Friday, July 31, 2015

Close to the end of internal construction

Well, probably. I have a feeling I might want shelves in my storage closet, overhead bins and more storage at the front but its looking good!

Today I mounted all of the cupboard doors in the dinette/kitchenette. A couple of doors gave me a little trouble. The one that I thought would be the hardest turned out to be the quickest and easiest.

During my drawer installing progress I had to straighten the first drawer I ever installed. It's now perfectly straight. The next things for the dinette/kitchenette will be to put latches on all the cupboard doors and on all the drawers plus handles on doors and drawers. Then it'll be fastening down the countertops, finishing the painting and putting vinyl floor tiles on the countertops.

Using the lift on lift off hinges I got via eBay from Britain solved a lot of problems. They were easy to install too - just drill a hole and screw them in. I used a section of angle bracket to help with this.

In order to paint and clean the dinette/kitchenette properly, I need to clear it of supplies. The floor is currently quite cluttered with paint pots and wood. I could shift the stuff to the bathroom but I wouldn't have space to work in the bathroom.

The solution - to build the planned table for the bedroom. I have a feeling I will be cutting wood to fit, assembling it, painting it then installing it. The leftover plywood from my drawers has given me enough for my table and there's enough left over for a mini shelf over the bathroom washbasin. Great for toothbrushes etc!

I have a feeling internal construction might be done very soon. My original projected date was January 1st, 2015. I'm about 7 months behind schedule!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It was brutal today or how I did my drawers!

Looking at the whiz-bang thermometer gizmo in my bus, I noted that the 102 degrees farenherit combined with 60% humidity might have been the reason for my frequent breaks. I'd work and do very little then I'd be drenched in sweat. Each time I worked, it was like having a mini shower - in sweat!

Despite the heat and a mini thunderstorm, I managed to complete most of what I set out to achieve today. I put fronts on all of my drawers. What I didn't get around to was retarding one drawer about half an inch still there's always tomorrow!

The first drawer front went on and I managed to install it a shade too low and a little crooked.

After that I put the one above straight. Now the reason I got it crooked was that I couldn't find my pre-drilled holes due to my putting glue over them. With later drawers I was careful to avoid covering the holes with glue.

It's a little redneck but I found my way of spacing drawer fronts was easiest using a pair of carpenter's pencils. I'd put them on top of the drawer front below and then just rest the next drawer front on them and wiggle it to the right position before drilling my holes. A piece oif plywood offcut leaned against the drawer front as I worked helped a lot.

As can be seen from the photos, I used a lot of drywall screws. These were used rather than clamping everything together. That really sped things up. I'd drill the holes, take the drawer out and place it on a workbench then apply glue, put screws through the fascia and locate them in the holes on the drawer then screw it together. I'd start with just two locating screws then add more as needed to squeeze the wood together. And the glue I used was Elmers. It seems to have worked well!

Finally, I had all the drawer fronts in place. The bottom left drawer could do with some trimming of the fascia tomorrow. I knocked off after this because I felt I had done well today and didn't want to push my luck and mess something up.

In the dinette/kitchenette, my remaining tasks are hinges for 3 cupboard doors, handles on 3 cupboard doors and 8 drawers, catches on the drawers and doors, painting the drawers, ceiling and floor, privacy film on the windows, painting the door and construction of my saloon doors. There's even sufficient plywood left over for the bedroom table!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Advances all around

The first thing I did was to try to replace the film on the back window. Clearly I didn't take enough care because the film suddenly started folkding in on itself and sticking to itself. After trying vainly to untangle it in a very hot bus while it became ever more stuck and entangled, I gave in to the inevitable and threw that piece away. The next piece went on brilliantly. I suspect the problem was that rather than preparing it next to the window, I'd prepared it further away and the motion of moving it halfway down the bus had set it swinging into catastrophe. It was amplified by the fact that piece was rather large and hence more prone to problems. My fault and not the fault of the film nor the supplier.

The end result looks excellent as I'm sure you'll agree. I have a feeling though that the water could do with a little more soap. I'll have to attend to that when I do my next windows. The first set of side windows have bubbles. I'm not really sure whether it's worth doing but out of duty, I might. I like to keep my best foot forward.

After the window and a break, I took the cupboard door I made and trimmed off the excess hardboard then sanded the edges. I did think about hinges but today's task was drawers.

The new 16 inch drawer runner was installed fairly quickly then the base of the drawer. I did have an idea of retarding one of the drawers because it protrudes too far but I never got to that.

The two bottom drawers sides and backs were large and could not be built using 1x4 which was rather a good thing seeing as how my remaining piece of 2x4 is about 8 inches long! Thus they had to be cut from plywood. I'm slowly working my way through my plywood supply. The question now is whether I use the large piece of plywood as a bedroom table and use scraps for the drawer fronts or build drawer fronts and find something else for the bedroom table.

Building the drawer backs and sides was not easy as I don't have a jig. My solution was to pre cut all the pieces then to pre drill some holes then glue everything and while the tackiness of the glue held everything together, completed drilling the holes, inserting screws as I went. It all seemed to work quite well.

I'll be the first to say I'm not a carpenter and that my carpentry displays this but even the most cynical skeptic has to admit that I've taken on a massive project and that I'm achieving my goals.

Tomorrow will be all about mounting cabinet doors, making drawer fronts and attaching them. Indeed, this might evev take a few days!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A non entry

Today was a day when I worked as a volunteer and went supplies shopping. That's almost all I did.

On the list today were 1.25 inch drywall screws and a 16 inch drawer runner. I did pick up a can of wd40 though. It wasn't something I'd thought of but since it was $2.99 rather than $5.99 and since I use the stuff occasionally, it was worthwhile.

While I was at work, I chatted to some guys who were putting privacy film on glass screens. They suggested three things. The first was that Windex can be used to remove privacy film. The second was that a non carbon razor blade could be used to scrape resistant film off. I was also told film could just bake on with the sun. A further titbit is that you can't have too much soapy water sprayed.
So, as soon as I got home, mindful of the fact privacy film might be hard to remove if it's left too long, I prised up a fold in the mess on the back window and it all peeled off easily. Now I can redo it. In fact, I'll redo the three windows I did badly. I hate bad workmanship.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Problems, problems and more problems. Days like this stimulate my creative juices!

The first thing I did was to finish putting one drawer together or rather putting the back and sides on. Looking at it, I'll have to move the runners forward about half an inch as it protrudes somewhat. No great rush to do that though.

I didn't start on the drawers that need plywood sides and backs because I had a 20 minute task to do - namely build my cupboard door. Well, it should have been a 20 minute task. It ended up taking all day...

My initial design for the hinge post would have resulted in an oddly shaped door. By the time I had discovered I had no spare 2x4 to redo my post and gone through several redesigns a couple of hours had passed. My final design should work and echoes my design for another cupboard door post.

After that, I took a break to squirt Great Stuff into an air gap between panels. I took the easy route and simply drilled a hole big enough to accommodate the can nozzle and leaned a broom on it so it would keep squirting while I did something else. I finished off one can and put the whole of another in. To be honest, while Great Stuff isn't as bad as DapTex, its really not all that great and I shall not be purchasing any more. It expands when it has a mind to, only.

I installed hinges on the hinge post and commenced building my cupboard door. I really like that I'm running out of supplies and that I have no desperate need to get more. Not feeling very much like fighting the door, I simply glued it together. I can add screws tomorrow if need be. Right now its laid flat on the floor with beams placed across it and a gallon container of antifreeze keeping it pressed down.

As I was on my way out of the bus tonight, I made note of the things I need to buy. I'm out if inch and a quarter drywall screws and need a 16 inch drawer runner. Then I noticed a design cock up!

Can you spot it? It's really obvious! Well, when I built this, I was going to put a hinge on the visible side of the rightmost beam. I can't get in there to put a hinge! All is not lost though.

I measured my hinges and found the thread has a core of 4.5mm and an outer diameter of 5.7mm. Thus, any drill between 4.5 and 5mm should be fine. The solution will be to obtain a drill bit about 8 to 12 inches long and drill through two beams. Alternatively to lift off the cabinet top (which isn't yet secured) and drill the holes from the inside. I don't think this is insurmountable though it's interesting. I'll try drilling from the inside, first, rather than buying a new drill bit.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

More drawers

It was terribly hot again today but that's every day in South Carolina. I went to the bus in 30 minute sessions again. This time I was defeated at the end of the day not by the heat but by darkness. Indeed the longest day was a month ago and the evenings are noticeably drawing in now.

I corrected the upright I tried the other day and put the hinges in place. I had thought that I'd make the door but wasn't in the mood to do battle with a large piece of hardboard so I went to work on the drawers instead.

I looked at the top right drawer that was stiff yesterday and found it was canted. Changing the position of the screw holding the rear of one slider mostly sorted the cant out and the stiffness. Job done! Actually, it is still slightly canted but only by 1/8 inch over the 12 inches width. I'm really not bothered by that. When I put the faceplates on the drawers, they'll all be square. The faceplates will also hide how warped Lowe's 1x4 is. Some of it has a curve across the 4 inch section!

Doing the individual drawers, I put sides and backs on 4 of the seven. The seventh I'll buy a runner for on Tuesday, along with more 1.25 inch drywall screws. 4 of the drawers took sides made of 1x4. Two will need bigger sides because they are deeper.

One drawer which will be my cutlery drawer was a little too shallow for 1x4 and needed 1x3 of which I possessed none. As I needed but 50 inches of the stuff, I cut down some of my strip of 1x4. I doubt I shall need any more 1x4 for the moment.

I didn't have time to complete the drawer before the light escaped on me. What I'd been doing was gluing and screwing the sides and backs firmly into place. I'd drill the holes in the bottom and one section of the side or back then glue it and screw it in place. Then I'd move to the next piece. Ordinarily I'd have glued and clamped but since I have so much to do and since I can borrow but two clamps, I used screws.

This is a drawer I made earlier with screws and glue. Basically, I have four drawers complete bar the fronts, 2 drawers that need bigger sides which I'll cut from plywood and one drawer that needs to be put together. I'll probably use some thin wood or maybe plastic to make the dividers for the cutlery drawer unless I can utilize my existing cutlery tray. I'm not sure whether I designed the drawers to accommodate it.

So, tomorrow should see the backs and sides on all the drawers I have sliders for. I might even make a start on the fronts! Or I might just work on the cupboard door. The beauty is, whatever task I choose, I'm getting ever closer to completion.

As of now, I need to make adjustments to the toilet, paint the bathroom and toilet, give the dinette a second coat of purple and touch up the white. I need to put up the closet chain, build and paint the bedroom table and paint the cockpit all and closet. I also need to build my saloon doors between the bathroom and the dinette. That's without mentioning the tub mount, doors on the vanity and possibly a shelf or medicine cabinet and tinting the remaining windows.

Then I'll be ready to do electrics and plumbing!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Thrashed by the heat

The day started with my having little inclination for carpentry so I set to and installed film over two window panes. This went well as I seem to have mastered the art of doing it. I kept the offcuts thinking that I might try putting two pieces together on one of the shower windows.

The next thing was to rework two of the three drawers I did yesterday. They didn't slide easily. Now they do. I did intend to install 4 drawers on the other side but I was short of a 16 inch drawer slide. Still, 3 drawers were installed. They all need sides backs, fronts, handles and latches (it IS a motorhome). One doesn't slide easily yet but with a little work tomorrow, it should.

I did notice that some of my drawers done today aren't quite level. I'll have to see if they're off enough to merit working on them. I suspect they're passable though I do like to try to get things right whenever possible.

Not feeling like working more on the drawers having noticed an error, I looked at where I need to put the final cupboard door. I have a policy of doing something different if I make an error. Working on correcting errors when tired makes them worse.

It was 97 in the bus today and if been out for too long. Looking at where the cupboard door needs to go, I needed an extra vertical beam to mount the hinges. Well, I cut the beam and slipped it into place. Then I realised that to mount the hinges I should have drilled holes and inserted the hinges first. Struggling against the tight fit, I realised I was getting a headache and finding it hard to breathe. I'd been out too long and the heat was thrashing me again.

I headed inside to the cool oif air conditioning and gulped down large quantities of water. This South Carolina heat really slows down progress. If I'd been working on this in Britain, I'd have been done months ago. That's how bad the heat is!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Getting into her drawers again

After rescuing my damsel in distress to the tune of $2135, I returned to the bus. There really wasn't much left of the day so what was done seems paltry.

The usual problem of heat exhaustion keeps cropping up. I still
need to take more breaks than I would like. The humidity was pretty high which didn't help.

Despite all that, I plugged on, trimmed 4 pieces of 2x2 and fastened them so they're level, ready to attach drawer runners and install drawers. The plan was for four drawers. Then I hit a snag. One set of runners is incomplete. It's also a bit long. All the runners above the seat rail can be 18 inches but the one below has to be 16. Clearly I'll have to hit Lowe's for that. I'm also running low on 1.25 inch drywall screws. I have enough for now but will have to buy more, probably.

Having installed all four strips of wood for the drawer runners, the sky darkened and rain began to fall. That pretty much was the end of work for today.

The drawers I put in yesterday vary. Two are a little stiff and one opens freely. It's probably not worth redoing them but for the sake of ease of use, I might have a go at adjusting them. At least silicone glue can be removed. All I have to do is to peel them apart when the bus is hot. Silicone glue hates heat.

I'm certainly looking forward to completing the project. I've already decided that the first trip I'm going to make with the bus will be a one or two night stay at Sesquicentennial State Park about 40 miles away, just to run a good test on all the systems.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ooh, look at her drawers!

It was fairly straightforward carpentry and something I'd prepared for, weeks ago. To be honest though although I'd already built one drawer from 1x4 planks, the prospect of building drawers was a little off putting.

It all went well enough though. As I had correctly surmised, the metal washers worked perfectly as spacers. Way cheaper than plastic spacers and I didn't need anything quite as thick as the plastic spacers.

The plywood cut beautifully with the circular saw. Aside from a little trimming on the edges, the drawer bottoms all fitted. One drawer is a little tight but I'm not worried. It'll loosen in use.

I'm using metal runners (cheating) and just to make life easier, after getting it all to fit, I slipped some silicone glue onto the lip that holds the shelf bottom and silicone glued it together. When I work on those drawers next, I'll simply screw the runners to the drawer. The tops I'll like as not just glue together.

Tomorrow I have to rescue a damsel in distress so its unlikely that I'll get to do much on the bus. If I do then I'll probably start putting the other four drawers in.

This bus conversion is a most massive project and my insistence on partitions, doors and privacy has added a lot to the complexity of the task. Had I just slapped paint on, put up window film and hung blinds over windows things would have been faster and simpler. A lot less satisfactory though.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shopping, shopping and more shopping

Yesterday being Tuesday, I went to the store on my way back from my Tuesday voluntary work. I got some plywood and a few other bits. The plywood was horribly expensive at $25 a sheet but should make lighter drawers than my first drawer.

I also bought some paint. For the bathroom, Line Passion which is about the most vivid green in existence. For the front, Tranquil Aqua. Sherwin Williams had an app for my phone that matches colors. While it matched the hue perfectly, the color was several shades too dark. As I have the paint now, I can't do anything but use it. I don't regard the exact match as being that important to be honest.

Today I went to start work and found I was out of 2.5 inch drywall screws. I tried other screws but the heads just stripped. 3 inch drywall screws were too long and my normal 1.5 inch drywall screws were not long enough. That meant that either drawers had to wait or I had to go to Lowe's.

Since I had two options, one of which was painting, I had no option other than go to Lowe's. My paint marked clothes have been drenched in sweat and I don't want to get paint on anything else. Clothes aren't free!

While I was at Lowe's, I looked at various things. I looked at electrics for the 110v system which will be primarily just the microwave and fridge. I considered using battery powered led lighting and think that'll probably work well. There were some interesting LED lights in Lowe's but they looked devilishly expensive. I decided to look for those online instead.

I got some better hinges for my toilet. They should fit better. Of course I got my screws and while I was there, looked for spacers. I know my drawer runners won't be perfectly parallel without them. It turned out plastic spacers were costly while ordinary steel washers came cheaply in bulk packs. No prizes for guessing which I bought.

So, when I got back, I set back to work building drawers. Needless to say, I cut my plywood a little on the large side and have to trim it down. The rails were pretty well mounted with the new screws and washers.

Needless to say, it was 106F in the bus so in short order, sweat was running into my eyes. That was not my only problem. A more pressing issue was that as I'd piled everything into the dinette when I worked on the bathroom, I'm having to clamber over things to work. Hardly a good working environment.

Tomorrow and for possibly the next few days I'll be working on drawers. After that I'll probably build the bedroom table and the partition rail. Then the closet chain followed by a painting marathon. Somewhere I'll also squeeze in building my saloon doors between the dinette and bathroom.

Internal construction is rapidly drawing to a close. I can't wait to complete the project! Ooh and in exciting news, my lift off hinges arrived - all the way from Wolverhampton in the UK.

I have two cupboard doors that need to be opened more fully than the surrounding woodwork will permit. One of my design flaws. (What designing did you actually do - editor). To be honest, I have a tendency to plan vaguely then build. It's worked pretty well so far!

Monday, July 20, 2015

How to apply window tint properly with Lexen tint film.

Today I slipped some liquid hand soap into my spray bottle and had a go at another window. That didn't go any better than the previous attempts!

Feeling rather disheartened, indeed disappointed, I resigned myself to the fact my window tinting was always going to look amateurish. Then somebody on a forum I follow came up with a useful suggestion . The problems were that the film was hard to control. It was also hard to separate from the backing layer.

Paper towels
Masking tape or any adhesive tape
Knife (supplied with tint film)
Spray bottle with water and soap mixture.
Plastic spatula (supplied with tint film)
Glass scraper
Smooth surface - I had a sheet of plexiglass.

Scrape paint and other detritus off both sides of the window.
Spray inside of the window with the soap solution.
Wipe the glass clean with the paper towels
Clean the sheet of plexiglass with soapy water and paper towels
Spray the plexiglass liberally with soapy water.
Using tape, lift one corner of the backing sheet on the film.
Place the film sticky side up on the plexiglass so the water will hold it in place.
Remove the backing fully, ensuring the film remains face up on the plexiglass.
Spray window and the glue side of the film (this is the up side of the film) liberally with the soapy water solution.
Pick the film up, hold it in position over the window and press it against the window.
Starting from the center, press the paper towel firmly against the film and smooth the film so there are no bubbles or wrinkles.
Working with the spatula, chase any water bubbles out. It helps if you use downward motion since gravity works with you that way.
Trim the edges of the film using the supplied knife.
Smooth any areas that need extra work.
Pat yourself on the back.

My worktop looked like this...

My finished window looked like this

Then I ran out of film and had to order more. My film came from Amazon and at the time of writing was $10.40 for a roll 20 inches wide by 10 feet long.

Needless to say, I ordered three more rolls though I have a suspicion that 14 panes of 12 x 24 inches with wastage might need more. If the others go on as well then I might replace the film I didn't do so well. It's definitely time consuming!

Other than that, I found several paint companies have apps that tell me what color my paint is. Sadly, the light is not uniform on my Carpenter blue paintwork but it looks like it could well be Swan Sea. I'll grab the bull by the horns and buy a pot tomorrow together with the green paint.
I still have to finish cleaning and prime my bus cockpit but things are getting done. I'm feeling quite positive about the project.

I had a go at gluing some plastic planks together using plastic glue but it wasn't a great success. I'm giving thought to gluing a plastic plank mount together to hold my shower base.

The tint film is 20% and looks OK though I suspect 5% might have been a better choice. I can see into my bathroom from certain angles. The solution will be to Velcro shower curtain to the inside of the window frames.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I'm not an expert

Definitely not an expert at putting on window privacy film! Having said that, it doesn't really matter how it looks from the outside as long as people can't see in easily. I think I'm going to have to order more because the roll is too narrow do do my side windows width wise and too narrow to cut in two and do length wise over two windows. In other words, there's a lot of waste. It's also not going on all that well. It's crinkly and very hard to separate from the backing film so its going on with crinkles and air pockets no matter what I try.

Some would say that I should produce money from my imaginary cornucopia to pay somebody to do it. I say, its an old bus. It's only ever going to be an old bus. It doesn't matter as long as it gives me privacy!

From the inside it really doesn't look too bad. I did another window and then darkness fell together with torrential rain and a thunderstorm. That put an end to work for today. I returned to the house, drenched in sweat because though it was cool outside, it was hot inside the bus.

It's clear to see the difference privacy film has made to the bedroom. It's also freeing my sheet of hardboard that I'd had over the windows for privacy. I'll have to see how long this film lasts before fading.

The paint in the bathroom is dry and today I attacked the cockpit, putting up the last metal sheet and caulking gaps in the closet. I also tidied the cockpit and swept out a lot of sawdust. Everything in there needs a good wipe down with a wet rag and I mean everything. Drivers seat, controls, floor, walls, dashboard etc.

Without a shadow of a doubt I'm rapidly coming toward the end of internal construction! I can't wait to take her out to get her registered as a motor home!

For the first time in 2 months I started the engine. It started in around two seconds! For the first time in 4 months I moved the bus. As the front has single wheels, they tend to sink into the ground so I backed her up, turned the wheel and drove her forward. It appeared she'd sunk 1.5 inches into the ground.

I had a look at changin over the alternator belt but wasn't sure how to so I didn't try. Closing the hood, I felt something prick my arm, looked down and saw a big black fly. I shook my arm and it flew away, leaving me with a puncture mark and a sore arm. There's probably a hornets nest somewhere. I noticed several dead hornets in the cockpit. I'll bet they're either in the air ducts or underneath the bus.

While it rained, I noted I have a leak from one of the windows that I moved. Not a big leak but one that I'll look into tomorrow. The cockpit leak isn't bad since I taped a bag over the roof vent.

Tomorrow? More of the same... Cleaning and window tinting.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Air conditioning!

It would be lovely to be able to work in a well lit air conditioned garage or bus. Just think how much more work I'd be able to get done in a day. Today, for a long time, I was working clearing stuff from the bathroom which during construction became the general storing and dumping ground.

Amidst all the clearing, I found a soda can full of some strange beverage. I took a break and hurled the thing at the ground, up in the air but all it did was bulge. Not terribly exciting. Then I sought out my old air pistol to shoot it with. I know I had a ton of boxes of pellets but could I find any? Heck, no. That was disappointing.

I swept the floor, noting that the grain side of the plastic planks which was uppermost and which seemed to offer more grip, trapped dirt in the grain. Perhaps I should have put them in, flat side up.

Then I took a break and located another hard brush. This I used to paint the other side of the steel I cut and painted yesterday. I decided i might install that later should the paint be dry enough.

If I was starting the bus from scratch, I'd probably have been better getting one with seats rather than working with an already converted bus. I'd also have taken a different direction in the light of things learned. As the seat back contains a decent sheet of steel, those would have been used to replace unneeded windows.

After sweeping, I sprayed the silver side of the OSB with water then wiped the dust off. I hope this means I won't get a repeat of the experience I had some days ago when a sheet of latex paint just peeled off. Again, if I was starting from scratch, I think I'd have been better off just using ordinary OSB rather than this silver coated thermal stuff. Then I caulked the gaps with llatex caulk for a change.

The next thing was painting. Thank the Lord I had two roller handles because the first one disintegrated, trying to remove the roller. I looked at my roller tray and simply peeled the hardened latex paint out of it. That doesn't exactly fill me with confidence in latex paint!

Painting seemed to take forever as I slowly broiled in my tin oven in the midday sun. Eventually I had covered everything I could reach with a roller. The next thing is to try to get the corners I missed, with a brush.

The skies darkened and thunder began to roll. That pretty much was the end of that for today. Tomorrow I need to touch up what I did today. This is just primer so it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to cover everything.

Tomorrow, assuming the storm abates, I might start cleaning the cockpit and possibly put primer on. As part of that I might also put the metal sheet on and put insulation behind it. I'm definitely getting to the point of needing blue and green paints for the respective areas.

With all the stuff moved into the dinette, there's little space left. Any more wood cutting and trimming will have to be done outside the bus because of dirt and dust.

The mixing tub that will become my shower base is a little taller than my PVC plank is wide. I had thought of putting the tub in a box made of PVC plank. I'll have to rethink that now. I want to keep wood, steel and water separate for obvious reasons though I'm wondering whether wood might be the answer with wide planks being available fairly cheaply.

No picture today. The storm was upon me before I had a chance to take one. Now it's as dark as midnight despite being but 8pm!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Little things that took forever

I only achieved three things today!

The first was to hang the closet door, fitting a catch and a door handle. As the catch rattles, I'm probably going to have to wedge the door when driving or its going to send me potty - assuming the rest of what I've done doesn't also echo and rattle.

The next was to secure the toilet seat to the plywood. I didn't get it quite in the right place but it'll do. I might replace that toilet eventually.

The final thing was to cut some sheet steel. This was the steel that came from the sole seat back. I used my little angle grinder and cut it to fit the space intended. Then having shaped it to perfection, decided to spray Rustoleum rust killer on it. The blasted spay nozzle must've clogged! First off it squirted gas and no rust killer then it gushed rust killer all down the side of the can and into my hands. Now, even though I cleaned up with gasoline, my fingernails still make me look like I'm some kind of born again Goth. I'll have to see if I have a spare nozzle from a used up spray can to replace the nozzle. That usually works!

There was enough rust killer on my hands and pooled on the work surface to complete the task. By the time I'd returned from cleaning myself, the stuff was dry. The next task was to slap some white Rustoleum on the steel.

Not wanting to use a new brush, I found an old brush that had been used for latex paint. It had been washed but as they don't come that clean, it was somewhat stiff. I used that and coated one side and the edges.

In the distance, thunder began to rumble so I called it a day. Tomorrow I want to paint the other side of my steel and possibly fit it. Then I will probably clean out the bathroom area and slap a coat of primer on the walls though I'll probably have to wipe them down with a wet rag first. They are dusty from construction though nowhere near as dusty as the cockpit!

The shower will be interesting to install as I need to find some way if mounting it. I also have to fit a drain!

Rain came down briefly and after it had cleared, I went out and looked again at the toilet. I installed hinges and a handle on the section I removed that goes over the grit bucket and left it at that. I will have to reinstall my hinges on the other part of the toilet when I cut the top in half. For the moment, it looks pretty good. I might trim the wood under the seat slightly just in case but otherwise, its very usable.

I can't really afford to spend too much time on the toilet when there's so much to do. Work starts back in just about a month. I have to get as much done as possible before that. I'm reasonably confident that I'll be able to complete the interior by then. Insurance is coming up too. I need to get enough done that I can change the registration to motor home before I end up having to buy a silly kind of insurance again.

Just as I was locking the bus for the day, I realised I could complete the front of the toilet. I had a 6 foot long strip of 11 inch wide hardboard. I trimmed off a section and nailed it into place. Now the toilet looks a load better!

Tomorrow looks a lot like I'll be fastening the sheet metal in place. It's galvanised so I don't really need to paint but I did because there was a patch of rust that I had dealt with. After that, the marathon act of clearing the bathroom and painting the walls, ceiling and washstand white. The toilet is a paint job in itself. The walls have to be swabbed with a wet rag because of all the dust. I'm definitely getting there!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

More problems!

Rather than work on a toilet that had me boiling with frustration yesterday, I worked on probably the last big thing in the bus - the front closet door. I wanted to see how much hardboard it would soak up from my supply. Stupidly, I measured it at the top and in the middle, concluding that it would be the same width at the bottom.

Having completed my usual ladder frame for big doors, I tried the frame in the doorway. Whoops! It fitted in the middle and at the top but not at the bottom which was 3\4 of an inch narrower. Inspecting the doorframe carefully, I could see the problem. The bottom of the 2x4 is more of Lowe's banana wood. It's warped and must have been warped when I used it. Now I know why the bottom of the front partition looks a bit off.

So, having ripped Lowe's a new one via Twitter, I trimmed 3\4 of an inch off the bottom cross member and screwed the frame back together. Then I attached the hardboard after cutting it to size. Sanding it to perfection outside the bus, I disappeared in a plume of brown dust.

Sadly I didn't manage to fix the door in place but I propped it up and took the best photo I could.

Maybe it's not visible in the photo but there is a definite curve for the last two feet of the 2x4 beam.

My attention turned to the toilet and without getting quite as irked as yesterday, I took a fresh photo. Clearly I'm going to have a problem opening the lid!

As can clearly be seen, the handle protrudes three inches into the path of a lifting lid. I'm going to have to give this more thought. Right now I'm wondering whether one of the $70 flush toilets would be a solution. Having said that, I don't want to make this $60 into a $70 toilet that cost $130!

There are two obvious solutions. The first is to leave the toilet as it is and open the door every time it needs attention. That doesn't sound too promising! The second is to split the lid, add two more hinges and only need to open the door when the grit bin needs work. Access to Hershey's Pot of Gold can be achieved anytime.

My hardboard supply turns out to be more than I need for the remaining cupboard and for the door but less than I need for the toilet unless I used two smaller pieces joined together. I might leave the additional piece off the toilet for now.

Looking at the bus, there's a bit left to do but its mostly small stuff. The big construction is over inside unless I add overhead lockers and other such fun stuff. I have to:
Hang a curtain at the end of the bed. This might need an upright and a cross beam.
Put up the closet chain.
Build a cupboard door and 6 or 7 drawers for the kitchenette
Put a second coat of purple on the kitchenette and redo the white.
Paint the bathroom white and green
Fasten the shower base in place.
Add shower curtains.
Paint the cockpit blue using primer and paint.
Clean the bus thoroughly. The cockpit is very bad.
Build a table for the bedroom.

After that, there's plumbing and electrical as well as bus maintainance.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Well bugger!

The toilet is almost complete. Cost so far, 2 and a bit pieces of 2x4 at $4 each, one piece of plywood at $15, about $20 of specialist screws, $6 of hinges, $6 on a specially long drill bit plus a ton of OSB, aggro and the bloody thing doesn't look like its going to work.

The lid binds on my door lock when I hinge it upwards. I'm really not sure what to do about it. One possible solution would be to cut a notch in the lid where it binds in order to allow it to swing freely. That'd be very redneck and not visually pleasing.

Another solution would be to cut the thing in half and just have the grit bucket under the handbasin. I hate wasting materials and money.

Yet another solution would be to cut the lid in half with the toilet side hinged and the other side held down with toggle bolts.

A final solution would be to burn the blasted thing and go and buy a toilet. I hate that idea because all my life in Britain I was surrounded by people whose cry was buy it, don't build it. And who on the rare occasions that building it didn't work would sneer that I'd wasted my money and should have bought it.

I'm going to have to think on it overnight. All day ive been battling 37% humidity and 100F (38C). Work has been in bursts of 15 minutes. In between bursts have been longer sessions cooling off.

Generally, I suppose the first solution, cutting a piece out of the lid might prove the most immediately effective solution. Given how much effort sent into the toilet, I'm very loathe to abandon the project. As far as completion is concerned, all the toilet needs is a hardboard front, some screws to hold the seat down and a proper lid on the grit compartment. Those jobs will probably take to the end of tomorrow.

I had a look at the bead curtain I bought off eBay. The picture on eBay looks nothing like the raggedy junk that arrived. It's supposed to be more of a privacy curtain but the reality is terrible. It's definitely not a privacy curtain. As it us, its unusable. Needless to say I've rather more a feeling, having seen 100 bad reviews for that seller for this month alone, mostly for deceptive descriptions and deceptive photos, they could be pretty slap happy about business.

So, tomorrow I'll try to rescue the toilet or maybe complete my closet door. It was suggested that making a bead curtain is a possibility. Indeed I spent some time in Imanta in Latvia where my hostess, Mara, actually had made a very effective bead curtain using string and driftwood.

Let's hope for a better day tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!

As I had to work today, at my voluntary job, I took the opportunity to do some shopping on my way back. What a day!

The first stop was Lowe's where 14, 5 inch lag screws and a 6 inch drill bit cost a stupendous $32. After picking myself up off the floor having heard the price, I completed the transaction secure in the knowledge that though my toilet will have cost the same to build as one I would have bought, I have a much better toilet. Of course, no trip to Lowe's is without entertainment. Today that entertainment was provided by having to play hunt the checkout.

Ignoring the extremely long lines at the checkouts, I hunted along rows of unattended tills seeking one with a shorter line. The self checkouts that never work each had irate customers busily cursing because the things were not working. I learned my lesson long ago that the self service check out should only be used if you have too much time on your hands! Eventually I did find a checkout and once I'd attracted the clerks attention, checked out. The hard part was attracting his attention as he was engrossed in his mobile phone.

The next stop was even more hilarious. That was a food stop at Walmart where upon finding only two items on the shelf and I needed four, I asked the closest Walmart employee. Their answer really summed up Walmart's attitude to customer service: "that's not my job" and the dentally challenged moron went back to shuffling cakes on a shelf, trying to look busy while studiously ignoring me and offering no further service!

After that, I went to BiLo around the corner, got everything I needed, was served by happy staff and exited the store. Right outside was a car with the trunk open and a pair of rough looking individuals trying to attract people to buy whatever it was they were selling - if it wasn't indeed a mugging they were offering.

Returning home, I found one of my eBay orders had arrived. This is a bead curtain for the end of the bed that has come all the way from Thailand. Sadly I was too tired to examine it thoroughly but it does not from first glance seem to be much more than netting with half a dozen beads attached! It looks like a $6 scam but I could be wrong.

Monday, July 13, 2015

I did a lot in the toilet!

Not because I had a dicky tummy though. I spent yesterday getting supplies and cutting wood for my bus toilet. Today I started construction.

The late start didn't help for it was a full 3pm before I started. I had been so excited about the closeness to the end of major construction that I didn't find it easy to get off last night. Indeed it was almost midday before I woke! Then I had to tend the wolf pack while m'lady went to the doctor.

It was another day of 115f in the bus and my first problem was my 1\4 inch drill was not long enough to go edgewise through my 2x4. Thus was addressed by drilling half inch recesses in the wood to make allowance for the heads of my lag screws. Between that and putting the top and bottom of the toilet frame together, I was busy.

I need to cut another cross member between the poo bucket and the cat lit bucket but that's a task for another day. I should also put some form of bar in behind the poo bucket to stop it sliding back. That's something that needs to be in place to catch descending goodies.

Having run out of lag screws I found I needed four more and if I install the other two supports then I'd need another 8 on top. I have a feeling that I've over engineered the toilet to the point it'd hold an elephant. That's fine though. The last thing I want to do is to fall into a pot of freshly steaming nastiness or even worse, stale, whiffy nastiness.

I bought some plywood yesterday with the intent to make a top for the toilet. This will hinge forward to allow access to Hersheys Pot of Gold. This might be necessary if I have to put a lid on the pot between uses. Cutting two holes, the first was easy - its the hole from which to scoop cat lit. Thanks for the idea, Eric! That was easy to cut - I simply lowered my circular saw in place and cut the square then finished the corners with a straight saw. The oval hole is trickier. I started by cutting a square out then started using a jigsaw. Oh boy, that took forever and the light went well before I finished. It looks like I'll be working on the toilet for a couple more days!

The plywood will hinge forward. I'll put a back, sides and a front on the toilet. There will be a hinged lid on the access to the cat lit. I'll have to wait a week or two before painting as the wood is rather wet still. There is no bottom because I want easy access to clean inside and to clean spills off the floor. I probably won't bolt it down. It's heavy enough that it likely won't slide much. If necessary, I'll find some way of bolting it in place with easily removable bolts.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The honey pot

Yes, I've been building a honey pot for my motorhome. For those with long memories, I did build one before but ended up not using it. That was built from 2x2 timber.

After a little visualising this morning, I decided to head out for supplies. As it turned out, I needed some 2x4. I just didn't feel 2x2 was such a great choice for something that has to hold my weight.

My idea for the new toilet is different anyway. I decided, having seen Eric's design for a toilet ( ) which is pretty much the same as my old design save for one difference. His toilet has a sawdust dispenser beside the throne. As I had no specific place for my equivalent, I redesigned my toilet to include a sawdust dispenser. In the visualization photo, the sawdust dispenser is represented by the red crate. In practice it seems better to switch the toilet and dispenser around.

I cut my 2x4 today and will assemble tomorrow. I should have enough screws of sufficient size though this is not guaranteed. Laid out roughly, the skeleton looks a bit like this.

The wood standing vertically will be spacers. I'm not yet sure whether I'll be trimming things down a bit further. Building things like this is largely trial and error. As it is, there's no space for doors under the bathroom vanity. That's not a problem though. My parents don't have a cupboard under their vanity either.

The aim tomorrow is to complete the toilet. Once that's done, I shall have an operable toilet. The handbasin just needs a bucket to collect water and a water supply - which could be just a jug. I'm getting ever closer to completion.

And I looked up the color of the dinette. It's Sherwin Williams Opulant Purple. I'm pretty close to matching the color for the front of the bus too. What I have is close but not 100% of a match yet. I suspect I won't find a true match and since Carpenter is out of business, they're not going to tell me!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Virgin Exit

Glancing around my bus, I noticed the sign above the side exit. That had me wondering what manner of schools they have in Tennessee. Perhaps I'm better off just not knowing...

Today I looked at yesterday's work and found I'd inadvertently bolted the leg of the vanity to the floor in the wrong place. I spent quite a while getting it better situated. It's not perfect but its not visibly wrong now.

I know exactly why I got it wrong. Heat exhaustion had set in yesterday. I really, really cannot cope with the ludicrous heat in South Carolina. If I had to spend more thgan 30 minutes working in it, I'd be dead and thats a fact! It takes longer to cool down than it does to get hot.

Anyway, the leg was adjusted satisfactorily and a side cut from my remaining OSB to fill in the side of the vanity. The original top from the original kitchenette I built came in very handy as the top of the vanity. This, by the way, is the only sink in the bus.

Yesterday I looked online at flushing camp toilets, thinking I could out my grey water into the tank and use it twice. It seems most have a leakage problem. That and the $70 price tag had me thinking more about a $8 sheet of OSB, a couple of pieces of $3 2x2, some screws and brackets. I also thought about the problem with ordinary house toilets that seem to block all the time. Dry toilets are so much more hygienic!

Anyway, I worked more on the vanity and ended up with this. I'm probably not going to put a door on the front. I might put a lip to stop things sliding out but as all it will hold is toilet rolls and initially a waste water tank, it doesn't really need a door.

Well, my OSB supplies are dwindling as are all my supplies. I noticed one OSB offcut that would do very nicely as a desk/table in the bedroom. I have a feeling that's where its going to end up. Whether I have sufficient OSB to build my toilet, I'm not yet sure. One thing is certain though and that is that construction is rapidly approaching conclusion. Plumbing will initially be very simple, as will electricity but those are things that can be built up at leisure. I can see my sending off to get the bus registered as a motorhome soon!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Screwing around

There was no set plan of action for today so I chose the most attractive of all my options which was to build the bathroom vanity. I didn't want to start drawers because I know it'll take a while to do them all and its a series of small tasks I can do when I don't have much time. It also doesn't need much space.

The bedroom desk or table is low priority as is the closet rail. I didn't have enough wood to do the front closet door. Thus the ideal candidate was the bathroom vanity.

I'd already fastened a horizontal strip of 2x2 to the wall between the bathroom and the toilet, ready for the vanity. Thus, I started with that as my starting point. I added a leg underneath it onto which I could rest a horizontal. As I'm unlikely to put much weight on the vanity, I'm using mostly 2x2.

The next step was a 2x2 leg between the horizontal and the old seat rail. That was followed by a piece of 2x4 perched on the seat rail. Now I should have used 2x4 for all the legs but since I'm running low on supplies, I'm using what I have. I don't want to end up with a surplus!

The 2x4 gave me the most problems. It had to sit flush on the seat rail but there were round headed screws on the seat rail. Rather than remove them, I dabbed nail polish on them then while it was still wet, placed the 2x4 in place. Now I had nail polish indicating where the screws were. It was simple - I used a countersink drill to make space for the screw heads. The 2x4 fitted nicely then. The next problem was it needed to be secured to the side of the bus a bit higher. To that end, I drilled a hole through the 2x4 and through the inside skin of the bus. That's when the drill bit broke. Unwittingly I'd drilled through one layer of steel and was just on the edge of a second layer. Of course the drill bit snagged, pulled the power drill and broke. Fortunately I could put a screw in without a problem.

That left me with a 3 legged vanity. It's beginning to look like something now! Of course I doubt the vanity will actually be rectangular. I rather suspect it'll end up as some sport of polygon!

The next leg was interesting as it isn't the same length as any of the others. This was cut from 2x4 in order to make construction easier and less reliant upon brackets which are almost all used. Of course, I completed the leg and got a bracket in order to screw it to the floor and found my self drilling screws were too short. Beneath that leg, the floor is 1/4 inch thicker. That part of the floor is my famous PVC planks. At the time I ran out of 2.5 inch self drilling screws. That was months ago!

Thus I did not quite complete my vanity. Placing a section of OSB cut from the old kitchenette that I built, with the hole for the handbasin in place and the handbasin in place, I can see roughly what it's going to look like.

Of course a loose leg is not desirable so I headed off to the store. There, I got the screws I needed plus some alternatives. I also got some wood so I can complete the closet door. Typically, I think I forgot to get hinges though.

While at Lowe's, I looked at paint for the bathroom. The bedroom is Valspar Cosmic Pink. The dinette is Sherwin Williams purple though right now I can't recall which purple. My original idea had been to have a yellow ochre color but looking at the yellows, browns and oranges, I felt that another warm color might be excessive. I wanted to stay away from bright yellow and from blue - even though my purple is slightly cool. In the end I decided to go for another Valspar color - Lime Passion. After that I have to match the Carpenter blue and I'll be done with paint!

Tomorrow will be a continuation of today, working on the bathroom vanity. As I didn't buy brackets, it might be difficult to build the toilet so I might do the closet door or the bedroom table/desk. Construction is definitely drawing to a close.

One of the other things I did today was to remove the shade over the drivers mirror. Now I don't have anything to whack my head on!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hot stuff or how to cut a curve

Today was pretty warm on the bus. The thermometer rose to an interesting 120F as measured out of direct sun, in the dinette. Fortunately,most of the day was spent attending to other matters though I did get time to complete my closet wall. The closet door might be next on the agenda together with priming the closet.

The first thing I did was to carry on from yesterday when I cut a board slightly wider than the closet wall and the same height as the gap (14.25 inches high). I secured the newly cut board to the 2x4 beam installed yesterday to bridge the gap. Then hanging a ruler at 1 inch intervals and marking off 14.25 inches each time, I marked out a curve parallel to the roof. I had to make sure the board was level. Fortunately, I'm pretty sure the bus is level.

After cutting the board, joining the dots with a straight hand saw, the curve was pretty close. A few minutes with a power sander in between trying it in place got the board to the closest match to the roof that I've ever achieved. I'll defy any air molecule to squeeze between the ceiling and the board!

That as a point of interest was the 9th curve I've cut. I never bothered with a template for two reasons. The first is that I don't trust Carpenter's workmanship to be that consistent. The second is that each partition is a different width.

Aside from the closet door, I have drawers and doors to make for the dinette, a table for the bedroom then a toilet and handbasin stand for the bathroom. Then it's pretty much just painting. Electrics and plumbing are simple tasks.