was done cutting the tiles to size, I had to remove them so I wouldn’t get shellac all over them.  I wanted to label the edges so I could remember where they went when I got ready to glue them down.  Hopefully this method will work!  I’ll report back on that when I get to that step later.

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Yesterday and today, I got to work shellacking the interior walls and cabinets.  I started out trying to use my spray gun, but that turned out to be quite a mess.  The problem with the paint sprayer is that it wastes a TON of shellac in the process!

I had fun with my painting outfit for a short while until I started sweating bullets in the thing.

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The paint sprayer kept leaving runs everywhere, so I decided I will save it for the clear shellac since runs aren’t as noticeable with the clear.  I finished the amber shellacking with a brush.  I’m very pleased with how it looks so far!  The only thing that sucks is that the veneer keeps getting wrinkly at the edges due to all of the moisture.  I’m hoping it won’t be too noticeable once everything is finished.

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The veneer on the closet turned a beautiful amber color after 3 or 4 coats of the amber shellac.

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The wood on the walls is darker, so I only put one coat of shellac on it. It’s not a perfect match but close.

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Here’s a pic of the street side wall.

After finishing this, I decided I wanted to go ahead and cut my new stainless steel backsplash to size.  I had read some really complicated instructions online on how to cut stainless steel and was a little overwhelmed.  I decided that I would just give it a go with my aluminum shears and see what happened.  It wasn’t easy, but it worked in the end!

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I haven’t installed the backsplash yet, the panels are just propped up to see how they will look. Once it’s installed, it will look better. I am excited at how pretty everything is looking so far!

Tomorrow, I’m planning to start spraying everything with lots of clear shellac.  That will start to give it that beautiful shiny look that I’m going for.  Everything is really starting to come together!

Butter Fingers

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Today, I continued my quest of glueing birch veneer onto the remaining bits of wood in the camper that aren’t getting replaced.  I was fairly successful, although today I had a few mishaps. Once I got all of the pieces measured and cut, I got out my new can of contact cement and opened it […]

Owl Never Finish This Project!

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Ok, so I know the statement in my title is incorrect (I sure hope so!), but at the rate I’m going it feels that way, and I was just trying to think of some silly way to incorporate owl into the title. wink  I have some good news to share, my backyard is now home to three Eastern Screech owlets and two proud parents!  I’m so excited to have a little owl family sharing my backyard with me.  They are ridiculously cute, and the first thing I do when I wake up is look out the window to see if the owlets are poking their heads out of the owl house.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when I discovered that my two adult owls had returned from wherever they had been hiding since sometime last year.  Then, last weekend, one of them was occupying the owl house (thanks previous owners of my house for building it!), and she was not at all pleased that I was planting some flowers near her house.  You can see that she is being very protective in the picture below.  I was a little worried she might swoop down and attack my head!

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Little did I know, there were eggs in the house that she was guarding!  A few days later, I noticed a little head poking its way out of the entrance to the owl house and much to my surprise, there were three owlets inside!  I was so excited!

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Since then, I have been outside every day to monitor their progress and try to snap a few photos without scaring them too much.  Below, they are trying to squeeze out of the door of their house at the same time.  I love how their bodies make a heart shape. smile

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They are growing up fast!  baby owl

 

Now that I’ve overloaded you with cuteness, I will get to my updates on Junebug’s restoration.  I definitely made some more progress last weekend and today.  Last weekend, I bought a paint sprayer.  What a great invention!  I wish I would have purchased it a while ago because it made shellacking a breeze!  The only drawback was the light coating of shellac that is now all over the garage.   That can be easily prevented by hanging some drop cloths, but I was being lazy because it was clear shellac.  If I use the sprayer for colored paint, I will be more careful.

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Just look at the result!  So shiny and beautiful. 🙂  This is after three coats of amber shellac (with a brush) and then four coats of clear shellac with the sprayer.  It almost has a mirror finish.  I couldn’t be more pleased.   IMG_4214

This weekend I had a helper!  It was nice to have a friend come to help me.  He helped me get the stubborn sink faucet unscrewed so that I can repair it since it was leaking.  I needed to remove it anyway since I will be replacing the laminate on the kitchen countertop.

My friend and I also removed one of the support beams from under the camper and placed a new 2×4 there to replace it.  I had to borrow my neighbor’s drill bit again because I didn’t have one long enough to drill through the 2×4 in order to put the carriage bolt through to secure the beams and subfloor to the frame.  It’s all secure now!

Here’s my friend cutting some of the wood for the frame.IMG_4247Here’s the before picture.

IMG_4249And after!  I still need to replace the paneling here, but you get the idea.  I haven’t secured it yet, it’s just clamped in place.  I had to run to the store to get stainless steel screws.  I will not be buying any non-stainless steel screws in order to avoid any future rusting.

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Here’s a pic of the other side of the wheel.  I also cut new wood pieces to replace the old frame here because it was rotted.  Looks so much better!

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This is the curb side of the camper.  I cut a new little piece here as you can see on the right to replace some additional rotted wood.  Things are really starting to shape up!
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After my friend left, I got to work on my next task, applying birch veneer to the closet wall and one of the shelves that I decided I didn’t feel like removing.   Below are the before pictures.
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I used Weldwood Contact Cement and a little roller.  You apply a coating of contact cement to the veneer and the wood and allow to sit for 20 minutes.  Then you put the two together and it works like a dream!  If you don’t get it lined up correctly though, you’re in big trouble.  Unfortunately, that happened with my shelves.  Luckily I was able to cut a small sliver of veneer to fill in the spot where I was out of alignment, so hopefully no one will really notice my mistake.

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Here’s the veneer with lots of contact cement on it.  I wanted to make sure I had plenty so it would hold up in this Houston heat and humidity.IMG_4256 IMG_4257

 

And here is the finished product!

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Please ignore the other wood around it.  That will all be covered or replaced in due time.  I’m quite proud of the result here!  I put a light behind the veneer in order to see where I needed to cut to trace the outline of the shape.  The veneer is thin enough that you can see the light through it and cut to shape with a razor blade.  It took a little time to complete, but it wasn’t too difficult and the result was worth it!

So overall, I feel like I got quite a bit accomplished today.  I’m still wondering when exactly I’ll be done with this lengthy project.   I’m really hoping it’s sometime this year, fingers crossed!  I hope everyone reading this is enjoying their weekend!  It’s a beautiful weekend here in Houston. I’ll see you all when I have more updates to share.   cool

Easter Sunday

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Dear reader:  I started writing this on Easter Sunday, but then I ran out of time before I had to go celebrate with my cousins.  I am just now getting around to finishing the post a week later, but I didn’t want to rewrite the whole thing so it still has the Easter theme. 🙂

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For those who celebrate Easter, it’s a day to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  I was wondering earlier how in the world rabbits also got associated with this holiday, so I did a little research online.  I’m not sure how I got by before the internet, I guess I would have actually had to get out of the house and go to the library.  haha  According to Wikipedia (which I will assume has been vetted by someone knowledgeable), hares used to be thought of as hermaphrodites, meaning they could reproduce while still remaining virgins. confused hmm  This led to an association with the Virgin Mary which then led to many references to hares in medieval church art.  Because rabbits are considered a fertility symbol and springtime is their mating season, they naturally became a symbol of springtime which later led to them being associated with Easter.  Originating among the Lutherans, the Easter Hare originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient at the start of the season of Eastertide.  

So, in the spirit of the Easter Bunny, today I will be helping my cousin hide eggs for her son and his friend to find.  Since I don’t have kids of my own, this is actually my first time participating in an Easter egg hunt since I was little.  I think it will be fun and should bring back some memories. 

I used to love Easter egg hunts!  I was five years old in this picture. :)

I used to love Easter egg hunts! I was five years old in this picture, taken in 1984 at my grandma’s house.  That’s her in the pink. 🙂

It would certainly take an act of God to resurrect Junebug in three days.  Since that doesn’t seem to be an option, Junebug is coming back to life at a much slower pace.  That being said, I did make some pretty good progress recently.  I am really starting to see the how beautiful she is going to be when I’m done and it’s energizing!

I still had skin on the street side of Junebug because I hadn’t needed to remove it yet.  I finally removed that last weekend.  As you can see, my workspace is my driveway. haha

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Once the skin and old insulation were removed, I could assess the damage.  there was a bit of wood rot along the edges, although not nearly as bad as I expected to find.  and there was of course quite a bit of damage around the old water fill hole, but that’s easily fixable since I am planning to replace all of the interior wood anyway.

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I also finally removed the rail along the interior wall so that I could start cutting the pieces to replace the interior wall panels.

 

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In order to get the shape cut right, I clamped the paneling to the exterior of the camper and drew a line with a pencil around the edge.  It wasn’t perfect, so I had to make at least 30 trips back and forth to the garage to make adjustments with my jigsaw.

 

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All of the rotted edging and paneling that you see here will be replaced when I completely replace the ceiling panels.  I am just waiting to do that until I have them shellacked and ready to install.   I don’t want to apply shellac once they’re installed because painting a ceiling is not ideal and quite messy.  IMG_4182

 

 

The end result still wasn’t perfect, but pretty close!  What you are seeing here is new paneling on the curbside, the panel to the right is natural and the paneling to the left has one coat of amber shellac, hence the color difference.  I also cut a small piece for above the door.

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And here’s the street side!  Once again, you can see that one piece has shellac and the other is still natural.  I’ll finish shellacking everything later.  I used the panel from the curbside to trace the pattern, and I still had to make adjustments but it wasn’t nearly as difficult on this side.  You can see that I left some gaps along the bottom.  I’m planning leave some of the old wood there except the really rotted portion, so I’m not as worried about this part because it won’t be seen due to the benches that will be put back in to cover all of that part of the wall.  I may add more wood there for consistency, I haven’t decided yet.

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I also ordered a quilted stainless steel backsplash to go around the oven.  I’m excited about how it will look!  I’m not even going to replace the wood there since the backsplash will cover it anyway and it’s still in good condition.  That will save me some time.

 

Quilted backsplash

 

I’m hoping to make some more progress tomorrow, so I will try my best to write another post soon with updates.

On another subject, I was super happy today to discover that my screech owls who were living in my backyard have returned!  I have two and they are so cute!

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This one is inside the owl house in my backyard that the previous owners built. His name is Otis.

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This one is much prettier so I’d like to think it’s a female. I haven’t named her yet, but I guess I should think of a name if she sticks around.

Back in the Saddle

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I am way overdue for a post!  I decided a month ago that I needed to take a break from Junebug.  My yard was a mess, my house was a mess, and I was afraid my social life was suffering.  I didn’t want to let my addiction to this restoration project become an unhealthy addiction…

To catch everyone up on what I’ve been doing instead of working on Junebug, here’s a quick rundown:

  • Went on four more dates with the same guy I mentioned in a previous post, then decided I just wanted to be friends with him (if that’s possible).
  • Got my hair done and spent too much money treating myself on Valentine’s Day since no one else was going to. (Sorry Mom, you don’t technically count, even though I really appreciated the card and Starbuck’s gift card!)
  • Had a little party with my girlfriends on Valentine’s Day and talked about how great it is to be single.
  • Joined OKCupid on Valentine’s Day because one of my girlfriends said she was on there, and it was entertaining.  Guess we didn’t do a very good job of convincing ourselves that being single is great. wink
  • Spent countless hours sorting through messages from guys on OKCupid.  Replied to about 3% of them because the rest were either too young, too old, too weird looking, married (yes, there are married people on there, I was shocked), or just not my type in general.
  • Went on six more dates with different people.  Two of them were horrible and the others were pretty nice.  Tried to date multiple people at the same time, but it just wasn’t for me.
  • Turned 36 in New Orleans and went to a Mardi Gras parade. biggrin
  • Disabled my OKCupid account because I was getting overwhelmed and all those dates were getting in the way of my project!
  • Narrowed down all the guys to just one.
  • Broke my rule about not going on dates during the week for this guy.
  • Feeling very happy not to be single anymore.    (<3)

Ok now that we’re all caught up, I will get to the restoration updates. I got to work shellacking some of the panels because it has been raining a lot.  I used a roller this time and the result was ok, however I think this wood is much darker than the first piece I shellacked, so I’m not sure if I can put on more coats or it won’t match.  I think I may just do a bunch of coats of clear to give it the shiny finish I like.  The shellacking process is probably my least favorite thing to do because it’s so tedious and makes a mess.

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Trying to shellac as many pieces as I can at once to save time.

I was finally able to see a sneak peak of what the walls are going to look like when I put up the new birch paneling.  It’s nice to finally be able to see how pretty it will look when I start to install the new paneling!  smile

I'm not finished shellacking this piece, but I wanted to see what it would look like.

I’m not finished shellacking this piece, but I wanted to see what it would look like.

Today, I worked a bit on the shelves.  I decided to rebuild new shelves because the old ones were just too hard to refurbish and still look good.  Cutting the pieces for the new shelves wasn’t too difficult, but trying to hammer a twisty nail into the wood was VERY difficult!  I ended up deciding to just glue the pieces together for now until I can buy an air compressor and palm nailer.  I think it will be much easier if I use the palm nailer.  I wish I already had an air compressor.  I’m not even sure where I’ll put it since my garage is packed to the gills with stuff!  I may need to do some reorganizing soon.

Old shelves

Old shelves

New shelf pieces cut out of 1/8" birch paneling.

New shelf pieces cut out of 1/8″ birch paneling.

New pieces clamped onto the old shelf to see what it will look like.

New pieces clamped onto the old shelf to see what it will look like.

New shelf glued down.  After this dries, I will glue the face onto the base and the frame around it.  Then eventually I'll get to nail it all together.

New shelf framing glued down to base. After this dries, I will glue the face onto the base and then add the  frame around it.  Eventually I’ll nail it all together with twist nails.

I’m thinking I may stop for today and resume working on Junebug again tomorrow.  I need to run a few errands before it gets too late.

Applying birch veneer

Just a quick post to talk about applying birch veneer.  As I posted previously, I applied some birch veneer to the cabinet door and was successful (so I thought).  I noticed when I inspected the cabinet door today that some bubbles/wrinkles had appeared.  I was able to smooth it out, but I’m wondering if they […]

Super Bowl Sunday

What does the Super Bowl mean to me?  Or maybe I should ask the question, what does football mean to me?  The answer is nothing, and honestly I could not care less who is playing in the Super Bowl in any given year.  The only things I find exciting about the Super Bowl are the commercials.  And maybe the Puppy Bowl. haha  I went to my first NFL game last year when I was lucky enough to get two tickets in my company’s suite at the Texans game.  Unfortunately, the Texans had their worst year ever, so of course they lost the game.  A lot of fans were upset, but I was just excited about the free fancy food and drinks in the suite.  I could have been watching potato sack races for all I cared, and it would have been just as fun. haha  I never have understood how people can get so excited about football, as if their lives depended on whether their team won every game.  To me it’s just a game.  But I guess those people probably look at me and wonder why in the world I want to spend hours and hours every weekend restoring an old camper named Junebug.  One of my friends, who happens to be a football fan, said Junebug looks like a rusty old beer can.  I definitely took offense to that!  Does my life depend on whether I can restore Junebug to her former glory in the same way that some people get so caught up in a football season, tailgating, fantasy football and all the things that go along with it?  Yes, I suppose you could say I’m equally obsessed.  And if I look at it like that, maybe getting obsessed with football isn’t so bad.  It’s just a way to distract yourself for a few hours during the week from the stresses at work or in your life and focus on something other than yourself.  It provides a much needed escape and gives you a sense of community and purpose.  All of the others out there who are restoring vintage campers are my community now, just like football fans can be for each other.  These are the things that make life just a little sweeter.

Yesterday was a super frustrating day.  I didn’t hear from the guy I like, despite sending him a text in the morning (although I did just hear from him this morning, but why it took an entire day to respond is beyond me, I just don’t understand men and I probably never will!). rolleyes I made some progress on Junebug but ran into some difficulties along the way and may have to redo part my measurements on a piece of wood I cut to replace part of the frame.

The welder couldn’t make it to my house before dark on Friday, so he ended up coming first thing Saturday morning.  He showed up at 8am and didn’t warn me he was on the way, so luckily I had just gotten dressed when the doorbell rang!  He didn’t know I took his picture. hehe  razz

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It took him about an hour to complete the work, not only did he replace the cross beam that was bent, but he also added two additional beams to extend to the rear of the camper in order to provide structure for the bumper that will be added later.  I can tell a huge difference when I walk on the floor now, it feels sturdier.  The floor is also finally level!

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Beams are extending out the back but will be adjusted to fit the bumper and most likely shortened, depending on what it looks like when the skin is back on.

While the welder was working, I got out the skill saw and started cutting the paneling I received on Friday.  I cut all of the 1/8″ birch to 78 cm/6’6″ in length in order to fit the ceiling.  I think I may have gotten more panels than I actually needed but that’s ok, it gives me some wiggle room in case I mess one up.  When I cut the first couple, the birch veneer splintered pretty badly as I got to the end of the panel.  I realized after that that I needed to cut about three quarters of the way first, then flip the panel around and start from the other side to complete the cut.  That seemed to help enormously with the splintering problem.  I hope that when I use the jigsaw to cut out holes for the windows, etc that it doesn’t splinter.  That will be hard to hide.  Fingers crossed!

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I made quite a mess in my garage with all of the wood cutting. Sawdust everywhere!

After the welder was finished, I paid him and then started measuring and cutting the lauan (that’s a type of wood) to go over the subfloor to smooth it out in preparation for the new tiles.  That was a quick job, and I was happy with the result.

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Now I just need to glue it down and bolt it to the frame. I still need to add a couple of bolts to the new metal beam because he couldn’t get the existing bolts removed and had to cut them.

After that, I went to Home Depot to buy another attachment for my oscillating tool as well as some more wood and other supplies.  By the time I left there, I had somehow managed to spend over $200. eek

I measured the lower frame around the baggage door in order to replace the wood there.  It was pretty rotten as well as the beam behind the frame in that spot.  This is where my day got frustrating.  I thought this would be relatively easy, but what I didn’t realize was the new metal beam was sticking out a little too far on that side, so I had to cut a notch in my new frame to make it fit.  Then I realized that the existing frame was a little too low in that spot, and I can’t pick it up to get it level.  I noticed that the wheel well on that side is slightly bent, and I’m sure it’s once again a direct result of the previous damage to the frame, etc.  So, after cutting a new piece of frame, it didn’t quite fit right and I was covered in sweat trying to get it wedged in there!  It didn’t help that it was almost 80 degrees yesterday in Houston with about the same percentage humidity.  It’s only a matter of time before the mosquitoes return in full force and attack me all over while I’m trying to work on Junebug.

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Before. Frame is black and rotten. Yuck

I used my jig saw to cut the wood into the right shape.  It worked great!

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After. Not perfect and it’s not screwed in yet. I’m trying to decide if I want to remeasure this piece to ensure a perfect fit. You can see the notch on the lower right that I had to cut to leave room for the new metal beam that’s sticking out.

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New floor beam. I used a 2×4 instead of a 1×3 3/4 (I think) just to make it sturdier. I’ve noticed that Shasta skimped on the construction when it came to the materials they used.

I’m not sure what project I’ll tackle today.  I think I may try to glue some veneer onto a few more pieces.  It’s raining outside, so it’s not a good day to work on the framing.  I think I could use a break from that anyway!  One thing is for sure, even though I don’t care about the Super Bowl, I will be going to a party to watch it later today.  Or at least the commercials anyway.  smile emoticon Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone!

Waiting

I hate waiting.  Waiting in line, waiting for my food to come at a restaurant, waiting for my friends to show up because I’m usually the first to arrive.  I guess you could say I have a problem with patience.  confused emoticon Today is my day off, and I had to spend the first part of it waiting for my  beautiful birch to arrive from Houston Hardwoods.  Luckily, they arrived around 10am, so I didn’t have to stick around all day long.  I’m pretty pleased with the wood I picked out and can’t wait to start putting some shellac on it!

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Look at the beautiful wood grain on this piece!

I am also on pins and needles waiting for the guy I went out with last weekend to call.  He texted yesterday but today is Friday, and he still hasn’t asked me to do anything this weekend.   Why do guys always wait until the last minute?  Doesn’t he know I like to plan out my weekend in advance?  haha  I am apparently missing the “go with the flow” gene.   I’m also waiting for some fun things to arrive in the mail that I ordered for Junebug.  A few of them arrived yesterday and I was excited, but now I have to wait (once again) until Junebug is actually ready for them to be installed!

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New tankless water heater 🙂

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New plastic water fill (closed)

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Plastic water fill (open). It even has a little hole so you can lock it if you’re worried about someone sabotaging your water supply. Hopefully other campers wouldn’t be that mean!

The other items I ordered should be here sometime next week.  I’m really excited about my “new” Shasta emblem I ordered from http://www.vintagecampers.com .  Also got a tank holder and a replacement glass globe for my gas lamp.

tank holder

New propane tank holder. My welder is going to weld this to my trailer frame in the front. 🙂

Shasta emblem

Don’t ask me how much I paid for this. These are apparently in really high demand!

Yesterday, I felt industrious after getting home from the gym so I decided to do my first attempt at gluing the birch veneer to the cabinet door.  It turned out beautifully!  Now I just need to do the three drawers, the rest of the cabinet face, the closet walls and door, and the shelves.  ugh  Oh well, at least I have one item done.  It actually wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be.  I just had to be careful to keep the veneer lined up with the edges.  I think I might leave a little extra next time just in case I don’t get it exactly straight.  I can always trim the excess.

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Cabinet door – before

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Cabinet door with veneer cut and ready to glue

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All done! Now just needs a few coats of shellac

 

I’m now about to head to the Boneyard Drinkery with Baxter to meet a friend of mine with her dogs.  The Boneyard is the perfect place to spend an afternoon when it’s nice out in Houston.  I can’t spend all my time on Junebug and I’ve been neglecting Baxter lately, so it’s time for him to have some fun too!  http://www.boneyardhouston.com/

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Baxter in the bluebonnets. He’s so cute!

The welder is coming to my house to repair Junebug’s frame at 5:30pm.  I’m excited to get that done so that I can get the floor leveled.  The picture below is what I’m having him do as well.  He’s going to weld a bumper on with a spare tire mount.  I’m also going to make a custom tire cover that says Junebug on it.  Much cheaper than a personalized license plate and will have the same effect. smile emoticon

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This is not Junebug, just a photo to give you an idea of what the bumper and spare tire mount will look like. (Just imagine a custom tire cover with Junebug written on it in lavender and white).