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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Hibernation

Yawn…. stretch… Yawn some more. Clyde here! Holy cow.. I’ve been hibernating all winter! Usually Mom (Emily) writes the blog, but I’ve been sitting out in the snow and rain all winter, and Mom’s busy. So, I thought I’d take over for a bit.

It’s been kinda lonely, down here in my corner of the yard. I’ve had some pretty birds to watch, and sometimes the neighbor’s cat comes by and hangs out inside for a bit. He likes to walk across my axles and try to jump at the couple of bits of wiring I have dangling. We talk, but you know… cats aren’t really all that into campers, and he wasn’t even alive in the 1970’s, so we don’t have much in common.

BUT… I have a feeling it’s going to warm up soon. Dad (Chad) was down here a couple of days ago, and he had the measuring tape out. That always means exciting times are coming! He has some pretty metal all ready to lay down as my brand new floor. He’s going to top that off with some wood, and I’ll be solid and ready for my interior!

What’s my interior going to look like? SPIFFY! That’s what! For my guts, I get Pex plumbing to a single faucet. I get romex wiring, like houses get. I’m not going to be battery capable, simply because Mom says the devil will ice skate before she camps off the grid. She’s kinda girly and a little spoiled. Don’t tell her I said that. She’ll retaliate by putting pink cushions on my couch!

The guts stuff won’t take very long at all, ’cause Dad was an electrician guy for a long time. So, once that’s ran, and the brake lights/marker lights and such are ran (he’s a car guy, too, so this stuff’s gonna be fast), then it’s gonna get super exciting. Why? ‘Cause I get…

PANELING!!! Do you even know how awesome paneling is? I mean, I know some people like that wallboard stuff, but honestly… paneling is where it’s at! I am a 1970’s camper. I am all about the paneling! Oh, that and Disco Balls!!! But, Dad said No the the disco ball. He says he has to keep an eye on Mom or I’m gonna be tacky. We’re not telling him about the boxes of 1970’s decor Mom has. Mom says that’s our little secret. Apparently, I am going to have owls. Lots of them. She’s a little obsessed.

Anyway, back to the wonderful word of paneling. There are so many kinds.

You can have some that has pictures of deer.

Oh, Deer!

Oh, Deer!

Some that looks like wood.

Distressed, even!

Distressed, even!

Some that looks like dry-erase board.

(I was going to put in a picture, but um… it’s just white. Use your imagination!)

Some that you can hang tools on (it’s called Peg Board. Mom said no).

pegboard aka manly paneling

pegboard aka manly paneling

It’s AWESOME STUFF! And, being true to my 1974 self, it’s what I’m very excited about. We’re still deciding if we want all white bead board (big on bottom, little on top) or White on bottom with honey colored wood on top. Dad says if it’s all white, I’ll look like the inside of a refrigerator. I think Mom is starting to agree. I don’t care. I just want PANELING!

Now, I just have to talk them into shag carpet. That is NOT going to be easy.

Note from Clyde’s Mom: While helping Clyde find paneling pictures I discovered that paneling has a high end world. I had no idea. If you want to have your mind blown by what some places consider paneling, check this out:

This ain't your disco paneling

feel free to click here and have your mind completely blown by a lot more examples:  http://www.trendir.com/archives/004176.html

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 ****

Quick Update: More Siding On… and Clyde looks like a welder!

Another fun-filled evening playing with the Clyde! It went much smoother placing the siding, but it got dark early, so it was really hard to place the rivets exactly, etc. We finally gave up and left some of the rivets not done and did not cut out the top portion of the window. Something about not wanting to use something that can cut off your fingers in less than optimal light! Go figure!

Anyway, here’s a pic of him with his almost-done front! I think with the window being only partially cut out, he looks like a welding hood (the helmet people use to weld with, it has a narrow slit to see thru). He’s sorta rockin’ a steampunk vibe!

Want me to weld that for ya?!

 

For Comparison (by the way, this is an AWESOME print on Etsy that I am so going to wind up buying. This guy does the most unusual alphabet cards. Y is for Yeti, A is for Afro, F is for Film Noir, N is for Narwhal, etc). Check him out!

So, lousy picture in fading light, but at least you know poor Clyde is not completely naked any more! He’s  got both ends and his roof covered in siding now! He’s feeling much less drafty. The sides are going to require us suckering some friends to come and help throwing a party for our friends to visit Clyde. It took 4 of us to get the top piece on because of the bend and getting the metal totally flat, etc. It’s only 6.5 feet wide. At nearly 12 feet, I can only imagine how unwieldy those side pieces are going to be.

Of course, first I have to order the siding for the sides. Since Chad works the next 3 weekends straight, I’m not in a hurry. I have plenty of time to sell my kidney, or a couple of liver lobes (low miles, no alcohol!).

Thanks for joining our adventures, and we’ll see you next time!

 

Show me some SKIN!!!!!!!

Well, it finally happened. After mistakes in measuring, a small amount of blood shed (mine) and just prior to a monsoon a-blowin’ thru… Clyde got his new skin on! Not all of it, just the start. The back of Clyde is now clad in a beautiful golden-tan color. The window opening is cut out (THAT made a horrible noise) and we even test-fit the window and it will look AWESOME! He’s looking like a real camper now!!!

The first piece we actually put on a couple of weeks ago. We did this one just the two of us. That might have been a slight mistake. Or a huge one. The metal is thin, but strong. You have to place it exactly where you want it and begin securing it with rivets from the middle out, or you might have a “loose” area of skin that will look wrong. So, we had to hold a 6.5 foot piece of metal up, press it down evenly and secure it. If each person had 3 hands, this would not be hard. But, with only 4 hands between us, it was not pretty. I had my head, hands, one knee and my um… uh… hooters squished against the metal to help hold it. Even with the almighty substance (duct tape) holding it steady, we about wore ourselves out. But, we got piece one installed.

The first rivet in Clyde! Or, as Chad called it, “Clyde’s First Screw.” Yes, sometimes he is a 13 year old boy. Ignore the purple line, it’s just chalk!

Notice the plastic wrap. $10 a roll at ACE hardware. It will act as a vapor barrier to keep water from getting to the wood, and it’s currently keeping critters out while we get the skin on. Whattabargain!

So, we waited until we had slave labor, er, uh… until my parents were home to do the next piece! It went MUCH smoother. We truly could not have done it without them, because this piece had to be installed up on ladders and had to fit over a BIG curve and under the roof. So, it took all four of us for sure! Chad had a genius moment when he thought to install a piece of wood exactly where the bottom of the metal needed to go. It was temporary, but kept us from having to hold the bottom of the metal the whole time. MUCH easier than wrestling and duct taping.

First, we cut the window out of the bottom piece, so we wouldn’t have to cut thru 2 layers of metal at the overlap!

Then, the next step was to put the new metal on. No pictures of that particular circus, because we were all too busy holding stuff, hanging off of ladders, etc. Please notice the beautiful drawing of Chad and I looking out the window. Thankfully, that part got cut out.

Absolutely WONDERFUL! Beautiful new skin for our beautiful boy, Clyde!!!

I think my favorite part is the riveting! It reminds me of the old campers from the 1950’s and 1960’s. The screws come with a water-proof washer and are already painted to match the camper. As I have mentioned, this is metal roofing, before it gets the corrugation. It has a baked-on finish that lasts 40 years and doesn’t even have to be waxed. You don’t even have to buy special stuff to wash it. You can use dishwashing liquid. How easy!!!

We got the front all ready to put the siding on, and the heaven’s opened up. It was like a monsoon. There was a river of water pouring under the camper. So, we called it quits and went home. But, Clyde looks wonderful and we are SO proud.

I haven’t quit dancing for days now. Well, internal dancing, ’cause the inmates look at me odd when I dance during their physicals. Go figure!

So much for that idea (or measure twice, order once)

It was a weekend of ups and downs. Mostly ups, but a huge, crushing down.

We got all the siding off, finished even the most finicky of bits to framing, put in the new, flexible expanda-foam stuff in every little joint, unrolled our beautiful new siding and…

it was too short.

By 3 inches. An inch and a half on each side. 3 inches. And, the worst part… it was our fault. Chad asked me for the camper measurements, and I gave him the ones we’ve always used. The ones that were BEFORE we did all the exterior work. Guess what changed by 3 inches by the time we got all the work done?  Sigh.

Good news is, it’ll work for the ends, and have enough left over to reskin the door and the rock guard, which we wanted to do anyway. Bad news, we didn’t have enough of the wider boards to brace where the back bunk will be, so we couldn’t skin the ends this weekend.

So, Clyde is all naked and we can’t do anything until we:

a. Have another weekend off together (the joys of a hubby in law enforcement… crappy hours. He’ll work the next 2 weekends).

b. Get the new sheet metal ordered (4 day processing)

c. Pay for said metal

d. Get all the bracing for the back bunk

e. chisel the remaining window out, which is on the back and put in with some sort of concrete or something, LOL.

Clyde is all bones!!!

So, our big exciting weekend did have us getting a LOT of work done, just not the final bit of work we were so excited about.

Considering that we are BRAND new to campers, let alone rebuilding one, it’s amazing we haven’t hit a larger snafu than this before now. But, it didn’t stop me from sitting down and having a good cry. Pity Party for 2, please! While I was snotting and whining and generally behaving like a total weenie, the most beautiful thing happened…

A Family of Deer!

Mom and Dad live on the edge of the lake and right up on some woods. Out of them wanders 2 does and 3 fawns. They were so close. We just sat and watched them for ages. They finally wandered far enough away that Chad was able to sneak and grab the camera and get a few shots. One of the does finally goes uncomfortable with us, and started stomping its foot at us and even snorting a little. Then, off they went!

So, that ended my pity party. we packed up our stuff, and Chad will go back today (he’s off) with a roll of plastic sheeting and cover up Clyde with it, so the wood won’t warp over the next 2.5 weeks until we can get back to it and get to work again.

Hopefully, we’ll have ALL the metal this time and just go ahead and skin the whole beast. So, I promised you awesome pictures, and I delivered. Just pics of naked Clyde and gorgeous deer instead of dressed Clyde. You’ll have to wait a little over 2 weeks for those. Sorry!

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