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Old 08-14-2016, 05:27 PM   #121
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
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Year: 1987
Engine: 6.9L Diesel
Well this past few weeks have been cluttered with last minute summer fun, but a little bit of progress since my last update. After 3 years of reading through builds and hating myself for not being able to weld, I finally got myself a modest lincoln MIG Welder. I went ahead and practiced by welding the top horizontal sections of my bus skin to the bus. I would say I got some but not ideal penetration, and some great practice. I look forward to getting some more welding done, but I will do my best to avoid structural welds without more practice.

What have I done!? (port side window holes), I zoned out with my angle grinder and accidently cut too far on the small left window. I was delighted and empowered to patch this up with the MIG.


Cleco'd in place, bless those clecos

and replace those cleco's with some 3/16 pop rivets

Cleco'd starboard window

and rivetted


I also used some super strut (unistrut knock off I think found at home depot)to extend my roof deck to accommodate solar panels.


I still have one "or two"(I only have one, but I keep telling myself I'll get another) windows to put in on the port side of the bus-hopefully tomorrow. The procedure I use is pretty simple and ripped off straight from the broccoli bus. He did a much better job both explaining and executing the procedure, however I will still break down my process here for the sake of providing a wholesome build explanation. After typing out all my commentary you are really better clicking that link which will take you to page 63 of the broccoli bus and following his well written guide, rather than following my sloppy process.

THE PROCESS

0. Predrill holes using #10 bit in drillpress.

1. Use a framing ruler to make a parallel line from the rain catch, then jam a window in there and demand my wife to stabilize it while i try and trace around it and passive aggressively complain about what a bad job we are doing. Disregard almost everything we did and draw over the lines with a sharpie. Then flip flop and draw more lines and scribble old lines out until I find my ideal shape in a mess of sharpie lines and scribbles on my wall. At some point I will determine my final shape, take a reassurance sip of beer and say all is good.

2.Cut the 90% of the straights with a cutoff wheel, and follow up with cutting the curves with a jig saw. (cut a little short so I can expand later)

3. Angle grind the interior until I can fit my window in, occasionally curse to myself about why I can't just measure properly the first time.

4. Once the window fits I go back and forth between drilling new holes and cleco the window on.

5. After all the holes are drilled I deburred and cold galvanized all the holes and interior cuts to assure myself the metal is protected. Rather than covering my windows to protect them from the galvanizing spray, I sloppily forget and disregard the wet silver stars on my beautiful windows, drink a sip of beer and pat myself on my back for doing things the right way.

6. I apply butyl putty to the window flanges while the galvanizing spray dries.

7. I cleco the butyl applied windows to the frame of the bus and admire the view for a couple days as I await my rivets to come in the mail.

8. I attempt to rivet the windows in and hate myself for using the wrong bit on the holes, instead of regalvanizing the holes I choose to call it an experiment, drill the holes and just rivet it as is.

A few notes: Being lucky enough to expierment with solid and pop rivets, I am really glad I was able to experience solid rivets for the skin of the bus. Despite my piss poor job rivetting a lot of the rivets, I feel really comfortable and assured that the skin is fastened on the bus really securely. If I were to do this again, I would definitely use solid rivets for the structural aspects of the bus. Also the aesthetic looks much better. However I also really enjoy pop rivets, and would totally use them if I were to half ass the project. The HF riveter works very well as far as I can tel, and it's really nice to not have to beg people to hold a bucking bar.

The future forecasts as followed.

1. Get my next window on.
2. A water test (which I've been dreading), to prepare for the fall.
3. Insulate the bus.
4. Begin framing the interior.
5. should bring us near october.

I don't want to flake out on this so I'm going to declare it now, I would like to try and frame the kitchen with steel. I believe I'll need 1" tubes and a little more practice welding. From there I will debate the materials I intend to use for the rest of the bus.

As always thank you for following, and I welcome your opinions, advice, and words of caution.
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:11 PM   #122
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: North carolina
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Power strut is good stuff just like any brand name just pay attention to the guage/thickness.
12guage is thicker than 14guage just like sheetmetal/thinner metals.
If you run into an issue where your strut wants to buckle/bow you can always double it up back to back with through bolts to stiffen it. Power strut also makes and sells 3" X 1- 1/2" strut as well. You just need to find a local supplier like a commercial electrical or plumbing piping supply house? But doubling up might still be cheaper.
Looking good and make sure there isn't any combustibles(cardboard,paper, paint cans,paint cleaner and so many more on the other side of your welding) and some insulations don't like it either? Old fiberglass will just smolder and stink and a lot of spray foam and foam board will just catch the spark and meld it in but some will burn but you won't know until you lift your hood. A lot of welder's can tell you what is burning without lifting there hood but that one only comes with practice? ( that smells like blue jeans wait OW,OW!OW!) where's my damn fire Watch? I am here? What in the ??? Are you doing??
I doing what you told me to do!!! I am watching the fire!
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Old 08-15-2016, 05:26 PM   #123
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Join Date: Oct 2014
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Thank you Jolly for your input! I think my strut may be thick enough, it looks comparable to my decking strut. I will definitely consider doubling it(I don't remember what gauge it is), and keeping an eye on the straightness of it. It would work out alright because I want to have the solar panels elevated above the roof vents anyway.

I also appreciate your introductory cautionary words: don't have combustible materials near my welds-noted!
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:10 PM   #124
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Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Post

You do realize you must leave your mark before you cover over the galvanized panels.... Right???

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Old 08-16-2016, 01:42 PM   #125
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Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I have already marked all over them around the windows, but I will make sure to leave my mark as well.
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:00 PM   #126
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Join Date: Oct 2014
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The "second to last" of the windows is in!


And a pic of the starboard side, (angle is due to spacial restraints, not artistic vision) You can't really see it but I welded a sheet of scrap over a small hole that's been bothering me for about two years. and sprayed over it with cold galv spray. Very satisfying.


Milkmania, I'll thought about tramp staming the bus last night. I almost drew a big penis on it and realized I won't be painting it for awhile, then I realized I should probably do something low key. Maybe I'll photoshop a stencil?
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:23 PM   #127
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
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Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I really like how those RV windows Look! nice work!.
-Christopher
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Old 08-17-2016, 03:45 PM   #128
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Year: 1987
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Thanks! The windows do a great job hiding my terrible cutting, I'm relieved to have a metal box with windows in. I feel lame for not raising the roof, but I'm really excited to get this badboy insulated!
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Old 08-17-2016, 06:17 PM   #129
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Chassis: International 3800
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
not everyone raises the roof... there are plenty of stock height busses out there travelling the country
-Christopher
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Old 08-19-2016, 02:41 PM   #130
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Join Date: Oct 2014
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Thanks Cadillac, I appreciate your reassurance. It's an anxiety inherent in my 6'3" physique. But you're right, there are plenty of people who don't raise the roof. I will be one of them for now.

On this note: I have been struggling finding 1/2" or 3/4" XPS foam board, however if anyone in washington needs some I am developing a few connections. I don't have the boards yet though so I guess I'm speaking too soon.
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Old 09-10-2016, 03:15 PM   #131
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 414
Year: 1987
Engine: 6.9L Diesel
Well, it's been about a month and my visible progress is hardly noticeable. Regardless of which, here's how the past few weeks have gone down.

I found myself anxious about my drivers side window so I replaced it with a nice big beautiful dual pane window. I put it in a little crooked so my bus could be unique, with this window in, all but 1 small window and all of the integrated door windows. have been replaced with new windows, all but one of which are dual pane (excluding the integrated rv window I put in the door).


Process pics.
I used one of my old ceiling panels, approximately 20 gauge. I traced the window BEFORE applying the sheeting, very good idea!

cut

cleco'd


rivetted


Here's a picture very similar to another picture I posted last month, except with the new window in.


I confess I did a lot of half assing throughout this process. The pop rivets I used were often slightly shorter or longer than what they were rated for, I did not apply this on level ground, the metal looked warped before I welded the top section to the bus, my welds probably are terrible, but look good enough to my untrained eyes (I chose quantity over quality). I have yet to take her out for a drive to see how bad she'll oil can, but visually it turned out pretty well!

I was going to put on bright reverse lights in the back, but got lazy and just took out the rear flashers. Visually I haven't gotten used to this look yet.


I sprayed on some rustoleum brown primer via spray paint can and realized I was pissing my money away. I then got myself a paint sprayer from harbor freight and had a lot of fun with it, I mixed in some Germanic insulation beads and went to town. On the third layer the gun was starting to clog (probably from the insulation beads). I did a poor job on the third layer but that's okay.


The closer I get to the insulation project the more small things I realize I need to get done beforehand, for the past three weeks I keep telling myself "I'll get started on insulation next week" yet I still haven't started. But that's okay, the only real critic to my work and progress seems to be myself.

To wrap up my exterior project and move towards interior I been cleaning and remodeling of my garage/bus, this means I have a lot of wood to burn.

I've also gotten a lot of sketchup time at work to help me go from total beginner to, novice. It's really amazing that I haven't gotten a warning for my unacceptable behavior, I thank the stereotype of the lazy good for nothing manager.
Here's my most recent rendition of the bus (no paneling for dresser/bathroom seperator)


less the furniture (bed and couch)


a close up of my lower bed drawers


model of my sink unit


After shopping around a bit, I temporarily concluded that the best price for steel tubing I can get is from a metal shop in Kent that will sell me 500ft of 16 gauge 1" square tubing for 0.70/ft or 1000ft for 0.62/ft. I found a 5 hour MIG class that I decided I will attend to not too far from myself. I went back and forth but decided since I know very little about structural engineering (aside from triangles are good), I should atleast know how to discern a good weld from a bad weld. (if any of you have advise towards structural integrity I'm all ears!)

This coming week I will be taking the bus for a drive, I am very nervous and excited to see how the bus drives after a long hiatus.

I don't really understand what the proper etiquette is towards questions (whether I should post them here or make a board, but I've got a few some I'll try it out on my build thread).

1. This is an air intake which goes into the radiator, when I insulate should I leave this hole uninsulated? Or is it okay for me to cover it up (and possibly patch it)?


2. This power line for a wheel chair lift: I plan to wrap it in a few layers of electric tape, tie some yarn to it and push it down the hole, do you have an opinion towards this? It's good to note I haven't been able to draw a current out of this.


So here's what's in store for the coming week.
1. Install trailer wiring.
2. Install reverse Camera
3. Install new gaskets for doors.
4. Do some modest repair work on double door.
5. Begin insulation project!

Thank you all for being such a wonderful community, I couldn't imagine being where I am now without your support and my oblige to keep you all posted on my progress.
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Old 09-10-2016, 04:09 PM   #132
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 13,512
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
a lot of the pics are giving me 403 forbidden errors trying to reach them..

sounds like a lot of progress on the bus though.. not all of it is visble but doesnt mean its any less important
-Christopher
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Old 09-10-2016, 04:53 PM   #133
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
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Year: 1987
Engine: 6.9L Diesel
Thanks Cadillac! Got em fixed (I hope), that's what I get for trying to use google drive.
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:31 PM   #134
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,382
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Good looking unit! Coming along nicely.

Couple questions...
1) what's this Germanic bead stuff? Crap, as I was typing it, I realized you probably meant ceramic. Doh! (Homer Simpson voice)

2) what is this 'oil canning' you mention?

Again, great build! I love the driver's window, keep up the good work, it's rewarding for you.... And us!
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:30 PM   #135
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"Oil Canning" is when sheet metal expands or contracts after fitting to the point it wrinkles. Best bet is to warm the metal up before attaching.
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Old 09-11-2016, 04:50 PM   #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmania View Post

Couple questions...
1) what's this Germanic bead stuff? Crap, as I was typing it, I realized you probably meant ceramic. Doh! (Homer Simpson voice)
Oops! No idea how I misspelled that, hy-tech ceramic beads mixed in with the paint(I believe I was recommended this through one of Tango's posts). I wouldn't recommend mixing the beads in a spray gun (I think it clogged my gun), but I got myself a one year warranty so it's not a big deal .

Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmania View Post
Again, great build! I love the driver's window, keep up the good work, it's rewarding for you.... And us!
Thank you. I think I love it too, hopefully it will stay (and not leak).
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Old 09-25-2016, 04:29 PM   #137
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Join Date: Oct 2014
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Year: 1987
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Well despite my lack of visual progress, I think it's time for an update.

I've begun waking up earlier to get my sleepy self to work on the bus before work in addition to after work. I hate it until I get inside the bus, and then it starts getting better. No I haven't gotten the insulation started yet, I don't wanna talk about it..unless you want to?

So I have some fun updates. Disclaimer: I'm giving google shared albums another shot, hopefully you can see the pictures. Here we go!

I got the trailer hitch installed.


Rainbow boxer did a greats job doing this without the easy kits.

I lack such confidence so I just used the following two kits - as recommended by a hopkins rep. The hopkins 46365 Power converter

hopkins 47185 Multi tow adapter

The hopkins rep told me my existing wiring would be fine, but when I saw the infamous 3m wire splices in the kit, I decided it would be a good idea to replace all of the relevant wiring with 10 gauge stranded wire. Why? I don't know, I'm not an electrician nor an engineer. I could explain my logic but it would be a silly ramble. All of these wires I spliced and soldered together. The front sections of wires are wrapped with electric tape, the back wires are a combination between electric tape and heat shrink. It was a great learning experience with soldering and oh man do I love my helping hands for soldering.

Would I replace the existing wiring with 10 gauge wire again? I don't know, it was a huge pain in the ass. I did however get a pleasant surprise of finding out both my reverse lights work, one of them must've had a crappy connection prior to my re-wiring. Also, I'm not sure why but when I re-wired everything my brake lights and tail lights were wired together. When my tail lights were activated my brake lights were lit too. I thought it was bizzaire that the original settings were wired like so, but found an easy disconnect for the two so I fixed that. I was a little nervous about it, but everything works nicely now so... better than new? maybe.

before pics



After pic


Since I was already messing with the wire runs, I went ahead and took this opportunity to install my back up camera.


I was going to buy a nicer vertical mount reverse camerea but decided to make a cheap mount using a 50 cent bracket from home depot. This way if my camera breaks or goes bad, I can just buy another for $6 rather than $30. The mount turned out surprisingly well.

I had to buy a longer RCA cable, Amazon had nothing between 20ft and 60. I went ahead and got the 60. It gives me a little noise but not a huge deal. I really like that if I connect a trailer to it, I have more than enough wire to run it over to a trailer cam. I thought it would be cool to put it on some sort of retractable spool, but that seems surprisingly expensive so for now It's just wrapped around a used wire spool. I don't know if I mentioned it, but I really like the reverse camera so far. But I have yet to test it seriously. It has an extra RCA input, so I'm excited to put in a Dash Camera as well as some sort of phone adapter in the future so I could use it for maps or something.

Other little projects.

I have been putting this off for awhile, but I put in a bathroom vent, as well as a Maxx air cover for it.



Also been putting this off but I found 10 feet of thing gauge galvanized steel flashing for $8. I got that, trimmed it down and made a rain cover for the double door.

And I finally replaced one of my double door latches.


I still have a little trouble shooting to go for my double door latch.

and I did some fall gardening maintenance, I am having a huge shortage on space though, there's going to be a lot of eco-darwinism happening in the coming weeks if I don't make more space for my plants. If you're wondering: Broccolli, kale, spinach, lettuce, arugula, leaks. I think.



If you haven't already noticed, a lot of my work this update is very crooked (more so than usual). The bathroom vent isn't even close to the center of the roof line, and the trailer hookup has a 5 degree tilt to it. I can't explain how I screwed this up so poorly, but it doesn't bother me much. Maybe it's fatigue, maybe it's the buzz of alcohol. Whatever, good enough for me.
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Old 09-25-2016, 05:22 PM   #138
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,382
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
When I had dishnetwork, I gutted one of the Wood's extension cord spools for 75 feet of coax ... (After extension cord went bad)

I think around $15 at Walmart
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Old 09-25-2016, 05:31 PM   #139
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 414
Year: 1987
Engine: 6.9L Diesel
Oops! So my struggle with the spool is that I want something small/narrow enough to fit into my upper rear section (out of view), not sure what it's called. But at the same time I may just install a spool somewhere outside of it and stop being so picky. Something to think about, no rush though, it's no more than 15 minutes to dismantle and re-spool everything as it is.

edit: and thank you for keeping me in mind.
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Old 10-02-2016, 07:47 PM   #140
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 414
Year: 1987
Engine: 6.9L Diesel
Some very satisfying progress has gone down in the past week.

I had a terrible day last Monday and took my bus for a "F it, I need to drive the bus" drive. It was incredibly satisfying. My welds holding the sheets to the bus frame made the drive a LOT quieter. The reverse camera is incredibly useful to use as a rearview mirror, A lot of the work I've put into the bus is starting to show as well. It did great things for my state of mind. After the drive I went ahead and leveled it (mostly) with various wood around. That was a lot easier than I thought, it took about as much time as I expected though. I put a big broken fan a little before where I wanted to park the front of the bus with a flashlight on it, once I knocked the flashlight off I parked the bus and voila!



To be later photo-documented: My wife went to town on exterior painting, and primed over all the rivets and sheets. It looks so nice, and the weather has been so warm I'm tempted to just paint them green later.

photo documented: The subflooring insulation is done!

Progress pix.

Subflooring consists of 1/2 xps foam board, a radiant barrier and 15/32 5-plywood. The radiant barrier might not be necessary, it may be. I did not put in any vapor barriers, and probably will not for the walls or ceiling either. I'll get back to you on this decision.







I copied JakeC's method of fastening the floor down, however I made it my own by lowering the overall quality of the build. You can read how he did it here.

I put in 4" x 3.5" squares beneath the wood and used locktite to glue it to the metal below. I includes the square in this photo as reference (to the right of the screws)


Then I ran 2x2's along the edges to keep the flooring in check.


It is amazing how much this changes the feel of the bus. It has suddenly shifted from metal bus feel to homey flooring. I can even stand on floor barefoot now with a noticeably warmer feel. I rested the shower pan inside and suddenly everything is getting very real. This is great for my morale, I look forward to some more visual progression over the coming weeks. I may've even found a helper to help me do busy work. Everything is good guys, I hope to share another satisfying update next week!

Also worth noting: I took a 5 hour MIG welding class at the hazard center in Seattle today. It got me feeling okay about my welds. Between this and my dislike for imperfect fragile wood, I'm very excited to proceed with metal framing after insulating. I also got a security system for my house which I look forward to installing for general tool assurance. Later this month I plan to catalog all my tools (aka take pictures of their serials) to give them a little extra protection.

As always thank you for following and all your support! Your opinions and input are always appreciated.
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