I’m floored!

So, the first part of this actually happened several weeks ago, and I’m just now getting the time to post. I’m a lousy blogger, but we knew that. So, just move on, and pretend this just happened, if it makes you feel better!

Clyde has under floor and over floor, and some plastic between! He would have had it done a month ago, but… well, I’ll explain later!

Chad, as I have said a multitude of times, deserves a major award. He has done almost all the work on Clyde, and Clyde is really MY dream project, not his. This project REALLY proved it. Putting these floors down had to be the most awkward and irritating thing we’ve done in Clyde so far.

First, we cut and put down the metal portion of the floor, then came the truly irritating part. Putting the plastic vapor-barrier down. It was like trying to nail jello to the floor. Seriously, it slipped, it slid, and Chad would pull one way, I’d pull the other. Then, the metal would slide. We’d get that in place, then start over. Sometimes, we’d have to go under the camper and pull the metal back straight. If we’d been able to screw the metal down and then do the plastic, it’d be different. But, we wanted no screws under the wood, we wanted to sandwich it all together, to minimize the lumps and bumps on the floor. In other words, Chad was being a perfectionist!!!

But, we got the vapor barrier down, and taped it to the wall, so it would stay taut. Then, cut the wood. We did it in 3 sections. We started at the back, then added the front. Then…

As usual, Clyde had to have the last laugh. The last piece of plywood was literally a HALF INCH too small to cover the center gap. And, it was about 8pm on a Sunday. So, we couldn’t get more. Sigh. Oh, well, we got that part done today!!! So, it was a ways coming, but… ladies and gentlemen, I give you

CLYDE'S NEW FLOOR!!!!!!!

CLYDE’S NEW FLOOR!!!!!!! (toward the front)

FROM THE BACK!

(toward the back)

Did you notice all the lines on the floor? The blue is (of course) chalk lines from measuring and cutting the floor. BUT, the white lines are something MUCH more exciting. We’ve done the floor plan, so to speak. We went through with our measurements of things we have (fridge, etc) and measurements we have (beds, cabinets) and taped outlines for where everything needs to be. We had to change plans on a few things (we’ve once again had to change our minds on the size of the bed in the back, and changed the dinette from the front do the back. Again. What does that make 87 times? 90? I have lost count). It felt SO real today. We have a REAL floor. 4 solid walls. It’s easy to see where things will be now. It’s just awesome. I’m getting super excited.

We’ve also ordered a few things. We’ve got the trim for the outside ordered from Ohio. Chad has a call in to get the metal (angle iron, which is actually steel, I think) for the roof. I’ve ordered the gizmos that you run the wiring and plumbing from the outside to the inside. So, things are moving much faster. Which is mind boggling considering how painfully slow this process has been. But, it’s been something we’ve cobbled together as our crazy schedules allow. And, we’ve had a lot of fun doing it. Today, we just sat in the floor, where our dinette will be, facing each other and smiling. Holy cow, it was a GREAT day!

 

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Prime Directive

Yeah, we’re geeks, so the title was a MUST. We (and by “we” I mean “Chad”, because I had an insane week and wound up having to go into work for a few hours to get our head above water. Chad stuck to our schedule, and did Clyde work. I did show up and bring him drinks and help clean up at the end. So, I wasn’t totally useless, just mostly) got the frame welded in the necessary spots (the one we discussed earlier AND another spot he found that had only a tiny spot of weld) and primed!

Primed for Fun!!!

Primed for Fun!!!

OK, it might not look like much, but getting all the old rust off and having it primed, it really feels like we’re moving forward! So, yay for us!!!!

Say goodbye to the bumper (formerly known as the Chillolator holder).

Say goodbye to the bumper (formerly known as the Chillolator holder).

Nekkid camper does not have a bumper!

Nekkid camper does not have a bumper!

Also, Chad removed the rear bumper. Mr. Metalsmith is simply NOT satisfied with it, so he’s custom building one that will also double as a storage tube for the sewer tube. He’ll be using 4 inch square steel. Because, in this house, we do not merely build… we overbuild!! I think I should get that made into a family crest for us!

Our plan is to put the floor in next week, while Chad is off work (he works this week, so that gives us plot and plan time. Ya know, to make ANOTHER trip to Lowes Home Improvement, where they know us by name).

Of course, being us, we had to have at least one “oops” moment. We were about to leave the camper, and realized we’d opened the roof vent, and needed to close it. We were both too short to reach it without standing on the frame. That had just been painted. Chad had to do some serious ninja moves. But, he got it closed. Yeah, only us.

A very good, absolutely productive day!!

We had planned to work on Clyde on Saturday, but (naturally) it rained. So, we went to the Bulk Food store, bought enough beef jerky to last us a life time, and spent the rest of the day goofing off. So… Sunday came in beautiful and we got to work!!!

First day of Fall, and the temps were in the low 70’s and a perfect breeze blew all day.

We had a last item of demolition to do. I didn’t count it as a part of the camper, because it was the floor. But, Chad says it counts. So, this is really the last demo of the camper itself. We knew the wood floors had to go. They were all lumpy and bumpy from remnants of linoleum past. They had a lot of water damage at the corners, wheel wells and door. So, that was a given. Using the weirdest of floor removal tools…

Mattock Time!

a mattock (or mattox, depending on where you live), we removed the wood. It came out in chunks. We had to laugh, because we hit one section that did NOT want to come up. Chad was slamming crowbars and the mattock under it and just started dying laughing. He yelled, “We finally found one piece of Clyde that was built well!!!!”  We’ve been hunting it for almost 3 years. Finally it revealed itself! LOL!!!!

That is NOT cotton candy!

Let me tell you, the fluffy, pink insulation stuff was NASTY!!! Water-logged piles of pink slime. Oh, just YUCK!!!

What we could see of the metal under the wood and insulation looked okay, but we could only see a couple of square feet, so we weren’t holding our breath.

Photo 6

Photo 1

Good thing!!! Not only did they have holes in them from the dissimilar metals touching (galvanic reaction/action, see below), they had actually been made of… irregular siding. Yes, it was made of the stuff the sides were made of. I was counting on whisper-thin aluminum to hold my chubby self up off the ground. Oh, my.

So, armed with tin snips, crowbars, a screwdriver and the patience of a saint, Chad went to work!

FIRE!

Where'd the floor go??

As he worked and revealed more and more of the frame, we found out a brace on the frame had missed being welded to the center frame. It was hanging by a thread. So, we’ll have to weld that back on. But, luckily, the remainder of the frame is in excellent shape. It’s got a very small amount of surface rust. So, in the coming days, we’ll be using a metal brush to get the rust and dirt off. Then, we’ll take Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer and cover the frame with that, then paint it with Rustoleum gloss black. We could use the spray stuff, but don’t want to risk getting any of it on the good siding, windows, whatever. So, we’ll use brushes for that.

Right now, we have a couple of extra 2x4s just bracing the walls to keep them from slumping. They weren’t, but we figured we wouldn’t leave it for long without something. We know our luck!!

Our find of the day is something that just cracked me up.

Bzzzzz! Beehive! 4 small, beehive clear lights. Mounted UNDER the camper, but too far back/in to be of any use for signaling. The only thing we can figure out is that they were there to help you see where to put the stabilizing jacks if you were setting up in the dark. They are SO cool! I absolutely love this fantastic, retro look. 3 of them are in really good shape, one has a cracked lens. We’re thinking that maybe they could be used as reverse lights, since they are white. Whatever the case, we are SO finding a place for these. They’re the coolest find we’ve had on this project and I am just in love with them!!

Our final work of the day was to get the back window in. We took out the temporary plastic sheeting, butyl taped the edges of the window frame and popped it in. We had to wedge some wood around the edges to hold it in place, as we don’t have the insulation or paneling up yet. Even temporarily in place, they look fantastic!

Rear window (not the movie)

Rear window (not the movie)

Front window, as seen earlier

Front window, as seen earlier

We’ll cut the holes for the 4 small windows when we get the floors put in. I’m working on cleaning them up, and finding a place to replace the screening, as it’s picked to pieces on several of the windows. I know that’s supposed to be a very simple DIY, but I’m kind of cursed when it comes to screens. So, I’ll be hiring that one out, Thank you!

In short, we now have a hand full of actual structural stuff to do: repair the weld on the frame, clean up and paint the frame, new metal floors (luckily, we have left over steel from the camper sides, so we’ll utilize that), new subfloor, new roof bracing. Then, we’ll be ready to figure out where to run the electrical and plumbing. Run that, then put up styrofoam-style insulation and the paneling. Then, we’ll have our little box on wheels ready to for its pretty innards! Sounds like a lot, but these are mostly quick things, as Chad has restored tons of old cars, so he’s very used to frame work. He’s a blacksmith/metal artist, so he can weld like crazy. I’m the daughter of an electrician, and helped restore/repair old houses my whole life. We’ve finally hit the point that we actually KNOW WHAT WE’RE DOING!!! So, hopefully it will go quicker now!!!

We’re coming up on Clyde’s 3rd year with us (November 2010, he came home to live with us). I’m hoping 2014 (which will be his 40th birthday) will see him on the road! With productive days like this, I can actually see it coming! It’s about time!!!

*** boring information on galvanic corrosion, courtesy of wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion ****

The last of the bad… not as bad as we feared!

We finally managed to get the last bit of the camper interior demo’d out! The front bits, past the door. We were terrified, as the back was a total mess. That’s where we got into the worst rot and warping. So, figuring if the back was bad, the front would be worse… we went in armed with crowbars and crappy attitudes. But, we didn’t expect it to go well! There had been rot at some time, but the previous owner’s botched attempts to remodel had actually worked… mostly. He’d gotten it all cleaned out, but didn’t realize there’d been quite a bit of warping. So, we ripped out the last, hideous remains of evil, grasscloth wallpapered paneling and the crumbling econoboard paneling. And, finally, every bit of Clyde is down to the bare bones. 

Gorgeous bare metal and non-rotted wood! What we anticipated being a nightmare was quite easy!

And, the bones were good! No rot, except a very small area at the front, right. It was easily removed. Unfortunately, we ran out of screws, so didn’t get to replace it. It’s been the running joke, these screws. They are the only kind that work the way we need them to (biting into the wood to draw it tight, but being short enough to not go thru the other side). The ONLY place that carries them is ACE hardware and they carry them… 3 boxes at a time. So, we buy out every ACE we can find, each week. Probably we could get them to special order some, but it is honestly like getting to hunt. It’s become something to laugh about. We make our little ACE rounds every few days. 

The other running joke would be Construction Adhesive (aka Liquid Nails). The previous owners (who received a new name this week, more on that later) seemed to think that Liquid Nails would fix anything. And, if it was broken, all it needed was MORE Liquid Nails. So, every piece of plywood, every board, every bit of paneling and wire, they added MORE. Strings and globs and great, burgeoning piles of Liquid Nails. And, when one attaches paneling with Liquid Nails, the paneling will NEVER come loose. Well, it will, but only with tons of crowbar action. During one session of 30 minutes to chisel loose a 1×6 foot piece of paneling, Chad actually lifted the crowbar over his head and yelled, “You Damn Dirty Apes!”  

I pretty much peed my pants laughing, and the Previous Owners now have a new name. They are “The Damn Dirty Apes” from here on out. So, that got used a lot this weekend. That, and many, many new curse words, as well as the old standby ones. They all got used. But, we prevailed and the paneling is no more! The windows are all framed in, the walls are all framed in, and we are ready for the next phase! 

Next weekend, we will tear out the ceiling (I am not counting it as the interior demo, as roof/ceiling is a whole ‘nother creature). We will finish rebuilding the front, and God willing, go pick up some new, cheap siding we found on Craigslist and start to reskin the Clyde!!! 

Now, to close with some pics of the fun we had! 

Image

Celebrating the end of interior demo with a Diet Dr. Pepper toast! This is the area we’ll be putting the dinette, so we pretended it was there. Of course, our view was hampered, as we could not open the window cover, because if we did the window would fall out. Ooops.

Chad slaving away, again, in front of the site of our last bit of demo. Say farewell to the paneling, the ugly flooring, etc. They are all gone now!

Button it!!!

Welcome back, dear Readers! When last we saw the intrepid Clyde, he’d been left with a gaping wound in his side. Open to infection (or at least an invasion of squirrels) and mighty drafty, there he was!

A little bit drafty for me

Winter Breeeze....

Well, the surgeon arrived, and his name is CHAD!!!  We’d been working on this first corner (which is the right, rear, for anyone keeping score) for months now. Which sounds more pitiful than it is. Due to weather and scheduling, it’s been slow going! But, we’d had a couple of work days on this corner and it was going S L O W. Mainly because the original structure of the corner was pretty shoddy and rotten. So, we had to figure out how to rebuild it stronger, better, faster (wait, that’s the Six Million Dollar Man… not Clyde). And, our break-thru came yesterday! We finally figured out how to get the windows, the walls and the floor to play nicely with one another.

Don’t know if you remember or not, but Clyde’s back wall had so much rot that the wood had actually swollen and forced the back seam open. The hatchet “restoration” job before us had left all the rot and just stretched some extra metal over the corner. Well, we ripped all that out, rebuilt the skeleton, and finally the moment of truth…

Would the walls fit back together or had so much damage been done that we were going to need to reskin the corner? If we have to reskin, things are going to be MUCH more expensive, as it turns out old camper siding is quite expensive! Who knew?!

So, Chad rebuilt the corner, then we went outside and I helped him pull the metal back around and..

After 38 years, this skin still fits like it did when I was a kid!

The corner, all buttoned up!

Yes, we did use 800 metal brackets in one corner. Don't judge me.

IT WORKED!!! Everything lined up beautifully! We’ve got a few screws holding it together until we get some finishing nails and really get down to putting it back together for ever and ever. The original construction was held together with large staples, but camper siding is thick aluminum and we do not have a staple gun that strong. So, we’ll be going even more old school and using finishing nails!

Now that we have a corner destroyed and rebuilt, we’re good to go. It took us much longer to figure out WHAT to do than it did to DO it. The other rear corner is next and should go a ton faster, now that we know what he heck we are doing!

So, with the corner and buttoned up and pretty, we decided to try something else. For no reason whatsoever.

We’d finally gotten around to getting a hitch on the Jeep, so we wanted to see how it would do moving Clyde. As small as he is (and especially since he is currently pretty much gutted), it should be simple, but we wanted to check.

So, we hooked the little guy up and took him for a short run across the driveway at Mom and Dad’s house. He did awesome and so did the Jeep! As simply as it moved Clyde, we should not have any trouble towing him loaded. So, another worry out of the way! YAY!!!

Go, Clyde, Go!

I was sick as a dog this whole weekend, so I was little more than a glorified gofer (as in, gofer some lunch, gofer this and that). So, this one was pretty much all Chad. I was there for moral (or immoral, depending on how you look at it) support.

And, in case you are wondering, yes, there is a strip off the bottom right outside. We’re waiting to see where we will run in the electrical and water to put that one back on. But, it’s rebuilt, just waiting the metal to go back on.

We also made a really cool discovery. Clyde has had a rough life and I don’t think he’s had a wax job since the early 80’s. His paint is in awful condition and appears to be bone white with avocado green. Obviously, he will need to be repainted, and Chad and I decided we’d like to keep the Avocado, but change the main color to a rich, almond-like off-white. Yesterday, we pulled off a tail light (we will be replacing the ugly, boxy square ones with some retro-looking, round LEDs with flushmount and a cool chrome trim ring). Under it, you could see what the original paint looked like. It’s ALMOND! The exact color we had discussed. It was so cool to know that we are so in touch with Clyde that we already seem to know what he needs to get back to being himself*!

U G L Y, you ain't got no alibi!

The original ugly tail light with what the paint looks like now.

Behold, a hint of the original color!

The small rectangle around the tiny hole is where the tail light was. Notice the difference in color!

*yes, we know he isn’t a person. Well…

Coming up next: retro tupperware fest, AKA getting more STUFF for Clyde!

Clyde’s Wishlist

As you have probably gathered, Clyde needs a few things. Okay, a lot of things. A whole, whole, whole lot of things. From exterior camper siding to a refrigerator to curtain rods. Yes, Clyde needs STUFF. So, to keep it straight in my head, I’m going to make a list, add to it, remove things from it and update it periodically. Some of these are necessities, many are just “wants”. It’s just fun to make my dream list. So, here’s what I have right now.

Outside

(this will be a very short list, because I am completely unaware of what all the outside needs. This is Chad’s department. These are the things I know of.

  • All new lights (tail lights, marker lights and a “porch” light)
  • An awning
  • One of those spiffy outdoor rugs they have at Camping World Got one at Lowe’s! 
  • A couple of fancy-pants camping chairs (the foldy kind)
  • Perhaps a cute table of some sort on which to put a grill
  • A grill. I’m thinking one of those awesome hibachi grills they have at the Lodge Factory Outlet
  • A paint job (cheap, cream color). We will add the avocado stripe and other cute stuff later on ourselves. It’ll be a cheeeap paint job, ’cause you can’t justify a $1000 paint job on a $600 camper. New siding is already painted, don’t have to get it painted! 
  • Box. Some kind of box to go where the battery box used to be. We’ll use it to hold stuff like the anti-sway bars and jack-stands when not in use. I’m thinking either a diamond-plate tool box kind of thing, or maybe even making one out of reclaimed wood (palette wood, maybe).
  • Wiring. Lots of wiring. 12 volt for the lights. Whatever kind of wire operates the electric brakes
  • Plastic of some sort to replace the moldy-looking panels in the rock guard that goes over the front window to prevent rocks from the road bashing out your window. I have a SWEET decal to go in the middle (no, you can’t see it, it’s a surprise when he gets all big and grown up and ready to hit the road) panel, so something that the decal can go on smoothly. Using leftover siding, so it’ll all match!
  • trim pieces to cover the seams. We have some we can reuse, but we will have to replace some
  • Camper-siding. To cover all the holes left by the appliances, heating, etc.  Got NEW siding for the whole camper at Lyon’s Metal Roofing!
  • Bondo. To smooth the transitions between patch jobs and existing siding
  • chocks or whatever you call the little angled, plastic things you wedge under the tires to keep the camper from rolling away
  • jack stands. Our camper is so little that we are thinking about going to a junkyard and getting some of the little crank-up jacks that are in the spare tire compartments. No one ever wants those from wrecked cars, they’re light and don’t take up much room. So, perfect! Chad got them at $10 for a set of 2 at the junk yard!

Inside

  • Foam Rubber. Yeah, it’s not very exciting, but it’s something I need to make the cushions for the front dinette and some pillow/bolster/cushion kinda things around the back bed. Did you know you can cut foam rubber with an electric carving knife? I am very excited to get to try that.
  • Sheets. Yes, I bought some. On sale for $7!!! A beautiful chocolate brown in full size. One small problemo. It’s not gonna work to have a full bed. Figured that out today. So, I’m thinking we will repurpose those cute sheets into curtains. Or pillows. Or a tablecloth. Regardless of what they become, I now need sheets. In a size twin. Sigh. Brown? Owls? Brown owls? Avocado? Who knows. Any 1970’s looking colors will do! Turns out we are going to have room for a full size bed, so get to use the ones I already bought!
  • Curtain rings with little clippy things. Much easier than sewing the stupid rod pocket into them. Cut fabric pretty, clip onto rings, pull rings onto curtain rod. Ta-da!
  • A chenille bedspread with pompoms. I don’t want it for the bed, since I already ordered one for that. I’d like to cut this one up and use it as curtains. Ya know, with the pompoms dangling down. Either white or Avocado or yellow. If I can’t find that, I’ll use the above-referenced brown sheets to make curtains and maybe just buy some pompom trim and put them on the bottom. Wouldn’t chocolate brown with avocado pompoms be cute??? A friend is making us a quilt!
  • Full mattress (for the back bed)
  • Dorm Fridge with freezer. I’m holding out for the kind that has a separate exterior door for the freezer. You can’t make a decent martini without ice to shake it with, right?!  OK, who am I kidding, it’s for ice cream.  Got one at Target for $130. Had been $160. Was FREE because my Dad got it for me for my Christmas present (that was due in December and I got it in August… that is how my family rolls)
  • Paneling. White beadboard, to be exact. Wide boards for the bottom, narrow for the top. And, a narrow band of white trim to go between the two.
  • Counter tops. I have no idea what kind. I’ve looked everywhere and they’re all very boring. I’d love to find some fabulous retro looking counter tops. But, so far, no joy.
  • Cabinet “guts”. This would be the little white, wire shelf-type units that have slidey drawers in them. Weight is of the utmost importance in a camper, so we’re going to build the cabinet “shell” out of 1×1 and 1×2 lumber and then “skin” it with the beadboard. To prevent having the weight of particle board shelving (which is CRAZY heavy), we are hunting some of the two-tiered slide-drawer sets that kitchen-maid used to make. Not sure if they still make them, but I’m gonna cruise craigslist and yard sales until I find them!!
  • Flooring. Currently, we’re planning on using the vinyl strips that look like lumber. Found some really pretty ones tonight at Lowe’s that look like distressed wood in a pretty, caramel color. $30 a box. But, gonna look at the whole-sale places (like Big John’s closeout) just in case they have it cheaper.
  • about 3 sheets of 1/4″ plywood to cover the floor, so the vinyl flooring will stick
  • Bondo. Yeah, the kind you use on cars. We’ve had to replace several areas of subfloor due to rot. So, we have gaps. You fill those in with bondo, sand them down and put the plywood on over it. Smooth and easy!
  • fake leather. Not sure what color yet. This will cover the shelf above the front dinette. A friend is going to custom make us a cool cabinet to go there instead!!!
  • Upholstery or fabric to cover the foam rubber cushions on the dinette. Can’t have too much texture, because the dinette folds down makes another bed. So, don’t want it too lumpy.
  • White paint- to cover all the bed and dinette wood. We’re hand building those. I’d list what we’ll use to make those, but I honestly don’t know yet. I’ll update that some day soon.
  • Toaster oven. I’ve already got a 2 burner hotplate (thanks, Bev), a microwave (thanks, Craiglist $10), and pots ‘n’ pans, but if we decide to make some toast or bake a cheap pizza, we got no oven. A real oven is expensive. Toaster ovens are cheap. So, toaster oven.
  • Romex (this is electrical wiring)
  • light switches (do they make skinny ones? Or, maybe just install the lights with the cords that have the little roller things that turn them off and on)
  • electrical outlets and the guts within them
  • electrical strip (I have no idea what these are called, but it’s a single, long strip of outlets that are hard-wired into the regular wiring, not the kind you plug in, like a surge protector). 3 of these. One for above each set of cabinets and one for the shelf over top of the dinette. 24/7 on-call dictates keeping my phone charged, so want to be sure to have one beside each sleeping surface, and then I’ll need to plug in the small appliances.
  • faucet. We salvaged the original sink, but the faucet was trashed.
  • Hot water on-demand tap. We don’t have a bathroom, so no bathroom sink or shower to need hot water. So, a water heater is just way too heavy and too much money. So, they make these nifty-little systems that work on regular household current and heat small amounts of water. Pretty much like a baby waterheater. At $144, they’re a bargain and perfect for what we need.
  • 1/2″ finish grade plywood. To make cabinet doors and a table top
  • cheap iPod speakers  found ’em!!
  • eventually, a very small, flat screen TV. Right now we have a 13″ TV with a VCR under it that my parents had forever. it’ll do, but a flat screen would take up less room, mount on the wall over the back bed and just be cooler. This is VERY FAR DOWN on my list of priorities.Oh, and add to the list: something to mount said TV to the walldecided to just use netflix on the laptop!
  • grippy drawer liner to put on the shelves so everything doesn’t go sailing when we are on-the-move
  • Wallpaper for the ceiling. Yes, I realize that makes me sound like a total nut-job. The ceiling is intact with no leaks, but scarred up. They make paintable wallpaper that looks like the old pressed-tin ceiling tiles. I’d like to get that and paint it up to look like an old ceiling. Cheaper and lighter than putting another layer of paneling or something up there.
  • Tupperware. The vintage, 1970’s harvest colors. I’d like the tumblers, the mugs, the plates and the groovy stacking spice shakers. They have them on eBay. I am currently stalking them. I quit stalking and bought them. So awesome!
  • Cheesy 1970’s owl art for the walls. preferably some little framed pictures. I am guessing it’ll be one of those “I’ll know it when I see it” things.
  • linens for the dinette bed. I’m thinking we’ll have to make do with flat sheets and tuck them in, as it’ll be a non-standard size. I’ll try to get some sort of thin, yet warm blanket for it. I’ll have to stow all the linens when we have the dinette “up” and not in the bed position

Now, reading over this huge list, I realize one thing clearly. I am gonna have to hit the lottery sometime very soon. And, I’m going to be in a lot of thrift stores in the very near future!