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Old 05-13-2005, 05:56 PM   #41
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Congratulations on your tags, I hope everything continues on the positive side for you.
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Old 05-14-2005, 01:23 AM   #42
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Maybe that black cloud that has been over you has finally moved on. I sure hope my black cloud will move as well.
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Old 05-16-2005, 06:56 PM   #43
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Progress Report 05/16/05

Thanks for the good wishes, y'all. It really helps.

It's rough doing "stealth" work at the park. I've managed to wood putty the plywood flooring to get it smooth enough for vinyl tile, and I've managed to get the plumbing just about done, and I've managed to get the sliding doors installed on the hanging lockers, but that's about it for a whole week (of course, court ate up a day...) Oh, I did get some staining and painting done on some parts that I could bring home (to my wife's house) to work on. Tonight I'm going to finish the plumbing (run pipes from the kitchen area to the bath area, finish hooking up the electrical system (need to hook wires up to distribution box), and try to get the vinyl tile installed. I had to buy the cheapest self-stick vinyl tile possible. It's okay looking, but not great looking. Oh, well. I just hope it will stick to the plywood. I should prime the wood first, but I just won't be able to manage that at the park. Or maybe I will. Grrr....

I bought a section of 8" PVC sewer pipe to convert into a holding tank. The whole set-up (pipe, end caps, adaptors) cost $84.00, which is about what a real RV waste tank would cost, but works out cheaper (or no more expensive) when shipping is taken into account (plus it was something I could get my hands on immediately. I'll be able to mount about 12 feet of the 14 foot section under the bus, which will give me about 32 gallons of holding space.

I still don't have a head set up. I'm going with a home-made composting toilet arrangement that I have semi-designed in my mind. Basically it uses six 5 gallon buckets, nested together in 3 sets of two. The active bucket will seperate urine from feces, and begin the composting process. Once that bucket is filled (with waste -- including some kitchen refuse -- and kitty litter and rabbit pellets), it gets dumped into the first of the two "finishing" buckets, where it is aerated occasionally, and then dumped into the final finishing bucket where earthworms will be added. The process should last about 90 days from start to finish. I'll dump the final product in my wife's flower beds. Once the earthworms have been at the product for a month, there won't be anything left but worm castings, which are not considered any kind of hazardous waste. If I had to (i.e. if the local authorities raised any issues), I could dump it into a 5 gallon metal bucket and cook over a fire to 160 degrees F for a couple of hours, which would sterilize it.

Well, gotta run! Off to buy more plumbing parts.
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Old 05-16-2005, 08:40 PM   #44
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Just FedEx the crap to the landlord. He is already full of it.
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Old 05-18-2005, 11:00 PM   #45
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Swimming with chains

I feel like the guy bound in chains that they pulled out of the Catawba River a few years ago: the Sherrif said, "Look at that! He tried to steal more chains than he could swim with."

It doesn't feel like I'm getting anything done. I managed to wood putty much of the plywood subfloor to get it smooth enough to hold the vinyl tile (Note: if you plan to install vinyl tile, buy B-C sanded plywood for your subfloor, not sheathing -- the sheathing has grooves and checks and ripples in it that must be smoothed, while the sanded is smooth enough to use without any additional work.) But I've only managed to get about 1/2 of it sanded because I'm having to do stealth sanding in the park, only when no one is around or when I have the bus's engine running. I should prime the floor before applying tile, but I'm not sure I'm going to manage that. It will just be one more time-consuming thing.

The plumbing is still not complete. I have to figure out exactly where the lines are going to go in relation to the washstand and tub before I can drill the holes for them, and then I have to wait until Friday to drill the holes (I'm dropping by the house "to pick up some things" for about 5 hours Friday so that I can do some drilling in the bus.)

I did manage to get the first coat of stain and a coat of primer on the living and kitchen areas, respectively. I may try to do one more coat of stain and a coat of paint tonight, but I'm pretty tired and I may wait 'til tomorrow.

I still have to make the electrical connections at the distribution box. All week and a half I've been using a drop cord and I have lights and sockets in the bus but I just haven't gotten the lines hooked up! Maybe tonight....ha!

I got started on the bathtub this evening, but made very little headway. I managed to find a large SS mixing bowl to line the inside of the bucket for the washstand -- kind of looks like a big airliner sink. I drilled the iron bands in the barrel and put #6x5/8" screws with finish washers on them through the holes to hold the staves to the bands. That worked pretty well, although it is an insult to the cooper's art. I picked up 4 yards of fiberglass cloth and a quart of resin to start the bathtub fiberglassing, but I need to sand the char out of the inside with the belt sander first....which of course I did not get started on due to having to drive all over God's creation to get materials and move from the bus to the worksite at the house, and then run out and get 9/64" bits when I broke mine on the third hole (of course, as is always the case, I bought several bits -- and did not break another one through the other 73 or so holes).

Well, tomorrow my son is supposed to come out and help me. Maybe he can stain and paint while I fiddle with plumbing or sand the floor. We'll see how much we can get done. I'd really like to get the tile down tomorrow, so that the RV park owner will not be seeing bare plywood in the bus when I drive up.

This would have been so much simpler if I could work at the house. Geez....
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Old 05-20-2005, 07:37 PM   #46
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Incremental Progess

Well, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Followed by another. And another. And another. And another....

Making some progress, but it's incremental and slow.

Wiring chase panels are installed and look...adequate. I have to keep telling myself, this is a 20 year old bus, not Chippendale quality cabinetry. "Exult in the plain, the functional, and the unpretentious," I keep telling myself, and, boy, am I!

The staining is all done, and the kitchen has been painted, both thanks to my son, who has been helping me greatly. I did manage to get the floor primed in preparation for putting down the vinyl tile. Sneaking around on my hands and knees, looking out for rangers, and hoping no one could smell the primer, is not my preferred mode of camping!

I got the electrical wiring hooked up finally! Hooray! I have real lighting and sockets! All of my sockets checked out okay with a socket checker, except for the external one on the rear of the bus, which has an open ground, probably because I have struggled (literally) with that one, and the ground wire must have been knocked off when I was squashing the socket into the box. That shouldn't be too hard to fix. It's so BRIGHT in there with three 20 watt flourescent bulbs, one over the dinette, one in the living area, and one over the kitchen counter. I haven't installed the two 8 watt fixtures in the bathroom yet, but they are plug-ins, so it won't be a problem.

The plumbing is close to being done. I'm having to design it to fit the fixtures (tub, washstand, sink), but I don't have them constructed completely, yet, so I'm having to kind of estimate what they are going to end up being like, something that is a lot more haphazard than I would like.

The big things left to do are to install the holding tank (after constructing it from 8" PVC pipe, after figuring out how to hook plumbing to it....); tile the kitchen counter; lay the vinyl tile; and construct the washstand, toilet and bathtub.

The bathtub has its first coat of fiberglass, and it's not as big a disaster as I thought it was at 3:00AM this morning when I finished with it. It is rough and a bit sloppy, but I can fix that with the belt sander. I had difficulty estimating the proper hardener/resin ratio, and ended up with a couple of "hot" batches of resin that started gelling way too soon. The cloth laid out pretty well, however, and using the Bondo on top of Duct Tape to create a fillet in the corner of the barrel worked very well. I'm going to rough sand the interior and see how things look. Then I may either put a coat of bondo over the whole thing to smooth it more, or I may just glass it some more. We'll see!

Take care.
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Old 05-20-2005, 08:57 PM   #47
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Sounds like you have made some great progress. Glad to hear the shower is working out well so far. have a good weekend
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Old 05-22-2005, 09:30 PM   #48
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Floor is done!

I finished the floor today. Boy, was that a time consumer. It may not have been a wise choice of flooring material, either. I got cheap vinyl tile. Yesterday, after I had finished applying the tile to the front of the bus, I was working in the back and came out to take a break. When I went back in, I noticed that the tile was coming up! ACK!! The sunlight was causing the tiles to expand and press against each other, which made them bubble up. I quick blocked the sunlight and rolled down the tiles again. They seem to have stayed. Right now I have some lovely 13 gallon garbage bags taped over the windows. I was going to put some window tinting on the windows, but I can't decide what product to use. Home Depot has some that I want to use, but it's reflective, and can't be used on cars. Wal-Mart has some static cling RV tinting sheets, but I'm skeptical of that, having seen so many cars with bad, bubbly tinting jobs going down the road (besides, it costs twice as much as the Home Depot product).

I may get another Home Depot tinting product that is clear to the eye, but cuts solar gain by 55%, andI hope to get some curtains made next week. Between the two things, that should solve the problem.

I'm working on the rainbarrel/shower right now. I have a second layer of Bondo over the fiberglass in the joint between the barrel bottom and sides, and sanded it smooth. I just finished putting a half-assed skim coat of Bondo over the area, and I'm going to put in a second layer of fiberglass on the bottom, a layer about 6" up the sides from the bottom, and another layer around the rim extending about 2 inches down the sides from the top.

The sink is a wooden bucket, and I found a stainless steel 8 quart mixing bowl that fits just inside the bucket about a half inch down from the rim. I'm going to use some wood crosspieces under the bottom of it (off center to allow for the drainpipe) to support the bowl, and then build a rim around the top inside the bucket that will support the rim of the bowl -- probably just put a few pieces of 1/4" scrapwood below where the rim goes, and then build up a Bondo/fiberglass rim on top of that. It doesn't need to support the bowl as much as it needs to make a sealable section to keep water from going down into the bucket. I'll caulk it with silicone. I have to cut a drainhole in the bottom, and somehow pound a little indentation, or lip, around it that I can mount the drain fixture to. If there is no lip, the water won't drain properly, but that wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if I can't get the lip formed. I can always just mop the sink out after I use it.

Tomorrow I am going to bring the bus back to the house to cut some plumbing holes in the floor. My soon-to-be-ex-wife has said I can come over for about 5 hours, but I have to be gone after that. In that time I have to cut the holes, mount the gray-water tank (that has to be constructed to fit), and plumb the drainage lines from the bathrooom and kitchen to the tank. If I can get all that done, I'll be pretty well set, except for completing the toilet (which is just a plywood box with three 5 gallon buckets in it.

Of course, none of this is going to be that easy...
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Old 05-23-2005, 10:55 AM   #49
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Re: Incremental Progess

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric von Kleist
I have to keep telling myself, this is a 20 year old bus, not Chippendale quality cabinetry. "Exult in the plain, the functional, and the unpretentious," I keep telling myself, and, boy, am I!
Man do I know how you feel. My bus wasn't in the "Best" shape when I got it, but everytime i screw up a little, it kills me. I painted this weekend and the next day noticed a couple spots i missed, and that some of my grinding showed up through the paint. Like you, just gotta keep telling myself that it was a piece of **** to begin with and I'm just polishing the turd. Better than it was i guess.

Keep it up though, before you know it, youll be drunk and admiring all your hard work. You'll get there!
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Plotting the next project now. Looking for a clean diesel pusher with low rust/miles. Identical plans with plumming and biodiesel added :)
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Old 05-24-2005, 01:17 AM   #50
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Landlord Issues Again...

Well, I left the nice state park today, and brough the bus to my soon-to-be-ex-wife's house so that I could cut holes for the plumbing and install the holding tank. Naturally, about 1 hour after I get there, the landlord's fiance pulls up and proceeds to harrass my wife about the bus being back.

Then the landlord left my wife a message on her answering machine about how the bus being back was making a "mockery of their relationship", and he was going to come right over because he had "some words for me". To head off any trouble, WE called the police, and two officers showed up and said, again, that there was nothing anyone could do about the bus being parked there. My wife played the message for one of the officers, and he said it did sound pretty strange.

I went back to working on the bus.

At some point after that I noticed one of the officers talking on a cellphone, and caught enough of the conversation to understand that he was talking to the landlord. My wife ended up getting me until 6:00 PM to work on the bus (the conversation took place about 3:30 PM). I got holes cut for drains for the bathtub, sink, and lavatory, and holes drilled to hang the holding tank from.

My son was working on the lavatory washstand, and he did a very good job of getting the major pieces completed. I can install it and finish the rest of it pretty easily. It fits in the right rear corner of the bus, and is shaped like a baseball home plate. It's about that size, too.

I have almost completed fiberglassing the half whiskey barrel that will be the shower pan/bathtub. It may hold water. My fiberglassing skills are mediocre, at best, and this was a fairly rushed job on a difficult surface. There are two layers of cloth inside the barrel, (more in overlap areas, particularly the fillet between the sides and the bottom of the barrel), so it is very sturdy, but I'm not sure about how waterproof it will be. I have put one fill coat on the cloth, and will add at least one, and possibly two, more fill coats tomorrow. After the fill coats, I'm going to paint it inside with a couple of coats of white BPS Tractor Paint (left over from painting the bus.) I'm marginally pleased with it. If it will hold water so that I can soak in it, I'll be thrilled. The drain is going to be a plain old stopper type, which requires the least amount of work to install -- besides, anything fancier would clash with the whole country/cowboy/outhouse theme.

I was thinking about getting one of these to turn it into a jaccuzi!



Just kidding!

The last thing I did today was to drill a holed for the stainless eye-bolt that will lock the back door, and drill a hole in the handle of the back door. I got a re-settable combination brass master lock so that I can lock the front door , then exit from the rear and lock it up. Seems to work okay.

So, I packed everything up at 6:00PM and rolled into the...modest...RV park that I have selected. I have 50 Amp service to power my three 20 Watt and two 8 Watt florescent lights. I also have a porch, or deck, out beside the bus that is almost level in places, and that consists of about 6 sheets of untreated plywood on a sort-of deck frame about 18 inches high at one end and sitting on the ground at the other. Oh, there is a board leaning up against it that you could use for a ramp to get up on it.

I hope to get all of the plumbing finalized tomorrow.

Oh, I figured out how to hang a shower curtain easily: MAGNETS. I was sweating over a round shower curtain rod design, and had decided to use 1/2" copper tubing. Then I realized that magnets would hold a shower curtain to the cieling, and would allow me to remove the shower curtain entirely when not in use.

Well, time for bed. Ciao!
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