free web stats

:: Bus Life

Hydraulic Bed Lift

We finally installed the hydraulic lift system under the bed! The instructions were daunting, but once we understood the terminology it was actually pretty straightforward. It works great, and now we have easy access to the storage space below.

Cabinet Doors pt. 2

I built one of my cabinet doors differently, gluing front and back together all at one time instead of in sections (I was being impatient). To my dismay, the entire thing warped and gapped dramatically. I thought I would have to scrap it and start over. But first I tried wrapping the whole thing in a wet towel and weighting it, and shockingly it straightened the door out and closed the gap! Now it’s perfectly straight, ready for a final sanding and staining. I’m super pleased that I don’t have to start over. Hooray!

Brad loves the cabinet doors so much that I’m now building them for the lower cabinets too. 😃

I used scraps of paper during gluing to keep the clamps from getting glued down. The clamps separate easily, and the paper and glue sands right off. Handy little trick learned from the internet. Thank you internet.

Cabinet Doors

While Brad is out of town I decided to surprise him by building doors for the upper kitchen cabinets. 🙂 I had an idea to use decorative metal screen so that the items in the cabinet would be a little bit visible, but mostly obscured. I made them by sandwiching the metal screen between panels of wood, held together by wood glue (no screws or nails). I think they turned out great. I hope he likes them!

Garage Shelving

Brad went out of town today, but before he did we put up the shelves in the garage. We have room to store *almost* all of our gear. We still need room for some tools, helmets, rope, and our telescoping ladder. I think we can get creative with wall space and the inside of the garage door, using tracks and hooks for storage. It’s so great to see our house garage emptying into our bus garage!

Rubber Gym Mat

It was finally time to cut rubber for the garage, garage shelves, and under the bed. Even at only a quarter of an inch thick it was still super tough to cut through and needed scoring multiple times. I continue to be Brad’s hero, because as he says there were two projects he absolutely didn’t want to do – fiberglassing the shower and cutting the rubber, and I tackled it like a champ! My fingers are still numb from the pressure of holding the blade so tight… But doesn’t the rubber look great?

More Stuff

Shelving is ready to install in the garage, which we’ll line with rubber to be able to take abuse. I’m thinking cargo nets across the front would be a good idea to keep sleeping bags and gear from sliding around… Also, the overhead panel in the driver’s area is ready for paint and install tomorrow! Two of the four surround speakers will be mounted there. I can’t wait to be able to use our sound system!

(Aaaand, without realizing it, we’ve made the front panel look just like a giant cassette tape. Now to try and fix it.)

Fiberglass Mess pt. 2

There is no way to get good pictures of this, but suffice to say it is the messiest project EVER! The end product will be nice, but man, what a job. We just finished fiberglassing the shower by hand. We chose fiberglass out of necessity because of all the crazy angles in the shower and no other wall panel or covering would have worked. It just looks like wet wood in the photos, but it’s done! Waiting for it to dry now, then a final sanding down before coating with marine paint.

The bonus: Brad now says that I am his hero. I’ll take it.

Tip – when working with resin wear clothes that you’re ok with throwing away afterward.

Garage Paint

The first coat of paint is down in the garage! We are going to rubberize the floor and side wall to protect from drippy wet skis and gear, and we fiberglassed the seams for extra protection. I love the grey industrial look.

Fiberglass Mess

We started fiberglassing the shower today, and can you say MESSY?! Brad confessed about two minutes in that his temperament couldn’t handle fiberglassing, but we found our groove – me applying the fiberglass and him keeping me supplied with strips of mat and mixed resin. There’s still more to do, but I’m treating it like a fun art project (paper mache?). We are both on the OCD side, so big messes are stressful, but there is just no way to do this without making a big mess. So, we will embrace it!

New Faucet

As much as we loved the commercial style sprayer faucet, it turned out to be too big for our modest sized little sink. The spray would have been too near the front instead of the middle. So here is our replacement choice. It’s cute! It also leaves plenty of room for us to wash our hair in the sink when we need to.

Kitchen Update

The countertop is officially installed! We wanted everything under mounted so that we could maximize countertop space for cooking prep or working on skis. I really like the look of the cook top space. There is even a nook behind the cook top to store utensils or spices. Every little bit of space counts.

Wall Outlets

We wanted the look of a standard house wall outlet, but are running off of an inverter with plugs. So how can we do that? All signs pointed to just using unattractive power strip extension cords, and mounting them into the wall. But then we found this replacement appliance cord at Lowe’s with the wires ready to splice into your appliance. The worker at Lowe’s showed us very simply how to connect the wires correctly to a standard house outlet. The green wire goes to the green connector. The white wire goes to the silver connector. The black wire goes to the gold connector. Dark to dark and light to light. Voila! We have 110 volts of power now for our laptop charging station.

The Plot (and the Color) Deepens

So we are at four coats of Waterlox on the countertops now, and the unevenness definitely went away. We still have two or more coats to go, but the dry time is increasing the more coats we add, since less is soaking into the wood. I’ll point out (and you’ll see from the photos) that original Waterlox is NOT clear, and deepens to a rich orangey tone with multiple coats. Not what I had planned, but the color is sure growing on me.

And we have functioning outlets, dimmer switch, and stereo receiver! It’s so satisfying to finally be using some power through our electrical system. The batteries have just been sitting there fully charged from solar for a while now. We got pex lines run today too. All in all, a productive day!

Waterlox Butcher Block Sealer

We put the first coat of Waterlox sealant on our butcher block, and 18 hours later it still looks splotchy. But after consulting the Waterlox website I’m assured this is ok and it will even out after more coats:

“Your surface may look uneven in appearance after the first or even the second coat of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish. This is completely normal. Waterlox penetrates deep into the wood and will build up to an even film when applied with the suggested number of coats and coverage.”

Sealing wood is a time consuming process because you have to wait so long between coats (if you’re using oil based). If you work a day job it’s a perfect evening project, because then you’re not waiting around impatiently for it to dry… This weekend at our work we had a big go live (we work in IT), so it’s nice to feel like we are still accomplishing something on the bus without much time to work on it.

Butcher Block Sanding

Now the fun, easy part – sanding down the butcher block and adding some nice rounded edges. We didn’t go too crazy with rounding, but now there are no more bits to snag on your clothes and fingers (!), and gives a nice finished look. Brad’s brother gifted us an orbital sander which has been such an amazing thing. I don’t know how we would finish this project satisfactorily without it (or the pocket hole jig).

Don`t copy text!