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Working Vacation – Day One

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So, I decided to take this week off work (well almost all of the week, I have a meeting on Wednesday that I couldn’t reschedule).  Most people would go to the beach or relax somewhere nice with their feet up, but not me, I must admit that my little addiction means I plan to spend my entire vacation working on Junebug. lol   I know, I’m hopeless.  I swear I will relax and go camping once I am done with this project!  I like a challenge, and my new goal is to finish Junebug (or get as close as possible) by the last week of July (i.e. two weeks from now eek).  My family is coming down to my grandma’s in Austin to visit, and I would love to take Junebug to her house again to show how changed she is!

Early last week, I called Steve at Hemet Valley RV and ordered my new pre-polished aluminum siding for Junebug.  I sent him the “lovely” drawing below to help explain my order.  I think it’s pretty clear that my sketching abilities are rudimentary at best. haha

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In order the measure the size of the roof/rear/front of Junebug, I actually tied a piece of twine to the tongue and then threw the rest over the top of the camper until it fell on the other side.  After that, I removed the twine and measured how long it was.  I don’t know if this was the best method, but it was sure a lot easier than trying to use the measuring tape!  IMG_4640

 

After discussing the sizes I needed with Steve for a few minutes, we settled on one long piece with factory seams to cover the roof, rear, and front of the camper that would be 84″ wide by 24′ long.  He wanted it to be 24′ feet long vs 20′ feet long since that would probably be cutting it too close and it comes in 4′ pieces.  I will also be getting four side pieces, two for each side.  Each will be 10′ long and 4′ tall, with the bottom piece already bent at the bottom so I can easily fit it to the bottom of the sides.  The top piece will have an S lock seam in it so that it will easily slide into the bottom piece, creating a water-tight seal.  I figured it would take a few weeks for me to get my siding, but Steve told me that it should arrive by this Thursday, July 10th!  I was so pleasantly surprised that it would be ready and shipped so quickly!  I have already enlisted the help of three friends next weekend to help me put it on Junebug in exchange for beer, food, and swimming in the pool after.  smile  I can’t wait!

In preparation for the new skin, I decided I had better look into what type of aluminum shears I should get.  I already have a multi-purpose hand-held set, but they don’t really work that well, so I wanted something better.  Today, I decided to buy a pair of electric metal shears from Northern Tool.  I tried them on my stainless steel backsplash, which is harder to cut than aluminum, and they worked great!  I am hoping they will make cutting the aluminum siding a cinch.

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My pool party for the 4th of July went well.  I was slightly hungover on Saturday, but that didn’t stop me from getting a few things done on Junebug after cleaning up the mess in my house.

I decided that I wanted to put a bit of metal flashing around the rear to add some protection from water that might get under the skin while driving on wet roads.  I thought the old siding would be put to good use for this purpose!

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piece of old siding before cutting a section off

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After attaching the aluminum and adding a piece of wood for extra support. Still not finished though..


I still need to add another piece of wood across the rear for the siding to attach to.  I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this since the new steel beams are in the way of attaching a piece of wood all the way across.  I may have to attach some pieces in sections.  I’m also planning to put some sealant around the flashing where it meets the wood.  I will be painting the undercarriage with Black Beauty Fence Post Paint as well.  I just picked up a huge 5 gallon drum of it from Home Depot.  I wanted less, but apparently they don’t sell it in smaller quantities.  If anyone wants some fence post paint, you know who to call!

I had the same welder I hired a while ago come back to help me fix the taillight wiring.  Initially, he was just going to help me prepare to connect the taillights again once the skin is on, but upon closer inspection, he thought it would be best to replace the wiring.  I thought that was probably a good idea seeing as how it was pretty old.  He added all new wiring and took some measurements and is planning to come back again soon to attach the bumper, repair my propane tank holder, and add a spare tire mount to the propane tank holder.  All of that is going to cost me $300 which is more than I wanted to spend, but I figured I might as well just get it done now and not have to worry about it later.

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New wiring – all different colors than the old wiring. Not sure if the colors have changed over time, or if the Shasta factory didn’t care. I’m guessing the latter based on experience…



It started raining later on Saturday, so I changed course and started building a drawer to go under the bed.  I used some pieces of pine for the frame then attached leftover pieces of birch as the bottom, sides, and front.  It’s a good sized drawer, it measures 35″ wide x 24″ deep, x 10″ tall.  I thought it would be easier to access than lifting up the bed to get things. IMG_4644
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IMG_4648 I screwed in the first drawer face, and then this one is going to be glued to the other face so that no screws are showing.

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I was able to use a leftover piece of birch that already had shellac applied to it so it made my life a little easier.  The drawer pull is from Anthropologie, they have the best hardware!

Yesterday, I finally got the drain installed in the floor and sealed properly.  I attached a water hose attachment underneath, just to divert the water so that it wasn’t too close to the subfloor.  Now that I finally finished that task, I could install the final piece of paneling on the front wall. smile emoticon

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Newly installed final panel.  I hadn’t added the cross beam on the bottom yet in the pic below, but you get the idea.

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Next, I added some pieces of wood to hold the tail light wires as well as add something for the tail lights to screw into.  I wanted to put them slightly higher, but the welder didn’t leave me enough wires to reach that far.  Hopefully this will still look ok.   I lost a bit of time today because I had to redo the window framing.  It wasn’t quite the right size the way I had screwed it in before.  Oh well, this just means it will be less frustrating when I get ready to re-install the windows later. In the pic below, I have run the tail light wires to the support boards, but I still need to run an extra piece to lead to the license plate light as well as the side running lights.  Luckily, my welder taught me that the brown wire is the “hot wire”, i.e. the one I need to connect the running and plate lights to. smileIMG_4665

After finishing this task, I decided it was time to finish laminating the last remaining pieces of wood that I needed to install for the countertop around the stove as well as the pieces for the sliding doors above the kitchen.

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Laminate is cut and ready for contact cement.

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Contact cement is on!

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After 20 minutes, I attached the laminate and applied pressure. I will wait a day before using the router to trim the edges.

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Today, I used the router to trim the edges and then added the cute owl hardware I picked up at Anthropologie. I think they turned out pretty nice!

 

Today, I finished up the drawer project.  I added some pieces of wood under the drawer to keep it aligned and make sure it is supported once it is full of stuff. IMG_4680

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In this pic, you can see the additional pieces of countertop I added today now that the laminate has been applied.

I also attached the stainless steel backsplash with contact cement.  All it needs now is some trim and it will be ready to go!  In the picture below, you can also see how the new sliding doors look in the cabinet.  IMG_4672

And here’s how the drawer will look under the bed.  Obviously I still need to add the benches, etc. but this gives you an idea.

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Tomorrow, I have an electrician coming over at 8am to look at the wiring in the camper and add an outlet for my mini fridge.  Hopefully it won’t take him very long because I have an important date to take my 5 year old cousin to the zoo at 10am.  I will resume my restoration activities in the afternoon once we are done looking at the giant bugs at the zoo. biggrin

Stay tuned for day two updates tomorrow….



 

Third Time’s a Charm!

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

Plumbing and Other Disasters…

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

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

Ultimately, I decided to order a new vintage-style faucet: http://www.vintagecampers.com/viewpart.php?partID=777.  It’s very similar to the old one although not identical.  The best part is that it won’t leak (I hope).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Here’s a good view of the trim.

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It fits!

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Purple!

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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Before

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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I then used my spade bit to drill a starter hole in the sink cutout so that I could finish the cut with my jigsaw.  
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This MDF (micro density fiberboard) is super messy!

 

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Done with the cutouts!

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Hot and Sticky…Very Sticky

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

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

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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.