You can find materials in unusual places
So I had an experience this past week that I would like to share...
...our local library had a surplus auction. The purpose of these is less about making money than it is dumping a bunch of things they no longer need. I was bidding on some other equipment, but saw two sets of steps that I felt would be useful for the back door of the bus, as well as a stage in three pieces (more on that later).
I put in a minimum ($1) bid on the steps, figuring maybe I would get them if nobody bid. Bottom line, I was outbid.
A week later the library called me up. The bidder never showed; was I still interested (of course!)? And -- best of all, was I interested in the stage as well?
I have a good track record of turning over junk, and figured that at the very least I could salvage the lumber, so I said I would take the stage. So I went to measure it when picking up the steps, and noticed the stage was only slightly smaller than what I had intended for the master bunk. And would save me not only more than $100 in materials, but several hours in time, as we have electricity about 500 feet from our site, so we would have to walk back and forth in the cutting (a problem we discovered while cutting our laminate floor panels).
The stage design was two identical pieces, with a rounded front. I was able to trade the front off for the folks who supplied the truck to haul it over, and the second of the identical section makes a very nice deck for the back of the bus, with the stair sets going off to either side.
The platform is 8 inches shorter than my original design, though, so I am still trying to decide if I want to replace the legs or continue as is. As we are crowdfunding the project, we may go with the more cost efficient option of keeping it as is.
The best part was the price: $10 for all.
So don't forget to check those surplus auctions. You might find something you weren't expecting!