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Old 02-01-2008, 12:27 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Gustav

Hi All! As I said on an earlier post here, you can keep up with our general blog at http://www.freakishlyhappy.net and watch us during our conversion on our semi-live bus cam at http://www.freakishlyhappy.net/buscam
Below is recap of the blog, but trimmed down so it deals only with bus conversion fun!

This week has been a good one as we started demolition on our school bus this week!
Our bus is a 1996 Carpenter Crown, that we bought in October from Greg Archambault who works from the website
http://www.floridachurchbus.com I would highly recommend him, as he is very knowledgeable about buses, and sells them at fair prices.

It has been challenging (yet rewarding) so far. We started taking seats out last Sunday afternoon. Now from
what I've read most people just buy an angle grinder and shave off all of the bolts, and get the job done in a few hours. Never being ones to take the easy way out, we didn't do it that way. We sat in the aisle at Sears for a while discussing it, and couldn't think of another
use for an angle grinder- and since we're trying to buy things only for the longterm, we decided the we could do without. Instead I hopped under the bus with a wrench and held the nuts while John ratcheted the bolts out from above. Now this sounds much neater and tidier than it really was. First of all, most (if not all) of the bolts and nuts were in various states of rust and decomposition. Which was lucky in away, because i caught up on a lot of the iron that I've been lacking as I ingested a whole lot of rust.

Second, we're in Vermont and it is winter. Now when it was below freezing it wasn't so bad, because you can put
blankets and cardboard down and with enough layers, sitting on ice isn't too bad. It was on Wednesday when we had a thaw that it really sucked. The tarp that we put under the bus was a series of puddles and lakes.
But as much as I complain, at the end of the day it felt really good to be all dirty and disgusting knowing that we finally started on our home.

The week also had a few other frustrations. We are trying really hard to be as conscientious and sustainable as possible with this project.
After the seats were out, we had to figure out what to do with them. Pretty much everyone I talked to (including a guy who worked at a recycling
and sustainability group) told us to just take them to the dump. By Thursday afternoon I was pretty discouraged. Luckily, my sister (who we are staying with) employs a woman at the country store who also has an upholstery business. She's going to take the foam and the Naugahyde, and talk to a person that she knows who works for a school busing company who can hopefully take what she can't use. I did a lot of research, and found out that if you live in a more urban area, and are looking for something to do with your seat foam, you can take it to places that recycle carpet padding. Unfortunately for us, Vermont is still a little behind where that kind of thing comes in.

On Saturday, John and my dad worked really hard and got the rubber floors and rotted plywood flooring up in less than two hours. It was pretty amazing to watch.
This week we are going to be be working on cleaning up the floor, using some anti-rusting agents on it, sealing it against water, insulating and hopefully beginning to build the new floor. Sounds pretty ambitious to me, we'll see how far we get!
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Old 02-05-2008, 02:49 PM   #2
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Re: Gustav

Nice job so far. I like the semi-live buscam idea! Cool stuff.
Can I ask...any reason why there aren't more pics? Your text descriptions are very good, but as you know a picture is worth a thousand or so words! Seriously though, as you move into more interesting and complicated phases of your bus conversion, pitcures will be a lot of help to both you & your readers.

In any case...please keep us posted!!

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Old 02-22-2008, 12:13 AM   #3
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Re: Gustav

I am happy to report that we were able to get out and work on the bus today. We did a bit of poking around behind the metal on the walls to see if there was any major water damage, and found that everything looked to be in good shape. We stood around a bit and hemmed and hawed about whether or not we should take up the metal paneling. On the on one hand it would be easier and faster to just insulate and wall over the existing paneling, which would allow us to get on the road and start enjoying our bus earlier. On the other hand, if water leakage is a problem in the future, we’ll have invested a lot more time, effort and money when we have to take everything that we’ve built out because we didn’t do it right the first time. In the end we decided to do it right and we began to remove the screws for the paneling.

We have also been kicking around the idea of doing a partial raise of our roof. Many of the buses that we have fallen in love with on housetrucks.org have lovely lofted areas, which really makes the dwellings look more like homes and less like RVs (which is the look we’re going for Again, the negatives of this endeavor are the time and expense it would take, not to mention the extra thought it’s going to take to engineer it. The positives are creating a unique and lovely living-space, and a having a little bit extra space so that we don’t have to sweat our layout. Plus it seems a lot more romantic and idealistic. We went back and forth with the same old arguments that we’ve been using for weeks, before we decided that we both really want it. Rationality and common sense be damned! We removed the back two panels of ceiling in order to sort of seal the decision.

We had a lot of fun today. We both had a great time singing and being silly. Using power tools was good, too.

We’re still working on layout, and trying to figure out exactly what appliances we want to put in the bus. Right now we’re trying to decide on which toilet and woodstove we’d like. we’ve been looking at a Sun-Mar composting toilet http://www.sun-mar.com/index.html, in the Excel model. I’ve done a lot of research, and although it’s expensive, it seems to be the most eco-friendly and responsible way of dealing with our waste. It’ll allow us to not have a black-water tank, which would allow us independence from blackwater sucking stations, as well as alleviate the worry of having to winterize a tank full of poo. It also beats the suggestion to just use a bucket and dump it in a trash can. I guess I’m willing to fork over some cash in order that someone else is not responsible for my waste.
I think we may have also narrowed down our choice of wood stove. We really like the Swedish brand Jotul. We’ve been looking at their smaller stoves, but secretly we both really like the idea of having a viewing screen. A closed iron black box just isn’t as romantic.
Our philosophy seems to be that even though some of the things we’re putting in our bus may cost us some money up front, we’ll be able to take almost everything with us in a few years when we settle down and buy a house. It makes sense financially and environmentally to buy a quality item now, rather than buy one sub-quality item now and then be forced to chuck it in the land fill and replace it in the near future.

I’m also researching the best way to refurbish our claw-foot tub. The one that we bought is in fairly good condition, but it does have a spot where the porcelain has rubbed off, right where one’s bottom goes. Any suggestions?

As always, we’d love for anyone reading this to comment or make suggestions! Thanks!

PS Sorry about the continuing lack of photos!I've been taking them but just haven't posted them. I promise that I will get my act together one of these days!
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:31 PM   #4
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Re: Gustav



"...the Swedish brand Jøtul?"

Jøtul Swedish? Pardon me while I dissent:

Quote:
Jøtul is one of Norway's oldest industrial companies.

Jøtul's origin started at Kværner Brug, which was founded in the outskirts of Christiania in 1853. Read more about Jøtul’s exciting heritage under the section History. You can also download our History book “A Wealth of Tradition” from the links at the end of this page.

Jøtul AS is a Norwegian company with subsidiaries in USA, France, Denmark, United Kingdom, Spain and Poland. The Jøtul Group sells and markets its products under the world wide brands: Jøtul, Scan, Kavani, Atra and Hammerstrøm. The group has 850 employees in 10 different countries.

Jøtul AS is situated in Fredrikstad which is the largest site with over 400 employees. Jøtul sales are growing and the group’s turnover in 2006 was approximately NOK 900 millions with good profitability. Over 75% of the turnover is exported to markets around the world.

The manufacturing units are located in Fredrikstad, Halden and Drammen in Norway, Portland in USA, Motz en Chautagne in France, Gdansk in Poland, and Vissenbjerg in Denmark.
No mention of some backwater village named Sweden.

I just had to do that. I grew up in Norway.

Quote:
We both had a great time singing and being silly. Using power tools was good, too.
All right, you are forgiven.

But... Whaddayamean "partial" roof raise? 13' 6" is legal nationwide.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:17 PM   #5
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Re: Gustav

Hey Elliot! What street did you turn on to get here from Norway? I was thinking of heading that way. Any chance of staying with relatives?
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:08 AM   #6
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Re: Gustav

Boy is my face red!

Thank you for setting me straight Elliot!

Also, much to your chagrin Elliot, I we're planning to do what you suggested against- we're going to build up wooden structure on the back third of the bus, instead of doing a whole roof raise.
We have been inspired by the buses on the housetrucks site, especially the ones with the wood tops (for example http://www.housetrucks.com/glen2HT/page1.html) I think has kind of the gypsy, free-spirit feel that we're going for. It also seems to be more fitting our our limited knowledge of carpentry.

First I disrespect Norway, and then this! Can you ever forgive me Elliot?

For the rest of the roof we're planning on using as a roof-top terrance and garden, as well as a place for our solar panels. We'll see how far we get on raw ambition. Does anyone have any suggestions?
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:51 AM   #7
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Re: Gustav


Fifer:
Well, let that be a lesson to me!
Seriously, you know better than to take me very seriously, don't you?
But yes, I grew up in Norway, and Jøtul is one of those First Tier World Class Norwegian products that Norwegians tend to be proud of, so I noticed the trivial error. Norway and Sweden getting mixed up is kind'a a running inside joke for us Scandihooligans, ya know.
Those housetrucks are truly works of art. Go for it!

Reprobate:
Some possibility, very much depending on personalities and interests. Try pleading your case by PM.
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Old 02-23-2008, 09:19 AM   #8
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Re: Gustav

(here I go, hijacking the thread again)

Hey Elliot, why don't we hold the next Skoolie rally in Norway (or Sweden ) next year.

The only problem would be shipping and fuel costs.

Only kidding.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:13 PM   #9
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Re: Gustav

If not Norway--Ballard works for me.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:44 AM   #10
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Re: Gustav

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roasting8
(here I go, hijacking the thread again)

Hey Elliot, why don't we hold the next Skoolie rally in Norway (or Sweden ) next year.

The only problem would be shipping and fuel costs.

Only kidding.

Hey Elliot, I figured how to get the Skoolies over to Norway.



Could you imagine sailing the great Atlantic in this?

Ok, Ok, I'll quit now. Sorry for highjacking your thread Fifer
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