Monthly Archives: March 2012


3/31/12 code clarity!

scoured the county, state and national codes today for specs on equipment, building standards, etc. as we prepare to head into the inner world of the vardo.  SO much information to look over, finding myself a little overwhelmed!  a complete synchronistic score, however…while sitting at the coffee shop scouring the codes, i noticed that the owner of the shop had come in to work a shift, and we got to talking about the cart.  she went on to be completely open to giving me some assistance and tips on operating a coffee cart in our county, and suggested i contact the food safety people and ask them for the “little blue book” for mobile food carts…a little blue book exists, and sounds way more doable than sifting through the internet maze…ahhh.  so, leaving a message with them today to send me this book.  she also mentioned that i might consider operating in a less restrictive county, since ours is not so lenient.  although just a conversation, i felt like this helped me tremendously, and thank whatever powers that be for delivering this opportunity to me.  also did some brainstorming about contacting a few of the bulk herbal suppliers i know to find out what kind of regulations they have to deal with in carrying herbs, tinctures, etc.  here’s where the connections i’ve made along the way may come handy 😉  thanks mugshots!


So I got some stuff done on the door. I cut the angle frame with the table saw around the window frames, 14 degrees, about 3/8″ deep with the saw kerf leaving a ledge, looks good. I laid the cut frames inside the styles and rails and drew the line, then took the door apart to get at the plywood. I cut the section out with the jig saw on the saw horses, then tried the fit, a bit tight. I used the 4 in hand file, sand paper the power file until it snapped the belt, more sandpaper and rasp, took some doing to get the fit. I got it. I pulled out the router with the 3/8 rabbit bit we used on the side windows and adjusted it to the depth of the lead tongue with a few cuts on scrap wood. I cut a piece of the cut out window ply to use as a support for the router on the inside and routed the plywood frame a little at a time, moving the support. I used the chisel and hammer on the corners of the ply to level it square instead of filing the window canes, fits good. The lead corners were a bit not flat so I tapped them with a hammer to make it smooth even. I set up the window and put the door frames back on the ply. As there is a bit of slop in the ply to frame, it took a while to get the alignment right with a hammer and scrap so the inner frames line up right. It looks good, now we get to do it all over again with glue and screws or finish nails. I need to add a small chamfer on the inside inner frames to allow for any misalignment of the lead cane and round the inner frame outer edges. It would be good to get a small rounding router bit for that, the one I have is too big, HF or just sand paper. It looks good. The window is in the door, with the wood panel that came with it covering it to keep the cats out. Next we put it all together for real with glue and fasteners. We’ll need to fill the plywood voids first with wood putty and sand everything smooth. Fill the door frames while were at it. It would probably be best to primer the parts before assembly so we keep the window clean. We’ll need a gallon I’m guessing of cheap latex primer for the whole vardo. It’ll be nice door. 

So I got some s…

10/9/2010 – 7/4/2012


last 10:15

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dug out my wooden clamp, for holding the long beams straight for screwing, angled clamp, it works. Next, plus the floors, then walls, roof and interior. I’ll need to lower the door a couple inches ~5’10” to make the roof fit. thinking, may be a way to go full 6′, need to think it out.

Got A LITTLE done? are you kidding? We got a lot done! we’re over the metal, painted. Joists are down (I added the washers to level that beam). Other than the four major bolts to tie the floor down we’re doing wood screws. Two drills, one to pilot the holes, one with a screw driver point. It’ll be quick from now on. Wood’s easy, mind you, we will need to figure it right, but that’s fun. Zip zap poof, we’ll have a vardo.

Talked to Warren this evening, He said we should bolt the walls to the floor joists (easy) and add 6 L brackets to connect the walls to the trailer frame, 3 on a side. good idea, not easy but strong. I’d add at least 2 bolts front and back through the iron through the existing holes. It has to be strong, 55mph winds daily and bumps in the road. Don’t excede 55 in the SLOW LANE. We’ll need to pull a couple bolts front and back, side to side, before we put the floor down (can’t get them out once the floor is down). Lets mark all the bolt locations before we set the floor, don’t want to pull the floor after it’s down. I’ll check it out before or early Saturday.

It’ll be fine. I have long bits somewhere, maybe in the trunk I’ll find them. got a week before we’ll need them. Thinking drop the tongue to drill the back, raise the front and drill through the floor, they’re very long bits.

Floor, secure the side longerons with wood clamp and long screws, mark all the bolts, remove the bolts front and back that will hold the walls to the frame, plus measurements to the empty bolt holes on the outer timbers. Cut (6 ft.) and attach the floor panels. We’ll need to drill up from the bottom to find the bolt locations.

I talked to Warren about it last week. He suggested we extend the siding down to cover the studs for added strength (need to extend the side walls out a little bit to allow for the 3 degree angle) as well as the extra bolts through the wall plates down to the iron frame, two each front and back, the holes are all drilled through the floor for that. He also suggested 3 L brackets or straps per side to secure the side walls. Also drilled through the floor for the big square washers to frame. We’ll need to inlay them into the floor, could use a router but that’s loud, we’ll use a chisel, 2 plys down matches the thickness of the 3″ square washer. Carridge bolts to secure (the dome face won’t trip you, should be under the cabinets anyway). If we extend the siding, we’ll need to re-lay it out and add the floor and studs on the bottom. Good thing we didn’t cut it yet. I patched the back left corner where it was a bit short with a couple blocks to fit and some carpenters glue, plus added the angle cut from the floor second panel. Doesn’t really matter as the siding and plate will cover it but it fills the space. The left corner does matter so it won’t move. I filled all the knotholes in the floor with an old batch of wood dough, thinned with lacquer thinner, that’s the stuff to reconstitute wood dough. Sanded it flush, ready for whatever floor covering or paint. Linoleum roll would be easy to clean. Rugs would be warm for a dwelling. We’ll need to caulk the back floor seam, actually both seams to prevent road water from getting in. Probably be good to caulk the whole floor underneath to seal it. I have calk for the boat left over we can use, stuff doesn’t last anyway.

If it rains we can still work on it. Work in the garage, cut and glue the roof rafters, cut the stud angles, build the whole wall frames if necessary or the whole wall in the garage. We can use the wood bench. That bench is a major tool, thanks Dad, clamps anything.

I talked to Warren today about how to attach the rafters and make the door fit. He said we should use straps to secure the rafters to the walls, plumbing tape would work (metal tape with holes in it to hold pipes up), stuffs cheap but strong enough, little weight just the roof but the wind to hold it down. On the door he said we we can run the studs all the way up to the rafter and set the door top plate anywhere we want it, with a couple side plates a bit lower to keep the roof (my question) lower. The double studs around the door are to prevent warpage and keep the door sides stable. A few minor changes to the plan, this will work fine. He suggested short pieces between the rafters on the long walls but I’m thinking I want a top plate on the side walls to make the wall one piece to raise. We’ll talk it over tomorrow. It’ll be fine.

Talked to Warren today to clarify the rafters. The other day he said we should put 2×4 spacers (he called them something else, floaters maybe?) between the rafters. Today it made sense, He said we need to block the opening that the rafters will create between side wall and the roof, standard house construction, on the top plate.

I attached a really crude sketch of what I was trying to explain in the car, an overhead loft with hinges at the bottom so the door swings down and rests on the wooden supports on the wall. Thought not drawn, a ledge on top of the swing shelf inside when closed for added support, carved fancy. Here I’ll add it, damn, won’t let me edit it. But hopefully you get my drift. Just a thought to have a larger bed and not take up as much space, maybe a flexible futon matress that folds in. Another thought, the upper curved ceiling part in the sketch could be on runners and slide out with all the curtains and frufru, but disappear when the thing was closed to comply with health board issues. That way you could have a large comfortable Vardo bed that disappears to be a coffee wagon.

Thoughts on the serving window, make it in plexiglass 30×30 (shutter size), but make the bottom 10″ hinge up. Tap Plastics makes clear hinges. A folding window opening 300 sq in, should comply and the plexiglass is a lot lighter but it does scratch. Could do it in glass with a frame and metal hinges too, more difficult but doable and heavier. You know there is stain glass paint right? Paint down black lines and apply clear color acrylics, looks pretty good.

Looks like burgundy curtains are in order.

Hope we can get some stuff done Saturday in the morning on the vardo too. If it’s not raining let’s work on the walls, if it is raining, we can clamp and glue a few rafters (we have time to work the curved rafters slowly, they go in after the walls go up), maybe cut some wall studs and plates. The studs will need to be cut at the correct angle on the side bottom where they connect to the floor plates, 3 degrees off 90 I think, it’s written on the end wall sidings (the full size ply wood templates) to give us the 3 inch angled walls.

All the floor plates are done, 3 degree (actually 87) angles cut on the side wall floor plates with the table saw, angle cuts on the side studs to fit (73″ with the skillsaw) and one wall mostly studded up. Two new top plates, actually, I used the new ones for the floor as they’re straighter. Hey I’m thinking it may be worth taking the top 2×4 plate off and ripping it down to a 2×3 to make the inside uniform, bit of a hassle getting back on though, maybe. But we cut both side walls. We’ll still need at least 4 more 73″ angle studs to finish the sides but that’s easy with the 3 degree card stock template I made. We have a wall studded up, horizontally vertical. That’s very cool.

Thinking screw a couple temporary planks on the lower outside of the side wall studs so the angle is correct down to the floor joists when we attach the wall studs to the floor, out a little so the siding fits flush all the way down. A removable guide stop. Should work to make the angled siding fit smooth. Could even add a few 3 degree wedges or a strip to fill the gap on the floor joists so the siding doesn’t bend with the screw torque.

I got a lot done today. Put the right side wall together, oops, had the angled studs backwards (just 2), took it a part and redid it, Still need to frame the windows in but 2 walls together. But wait, there’s more. I laid out, measured and cut the back wall (with the door), all of it, stringers and double wide door supports. I even screwed the right side together until I ran out of screws. Also cut the upright studs for the front walls (less the floor plate), still need to figure out the horizontals and window. Headed in to town, bought more screws. By the time I got home it was dark so I put the tools away.

That’s a lot. 2.5 walls built, all 4 walls mostly measured and cut (angle cuts for the curved rafters included). It’ll be about 79″ (6’7″) tall inside center, plus a 2×4 to the roof ~83″ from the floor (6’11). One day and we’ll be studded walls up.

We’ll make a good dutch door with a window above, you’ll need the light. Sheriff stopped for a friendly chat about the vardo, thought it was cool.

I didn’t get much done yesterday as it was raining a lot, cleaned the kitchen instead. As it wasn’t raining today, I got the walls mostly up. I still need to take the sides down to add the last studs. I will need to frame in the windows, 30″ sides and 24″ front. The door still needs a double top frame added, but the end walls are screwed down. We’ll need to square it up with temporary triangles inside before we put up the siding. Be a good idea to drill for wiring also before the siding goes on. Sure looks good though.


So the rafters will be needing glue no matter the weather. We’ll need at least 4, 2 sets front and back. I was thinking of using Epoxy with fillers and all, when it dawned on me, it’s not a boat, this is just interior wood. We’ll still use the epoxy for the strength and a little filler to thicken it to fill the gaps, but we’ll just use natural color wood dough to fill the seams, it’s a lot easier to work with and sand. We’ll need to fair up the curves on the bench clamps, but the glue should dry first. We could screw them together temporarily and fair them.

So from the last pic message, I got some more done today on the vardo. The 2 side walls are studded complete, still needing window frames. also added the front rafter blocks, the rafters are just sitting there, not attached but they look good. Those leftover ends from the side wall studs stack up to 33.5″ high with the correct angle below. I’m thinking to cut them down an inch or more to allow for the studs and sill/counter leaving 33″ total height. My kitchen counter is 36″, but that won’t allow for the driver side window to be properly studded in at 30×30 (total wall stud height 66 3/8″). We either need to lower the work bench or make the window shorter rectangular, 24h x 30w (?), that would make the shutters (24×24) easier, just the sides would need 1.5″ each (x4=30). So do you want a shorter bench or a shorter window? I may need help to square this up. May be able to use the come along to pull it in to square, then tack temporary angles inside to hold it until the sides go on. The siding will hold it square ultimately. But it’s looking good. The rafters still need fairing and filling. A thin piece of door skin ply would be useful as a guide to get them flush, no gaps. I’ll show you. The tarp should fit now over the frames, buckets of water to hold it. The sides still need to be attached, just clamped for now. I’m a little concerned about the tarp in the wind before attaching the sides, and we need it square before we can screw it all up. Step by step, it grows.

The question is simple really. So do you want a shorter bench (less than 3′) or a shorter window (less than 30″) on the driver side? I would think a shorter window, 24″x30″, but your call. We’ll need to raise the stove up to that level, easy, with storage below for pans. We could have grey water under the counter, easy to remove but not centered (and take up storage space), or a tank below the frame with a drain, more difficult to empty (hose) but centered and low center of gravity (CG), better ride. Under the counter could be moved to the truck during travel, 3 or 4 – 5 gallon containers. Water (balance) is definitely an issue. While you have the money, get a flash water heater, propane. Always good for a shower too, hoola hoop and a shower curtain, towel and a bathrobe on a hook outside. Two propane tanks go up front over the trailer hitch, we’ll build iron mounts, could build an enclosure or just lock them. You’ll need two regulators for the propane, hose and a valve to select which tank or one regulator and change it when the first tank runs out (two’s better, they don’t cost much HF, I’ll price it). You may still need to turn one tank off and open the other. Hmm, we need to drill holes for the propane lines and water too while we’re in stud stage, plus electric, before we put up the siding. I can get the hole size from my foundry on the gas lines, water depends on flow rate gravity feed, I’ll ask Warren. We’ll need some high cabinets on each side to balance for clean water, closer to the door(back weight), syphon bulb pump to get over the door on the passenger side. It’ll work. And hide it all to make it look perfect.

So I got a little done on the vardo today between showers. the drivers side window is framed up to the counter, still need to get the sides and top cut. Also cut the ridge board supports and screwed them together though not attached, need a few more long screws. It’s made of 3 2x3s screwed together, the outer ones have notches cut out to accept the rafters and are long enough to hold the ridge board, the center piece is shorter to hold up the ridge. The back one is 4.5″ over the door and the front one 10″, that’s to the bottom of the ridge. Total height 79″ on each end inside from the floor, plus the ridge and roof.

Still lots to do. More arches to glue, all need fairing, filling and sanding. We’ll need a couple more 2×4 studs (cheap $5 both) to arch cut for the front and back overhangs. I need to work on the window frames, get some long screws for the ridge mounts and put up the ridge for the rain. The sides are still not tied down, need to access the bottom plate to secure the window center studs.

Got home tonight and the tarp roof on each side of the vardo was full of rain. Dumped it out and added some more rope to tighten up the sides, should be good now.

I’m thinking this weekend I’ll get the front window framed in and add the studs to the side window centers. I should be able to to nudge out the side wall bottoms with the clamps still attached up above to drill and screw in the lower studs to the floor plates. Also thinking if I use the spring clamp that’s holding the front tarp shut to hold the tape measure end instead of your finger (your finger is much quicker), I should be able to square the other 3 walls with the come along and rope diagonally and add a temporary triangle stud to hold it in place. If there’s time it would be good to screw the walls to the floor and each other. I still need to drill the front and back holes and secure the walls to the frame, the arrows and measurements for the holes are drawn on the side joists. We’ll also need to plumbing strap all the lower studs to the joists before the siding goes on to hold it together on the road, hurricane style, same on the roof rafters.

Been thinking about the arc rafters, might be good to add a 1×2 (2×3?) under the ridge board tying the two rafters together with triangulation for strength. It would cut down the headroom (we have plenty) and the beauty of the clean arc, but would really make it stronger without adding much weight, a lot stronger. I think it would be a good idea to keep it together and strong. Also we could secure them to the ridge with screws to hold it all up tight. I’ll talk to Warren about it.

I talked with Warren today about the rafters. He said he thought adding a board to tie the rafters together was a good idea, sort of a ceiling joist but not really as a ceiling joist is lower to the walls. He also suggested to add one cross beam in the middle lower with an upright to the ridge board to hold the walls in, support the roof so it won’t sag and provide something to hang things on, a roof truss. It might be in the way and we need 74″ clearance to meet code. Thought, we could make an angled truss at 74″ in the middle with an upright to the ridge, two triangles on each side would give the strength required. Maybe a couple plywood forms to hold it together. I’ll talk to him about it some more.

We have a lot to do on the vardo, when can you come down? I loaned Chin my belt sander but he’ll return it tomorrow so we can fair the rafters. I’ll try to get the last sets cut before you get here, to be glued and all faired. I’ll get a new belt for the sander. And put in the front window, secure all the missing screws, square the walls (could use help there). Screw and strap/bolt down the walls to the frame, drill the wiring and gas lines (where?), raise the rafters and strap them down. Then start siding. That’ll be a trick as we need to cut out each rafter slot on the sides to keep it sealed. Not sure if it would be better to cut the slots first or install the rafters. Need to think about that one. Get the angle on the rafters where they meet the sides and cut that right with the skill saw, maybe a little less or on it. Could add some lath stock to seal it tight. We’ll see.

Above December 22, 2010

I talked to Warren about raising the center truss, he said it would be fine, but use the 3/4 ply (floor/shelf stock) as gusset on both sides and use glue and screws.

12/23/10 That’s the breakpoint

1/2 I’ll try to get it square and tied together, ready for rafters and siding. Hmm, that would include through holes and bolts to the frame front and back plus strapping on the sides and wiring/plumbing holes. That’s a lot, don’t know if I can get it all done, but some. We need the rafters trued up. I made a card stock arc to help, need to cut a piece of door skin ply (thin stuff, easy) to verify the outer fairness of the arcs so the roofing ply lays even. We’ll use the belt sander to fair it, plenty new belts. Guess I should get some pictures too. We need to raise the rafters before we side it so we know where to cut the notches for them in the siding. Thought, maybe a couple temp screws to hold the siding up while we mark the rafter notches. We’ll also need to back board where the plywood meets, could use 1x stock to keep it lighter, we’ll see.

12/30 So the walls are mostly done framing in, needs 4 screws on top with the tarp off, squaring and tie them together. The 2 sides are secure to the floor but still need squaring and screws to the ends. Rafters are cut in half, still need to band saw, but that can be done inside in the rain. They all need fairing, also an inside job. Once they’re up, the siding goes on. Had a thought, would be good to wrap it all in Tyvec before siding, called the yard, $67, not cheap but the walls wouldn’t leak and be air tight. Plus it’s a lot lighter than tar paper.

12/27 Worked some on the vardo today, finished framing in the front window all the way up to the crossbeam, cool, need a couple top angled stickers to the rafters. Tied in the driver side window top beams as they were loose. Also screwed the second top door beam in and finished attaching the last 2 top uprights to the door frame. I still need to add top upright stickers to the side windows and the lower center studs, square and secure the walls. Drill electrical and plumbing, string the rafters, then put up the siding and roof. I’ll try to get the windows complete tomorrow, weather providing. Bought some more sanding belts for the rafter fairing.

/Break in the archives, corrupted file, to be back filled/

feb 28 continues

I should be able to raise the last inside rafter and cut one more new one, maybe get it glued and sanded, we’ll see. Thinking kiln dried (a buck more, cheap) to keep it light. And another 2×3 for the ceiling. I need to explain the changes of the rafter placements for the archives, maybe tomorrow.

Let’s put up some rafters. We’ll stop on the way home for some wood glue for more putty. I’ll get a measurement before I leave for the 1×3 cross braces, we’ll probably need to get a few. Shilo rd. Home Depot for those and glue.

Thoughts, once the cross braces are on they won’t move, we’ll need to do that last so we can adjust them. We need to measure and put up the top plate rafter hurricane brackets. Put the rafters in place. Use a philips countersink and screw them to the ridge from the top. Thinking on the plumbing straps on top, be better inlaid but more work, maybe the router or chisels again, or just put the wood on top, we’ll see. (we used the plywood roof stock) The roof ply is a ways out, we have time to think about it. I’ll ask Warren.

I should be able to raise the last inside rafter and cut one more new one, maybe get it glued and sanded, we’ll see. Thinking kiln dried (a buck more, cheap) to keep it light. And another 2×3 for the ceiling. I need to explain the changes of the rafter placements for the archives, maybe tomorrow.

It rained, insert

As the 2×4 I got is kiln dried too, we can use a set for the ends to raise the missing rafter quick and get on with the siding. I can make the last end set later before we raise the roof (soon). Might be cool to carve that one (or the other done one), use it in the back/ front door. Just a thought, or paint it fancy instead or both. Keltic knots and horses would be cool. Or if it’s raining, we can work on the rafter in the garage, I can cut and sand, you can glue and carve. Maybe you can try the Fordom, a really great rotary carving tool. We’ll see, depends on the weather.

Probably be good to do the front wall next as we have a rough arc pattern. We should over cut it again and re-cut or just lay up the panel and mark it to fit, then cut it right (better). The sides will be trickier as we need to get all the rafter locations cut out plus an angle cut on top and bottom above to match the arced rafter angle. Each side will take 2 and a half sheets (plus an inch or 2 of scrap from the ends as we are slightly over 10′). I’m thinking full sheets on the ends and half sheets in the middle at the windows with extra ply backing plates inside to cover the seams air tight. Should be interesting.

I talked to my friend Darin about windows (and doors) today. We may need to take the front wall back down and install the front window behind the siding to keep it from leaking. That one will take all the punishment as it’s in front traveling. Screws come out easy. And it’s your bedroom window, we don’t want it to leak. They make rubber tape to seal them, bottom, sides then top to make the water shed right, shingle fashion. He also suggested the trim be longest on top, long on the sides and short between on the bottom to allow water shed, makes sense to prevent rot. Things to consider.

eek! undo thee work we did?

arrrrgh! whatever’s gonna keep er’

together, i’m in.

We won’t be undoing the work, just unscrewing the pre-drilled holes. I’d even recommend leaving the screws in the ply and maybe the outer screws in, flex and fit. We’ll need to buy or build a window so it can wait. That front one needs to be water tight so maybe a bought one? we’ll see. Let’s try for the back wall.

So I’m thinking we’ll work on the door end siding, plus sanding and filling the last 2 rafters. Need to get some exterior putty (or mix an old batch with lacquer thinner) for that as they’ll be outside. Should get a new one as we have a lot to fill. We need to get more #10 2″ screws. If you have a template drawn up (keep it simple) you could start carving the back rafters. We can change the bit with a screw driver and a drill until I find the chuck key.

Finished cutting the last of the back wall after you left yesterday, both sides are tight, good fit ready to screw down, clamped in place. Worked a bit on the stove for the vardo. killed a wasp and several larva in it, then cleared out the webs. It’s going to need a detailed cleaning. There is a tray under the burners, cool. Burners take gas and air, there are vented covers to adjust the air flow, to tune it. I did quite a bit, looks like we may need to make an air tuner on the oven, not sure, put some oil on the screws. Could move the broiler tuner to the oven. It may be there already, not sure. We’ll get it working.

Stopped by home depot today after work, checked out the windows. They have one that would do nicely for the front, not cheap but better than I can make for $80., windows and doors, jeld-wen brand, bottom of the page, 24×24. Clear or textured ($85) glass. Nice watertight window, vinyl so the screws would go through the flaps. 2 part slider. It wouldn’t leak. Anything I make, I can’t guarantee the same with road winds, rain and it’s your bedroom. It’s even got a screen. It’s a nice window, we can always paint it. I’d recommend it. We can make the rest, but that front window will take all the weather. Can you spring for it? In stock.

I also did some research at work on how to make windows and doors, found a play house site that was informative. I’ll send this before I look it up as my computer has been acting up (rainbow ball from hell) with too many open windows. Also checked out how they make doors tighter at HD. Thinking. It’d be good to spend a day doing some research/buying supplies at HD and Tap Plastics to make this house tight. And still get in some work, maybe install a window.

This site:

has a lot of good info. It’s for a playhouse, but it’s good. scroll back on this site to doors too if you have time on the puter. I’d add extra tongue and grooves on the lap joints to seal it tighter and make it stronger but the principles are the same. Also thinking a lip on the wood so the slide windows on the side will seal, top in, inner bottom out above it. I’ll need to draw that out to be clear. Same on the dutch doors so the rain drips down but recessed so the doors close flush. Hmm, need to draw that too.




The horse trailer windows are expensive and designed for the side windows. If we close the front shutters during transport, there shouldn’t be a problem with road wind, but we may have to beef up the front shutters. Lexan is bullet proof, really. Tap plastics would probably be cheaper for that than home depot, maybe, also, Habitat for Humanity may have a better deal on windows too. Tap should have nylon for sliders plus some seals, let’s check them out. We can build the side windows. I’m just worried about the front window leaking.

I’m thinking we need to fasten the rafters with 2x3s 4′ long and tie them to the ridge pole to strengthen the roof (you and Jonathon(?)). Also start working on the side layouts (me), but we’ll need to lay in the windows first for a good seal. Guess we’ll need to go shopping. Check Habitat for Humanity then Home Depot for the front window. I’ll have to get the table saw back (as I loaned it out to my friend at work) to work the side windows, no problem. Should be a week away before we can get to that, but it’s coming up, windows. Should be challenging and fun. My friend Tom at work, ‘ the new guy’ said I can borrow his chop saw to get the 45 angles right although we could use straight 90s, well see.

Yea, sure this cart will be rolling soon. Windows and a door, walls and a roof. Got the stove and fridge. Electric we’ll need and a gas line, maybe another sheet of 3/4 ply for the bed and shelves, we have some of them left over from the floor too. You know, we could use the flats in the garage sanded and/or covered for the interior walls, although that stuff is cheap, why I got it in the first place. Hmm, actually, that old angled bed frame from a boat I have taking up space could work for the bed, it’s strong ply. Bit of mahogany here and there for trim, got lots of that (Pirate booty, mind you some is fer me ‘n cap’n Tom’s boats) but there’s plenty, and drawers too. Done deal soon enough.

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Thoughts on the side server window. It needs to have a slope to repel water on the counter or the sill. Darin suggested a sloped sill with an attachable counter, feasible, or a hinged counter outside, both good ideas. For the window, I’m thinking we get some 1 by stock to frame it in, use the table saw to cut 2 slots on the sides where the windows will fit. The inside lower slides up and pegs in place, the outside upper stays in place with a slat filler. Problem, someone could pry it out to break in. 3M makes glue that won’t cut loose or we could router it half way instead of the saw and chisel it square. On the bottom of the upper fixed window is an extension inward, and on the top of the inner slider is another extension outward to seal when it’s closed (maybe a steel one for security, screws inside). And add a seal between them before assembly of the top frame to keep the weather out. Lexan windows to keep it light and unbreakable in mitered (45 degrees) or rabbited (lapped) frames. With some tar paper and sealant on the outside under the siding. Should work fine.


Hey, they were giving away 2×2 stakes today, pulled a vineyard, I grabbed 15, the longer ones are 6′, some redwood and fir. Hmm. we could rip the long ones down for siding slats. I’ll get more tomorrow. We’ll need to wash them as the dirt will dull the saw blade. As I loaned the saw to Darin, he bought a new blade for it. I’ll see if I can get the old one back too, we’ll use that one to rip this stuff down, save the new good one for clean stuff, precision for the windows and door. 6′ is just a little short for the side battens, but if we add a top and bottom horizontal face board it will fit fine and look good, and it’s free lumber. I’ll get more. We’ll still need a couple bought studs for the front, back, top and bottom but hey, cool.


checked HabitatFH, no windows, we maybe should get the HD one and some 1x stock to build the rest. I need to figure that out, I’ll work on it, get measurements after work this week, still light when I get home. The rafter beams (horizontals) need to be cut (me, easy but that saw’s finicky) and go up (you and). The back wall can be screwed tight. Oh, we need 2 holes drilled up to complete the wiring first, will do. Need measurements on the side walls. Plenty to do.

So I measured the side windows, 30″x24″ openings plus a quarter inch. That makes 18 feet for the frames, we’ll need a couple 10 foot 1x6s, and three or four 8’x1″x4″s for the windows. The serve window will need 4 at 30″, the road side could use two or four, we’ll talk that out. I’m thinking 1.5 to 2″ window frames to hold the glass/lexan. Leftovers can be used for trim, we’ll need more for that anyway unless we use the stake wood ripped, but we’ll need it somewhere. The windows need to be solid wood, not stake wood, tight. Fun challenge.

We got a lot done on the vardo Saturday, nice new front window. I didn’t get any more done on Sunday, other than putting the saw back together on the stand and finding the router, but that’s something, plus planning the cuts needed in my head. I’m glad we bought the tar paper, it’s holding up in the rain fine, good seal for the new window and it will do the whole structure air and water tight. Good investments for a dry home on wheels. I’ll try to swing by HFH restore for another plank.

No more planks at HFH, so we bought more from HD, got the 8 1x2s and another 1×4. We really did get a lot done, window frame and ceiling joists, cool. I’m thinking about the other side window, maybe similar to this one but even, ~12″ each and able to set both to the middle so the in cool out warm would work. Maybe we could rig this one similar, but it’s ~14+10. We’ll want screens to keep the bugs out. It’ll be fine.

We have plenty to do, cut and make the windows (we can do that without the ‘glass’ yet as we’ll be using glassier points and putty or slats), tar paper the front and back and screw in the front window, front and back siding. Attach the rest of the ceiling joists. That’s a lot.

I’m having a thought on the window joinery. As a 1x is about 3/4 inches thick, if we cut the sides square to full length, then miter a 1/4 inch thick 45 degree tongue and groove on the table saw it should fit and stay square. We may need a jig to hold the short sides upright and square on the saw for the fenced groove, then cut a 45. The long sides will be tongued, lower the blade to cut a 1/4 inch 45 using the fence and a stop block to keep them the same (the same setting for the grooves after with the blade raised to full cut). Need to change the angle 90 (reverse the 45) to cut the other side. I may need another jig to hold the tongues at 45 or just raise the blade and cut a little in. Be cool if the same jig went 45 or 90. Have to think about that, and the hinge point can’t be metal in the cut path. hmm. I’ll ask Darin.

I talked to Darin about windows today, it would be easier to make tongue and grooves on a 90 instead of a 45 (kiss, keep it simple stupid). I agree, the top and bottom parts will be longer and grooved to fit the tongued uprights to improve water flow/reduce rot (not sure about that, further discussion needed). I’ll still need to bang together a jig over the fence to hold them square, simple but the glue may need to dry. I may be able to use screws above the blade if I use the scrap 1×4 stock from the frame or plywood for inside the fence, maybe, and countersink deep, but glue would be better to protect the blade, no metal. We’ll figure it out. Still plenty to do meanwhile.

So I went to town today looking for a new saw to replace the burnt one. I stopped at Home Depot, they had a Ryobi for $119, kept going. Stopped at Harbor Freight, they had a Chinese special for $119, but if you have the code (I do) you can get 20% off. Pretty flimsy fence, kept going up the street to OSH. They had a Craftsman for $119, looked good, and the sign on the next one over ($180) said 25% off Craftsman saws, 2 days only, today the last day. I went and found some help, asked if this one had the same deal. “Yes”, he headed to the back to see if any were in stock, came back wheeling a box. It came to $98 after tax, out the door, cool!, put it in the trunk and headed home with a stop at KFC for lunch. 

Got home and dragged out my dolly, pulled it in the garage and opened it up. Looked to be all there, went in and read the manual, went back out and set it up, stand and all.

I set it up to finish the window tongues I’d cut yesterday before the old saw burned out, worked good. The jig I made for the end grooves still needed a board to attach it to the fence so I cut a 2×3 just a hair wider than the 1″ fence and another piece of ply to back it. Clamped and screwed high above the cuts. Took a few test cuts and adjusted it right, then I cut the real ones, worked perfect, cut, flip it, cut, cut again pushing the jig the other way to clear the middle, done. Do the other side, get another one. 

I put them all together and set them up on the old plastic table and took a picture, attached. It’ll be good. A couple of the tongue cuts need another pass to even them out but it’ll work fine. Next, after securing, I get the router out and cut the flats for the glass (Lexan really, lighter) and chisel the corners square. I’ll add some thin flats where the two windows meet to seal it from the weather and fill the outer slider groove to keep the upper window up, glued, but maybe allow it to come down a little for air. Glazier points and compound to keep the glass in. Voila! Windows!

It’s only pieced together for the picture, still needs a lot. A few cleanup cuts, glue and screws (or maybe finishing nails in the corners). Plus we’ll need to route out the flats for the Lexan, chisel the corners square (routers are round), add the center two wood seals, sand it, put the glass in and caulk it. Then we can put the frame around and install it. Wouldn’t hurt to put some primer on it first to seal the frame where it fits in as we won’t be able to get there after it’s installed. Also, I want to add aluminum flashing around the frame to the vardo before we side it to seal it in watertight.

Meanwhile, you could remove the front siding, add the cut 1×3 beneath the front window, paper it up and reinstall the front window/siding. I’ll help and you can help me. Routers are cool tools, we can figure it out together, teach you. Also, the rafters still need vertical screws to the ceiling joists. We have a new long drill bit for that. Plenty to do and fish in the river to catch.

On the vardo, let’s both work on the front wall early before the sun hits it, The gum tree shades in the morning. We’ll try to get it all back together with enough screws for you to finish it. Then I’ll work on the side window, routing and such. I could show you how once I figure the routing out. Just another cool machine, to be respected. Then a chisel (you know that) to square the corners. We’ll mark them square first. We won’t need Lexan until we finish the cuts for measuring, next time. That got done.

The new window needs sanding and prep, Lexan, glazier points and putty, frame assembled and installed. Measurements for the next side wall. That’s a lot. 

Let’s lay out the wall, we can do that, even before the window gets finished. (but we can finish that too). The trim will seal it in.  It’ll take both of us to hold it up, clamp it, and get the measurements to the rafters first. Cut and fit them with the roof angle next. Once they’re re-clamped in place we can draw in the window opening and bottom cut. I’m thinking we should start from the front and work back as the front takes the weather. We’ll see as it unfolds.

I’m thinking we get the measurements for the rafters to the wall boards. I’ll cut one to show you how. You cut the rafter notches while I’m gone with the jig saw (simple tool).

I just made some measurements (a 4′ x 8′ sheet). We need ~6′ 6″ rafter top to base all around on the sides. That leaves a 1′ 6″ off the bottom we can use for the top of the windows (1′ 4″ on the passenger side, less on drive side). As we have 5 sheets left we’ll have plenty (2 per side front and back, one left beneath the windows). One whole sheet for 33″ beneath the windows less than 4′, plenty. Any mistakes will cost another new sheet, $20, so we need to be careful. As we’ll be lapping the seams there is some fudge room.

We should cut the horizontal cuts at an angle to fit the roof, but the lower notches could be filed or sanded with my narrow HF belt sander (a power file really). So we’ll leave just enough with the jig saw to meet the inside profile and file the angle to the outside. Then trim the top roof angle with the skill saw (let me do that, it has some quirks as the guard spring is missing). Side walls cut.

We can fit the windows in later as they get finished, then put up the precut side walls (numbered) after the papering. So that’s the plan, see what we get done.

Lots to do. Talking to Darin yesterday, we don’t have a bevel on the new window to shed water, we should have. Where the  lower window meets the sill, I want to slope the wood, maybe with a rasp, file and sandpaper to finish, then re-prime it (could do the paint later when it’s in). We’ll draw a line where the lower window meets the sill and another on the outside down a bit, maybe a half inch. then we’ll remove that wood as evenly as possible but keeping the corners where the uprights meet square. I’ll show you. We could unscrew it and angle the band saw to take most of it out quicker, except the corners, hand file them. But we need drainage. The serving counter will clamp on later, a separate piece above the sill, removable. Maybe we save the cutout and glue it to the counter top, we’ll see. Then we could putty the other window while it’s out loose before we re-screw the frame, easier. Then screw it back together. As the lower window is loose, we could add a piece of iron on veneer I have on the edges to beef it up a bit. We’ll work it out. 

We also need to take down the walls and touch up the fit on the rafters so they fit right. Plus cut the top of the sides to match the rafter angle. Later we’ll need to cut trim stock (1x2s, dollar stock) to fill all the rafter gaps, tight work and angles, it’ll be an interesting challenge to seal her up. 

The other window needs making too, plenty to do.

We’ll need more 1x2s, buck each at HD, for the battens (board and batten). Window is nearly done. I should sand off the added extensions a wee bit to allow for expansion in the wet months, but it slides nice. I’ll try to pick up some narrow flashing to bend at work for the window seal (as opposed to sill, which we already have one of, and another to make). I hope to get some more done on the window Saturday so we actually can install the window and wall the next week. We’ll see. 

Need to get some metal to fold at work, 2 sets for the windows, 7′ per window (1.5’x2′ times 2) maybe plus the door (6 twice plus 2, 14′), 28 feet, go for 30, by 2 inches. Aluminum flashing bent a half inch at 90 degrees with screw holes 45 degrees at the bends. I’ll use my home punch for the holes as the work one gets used a lot. HF $20 special.

So I picked up the flashing tonight, left a little early, 24′ x 8″ ($23). I can cut it down at work to size and fold it. There’ll be lots left over, but it’s useful stuff to have around. Gauntlets, helmets, roofs, doors, whatever. I left it in the car so I’d remember it for folding. I’ll make enough for both windows, 24″x30″. I only need about a 2″ strip, folded at a half inch (maybe just a little less to goo seal the edge), 1 1/2″ lap to seal the windows in with vinyl goop. At 8″ width, cut to 2″, we’ll only need about 4 1/2 feet for both window seals. The door seal will be more difficult to fold as the work break doesn’t go that long, but we can cobble something together with 2x4s, clamps and a hammer to get it done. Or we could use the work tools and lap a joint using 2 pieces. We’ll get it. But we have flashing to work with, cool.

So at 5:00 tonight after work I checked into the machine shop. I cut 2 pieces of 8″ flashing, one at 28″, one at 34″, 2″ extra on each end to account for the 2″ overlap. I cut each one into four 2″ pieces on the shear, a big one with a long foot pedal and a brace part way down that holds the work in place, mind your fingers. I marked each piece 2″ back from the ends, but using the actual length of 24″ and 30″ as the increment from one end to account for inaccuracies in the first cut. I took it over to the square cutter, a shear that cuts a 90 degree corner set at 45 degrees. There are very nice tools in the machine shop. So I cut a 45 (mind your head with the handle and your fingers) and said wait. I need to bend a half inch up that is square and then have a 45 degree cut for the flashing to meet on the 2x3s. I measured each piece in a half inch to the fold line at the 2″ shear point each end, cut that square, then cut the 45s from there. Something like this, the dash being the fold line:


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Then I took the pieces (4 each for 2 windows) to the brake, clamped them in place with the top bar and bent them to as close to 90 degrees as I could with the lower hinged flat plate. There is quite a bit of slop on that as it depends on the thickness of your stock. 

They turned out great. But they’re sharp and pointy on the ends, handle them with care. I checked them when I got home on the window, they’ll be fine, stop any leaks with vinyl sealant to tack them down. I still need to punch the screw or nail holes in them, maybe tomorrow night with the $20 Harbor Freight hand punch, cool.

We’re mostly ready with the window and wall. Install the seal slats in the window, prime them if possible (need to get some paint for the boat in SR, use some here). Paper the wall, install the window with vinyl goop and the new flashings, add the walls and screw them down. We’re ready, let’s do it.

The tar paper needs to be put up except the top piece over the window, bottom first, sides, top last overlapping so it sheds water all the way down. Fit the lower corner paper before the sides, lapped. The window needs to be wedged in place, you can cut wedges on the band saw from scrap, mind your fingers, stay away from the line of the blade and leave the scrap cuts alone until the blade stops or use timber to clear it. Wedge the window in place with equal distance on all sides from the framing, with goop to seal it tight, then tie the window in place with pre-drilled screws on the flashing. Check your screw lengths before hand so you don’t blow through. Later we’ll secure it to the frames with screws and counter sink them in between the 2 slider windows. We can do that later. 

The walls need to go up to protect the tar paper from blowing out in the wind. They need to go in all the way up and meet the rafters tight when they are all the way in close to the top studs (upright 2x3s). Secure them with clamps, making sure the corner edges line up to the back and front and window edge. If there’s time, drill and screw them in place (best), else clamp them. Mind you the goop needs to set up, so put a few screws in to hold them at least around the window. More goop around the window when the walls come up is good

Once the walls are mostly up, be cool if you two could screw them down while I cut the new windows. That done, you could lay out the notches for the other side rafters front and back if there’s time. Leave plenty of clearance for the rafter screw heads, we can cover the gaps with lathe. Hmm, got me thinking, tar papering the rafter section will be tricky as we’ll need to cut an inverted V at the bottom and a vertical slash, then fold them to fit, do-able, like this:



/ \

We’ll get it, and I’ll be helping on that stage as it’s before the walls go up.

Wall went up, cool. Rave and Jonathon screwed them up I got the window T+G cut, glue and route next.

I can work on the window on Saturday, maybe get it glued sooner and router it. The walls need to be measured and cut on the drive side, but that’s tape and layout work. I could handle that alone, but your presence is good motivation. Also, we need to figure the spacing on the battens, every foot, 2 feet, 1 1/2? I don’t know, but they do cause wind resistance, less could be better. Also, I was checking on the window moldings (boards around the windows), I was thinking it would be best to use 1x4s to look right. 3-8 footers should cover it, and cheap 1x2s for battens.’

I stopped at Sally’s, haven’t been there in a while. I found a cool looking little red and clear beaded lamp shade, gypsy style, nice, two decent outdoor lamps for the back of the vardo maybe, a wood burner type solder iron, a nice 1/4 cup copper measuring frying pan and a candy thermometer, $3 total, oh, and a plastic tool box for my fishing lures. 

Got home and did the pickles while gluing the window frames, one at a time. the second one wasn’t quite square, did some mods, still a little off on one corner but OK, 16th” within tolerance. Sandpaper will fix it. Trimmed the corners on the first one with the drum sander. I cut a jig for/on the table saw to cut the sill run off angle, cut it in sections to chisel, chiseled it out, planed and sanded it. It needs a few fills of plastic wood near a knot, can’t find the putty knife in the dark, I’ll get it tomorrow, but it’s nice. Also got the measurements for the Lexan 26 5/8″ x 8 3/4″ qty 2. I’ll pick up some masking tape at the dollar store this week. Sailing is off so I’ll try to router the windows for the glass tomorrow. Be nice if I can get the last window done, and maybe get my harp fixed too.

Bit more done. First I sanded the sill fills, added some more plastic wood to dry. I sanded the base of my harp flush on the lapidary and hand sanded it smooth, glued the harmonic/pillar assembly and clamped it to dry. By then the sill was dry, sanded it flush and primered it, looks really good. Then I squared the corners on the second window and routed them out and chiseled the corners. I filled the flaws with plastic wood and sanded them down. They’re ready for primer, Lexan and assembly into the finished frames. I still need to cut the overlaps to seal the top and bottom window and cut the top window slot fillers, but it’s close. 

Next weekend you can primer paint them after we drill and countersink the frames. Meanwhile, I’ll cut the overlaps and fillers. As they dry quick we can get the walls measured and cut, I’ll need your help with that. Finish assembling the window should fill the day, if we can get that much done. BTW 9 slats per side should cover it at ~15″, still need to figure the ends.

So Saturday is on. Finish the window, it’ll be nice. Primer dries quick, we can have it together for sure. I’ll need to cut the laps and fills for the upper, maybe before you get here or while you’re painting, we’ll see on that. Will Jonathon be around? If so, I should get some slats to keep him busy and get them done too. We’ll need to support the last walls to get the measurements straight, you and I can get that with clamps if he’s not here as the paint dries. I’ll need to cut the bottoms off first to keep the weight down and so they’ll fit. That should be plenty to do, don’t know if we can get it all done, much as we can. So finish the window and maybe prep the last wall.

Next steps: We still need to sand the last curved rafters for the overhang ends. Install the facia 2x4s on the ends of the rafters and secure the last end rafters. Belt sand the wall tops flush to the roof and add the thin roof plywood. Seal all the gaps with slats and goop. Put a roof on, and the door. Then the interior begins.

I’ll see about picking up some 1×2 slats to keep Jonathon busy while we finish out the window, We need some 1x4s 8′ too, probably 3  for around the windows, and more for around the door, We’ll get more door slats later. The window is mostly ready for assembly, paint the actual window wood, assemble the frame around them and putty in the glass. Add the aluminum flashing, done. 

The last wall still needs to be measured and cut. Jon and I can work on that meanwhile.

Looking forward to this Saturday. Finish the window, Jonathon on slats (if the wood is available),  and/else framing the windows (1x4s should be available anyway) and helping measure and cut the walls. You and I will concentrate on the window, got glass, need to putty it (I need to get masking tape, use it) and assemble the frame. I’ll need to cut the fillers and overlaps while you paint the slider windows, then you paint them too. We’ll put it all together same as before. Meanwhile me and Jon will be cutting walls. I’ll be busy orchestrating the whole ordeal, final prep for the last wall, we can do this. Note: the top window frame board is a bit warped, we may need to twist it into shape or replace it with a straighter one and use it as a side frame, paint the new one.

The next big projects will be the roof and door. First the roof to keep the winter out, including the side facia 2x4s and last few curved rafters (need sanding) first, then the thin 3/16 plywood. Covered with aluminum sheet and roof goop. The door should prove to be fun. Thinking about how to make a grey water tank under the carriage.

I got a lot done on the window yesterday, a little more today. I filled a few putty holes and sanded them out. It’s still apart, but the bottom window fits better now, still needs a little paint touchup, plus the lap slats and flashing need attached. Also the glass needs installing and glazing. Do you want to use the glazing compound or switch to the caulk instead? Caulk dries a lot quicker but isn’t as moldable, either one works. We have masking tape to protect the plastic. I think the caulk may work better, we’ll need another tube anyway, $5 bucks.

So next we install the last window, cut and put up the last wall. That will be a challenge as we need to measure the wall cuts too, but it’s doable. I’ll try to get the window ready evenings.

We kicked ass today, got so much done. The last window and wall are up. We built a window from scratch, finished the assembly with Lexan, glazier points, putty, aluminum flashing, installed it with wedges to allow for expansion, calked it in place. We weather papered the walls, cut the plywood to fit and put it all up. Wow!, that’s a lot all in one day!

Next step we put up the roof. We need to put the facia board 2x4s up, sand the last 4 curved rafters and install them with joists inside under for strength. Then we put the 3/16ths plywood up, starting from the center with just one screw so we can align it then tack it down. It would be best to get a single sheet of aluminum 8 1/2′ x 10 1/2′ or close, else a roll and overlap it front to back. Cover it all with roofing goop. 

Thought, we should put up the roof first, then add the battens so we can seal the gaps of the seams, cut an angle for the roof to wall battens on the table saw. Also put a line of battens on the base first, then the uprights.

Then we build the door, a dutch split door, that will be a challenge.

Soon we build a roof. Looking forward to that challenge, we’ll need to grind the top plies to to fit the angle and sand the last 4 rafters for the ends, add the fascia boards first, then secure the end rafters to them. Then put the 3/16th ply over it. I planned the rafter placement to accept the roof plies so the seams will match even with the offset of the roof, more in back to cover the door, less in front for wind. Hope I got it right.

‘So getting the facia boards up alone may be difficult. At least I can get the measurement lines in, maybe with clamps raise them (?), don’t know. But I can sand the rafters, and maybe the top plywood too so the roof fits (or maybe jigsaw at an angle for the top). Needs doing, mostly belt sander work, and you aren’t comfortable with that. Thinking on the top of the rafters draw a line, set the jig saw to match the roof angle and cut the plywood between the rafters on the line. Any gaps will be covered with the laths and caulk. Belt sand or cut any high spots. Prep for the roof.

Also had a thought on the roof, if we can’t get a full sheet of aluminum, we could lay out strips of flashing front to back starting from the outside working in, overlapped like shingles, finishing with a strip in the middle. It wouldn’t be as tight as a single sheet, nail holes, but it would be fair after a roofing compound. Much better with a single sheet.

Could get more done if you can make it down, the whole roof less the sheeting (you can handle a jig saw). Or next week we’ll get it done. Then there’s the door, electrical, plumbing, gas and interior. Plenty more, but it would be good to get the roof on before the hard weather hits.

Did a little more work on the rafters, not a lot, trued 2 edges, sanded the putty down and added more as necessary, still needs a final sanding and 2 of the last 4 need to be major formed on the edges, next week.

To do Saturday: Finish belt sanding the last 2 rafters (and a quick sanding of the putty on the other 2 (me)). Trim the top edge of the plywood to make it flush with the roof, mostly jig saw work and a little bit with the Japanese flush cut hand saw on the ends where the jig won’t fit. You (and Jonathon if he’s here) can do that. 

Then we need to put the facia board 2x4s up, measured to match the ridge pole. One of the 12’x2x4s is twisted so we’ll need to use the pipe wrench to straighten it out as we screw it down. 

Next the end rafters go up. Hmm, we may need one more 1×3 to brace them underneath, I’ll try to get one, or we can attach it later, same as the inside rafters, triangulation for strength, attached to the inside of the rafter. 

Then the roof plywood goes up. We’ll need to mark the locations of the rafters on the ply before we raise them as the rafters aren’t spaced even. I did that so the ply overlaps would have a rafter to join to with the different length front and back overhangs. It’ll work, but we’ll need the marks to know where to put the screws. We’ll start attaching the ply in the middle ridge with 2 screws, making sure they’re square, then work out to the edge, maybe with clamps to hold the arch on the ends. It’ll be interesting. 

That should fill a good day if we can get that much done. If there’s time we could start adding battens and framing in the windows too. Reminds me, I’ll need another 1×3 for the last window frame. maybe a couple more for the door frame for spares in case.

To get: More calk, qty 1 2×3 (rafter joist), qty 3 1×3 (window/door frames). And an aluminum roof TBD.

Did some research on the brake system this evening, learned a lot. Besides the electric brakes, we will also need a brake controller, up in the cab. There are 2 kinds, cheap, sets the brake to a certain preset setting every time, and good, has a pendulum inside that senses how hard you are breaking and adjusts accordingly. Cheap is about $60-70, good is ~$130. Both hook into the brake light on the truck to turn on, plus power and ground, with a blue wire back to the brakes on the trailer, 0 to 12 volts. The good ones are manually adjustable to the load by percentage of power and the pendulum setting of how fast your are stopping. They need to be positioned in the cab level and straight front to back to work properly. The break itself needs to be mounted to the axle, removing the free wheeling hub and break installed, plus a break drum. Here is a site telling how, also, strip to the main site .com for more info and prices:

Good site. Different trucks wire differently, newer ones with a tow package are wired for the break controller in the cab. Enough on that. Let’s get the roof on first.

We got a lot done last weekend, the facia boards up and the last rafters sanded and put up, ready for the roof.

The roof won’t take long to put up, just 3 sheets of plywood and screws, then some tar paper stapled on. I suppose we could put up some trim after that. I’ll need to get that 1×3 and a 2×3 to finish out the window trim and secure the last two rafter sets. Also, I want to loosen the back set of curved frames at the ridge pole and move them up to the top edge so the ply fits right before we put the roof ply on, just a few screws drilled and replaced. The two side windows also need to be secured into the 1×3 studs, counter sunk and puttied over, then lightly sanded and re-primered. While the paint is out it would be good to cover the front and back arched rafters, they look so good and smooth, before the weather hits them. We could also putty and sand the facia boards, smooth them out, they’re pretty weathered, unless you like that. It’ll be a good days work to get the roof on and tidy up the trim work.

Good day today. Didn’t get as much done as hoped, but didn’t know it would be that tough to bend (and a short day with the new truck smogging). We got it though. The cracking was the knots in the wood, to be expected. I’m thinking Jonathon’s suggestion could be a good one, to cut the last section into two, spanning the last few rafters with 2 partial sheets so the edge lines up even and the rafters support the ply edges. We bought enough, 4 sheets of roof stock, thought we were building a 12 footer and did 10. We can use the excess on the interior upright non-bearing sections. Also, I need to figure out the wheel wells. I need to get some more 2x3s for that (HD), maybe 2 at a guess plus one for the end rafters. We may be able to use the scrap 2×3 stock to fill in the short parts. I just measured the 1×3 window frame, as I have a piece left over, a single 8 ft piece will be enough to finish the last window. We’ll need a few more for the door frame. Finish the roof, then the door goes in, that should be fun. It’d be good to add some more window there for more light.

We got the roof ply wood up !

The door and wheel wells need doing too. I need to figure these out. The roof needs to go on ASAP. All the slats need to go up on top, we could work on those next while we figure it out, seal the rafters, we have the stock and it needs to be done, actually a good challenge for the next task.

I still need to find a roof, but there’s plenty more to do, sealing the rafters with slats and putting up the window frames. We’ll need more goop, $5 a tube to seal the windows plus more on the roof when we find it.

Note: caulking is cheaper by the caulk gun tubes.

But the rafter slats will take a day minimum, lots of little pieces all measured to fit, and I need to figure a way to cut the wood to cover the screws in the hurricane ties. Chisel or by machine, we’ll see. But there’s work to be done. Also, tarpaper the roof.

We got quite a bit done yesterday, bought an aluminum flashing roof and snow seal for the top. We mostly fixed the cracked roof panel by adding a 1×3 below and screwing it down. I would still like to belt sand it down and add wood putty, maybe Friday as I’m off. We also calked the driver side window and added the outer framing, screwing in the inner window frame to the studs first. That one won’t leak (hopefully), but we still need to remove the passenger side outer frame and caulk it too, also secure the inner frame to the studs. We cut the roof ply on 3 sides flush to the facia boards and curved rafters.

We still need to cut the driver side flush. Then we’ll add the tar paper to the roof short ways starting from the back and lapping forward, stapled. Next we’ll nail the aluminum on long ways with the roofing nails to the rafters using caulk to seal it down on the edges and a nail or screw on the front and back rafter to hold down the lower leading edges. I hope to avoid nails or screws in the lower laps as they could leak, but we may need a few, staggered and heavily gooped. Plus the snowseal should seal it all down. A water tight roof. 

The next project will be the dutch door, that should be fun

Always plenty to do on the vardo. Hope to finish prep sanding and puttying the roof ply crack Friday so we can lay down the tar paper after cutting the driver side flush. Extended weather forecast says it could be not raining. Maybe put down the roof flashing and/or work on sealing slats around the rafters. We’ll need some more short screws for that, a lot of them, about 10 per rafter both sides. Just counted, 14, 280 screws, 3 boxes plus the ends, but they’re short, 3/4(?).

So we got the driver side cut and the tar paper up. Ready for the aluminum.

Next on the vardo is the aluminum roof, sealing the rafters with slats, and installing wheel wells. Clearing the rafter screws with the slats will be a challenge.

So I started on the wells. I cut up the 2×3 for the outer overhang, I can cut another one in half later. I also found one more under the pile when I moved it to the side. The 2×3 panel is 30 3/4 x 8 3/8″, it’ll be 7″ from the outer wall. I had to chisel out a spot for the lag bolt holding down the floor to the frame on one end 2×3. I also cut a piece of plywood to put on the inside of the well but am having second thoughts as that sheet should go all the way down, but it will work fine on the inside instead. Lots of head scratching on this one. The pieces I cut are right, it will work. I’m also changing the design on the cross wall support to 2 upright 2x3s for more support like under the windows. I’ll trim the inner 2×3 to be flush with the wall forward of the well, just a half a foot or so, haven’t measured that yet. I’ll use the funky 2×3 for that as it’ll be behind the inner wall and spray it with wood bleach. About 35″ twice to span the studs and support the window stud, yet to be cut. Thinking I should put a temporary 2×2 support before I cut that one. It’s going to be good, and hidden by the cabinets for the stove and sink.

I considered going to HD for 2x3s but thought it’d be better to save gas and go week days when I’m there anyway. I’ll need 3, ~$6, two more for the other side and one for the outer rafters. I just measured a 1x (3/4″) for screw length, we’ll need a lot of 

1-1/4″ screws for the slats, a big box at least, I’ll get one for now. We need to seal the rafters, major job, lots of little pieces fitted and put the roof aluminum on. Both will take more goop to seal it tight. I’ll have to get that too.

Shopping list: 

3 2x3s, 

big box of 1-1/4″ screws, 

big tube of goop. 

You good with that?

Thinking on the wells, maybe punch a hole in the floor with the Fein saw to make sure I get the placement right, from underneath. The wells will need gooping too, stronger stuff to keep the weather out as the wheels will be slinging it. And we still need to seal the floor underneath too, more strong stuff. I may have that left over from the boat. And the wells would be best ultimately covered with aluminum, we may have enough flashing for that. Not sure after the roof, but maybe.

We did well yesterday, got a roof mostly on, and the wheel wells are prep cut, ready to take the timber out and install.

Did some more research on the door at . good stuff, search on door. It’s mostly about cabinets but applies to the bigger kind. For dutch doors we’ll need to add an extra lap down on the upper outside to prevent weather coming in. I’ll figure it out. good fun.

Stay away from those edge cuts on the flashing fore and aft. We need to gently sandpaper them round first thing. Then add the last center strip. We’ll need to gently hammer the excess down and secure it to the facia boards with nails or screws, screws would be better as the threads won’t pull out. (need some) The curved part will need to be folded to fit, maybe with pliers and a twist.

I’ll be busy with the holiday before that, so not much time to get door wood, still need to figure the amounts out anyway.

Note: What is the regulation door width? We need to get that right, may have to adjust accordingly, doable. Need to know asap. Find out.

There is plenty other stuff to do meanwhile, the last roof top sheet, sand (not sharp, no more cuts) and hammer down the edges and screw or nail them. All the rafter seals need to be constructed and installed with goop to seal them tight. We’ll need more goop, quite a bit to fill the gaps due to warped ply. The wheel wells need to get finished, they’re cut, need assembly (with additional triangulation studs for strength) and to cut the openings. plenty to do as always. 

Good day. We have a roof. Some thoughts on the arch aluminum, we cut them every few inches starting from the outside and add a nail to make the overlap secure, sanded first not to cut flesh. The nail on the inner flap laps the outer and ties it down beneath to keep it water tight.  Plus calk to seal it.

Did some checking on door widths regulations, let’s push it out to 30″:

(a) General.

(1) This section shall apply to every exit door. Buildings or structures used for human occupancy shall have at least one approved exit door.

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(a).)

(2) Exit doors shall be of the side swinging type.

EXCEPTION: As provided in Section 3235(g).

(Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(a).)

(3) Every door required to serve as an exit shall be designed and constructed so that the way of exit travel is obvious and direct. Windows which could be mistaken for doors shall be made inaccessible to occupants by means of barriers or railings.

(b) Width and Height. Every required exit doorway shall be of a size that permits the installation of a door not less than 3 feet in width and not less than 6 feet 8 inches high. When installed in exit doorways, exit doors shall be capable of opening at least 90 degrees and shall be mounted so that the clear width of the exitway is no less than 32 inches. In computing the exit width required, the net dimension of the exitway shall be used.

EXCEPTION: Existing buildings may be less than 3 feet in width if the clear width of the exitway is not less than 28 inches. (Title 24, Part 2, Section 2-3303(e).) 

It goes on. So let’s do 30″, more than 28, but we need to consider the 1/2″ door stops, an extra inch.  Let’s add 3.5″ on each side for the 2x3s.  They’re $2 each, cheap, 3 more, 2 for the sides, one for the longer top, we’ll reuse the inside ones, I don’t remember if we screwed in from the top, but probably, have to cut the screws too, minor challenge, rotary tool with fiber abrasive. 

We need to widen the door. We’ll just nudge it over, it’ll be fine, a couple cuts on the top to make it fit. We may be able to do it with just one 2×3 for the top, a support beam. We’ll see.

So, today I worked on the vardo, happy birthday. I cut out the door frames and enlarged it all 3 3/4″ each side, the extra 3/4 will allow for the jam to fit, so we should end up with a 30″ door. The top is still 6′, less the 3/4 jam on top, 5′ 11 1/4″, we’ll fit OK but the tall folks beware, paint it red to hide the blood, ha. Those specs are for any human occupancy, so that should apply. We still need to cut the plywood and re-screw it to the new frame. I also need to secure the door top plate to the upright holding the ridge pole, 5 long screws, I still have the old ones, will work. Nice thing about screws, they come out. A few were a challenge. Also, found the best tool for pulling staples is on the staple gun, go figure.

So Jonathon came down the hill today and we worked the vardo some more. He put in all the rafter slats while I cut the opening for the new door size. The rafter slats are all glued and screwed but will still need to be calked to fill the warped siding.

I also figured out and cut the rest of the wheel well angle pieces, some tricky figuring that was, but it’ll work. Fitting the plywood to the frames will be another trick after it’s assembled and cut out. I’m thinking to assemble the parts where the cuts will be made first, then cut it to those lines from the inside (mostly, except the thick stock from outside). Next we’ll finish the inside well frame, then install the plywood.

So I got a lot done, door’s bigger, Jon put up the rafter seals, in part his idea. The wells are ready to install and cut the frame out, mine to do. The rafters need to be calked shut, then the battens need to go up, fun stuff, decorations with a purpose, seal the sides and look good. They’ll need more calk while the tube is open. Lay up the side front battens (corners) flush, cut to length less the bottom batten width, then the front battens with goop to seal the seam over lapping flush to the side battens. This is to seal the front corners, side first, then the front where the wind hits. Add battens to the front center with goop and a couple to look good in between (minor angle? not sure). Seal the side seams same way plus more to look good, less the bottom batten and well batten until the wheel wells are cut. The back corners need a little thought, need to look at them. We’ll leave the door slats alone until it’s installed. Time to make the door soon. That will be fun too. We may need some wood for the door, or may be able to get it from the salvaged stock, we’ll see.

We can probably get a door out of the reclaimed wood if we screw 2 pieces of the 1x together for the sides plus a plywood or more reclaimed panel. Glass or Lexan for the top dutch window. I have glass we could cut or more lexan, your decision. If we arch it, use lexan. Let’s talk about it. We’ll use the table saw to cut the slots before we screw the 1x stock together to hold the panel or window. We can stagger the upper down (out) and lower up (in) to make a good waterproof seal. 2 pieces 3/4″ (1x) makes 1.5″, good thickness to fit a 3″ door frame. It’ll work fine, but take some thinking, fun challenge.

We got a lot done, looks good. I’ll need to get those wheel wells cut out soon so we can finish the battens. We also need a bit more calk above to seal the rafters in tight. Use a putty knife to make it a smooth fit. Thinking we could use the multitool (Fien) saw to trim the rafter battens even if you want to, the center part is a little lower. Minor cosmetics, not required but would look better, your call. Still not sure how we’ll seal the curved front and back arches and they need it, I can see light. We could cut a bunch of thin strips and glue them up, that would work, laminated, probably the best solution. Not sure how we’d clamp them as they dry, maybe screws into the wall to hold the batten strips and small wedges. Hmm, could work, we’ll see. Then seal the screw holes with wood putty. It has to be water tight with the front wind. We’ll figure it out. Could cover the screw holes with a couple more laminates maybe stapled? Not sure.

The front and back corner battens we’ll rip a little wider from the reclaimed wood, that will work fine. We could exaggerate the angle there if you want, be a tricky cut, probably use the band saw and sand them straight, or just make straight cuts on the table saw and not exaggerate, again, your call. Then on to the door.

I’m looking forward to working on the door, that would be a good wet weather task in the garage. As long as the weather is holding, we should get outside battens and stuff done. And the wheel wells are a high priority to finish the battens, but they can also be done in the rain as it’s inside the vardo mostly. We really need to finish the roof edges so we don’t cut the tarp if we need one and tighten up the gaps in the roof so we don’t need the tarp anymore. We need to drill a few more stud holes for wiring after the the door widening and well changes and get the gas lines installed. It’d be cheapest to use black pipe hard lines for the gas so the holes need to line up, smaller holes the right size to not weaken the structure (but big enough for tolerance). Figuring out the plumbing for the water system to meet code won’t be easy. Keeping the weight low (center of gravity, CG), hot water on demand, fresh and grey water storage systems, a major challenge that. Not just a vardo, but to code. These things need to be installed in the walls before we can seal them and get to doing the interior. The tanks can wait, but we may need a pump system instead of gravity feed to keep the weight low. Actually, we may be able to do the plumbing under the sink after the walls are up if we use a pump to supply the pressure and an on demand heater under the sink as well, feeding from a couple tanks, fresh and grey under the floor to keep the CG low. Maybe an electric 12V pump (HF) and a hand pump for backup, vardo style. 

I’m brainstorming here, see what works, but we’ll need a couple water tanks for the grey and fresh supplies to meet the code (how much do we need of each?). We can strap them underneath if we use a pump (CG+). We’ll figure it out.

Battens and wheel wells to do, slice up a couple free boards to fit the front and back corners on the table saw, could use help there with caution. Not as gnarly as the big stock, thin stuff but carefully. I should make a feather board, a piece of wood with a bunch of angle cuts like a comb or feather to hold the stock to the fence as it feeds through, helps prevent kickback too. We can tack down the roof with a couple more nails and some more goop to seal them. Cut (with gloves and sandpaper to dull) and tack down the roof edges. More putty on the rafter seals. Meanwhile, I need to install and cut the wheel wells out. New drill holes for the wiring and gas lines in the studs. We’ll need some gas pipe soon, but I need to figure out the lengths and a couple angles. Think about how you want your kitchen laid out, stove, sink, refrigerator, on the driver side?, we need to know.

So yea, we need to think about how to lay out the kitchen so we know where to put the plumbing, electric and gas lines, drill the holes in the studs to accept the lines accordingly. Electric needs to go everywhere, water and gas are confined to the sink and stove. We need the ‘where’ before we can install all that and seal the walls. We’ll also need to know the OD size of the gas pipe to keep the holes to a minimum size (with slack) to keep the structure strong.  I’m thinking a little higher on the gas line to spread the support and keep it  a straight shot so the pipe fits through. We’ll need a lot of shielded cables for electric so the screws don’t punch through and short.

We’ll work on the wheel wells and the roof, seal the part that’s standing and try to get the front and back sealed down, lapped to the curve. Maybe cut down a freebe plank for the front and back corners and cut some thin stuff to laminate the front and back rafter seals. We’ll need straight grain, no knots or it won’t make the bend, maybe use some of the 1×2 stock for that. Some should be straight. 

Mostly I need to get the wheel wells done, first priority. The parts are all cut, just need to screw them down where the through cuts will be, cut those, then put the box studs together. Figuring out the screws and ply cuts to line it will be interesting but I’ve thought it out, well mostly. You can get the battens up and we can figure out the kitchen layout meanwhile.

Sorry you couldn’t make it down the hill, get better. So I assembled the passenger side wheel well today, quite the challenge, but it’s in and mostly cut out. One screw is holding it in, can’t seem to get it loose. Grind it in the morning when the light comes back, and grind out the square washer corner to fit. Still need to cut plywood to fit it, lots of 45 angles, challenge for sure. It’s a bit bigger than I thought, but should be a safe clearance, we can cover it with a panel while parked. I’ll try to get a picture tomorrow, mind it’ll be a half inch smaller with the plywood and an aluminum liner. It’ll be good. The other side should go quicker as I know what to do now, but it’s still challenging, fun.

So we have most of one wheel well passenger side. This morning I took the old floor off the cutout and found a toenail screw, took it out and the section came away clean. I used the grinder to cut down the square washer and another washer for hold down bolts, then cut the floor joist flush with a new blade. I cut out the top angles, top and inside flat and installed them, lots of 45s. The tools were put away before I realized the screws on the flat are too long, sticking out into the vardo interior, beware, I’ll change them in the morning to shorter ones. On measuring the opening, it’s 28″ across, only 1″ clearance for a 27″ tire. I patched the rear section with a 1/4″ piece of ply to make it flat without adding any change in dimension, but the front may need a 3/8″ cover from the left over roof stock, or maybe I can fit a piece of half inch in the gap to not add any. When we add the flashing as planned it will all be invisible and water tight with battens to cover the side edges, perfect.

I learned how to make a back 45 angle on the band saw using a 2×4 cut to 45 (had one scrap) as a fence support with the table flat. The table will tilt to 45 but you can only cut it one direction. I needed the back angle to cut the notches to fit it all together. We still need to finish the inside box, small front, back and top cover, the long side is already cut. I’ll need to re-drill the covered electric holes (some around the door too) and new ones for the gas line. The 2 window studs still need to be toe nailed to the new frame. And then there is the driver side well to do. At least the frame is all cut and ready to assemble.

It’d be nice to have a window in the door, more light, a bit of stained ‘glass’ around the edges, but clear in the middle so you can see out. We need to figure out a good way to make fake lead edging around the stained parts, maybe JB weld or something bought for the purpose. We should stop in to the stained glass place, up the street and across from the snake oil cafe, and see what they have available. We could go full on real glass / copper tape and solder, but that’s another thing. We could use my fordom or drill press to make a diamond cutter to form glass, plus the lapidary sander, no problem. I also have a faceter. HF has the bits, so do I somewhere in the garage, think I know where. We’d have to pick up some copper tape, I have solder. Doable, or just go with the fake plastic method. We can make most anything. I’ve been around a few glass masters, know how it works, and glass/solder is softer than rocks and silver, which I’m good at. Care to learn? Keep it simple.

So the door window, glass or plastic? Either will be fun and a challenge, the door will be a challenge, but doable. We still need to finish the battens and wheel wells, plus the roof needs edge securing and a tack down on top forward right. A bit of putty in the side window drill holes and more goop in the rafter slats, maybe the wood trimmed. We need to cut wood for front and back corner battens and a door frame. Plenty to do rain or shine.

We got a lot done yesterday, all the battens complete on the passenger side and new wheel well (looks good!), then all the possible battens on the driver’s side except where the well will be cut. Today I worked a little more on the other wheel well. The boards needed to guide the saw are all screwed in place and the square washer is cut to size with the grinder. Next step is cutting out the well. I left the inner long beam to the floor loose so I can get the multi-tool saw through the plate, floor and walls. I also marked the place where the beam crosses underneath so I can try to miss the washer down there and not kill the new blade. I’ll probably make that cut with the old blade last thing as it still has a few teeth or maybe use a hack or wet diamond blade. We’ll see. 

Next week let’s start out ripping stock from the recycled planks for the front and back corner battens at 2 1/4″ to match the stack up on the corners. We’ll need to cut a bunch of thin straight grain pieces to laminate the arc seals too. That laminate will be a challenge to install using long boards wedged to the ground to hold them in place. I’m not sure how we’ll fasten them, maybe epoxy or staples?

If there is time you can start cutting the corners to length while I cut the well. You will need to cut the arc angle on top by holding the board up and using a compass to match the arc, I’ll show you. Then you can cut the board to length less the 1 1/2″ bottom batten.

Thought: What if we cut the battens the full length to the top and then fill in the top arc between them with short pieces to seal the top. It would be easier than lamination and similar to our conversation yesterday. If we use wider recycled stock we could still cut the 1 1/2″ arc on the bottom to match using the band saw. It would look good and be a lot easier to fit smaller pieces. We could even cut some gingerbread patterns in if you like, but keep it simple, a couple gentle arcs and a point in the middle or a gentle wave. Think about it but keep the radii more than 4″ to match my drum sander. 

We’ll need one batten in the center to seal the seam and the corners. 6 feet is 72 inches, divided by 14″ is about 5 slats plus the zero, that doesn’t work, but one in the middle and 2 on each side would be  12″ on the bottom, radiating to the top wider, or straight, that works. Actually, straight would give the outer sections obvious flair, might look good and easier to install. Something else to consider, we’ll get it right.

I really want to tack down that spot on the roof forward right second tier, doesn’t look good in the pics and it needs to be down, couple nails (or screws) with roof goop. The fore and aft metal needs to be dealt with, cut, sanded and secured, maybe with screws instead to insure it stays put, especially the front. We can use the big box of short ones for that as the battens won’t take that many. I think we need to add one more screw on the bottom on all the battens between the lowest and the next, too much space between them, needs to be tight, with a long one on the forward corner driver side. 

If it’s raining we can work on cutting the wide battens and door parts in the garage. We can cut the well out as it’s inside the vardo work and drill some wiring holes. And figure out the interior lay out.

Gap in text

Got some done on the vardo today. The front arch is caulked and battened and the front roof is down, tar paper trimmed. It looks good, mostly ready for shutters and paint. We should add some wood putty to the seams, also needs 2 small battens on the side of the ridgepole. That new caulk flows well. 

I held up the shutters to the front window, we’ll need to add a little to the outside of the shutters so they meet the outside of the window frame to make the hinges work right. They make rippled fasteners, corrugated steel hammered in, be a good way to secure the shutters to stay together in the weather in case they’re just glued. Set them in a little and putty them over.

The last few driver side battens and the door are next, plus the back roof needs tying down. The roof goes pretty easy, wearing gloves, cut it ~3/4″ to length with scissors and trim it every 6″ or so, sand it not to cut, hammer it down and secure with 2 screws pre-drilled. cut the next 6″ section. From the outside to the top, do the top last in one chunk with 3 screws. It tends to bow out a bit between the screws due to the curve, but that’s OK. I used the short (1 1/4″) screws.

It’s door time, let’s cut the stock, find some without too many knots. We may need to go find some new boards in the pile with straight grain long enough. We’ll need 3″ stock for the frame (probably another word but I can’t look it up) around the door. I need to figure the actual door dimensions but that’s somewhat arbitrary on width, while length needs to be exact (ish). Let’s start on the lower half of the dutch doors as there won’t be a window to consider, but we’ll need to cut the upper stock to keep the dimensions even. I think splines (slats to fill the cut grooves past the panel) will be the easiest way to go, although we could cut them the same as the windows, tongue and groove and chisel the corners 

then put the two halves (we’ll be doubling planks) together. I’ll talk to Warren and Darin about it.

So I talked to Darin tonight about the door, he had a lot of good suggestions. He said we’d be better to screw and glue the 1x planks together first, then cut the slots for the panels and tongue and groove to get the right fit. Door parts, rails go up and down, stiles across top, center and bottom, plus panels in the middle. So he suggested we cut a 1″ deep groove on the inner rails and stiles starting from the offset center a blade width (1/8″) so the edge of the blade is on center, flip it and cut again to make a 1/4″ groove. I’d use a scrap piece to verify the cuts first. As I’m planning on a (~)1/2′ ply panel, reset the fence to the proper width to fit the ply snug but not too tight (scrap again) and make two more cuts. The panel needs to be loose enough for expansion, snug, but not sloppy. The panel doesn’t get glued, but with a bead of flexible paintable calk on the outside to keep the water out. The stiles need to be cut with a 1″ tongue to fit the groove in the rails, snug but not too tight (too tight would crack on expansion). That way, the tongue and the panels fill up the grooves. Glue and clamp the styles and rails with the panels dry, make sure it’s square by X measure corner to corner, then wire nail or pre-drill screw them tight to the tongues.

As we’re making dutch doors, he suggested the outer overlap be cut at a slight down angle to keep the water out.  The upper overlap would need to be a little longer before the cut to allow the angle.

I asked about the upper panel being a window. Lay it out the same, but router the inside groove with a flush cut router (HF?), chisel the corners, install the window with slats inside, angle finish nailed to hold it in. Use clear caulk on the outer wood where glass meets it to prevent water before the glass goes in. 

We’ll use square slats so we can add fake cross braces if you like, real ones cost a lot for tooling. That covers it, a door.

gap here

So some things got done on the vardo, I cut the door frames with a door stop from the 3/4 stock and trued the timbers for the door on the table saw. The 1/2 inch ply left over isn’t big enough so we headed to Home Depot and picked up a nice piece, really clean and big enough, 2′ x 4′, we need 2×3, enough. Straight home, I measured the new cut door opening Raven installed, my rails (door horizontals) are too short from the cuts I made to the frame and truing. We have tons of wood as the landlord threw out a ton of 1x12s, I grabbed another and cut some new stock a 1/4″ longer than I need while Rave worked on tacking down the back roof aluminum with gloves and sandpaper, sharp stuff. We’ll need to glue and screw the new styles next week or maybe I can get them tomorrow so they’ll be dry and we can cut and assemble the door parts next week.


So I want to pick up another jar of glue (HD) and get the rails ready eves before Saturday so we can get the door cut and assembled, at least the bottom half. Probably should pick up a black iron gas line same time so you can drill some holes inside (studs) for gas and electric. You good with that? I just measured it, 8′ puts it to the forward side of the back wheel well, should be about right. We’ll use a couple flex lines fore and aft with an elbow and nipple (short pipe) aft to get it out of the wall. We could cap them or just hook them up for the stove. We’ll need to put new holes for electric lines around the wheel wells too. The water system will be another challenge, tanks, hoses, heater and pumps. We’ll figure it out.

We’ll drill a hole for the 1/2″ gas pipe through the front driver side wall just above the height of the inside wheel well. Maybe from the inside most of the way through then finish the hole from the outside to keep it from splitting using a flat spade bit. One of us should be outside to let the other know when the point comes through. Then we’ll shove the pipe in and mark the hole center on the next stud to keep it going straight. We keep doing that for each stud until it fits all the way through. We’ll use teflon tape on the connections to keep them sealed tight, I have some somewhere in the garage, I’ll dig it out, I know which box if I can find it, or we can buy some at Bosworth’s if not.

The elbow and 3″ nipple will come out of the inside wall (when installed), with the end of the pipe coming out of the front wall, both capped for now. We’ll need three flex hoses later to connect to the stove and 2 tanks, plus regulators on the tanks, fairly cheap at HF, and a Y fitting on the outer pipe. You can use the valves on the tanks to switch them. We need to figure a way to seal the outside hole, may need a flange that screws to the wall. It’ll work. 

You can drill the holes while I cut the door tongue and grooves on the table saw. Plus finish the back roof and get more wood from out back. That’ll keep us busy.

We got a lot done yesterday, you finished the roof ends and the inside wheel well covers, I cut all the door parts except the panel. Turns out we have the names reversed, the styles go up and down, the rails horizontal. I finished the rail cuts after you left and fitted them together. It looks pretty good, although one corner fit is too tight, I’ll need to trim it a bit, maybe just plane the tenon a bit smaller. I measured the panel size today, the opening is 21″ x 30 1/8″, with the 1″ grooves added and a 1/8″ clearance for swelling we should cut the panel 22 7/8″ x 32″. I’ll ask Darin if 1/8 is appropriate for clearance and adjust as required. I held the top section to the lower section of the door way, it’s a bit oversize which is good, we can trim it to fit right. I want to add the upper and lower dutch door rail overlap before we assemble the doors as it’s a lot easier to work the smaller stock. I’ll need to get the total height measurement to make it right, could use your help there to hold the tape measure. We should probably leave a fraction long and trim it to fit if there’s room on the overlap, we’ll see. It’ll be a rustic door as the wood is recycled, lots of dents, fitting for a vardo.

So I talked to Darin tonight. He had some good ideas. A 1/16″ clearance per side or 1/8″, so my numbers work. He said hanging the doors can be difficult, suggested we make a board the same size and height as the 2 doors edges together, we mount the hinges on that (drilled through, my idea) mount the hinges and board to the jam, then use the board as a template to transfer the holes to the doors. Clean fit. We’ll need to use fixed pin hinges as they’ll be outside as the doors swing out and chisel the hinges in flush like we did the bolt plates on the floor. Carefully on the jam as we don’t have much material, 3/8″, but we only need 1/8 or less, leaves a quarter, enough, and the screws will sink into the double 2x stock beneath for strength. 

  It’ll take the both of us to mount them, hinge on the door, I’ll hold it, you screw it into the already existing threaded hole. Good thing they’re only half a door each, makes it lighter. I’ll use a ladder on the top door. Thought, maybe we should mount the upper frame before adding any glass, be lighter, but plastic would be OK, eh, either way. We could mount the window on the inside instead, be safer. Which way do you want the door to open? I’ve been thinking hinges on the passenger side but either way works. How do you want it? 

I was talking to Kurk about wiring, he seemed to think straight Romex would do, not shielded, cheaper that way, but we’d need to be sure not to put any screws in it. Thinking mark the hole heights on the floor so we’re sure to miss it. BTW, what kind of floor will we put in? Kurk asked, be good to cover the marks, and plywood won’t do aesthetically.

Good vardo day, we got a lot done on the door. Went to town to meet at Barnes & Noble. Found Rave and headed for the stained glass store in  Rohnert Park to design a window for the door. They had a couple beautiful rose windows already made, clear with a rose and beveled glass, perfect size, Rave got one for $75, would have cost that and weeks time to make one, perfect.

So we installed the gas line together and Rave drilled the last few electric holes that got covered in the wells and door expansion. I cut the panels for the door and we assembled it press fit, still needs glue and screws. I cut the overlap for the dutch doors with a slight bevel below to drain. It’ll be a really nice door.

So I’m trying to figure out a way to fit the new window in. (cost less than the front window and this one is cool!) I took a trace of the inner edge with my roll of tracing paper, stopped by the $ store and picked up some card stock. I made a pattern for the cut out from the tracing paper to the card stock. 

The window is 15.5″ wide at the cut out and 20.5 tall. That leaves 2.75″ on each side and 0.8″ top and bottom, the top has the curve. I have a round over router bit we could use or we could get a coving router bit, kind of an s curve, not sure.

Hmm, thought, a half inch or less (1/4?) bevel cut with the table saw around the square edge, maybe leave a kerf edge for a raise, then round cut the part that meets the window as the window has round lead canes. Fill in the whole panel that way both sides.

I just measured the lead cane extension, the flat part that holds the window in place, 3/8″, good news, the router bit we used to make the windows is 3/8″ too so that will do to make the inset notch, probably in the plywood. We can either cut the wood corners square with a chisel or round the lead cane corners (easier) with a file to fit.

I’m not sure how we’ll make the bottom panel match, an X with bevels where they meet the square? Or a couple 1x12s, no I can’t cut that wide to be thin enough to match. Maybe several uprights of the max width of the table saw doubled by flipping the wood could work. Thought, then we could carve in the moon symbol you wanted on the lower panel, that would be cool. What do you think? It could work.

I talked to Darin today about the window install, got some ideas. He suggested just use the wood without the ply, not sure about that, but maybe. That would take a whole new redesign on the upper panel with more stock laminations and tongue cutting, precision work. I’d rather go with what I have planned by adding panel stock on each side, but like his suggestion to allow the inner panel to hold the window in with an added removable lip in case the window needs to come out for repair. Probably just use the whole panels parts for that. The ply may show through so he may be right with solid wood, needs more thought. I’ll figure it out. 

I still think it would be cool to add the moon pattern carved in to the lower panel. Darin suggested we cut some lines with the table saw to match the lead canes in the window, that could be cool, I like it. We could leave out the center ones for the pattern and carve any short ones in to match. What do you think?

Let’s see, inside to do list: We’ll need more wood from the pile outback. The door needs to be glued and screwed. We need to figure out where we need power, electric outlets and lights both 110 and 12 volts. So you need to figure out how the layout should be. Count the boxes. I’m thinking driver side from the door, the fridge and a small counter (blender, coffee grinder) over with a drawer, power for each, a light overhead (2 boxes). Then the stove to keep it away from too many walls, hmm, maybe a shield to keep from melting the window, a fan (hole in the wall) and a light (another box). On the sink, I don’t think we need 2 basins, let’s cut it in half, just use one so there’s room for another counter, storage under the sink with cabinet doors (got them) and drawers under the counter (have those too). The sink would be in front of the window with the counter before the table/bed. The counter will need a box or 2 for light over the sink and power for whatever. Note, we’ll need a couple boxes for lighting, one for the switch, one for the light. We may be able to combine or use pull strings instead, something to think about. So then the bed/ table needs an over head light (box) and a reading light (box) with power available (clock?), could pull that from the counter or across. Storage under the benches. So we reach the passenger side. A plug near the table (box). A lot of counter space with storage underneath, the vendor window, good light there (2-3 more boxes, counter and lights). With a couple shielded lights outside on the serve window and condiments. Then maybe a bench with a flip back to make another counter (and another box). The back door wall will need 3 more boxes to cover the back door lights and entrance switches.

That’s my brainstorming on a possible layout, with a max of outlets. Think about it, change it. How many boxes is that? Where do you want lights and power? We need to order the boxes and get the wire. And we need to mount the electric in box you got from your friend plus a water tight power in plug.

There’s plenty to do and figure out. The boxes and wire will cost some money, let’s get it right, take measurements, get the design right.

Wire measurements, appliance layout and boxes figured out (you), the door window frames are cut, that was a trick getting them to the right thickness and tight. It’ll be a good door. I’ll need to cut the angle trim tomorrow, it’ll look good. I’l run the practice piece on the end cuts to make sure it works right. Maybe I can get the window through cut done on the plywood and router the window groove, or next week. We’ll see what else we can get done.

So I got some stuff done on the door. I cut the angle frame with the table saw around the window frames, 14 degrees, about 3/8″ deep with the saw kerf leaving a ledge, looks good. I laid the cut frames inside the styles and rails and drew the line, then took the door apart to get at the plywood. I cut the section out with the jig saw on the saw horses, then tried the fit, a bit tight. I used the 4 in hand file, sand paper the power file until it snapped the belt, more sandpaper and rasp, took some doing to get the fit. I got it. I pulled out the router with the 3/8 rabbit bit we used on the side windows and adjusted it to the depth of the lead tongue with a few cuts on scrap wood. I cut a piece of the cut out window ply to use as a support for the router on the inside and routed the plywood frame a little at a time, moving the support. I used the chisel and hammer on the corners of the ply to level it square instead of filing the window canes, fits good. The lead corners were a bit not flat so I tapped them with a hammer to make it smooth even. I set up the window and put the door frames back on the ply. As there is a bit of slop in the ply to frame, it took a while to get the alignment right with a hammer and scrap so the inner frames line up right. It looks good, now we get to do it all over again with glue and screws or finish nails. I need to add a small chamfer on the inside inner frames to allow for any misalignment of the lead cane and round the inner frame outer edges. It would be good to get a small rounding router bit for that, the one I have is too big, HF or just sand paper. It looks good. The window is in the door, with the wood panel that came with it covering it to keep the cats out. Next we put it all together for real with glue and fasteners. We’ll need to fill the plywood voids first with wood putty and sand everything smooth. Fill the door frames while were at it. It would probably be best to primer the parts before assembly so we keep the window clean. We’ll need a gallon I’m guessing of cheap latex primer for the whole vardo. It’ll be nice door.

Glad you got the message before ordering those boxes at $50 when we can get them for $20 and change. HD run will be good, boxes, wire and primer. Wire, 56′ base run with a single line up to each outlet. Thought, question to your friend, do we need a junction box where we split the line to go up to the upper plug or light? I can ask Hal, he’ll know. We’ll need a splice in to the mains there or we could just take the wire up and back again, don’t know which would cost more, the wire doubled or a box. Ah, by the way, we’ll need a bunch of twist on wire nuts for all the connections, 3 per light or splice but the plugs have screw connects. Two sizes for 2 or 3 wires (HF may be cheaper for them, I’ll check). We’ll need plug sockets ~8-10, and light fixtures, a couple florescence. This and that we may have around, check Sally’s, see what comes up. I’ll try to get some measurements on the verticals before Saturday for a rough estimate on wire and any info from friends at work. Also, we’ll want to check on an outdoor main line in plug, probably male with a twist lock. I’ll ask Bob or Diego what they have on their RVs.
On the 12 volt line, we could tap into the trailer light lines to the truck, but we should have a battery aboard with charge available from the truck or a 110 trickle charger (HF cheap). The truck charge needs a switch so you don’t drain the truck when the motor isn’t running. Be cool if it was connected to the ignition switch so if the truck’s not running the vardo/battery is off line. Totally doable, just have to think about it. Tap that switch. Google that, and ask. We’ll figure it out.
Looking at water heaters, not sure how much we’ll need. Ecco L5
not expensive, $120, 1.4 GPM or
$230, more flow, 2.65 GPM.
We’d need to mount it outside on the wall (high to keep it dry) to vent the exhaust. There’s other units available. but these looked interesting. The big house units run at $7-800 way too much. We just need enough to wash dishes and hands, maybe an occasional shower. What is the spec in gal/minute and temp? Need to know, can you check the food cart regulations?
On the gas line, we can add a tee instead of the coupler, run it up the inside wall and out with a 90 and short nipple. It’s even in the right location for the sink.
I did talk to Kenny today at lunch, His wife owns the franchise on all the Coldstones in the county, he does the work on them, HVAC license and all. As they have steel girders for studs they require shielded conduit, but with wood studs Romex is enough to meet code. Any where you have a break in the wire an accessible (w/cover) box is required. He said it’s cheaper to just string the wire up to the box where the plug/switch is and back down again. Also, code requires 6″ of wire at each box, coming out of the box so you can make the connections, he said 8″ is better but code requires 6 (stuff it in the back after you connect it). You have to secure the wire to the stud close to the box (~6″) with a square staple (not the staple gun but a romex staple, bigger, hammered in). I told him we have ~55 feet base measured, he said get a 100′ roll, it’s cheaper by the roll and we’ll need it. Also he said we need a breaker box rated for the max power (amps) we’ll use with everything on, if it’s 20 amps, go with a 30 amp box. The power in plug needs to be rated equivalent or better, a twist plug would be best so nobody kicks it loose. That’s what I learned, I asked him to let me know if he thought of anything else.
I do plan on getting the door glued and screwed with the window in it. Best to do it while the humidity is high so it loosens up a bit with the dry times and fits without too much stress wet. I’ll glue the corners where the styles and rails meet, square them and screw them from the inside screw side through the tongues. I’ll leave the panel floating. I need to get it centered to the window frames so they fit right. I’ll round the corners on the frames on the inside just short of where they meet with sand paper and cut a slight chamfer where the window meets the wood maybe with a plane or sandpaper to allow the curve of the lead canes to fit. Install the window and screw the inside frames without glue so we can get the window out if need be. On the outside frames, maybe some glue and finish nails so it looks good, round the corners first. We can tape the window later to mask for paint.
Same on the bottom frame, styles and rails glued and screwed inside with a floating panel. What do you want to do with the panel? Darin suggested cut grooves to match the window, would look good, could carve the moon thing in the middle. Or keep it light with an X, what do you want?
So I got the upper door done except filling/sanding the outer rails and styles. It’s together, glued and screwed, window installed with smooth frames. The lower door is still not secured but I got 11 of 14 slats milled for the lower panels, 3″ planks cut to thickness. We’ll need to get another board from the pile out back to complete it. Seven 3″ planks makes the panel 21″ to fit. I cut them over length 1/2″ or more to trim on the table saw to fit next. The weather was clear long enough to get the boards cut in the driveway on the table saw, cut the last length with the jig saw as the rain returned. We just need 3 or 4 more, tomorrow to the pile.
Thinking a bevel cut the width of the upper door upright sides all four as the lower panel is longer. that would about match the window size. Then cut the lines to match the canes in the milled planks but keep it square below, no arch. It’ll look good. That’s my thought on it. Sound alright? It’ll be a heavy door, but nice. I could remove some inner stock on the panels to lighten it up a bit, leaving solid length where the screws go in, inside hollows, but still keep it strong. The doors are nearly done, close  anyway. They’ll need trimming and I’ll need your help to hang them. More tomorrow.
OK, I read it. Both articles are the same. What it says is everything needs to be cleanable easily. On the sinks, I think the 2 we have may be enough if we add another small basin for hand washing. I have that aluminum small boat sink we could add, either above the fridge (could be a conflict there) or on the other side (additional plumbing complications). Thought, move the fridge across to keep the plumbing simpler. Driver side: the small hand sink, stove, small counter(?), large sink and table. Passenger side: counters for food prep, serve window and fridge under, maybe more power under for appliances and a raised electric through hole (to keep it clean). I think I’d go with a removable plastic cutting board surface as the counter top, get it from Tap plastics, with a gloss painted plywood beneath, maybe a stainless angle to keep it in place but a notch to allow cleaning and removal of the counter top. Or just use a fixed plastic top, keep it lighter that way. Be cool if we could get another stainless round sink like the one on my boat from the boat yard for a hand sink, easier to clean.
Plumbing, I found a 5 gal igloo water tank from Tom’s stuff, insufficient as it has no vacuum release. I’d like to go with gravity feed if possible, a removable 5 gal square  plastic jug with a vent opposite the spout. I know they make them, put it in the corner by the door up on a high shelf. Attach it to a flexible clear hose (so you can see it’s clean), the ones with fiber in the plastic would be cool. That way you could attach the tank to the hose and put it up on the shelf. Put a 100 mesh screen in the cap to tank fixture and an on off valve (compliance to code). The hose connects to a one way check valve with a hose clamp and a ‘Y’ fitting for hot and cold. Feed the hot line outside to the water heater and back in, split to supply the main and hand sinks, same with the cold, but inside.
Note: The hose/ tank connection could be replaced with a standard hose for connection to a land supply line if available. We would need a through the wall connection for that (2 more for the heater).
If 2 main sinks are enough we’ll go with what we have (18″x33″), else we’ll need to get a small 3 basin about the same size.
Not cheap. We’ll need 2 hot/cold mixing faucets for the hand and main.
Went outside to look for faucets, not mixing, but found a stainless round hand bowl sink, 11″, perfect, needs cleaning.
If we go with the 2 bowl main we have, we’ll need drains and pipe joined with an “S” trap. I’m thinking a 2 way valve either to the gray water tank (7.5-12 gal) or a fitting to attach to main land septic. The tank will need to have a sloped bottom to a 1″ or more drain valve and hose to empty it. We’ll strap it securely to the bottom of the vardo above the axle (13″h x15″w) so it doesn’t bottom out. We could use that plumbing tape we have left over from the hurricane straps, may need more as that much water will be heavy (8 lbs/gal, 7.5 gal=60lbs). West Marine has plastic tanks (Todd 85-1667WH), a 9 gal for $110, also nice 5-7 gal potable tank for <$25. search water tank. I like the 7 gal tank, and 15% is a little over a gal so a 9 gal would be adequate gray tank. If we mount it at a slight angle it would drain right.
The hand basin will also need a drain pipe to join above the trap (or a separate trap). It already has a drain fitting. We could use standard 1″ white plastic plumbing or flex hose for drainage. The stove has 3″ clearance behind compared to the sink so we can rout the plumbing behind it and not through the wall (less stud holes stronger wall). We’ll need 4 shutoff valves beneath the sinks for hot and cold, with flex tubing to the 2 faucets. Let’s hit the ReStore first for much of this.
Enough for now.
I did some work on the wood, beveled the ends easy with the window jig slightly modified (pulled back the upright base). The tough part is cutting the side bevel as it wants to fall in the slot at the end. Need a zero clearance plate to do it right. I tried clamping to another board, helped but it flared at the bottom, not even. I’m using putty to fix the one that fell in but it dries slow that thick. I also laid out the line cuts, the panel is a little bigger so the lines are proportional. I may change the uprights to match the above on the side. I laid them out all the way across, no diamonds or oval, could change that. It’ll wait for next week when you’re here. I still need more wood to finish the other side, also next week. I marked the saw with a pen to get the angle and width back. The saw height can be measured. It’s still in the same position and height so I can get it right.
Put some more putty on the door slat. Kenny had a good idea, simple way to avoid the slats from falling in the saw slot. I have a bunch of door skin plywood, super thin ~1/8″. Clamp a piece on the saw and bring the blade up, instant zero clearance. Should work well, easy and fast. I should send that one to American Woodworker if it works. We’ll try it tomorrow.
So lets get the electrical stuff, RS then HD, you can work on that, I’ll show you. I’ll cut the other side of the door panel. Ah, we need more wood from out back to finish the panel, should get that first after shopping. So shopping, lunch, wood, electrics and try to finish the door. That’ll keep us both busy.
 I got some stuff done though. I got the breaker box dismantled, we’ll need two new breakers as the box is rated to 40 amps and the breakers in it are 75 amps, a bit much. The cable is a trailer cable rated at 30 amps, plenty for our needs. I’ll need a few feet of it to get to the external plug. We also need to get an external female plug that installs in the wall, probably the kind with a spring cover and a male mate to attach to the rest of the cable.
I also went after the doors, mostly putty and sanding with the belt sander. I learned a new thing, simple really, but on the screws that weren’t sunk I put the screw driver in and hit it with a hammer as I turned them in beneath the surface. That way the putty covers them, cool. So it’s taking a few coats to fill them all in. I also sanded the beveled slats with the belt sander first, then hand sanded them sort of smooth. They shrank a lot, lost a quarter inch total. Oh well, more putty, actually we should use some flexible hardening caulk so it can swell when it gets wet again. It’ll be fine. I puttied all the slats to fill the dings and nail holes and both sides of the doors, they still need a final sanding. I’ll need to finish the lower door assembly next week as it’s still not secure.
So I talked to Kenny today, he said we could legally use the switch connectors to attach both wires to allow the wiring in series. I was concerned about that. So we won’t need so many twist ties, but the ones we have will be useful for the lights. Also, I asked Greg and Bob what side the plug should be on, both said the driver side as that’s the way they set up the RV parks. Also, Greg said he has a door on the driver side of his RV with the cord in it that goes across to the other side where his fuse box is. We could rig it that way with the main under the floor, Kenny suggested using a grey PVC (electric is grey, semiconductive) pipe to shield it from road flack. We won’t need the expensive plug if we do it that way. We can just cut a square hole aft driver side and a small door boxed in under the hand sink to stash the cord. Two elbows on the grey pipe to bring the cable up from under the floor to the breaker panel. Also, we can use the breakers we have, just don’t hook up the big amp ones. As long as you are only drawing less than forty, it’s OK.. He said the breakers only connect to the black power lines from the main to the black hot lines then return to the white neutrals, also, if you’re using 220 volts, join the 2 in lines so if the breaker throws, they both shut off. Not sure about the setup on that but could figure it out. We shouldn’t need that, just FYI. Also we need to ground all the metal boxes so if there is a loose wire it doesn’t hold a charge, circuit breaker blows. There should be a threaded hole in the boxes to attach the ground lead, we’ll need the appropriate screws to fit that or tie them to the stud screws, but it needs to be grounded. That’s important.  So the parts we have should be enough to do most of the electric, a grey plastic tube and 2 elbows from RS, build a small outside door and cabinet, we have that, just a cheap tube to go under the floor, done deal. We have the electric circuit supplies. Plumbing is next.
Yea, we got a 3 basin sink. Did you look at the details? ~10x12x6″ each basin with faucet and drains, we’re on the road to legal. They shipped it today free shipping. Probably get here Monday or some time next week (14-21st), cool!
So yes, we need to proceed with the electrical install and no we don’t need any more stuff this week that I know of. Well we may need some calk to get the door finished but I think we have that here somewhere in the boat supplies or one of the taped open tubes, we’re good. Hinges may be soon, but they have them at the Mercantile.
After we get the electric installed we’ll work on the plumbing (new sinks). I talked to Darin about it this evening. He mentioned some new fangled plastic tubing with expensive connectors to mate with the normally copper ($$) hot water lines. We’ll look into that.
Good days work, we got a lot done. Most of the electric is in including the main box and 30 amp in wire. I still need to wire the switch and plug near the door, also the two GFI plugs, but we have four sockets fully installed. The door is pretty much all filled and sanded, although I need to finish assembling the lower door, it’s still not glued and screwed. Those holes will need filling and sanding. I checked the two florescent lights, the one with a plug works fine. I moved the other bulb over, it’s good too. I opened up the cut cord one, easy fix with a dollar store extension cord, one solder and a twist tie (in it), we’ll tie a knot inside for strain relief, simple.
Thoughts on the table/bed, it might be good to have a leaf on the table so its half size but full length benches. That way, when you’re working you have a full counter space for the drain board and serving side with the bench backs up. In tarot mode you put the bench backs down, small table, wide benches so you can get in around the sink and serving side. In bed mode the bench backs come up, pull the whole table out on a doubled slide attached to the front wall and insert the leaf between the wall and table. The table could be a little bigger than the leaf, but we need to allow enough room to fit a (large) human to sit between the counters.
Looking into Formica for the counters, it’d be good to find the raw stuff, not laminated yet, everybody has the laminate on particle board, rather use the plywood, more research required.
So plumbing is next, with the new sink coming in this week. We got a great deal on that, a 3 basin for a $100, legal. Thoughts, can we do with just 5 gal of water? (check the code when you get it) If so, we could just buy a 5 gal supply tank and a 7 gal grey water tank (15%+) for less than $25 each at West Marine. Stash the 7 gal grey under the sink (secured). Else we need to spend more for the grey tank. I’ll try to swing by the boat yard tomorrow for better deals.
So I left work at 4 (8 hrs) and made it to the post office in time. WE HAVE A SINK!!! It’s really nice, measures as stated in the add. I opened the big light box and slit the plastic wrap in one basin enough to check on the drains. All very nice, three drains with strainer plugs and a rubber sink stopper too. Maybe I should take one to work to ask how to set it up, eh we can google it but I’ll ask. We’ll need 2 elbows and a tee to fit the 3 sink drains together, then one S trap, plus the threaded fittings (?) to the drains. Actually, thinking, we’ll need 2 tees and 2 elbows to tie in the hand sink, unless we need a separate tank for the hand sink (?). Did you get the specs yet?
The faucet is still in it’s box, installation instructions inside, we can figure that out, although thinking we should install that first after cutting the sink hole so we have room for wrenches. I do have a wrench for after but it’ll be much easier before the sink goes in. Mind you, this is after we build the sink counter. I held it up to the window, looks good, it’ll fit perfect.
So what needs doing Saturday, recap from last night. I need to get the lower door done, cut out some excess wood to lighten it up, glue and screw it with caulk to allow for the weather. We could meet in town to get the GFIs and hinges at RS. ‘I don’t want to leave early although I may be able to head down and back for them, let you know tomorrow eve, check email. (delete)’ The GFIs need to have the grounds tied to the following circuits as they measure ground current, 2 grounds, before and after. (may have already said that, edit) We’ll need more wood from out back, no nails. We also need to wire the last circuit to side of the door with the dimmer. Another GFI preferred there. Kenny said the florescence may die out on the dimmer unless we get a dimmable  florescent but if we attach an incandescent with it it’ll dim after the florescent dies out. We’ll see. So we need a few more ceiling light fixtures and boxes, cheap at RS. You’ll need to be there to pick them out.
So you’ll do more electrics ( I’ll help guide) and get more wood for the cabinetry frames (stay away from the wavy connectors, they bite) while I work the door and help you. It’s a plan, flexible.
4/22/12 earthday
I glued down the inside door panels today, tacked with finish nails. Need another box of nails to finish the outside, they’re cheap, couple bucks. We still have a partial tube of caulk, may be enough to finish the door, have boat caulk too, it’ll work ++. I checked the size to the door frame, I’ll need to cut a 1/4″, 1/8 each side plus a tinny bit for clearance. The drive side has a bit of curve down low, need to sand that out with the belt. May be worth removing the jam again to get it straight so the hinge works correctly. Trim it with the multi-tool. We put the 2 GFIs in yesterday and took out some excess wood on the inside lower door, researched the health codes. Egads.
So we need to pick up some tanks Saturday, check the salvage yard so we’ll need to take your truck. See what they have, something will fit. They have a lot of plastic barrels from olive cans to 55s, we’ll make it work. We could hit up the RS on the way for fittings and maybe a nice overhead light if they have one. The salvage yard has a lot of plumbing parts, but full price, maybe we should check RS first. I’ll need another $2 box of 1″ finish nails for the door, Harry has them at the Mercantile. Need some seeds for the garden there too. Hinges, time for them, check all. I’ll finish the outside door panel, caulk it, cut the door down to fit. I’ll need your help on that to draw the lines, maybe fit it first, lighter that way. And we need more wood from out back, a bunch to build the interior. I’ll help you pull it off the pile, you get the nails out while I get the door cut, sound OK? Haul it up on your roof rack? A flexible plan.
We got a lot done today. You got to sleep in the vardo for the first time. Tasty breakfast of eggs, onions and garden flavors. I ripped frames for the door, you helped cut them to length and put them up. The battens got cut and installed on the back door wall. Good lunch of soup and cheese rolls. You went out back and pulled more boards off the stack, de-nailed while I worked on the door.
I needed to cut the doors to fit so I used the work bench as a table to the saw. I attached a clamp to the leg of the bench to hold the saw in place with a 1/2″ piece of plywood clamped to the bench side to keep it from moving. The heights were different so I used a piece of 3/4 ply left over from the floor on the table, a little too high, found a cut piece of 3x the right thickness to match it. I screwed a short scrap of 2×3 to the end to keep it in place on the saw as I pushed it through. I needed a fence on the far side, laid the door up to the blade all the way up and square. I found a long 2×3, laid it along the door on the plywood square to the bench edge but in a bit, marked it and clamped the free ply end. I raised the far end and clamped it to the mark, moved the door, turned it over. I screwed the 1×3 to the ply from the bottom and sunk the 2 screws flush, good fence with the ply parallel to the bench edge. A really big table saw, cool. I moved the ply/fence in a kerf (width of the blade) cut, clamped the free end, drilled and sunk a screw into the bench on the far end. Took the cut with the door hard against the 2×3 fence, clean. Readjusted the ply/fence to the correct final width, still parallel to the bench with another separate screw hole (outside the fence) and re-clamp on the free side. Took the cut. I carried it out to fit it in the jamb, a little more. Reset the ply/fence on the original screw hole, free end clamped, took the cut, it fits, excellent. Repeated the process on the upper door. I needed to trim the top to fit, took the measurement, set the ply/fence parallel to the bench with an 1/8″ of clearance for swell and cut it, perfect fit.
I wedged it in place about the time you showed up. Looks good, we took pictures. I took it down and you put up the frame and battens as we cut them to fit.
Next we’ll need hinges. I need to cut a piece of scrap to match the door frame to mount the hinges to the door and transfer the holes to the real frame. We’ll need to chisel out the frame, gently as it’s thin, to fit the hinge. Add a latch to attach the 2 doors together and a handle/deadbolt. Should be good, a door. Lots done.
So, the door, let’s get it done, hang it, we can remove it if necessary, just screws come out. We need more calk to finish the plates, $4 as opposed to $15 for the boat goop. We’ll need it anyway elsewhere (wheel wells, sink, etc.). Thoughts on the door calking, we’ll need to masking tape the sides of the planks, apply the goop, gloved finger it smooth and remove the tape immediately, then don’t touch it, let it dry, learned from calking the boat. I’ll cut a scrap plank to match the door frame, we’ll attach the hinges and transfer the holes to the frame, chiseled to allow the thickness of the hinge. We should probably hang it before calking just to get it done but it would be easier to calk flat. Maybe we hinge it to the scrap and prep the frame with the scrap, then calk the door and wait to hang it a week, or I could do it Sunday after it’s dry, though I may need your help. I’m thinking if the hinge is connected to the frame first (after all the scrap fittings), the doors can mount flat in the frame wedged to fit, then screwed in. I could do that if they’re flat in. Putting them in with the hinge on the door first would be difficult and heavy. So, we can’t put holes in the door while we prep the scrap frame, we’ll need to use clamps. Mind you, this is considering hinges that attach to the door frame inside and to the door outside. Dilema, to keep it safe we need carriage bolts outside, so you can’t unscrew it and break in, so they’ll have to be counter sunk inside or use T-nuts inset and covered for clean. T-nuts won’t work either as you have to turn the screw and carriage bolts don’t turn. So inset nuts with wood plugs will work. Other thoughts, go with a standard hinge, I’ll need your help to hang it as the door needs to be open to screw it in to the frame. We could add fasade hinges for looks. Or not. Straight hinges without a removable pin would be best.
On the lamps, maybe we should put them on the outer side so they don’t hit the door.
All of this is a challenge. Darin’s been busy, I’ll try to talk to him about it.
Finally talked to Darin today, his solution on the door is extremely simple, move it out and attach another stop, duh. He also agreed the best way to add straps is with a facade, the real hinges are screwed in between the door and jamb. We can make those fake straps easy with a jeweler’s saw and cheap sheet metal. I have copper sheet, that would work. I don’t have any liver of sulfur here, just did a bit of research on it, better to buy some than try to make it as things get toxic in the processes, but the potassium sulfide (liver of sulfur) is OK to make the metals black. I can order some from Maken’s in Sausalito (upstairs from West Marine), a jeweler’s supply near the boat, been dealing with them for years, good folks.
Darin also suggested I get a hinge drill and lock guide from HF. Tools, an investment, less than $20 for both, I’ll get that. The drill has a tube with a tapered cone that fits the hinge and insures a centered hole. The lock guide is a couple deep well hole saws (1″ and 2″) and a guide to make the holes in the right place to mount the lock and door knob. We’ll use the drill guide Lori gave me to insure the holes are straight (important). We’ll need to get a barrel latch to attach the two doors and 4 regular hinges, try RS. We can get the tools same time as they’re in the same building, HF and RS. And cheap. Look for counters.
I’d also like to check the salvage yard for barrels/water tanks, probably first. We’ll need your truck for that to fit them, ~$30, $15 ea.
We need to finish the battens around the door above and the arch. You can use my home made trammel point for the layout on the arch, practice on the band saw, good tool and more safe than most with care, sand to fit on the lapidary sander. Good tools to learn. And we need calk, HF or Bosworth’s Mercantile. Plenty to do for both of us.
Quatro de Mayo 2012
The door stops are wood slats attached to the jamb to move the place where the door stops. We add pieces of wood around the door jam the same thickness as the cut in stop as wide as we need to move it out, really simple, just move the door out to the edge so it will open without interference. Add a little caulk to keep the weather out, just a little and putty knifed flush, dry before the door goes in. We’ll need to do that first so it can dry.
Thinking about the brass stuff, it would be a lot easier to just get a spray can of flat black lacquer and paint it instead of removing all the lacquer and trying to patina it, then re-lacquer. psshhht, done. It might wear off in time, but spray paint’s cheap.
On the hinges, we need to get fixed hinges, not pinned, so they can’t knock out the pins and break in. They’re less common, most use pins on the inside, don’t know if RS will have them used, but lets check there first before we buy new ones. Fancy facades won’t be cheap as we’ll need to buy the whole hinge and cut it off. Let’s just get the door hung for now with straight hinges, fancy it up later.
You need to finish the battens, including the arch, and door stops after I cut them, while I finish the door and prepare it for hanging with the scrap wood hinge placement guide. Then we’ll work together to hang the door.
That should finish the exterior, other than paint, frufru., the necessary hardware, tanks, heaters and such. But it should seal up the unit, outside done, major accomplishment.
Then on with the interior, fancy, cool.
We did OK today, not done, but a lot done. We have water tanks, and cheap as in inexpensive, less than $!0 each for +15 gallon tanks. I checked their fit, looks good, above the axle. We’ll need to paint one gray. I’ve been working on cleaning them out, a few rinses, some weak bleach in one, need more of that from $ store. Thoughts on how to add seals without getting inside, drill a hole, use a rubber tube on a mandrel tube with threads. as you tighten the threads, the rubber expands making a good seal, it’ll work, like a round belt sander. We may have to make them, do able, or find parts that will work.
The door is coming along nicely. Sanded the outside panels mostly flush and the inside partly. Started to tape the outside for caulk, but it needs to get hung soon. I cut the stop extensions on the table saw, they’ll be fine. I also cut and drilled a scrap piece to fit the door length to the hinges for a pattern. I screwed in all the hinges to the door and the pattern, to be transferred to the jamb. I’ll need to chisel out the wood where the hinges seat, in the door and jamb.
Thinking as you won’t be here, I could use a ladder and wedge for support to get the door in place. Should work well.
I finished filling all the nail holes in the outer door panel with putty and sanded them down. I took off the masking tape I put on yesterday as it will glue itself down in this heat, and some of the nails were covered with it. I’ll put it back on and caulk it next week, along with the upper door seam around the window, especially inside as is has to be cleanable. I cut the left door frame at a 45 angle to allow the door to open and reattached it. The new stop extensions are nailed in place with finish nails, should be sufficient as the wood is solid behind them. I clamped the scrap hinge guide to the jamb, drilled the holes, attached the hinges, drew the lines and chiseled out the flats for the hinges. The top one was difficult as there’s a knot and the wasps were bombing me. Carburetor cleaner fixed that, there was a nest above the door inside, no worries, it evaporates really quick. That and a smaller chisel. I still need to  chisel out the door hinge flats next week.
Also, I went to town, stopped by Ace and picked up a 1/2″ ID through plug for one of the water tanks, just one as I needed to prove the concept and we need 2 different sizes anyway. The guy at the store suggested this thingy and to drop it in and fish it out with my finger. I drilled a hole on the top side of the barrel close to the edge with a hole saw. Those things are thick, 1/4 to 1/2″. As the top was thicker than I thought, I had to cut a flat on the fitting to clear it with the band saw. That worked out as it held the fitting as I wrenched the nut and rubber grommet on the outside, left hand thread. The fitting has a normal thread inside for the pipe. I hear a tiny leak when I blow into it, but food grade calk should fix that, and it’ll be on top not under pressure. This will be the fresh tank as the fitting is small. The grey tank needs to be a bigger fitting, and this kind of fitting won’t fit through the existing hole, the 1/2″ just made it. I’ll need to fish a pipe into the big hole and thread it into the inside 1/2″ fitting for the pump to get the water out down low, doable as it’s close, the big hole will be the clean water drain and cleaning fitting. We’ll mount it under the vardo, maybe make it removable (maybe not). We can add a tee above the tank in the plumbing to fill it. We’ll need another smaller cap able hole for an air vent, filtered and above the floor clean. We can use another smaller through fitting like this one for that, fish it through. Hmm, thought, put a string through the hole drilled and tie it before, pull it into place, maybe a big washer, drop it back down to remove it, easier.
We’ll put a 2x on the outside so the tanks are mounted at a slight angle. Thought, if we put the intake hose up a bit (need to anyway to fit the connection) It won’t draw the whole tank, 15%, that allows the grey water difference to meet spec with just 2 identical tanks. And a good flush amount left over, case you’re in a bind, reserve water. Enough for now.
Yes we are getting it done. Calk on the door is next and it’s quick dry, that’s good, I’ll need to open the tube, cap it when I’m done, tape all the seams first. I need to get the outer panel bevels flush as they’re not even yet. Thinking to use some heavy course sandpaper and a block the right size to rough them in by hand, then back off the grit a 100 at a time to smooth it out, that works. Then the tape and calk. Chisel the hinge flats as it dries starting with the top panel as it has less calk. I’ll need to drill out the knob and lock with the tool I bought. Then hang the doors, Yea!
After that we can fit the knob and lock (the lock will need color adjustments TBD)
Thoughts on the water barrels, let’s paint the grey water brown, make it look like a wooden barrel for effect (real one bigger?). The fresh is on the other side, keep that blue. It would be a nice effect, a water barrel. Plumbing will be an interesting challenge.
Of course I’ll work on it, I want to get the door done. Maybe not as hard as you’re not  here, but it’s the project. Finish the front panel, calk it, cut in the hinge flats and knobs, hang it. May need to trim it again on the bench/saw to be sure of adequate clearance, but not too much, just a smidge for swelling. Or maybe just sand it smooth instead.
For you, the arch battens, more out back wood(?), buy a cheap bucket of latex outdoor primer paint, a cheap wide brush and paint it. Stay away from the plastic windows, masking tape and newspaper them as we can’t scrape them. Peal them clean when your done, don’t leave masking tape on in this heat. That should keep you busy. If they have primer in red, that would be easier to cover later than white. That’ll be fun, you get to make it pretty outside next. While we start finishing the inside, cabinetry, fun for me, well, after the plumbing, that’s a challenge. We’ll get’er done.
So I did a bit on the door, sanded the lower outer plate lap flush, taped it up and calked it. That stuff does dry fast, nice really (capped to keep it). Taped the upper inner door window cove and calked it too with gloves on, nice round cove, easy to clean. Stripped the tape off immediately on both. Got a little feathering on the lower seams but not bad. Once it’s painted it’ll be fine. The hinges are chiseled into the doors and attached (did that first). Finish off by drilling the door knob holes in the lower door with the jig, it’ll fit.
I still need to chisel in the bolt flat and drill the deadbolt in the upper door, chisel that one too, calk the other sides. I’ll hang the doors before I attach the hardware, but may pre-fit them to see. Also will need to drill and chisel in the jamb catches, finish it off with the barrel latch to secure the 2 doors together. We may need another barrel latch to secure the upper door to the roof fascia while it’s open, maybe add a 2x stop, angle cut to accept it. That should finish the door.
5/13/12 Happy Mothers Day
No work on the vardo today other than the window film research, though I did soak the lock in lacquer thinner over night, whew, strong stuff. I put it in a tupperware bowl and sealed that in a baggie outside. I pulled out the outer cone this morning, tried scrubbing it with a plastic brillo sponge, it dissolved the brillo, blue on my fingers. The thinner crinkled the plastic coating enough that I could scrape it off with my nails. I soaked it in vinegar all day, that didn’t work except a small ring around the top that was exposed to air turned a little green. I just suspended it over the vinegar on chopsticks with the stainless cover over it, seems to be working, couple finger prints so I washed it with soap and put it back after another dip. All this is experimental, I have stronger methods available, nitric acid and copper sulfate is supposed to work, I have both here (A to W, as in acid to water (like a to z), never add water to acid as it boils and explodes, not good). Liver of sulfur works too, much darker, but I’d need to order that. Good fun, chemistry. Can always buff it off and try another method.
Saturday morning a royal home grown feast.Then a quick half hour door hanging and you’re off. To where ever. Sound like a plan? We can open the door and see where the lights should go, I’ll hook them up and wire them later, finish the electric and more door work.
Quick glance at the archives, next week you’ll be finishing the arch and painting out side, good fun. 1-2-3 primer, tinted would be good. It’d be cool to start paint on the front hitch end so it looks good driving by. We need to repaint the hitch too, get the rust off, I have good rust stop formula left from the boat, we’ll use that later. Onward to the interior.
No other plans this weekend. This could be better. I can get the door finished Saturday, caulk the other sides, drill the lock above. Much easier on the bench. I need to chisel the flats for the latches too, also easier on the bench. Get it all ready. Then we can hang it together Sunday morning as I’ll need your help to hang it. Perfect. I’ll leave the latch hardware off until after it’s hung, though may test fit it on the bench. We may need to take it back down for trimming to fit right, don’t know. In which case the chiseling will need redoing, hope it fits the first time, we’ll see. Light trimming on the latch side, better to trim more on the hinge as the latches depend on the hole tolerances. Let’s just hope it fits, should.
We did a good job today. The door is in place. It opens and closes, it locks solid.
We installed the door together, I held it up while you screwed in the hinges. The lower door needed some major trimming so I set up the bench/saw, had to move the 2×4 fence twice (should have cut the width first). It fit after re-chiseling the hinge flats, we attached the upper door, close fit, I sanded it with the block sander by hand as the belt sander blew a belt, need to get more of them.
After you left I sanded the fit some more and added the hardware. I drilled holes for the latches to fit into the jamb, had to chisel the upper lock a bit to fit, it’s good. I chiseled out the stop flats curved into the frame and filed a curve for the knob latch. The deadbolt doesn’t need a curve, so i chiseled it in, it works. The lower door has a screw pin to lock it from the inside, problem, if you lock it and close the door from outside you can’t get in without crawling through the window, may disable that. The main upper key lock works great, but we’ll need another handle to pull it shut inside, just a simple D handle, cheap. The barrel latch is in place to keep the two doors together, works, but needs a wack or filing to line up better, just a little.
I made a door stop for the upper door, angle matched with the bevel gauge and attached to the arch rafter, cut on the band saw. Works well, thinking to add a hook to secure it open.
We have a secure door. The two keys both work, same cut, cool, no need yet for another one. Once the arch is finished the exterior is done with wood, still need gas and water tank harnesses, plus an electric line door, but the woodwork outside is pretty much complete. On to the interior.
It’s a nice door! Needs paint to cover the putty fills, and a bit more putty sands, but dang, nice door. What color are you going to paint it? It’ll be good. Darin suggested a shim to bring the upper door up a bit, attached to the lower door hinge side. We can try that, though it may change the fit, experiment with it. Once you finish the arch the exterior will be done, except for gas and water tank hardware. Remind me, the gas line needs to be sealed with Teflon tape, we need a shorter nipple fitting.and a tee for the water heater plus additional lines to fit it . Part of the interior, next. We’ll need to finish the out side lights to finish the electric and mount a small door for the plug on the driver side, covering the cable across below. Thoughts on the water tanks, baking soda may neutralize the smell of Dr Pepper, I’ll get a box. We’ll need some strong straps to hold them up, 120 lbs each. Thinking get some heavier gauge metal stock with a bend and a bolt to release them for cleaning maybe. We’ll see.
On paint, $23 should buy a gallon, Ace has a Royal interior exterior tintable primer for $22. We need the interior exterior stuff and tintable means they can color it, that’s good for our needs, although that’s a lot of burgundy inside and out. As it’s primer, we can cover it with different shades. I don’t know what the tinting costs, you’ll have to ask. We’ll still need exterior grade finish paint to go on top. Yea, they make primer/finish paint, but this is new wood, first coat, we want a primer to soak in and seal it up, rough cut, flat finish primer. Something we can add putty to, once we can see the flaws, sand a bit, make it right. Then put a finish coat on it, that other stuff is for already done once, this is first time. You might thin it a bit on the first coat, probably with water (latex), just a little so it soaks in, then another coat full strength a half hour later. If you like you can test it on a scrap piece, plenty of them. Find a coffee can to mix it down, another to clean your brush (on the back garage porch, rinse them first).
On brushes, I have a really cheap 2″ and several 1″ chip brushes (also cheap), looking on HD (better search engine than Ace) they have a decent 2 brush set for $8, an angled 2″ and a flat 3″ (you need a decent 3″ brush and a 2′ angle for trim work), looks pretty good, something like that. You have to wash them each time, and rap them on a post (left garage corner works) to loosen the paint, then wash and rap them again, 3 times minimum, then wrap them up in a paper towel a bit tighter on the bristle tips to keep their shape as they dry clean. A brush is a good tool, to be taken care of to make the good finish. I bought a bunch of paper towels today, use them.
We’ll need a gallon of finish, good for two coats. I’ll pick up a 3″ brush at HF, decent grade, as it will paint faster, you have to keep your good brushes clean, good tools. The ones you bought will be great for windows and door work. We’ll need tape and news paper to cover the windows tight. The door still needs a bit of putty fill work and minor sanding. We’ll pull the hardware off to paint it, easy, and paint or patina the hardware same time.
So you’ll work on the painting while I cut the framing for the interior. The outside is done, ready for paint. I’ll need to keep the saw dust away, but primer is forgiving with sand paper. The finish cuts should be done in the garage if possible to keep the finish coats clean.
Maybe we could pick up some more $1 1x2s (or 2x2s, but could laminate 1xs for straight strength) at HD for framing the interior as we’ll need strong stock with no big knots. I’ll need to figure out the measurements first, sketch it, drawers and all. A bundle or 2 should cover it
The last outdoor and overhead lights wiring need to go in and the switch near the door. The plumbing is the big head scratcher, we’ll get it. Tanks hosed and secured below, a pump and tubes to code, definitely a challenge. BTW the gas lines need to have teflon tape (have some) installed in all the threads to seal it, just a reminder.  Much to do, in time.
Missing posts, bunch to add but they’re on this site.
So I talked to Darin this evening about Formica, a lot of good hints. First, you need to cut the raw stuff oversize, then use a flush cut router (a straight router bit with a bearing the same size on the end, need to get one of them, need it anyway) to trim it to fit. Use contact cement (got that) on each piece to secure. Start with the two end edges, then the front edge, then the top, so it all gets covered and doesn’t leak. Best to use a router table (have one) so not to slip and cut into the plank at the wrong angle, better to keep it a little on the clear side. You can cut Formica on a table saw with a fine tooth blade, but keep the blade high so it cuts down as the stuff tends to float. The problem is lining it up, that’s why you cut it oversize and route it to fit. On the top, to get it even, use slats to hold it apart with the contact cement on it, line it up, then pull a slat and press it down, pull another and use a roller to press it even. Keep doing that until its down and smooth.
On the sink cutout, fine tooth blade on the jig saw, tape all the cut lines and draw the pattern. Tape the back of the saw (good idea) to prevent scratches. Drill a hole to start the cut on each end and cut it just the ends. Screw a board across the middle scrap section with a couple screws to hold it up as the final cut clears, then finish cutting the long sides and pull it out with the board. Any small chips will be covered with the sink edge. Use a fine file to trim the outer top edge to an angle, always filing down, when the paper ruffled under side falls off its there. Wow, that’s valuable information, thanks to Darin Scott.
missing a few posts
So I cut the Formica tonight at work, used the shear in the machine shop, wow, worked perfect. It’s max width is 37 1/4, how convenient as I needed 36 1/8 plus. I cut the length to 37, clean, then cut some 1″ strips, 3 total, saved one full length for the front, trimmed the other two to 20 for the sides (19 1/2 required). Cut the big piece to 20″ to match for 36 1/8 x 19 1/2..
So we have all the pieces cut for the kitchen sink to be glued up, all over sized for trimming with the flush cut router. I’ll get that tomorrow.
Darin was still in when I got back, he said a quarter inch flush cut router should do. Tape the edges so the router bearing doesn’t damage the veneer when you cut the top, it could get hot. Also, set the depth of cut to just under the depth of the veneer so the bit doesn’t damage the edge. If the bearing picks up tape debris it will just move the cut out, clean it and re-cut to flush. Will do.
So I cut a piece of plumbing strap and smoothed it on the sander for tank bolt sizing, in my pocket. Also cut a piece of the veneer from the scrap to match at HD. We’re ready.
Missing a couple posts here
Happy 4th of July!
Whew, got a lot done. Electric day, the ceiling lamp over the table is in, though it needs a bulb and the cover installed. I disconnected the ebox between the table and service window, pulled the box (had to undo everything there, and that was the hard one), and connected the dimmer switch to it. I used your fancy copper wall plate (it fits!) to tie them together until I get another dual box tomorrow (RS), open back with front screw mounts. I should be able to just fish the circuits through the back and screw them in, as it’s all set up, dimmer over the table, cool.
I mounted the boxes for the outside lights, changed the switch to a straight one (not dimmed) and wired the boxes for the lights, also off the GFI circuit so everything is protected. I attached the second out light mount outside, grounded the boxes and outer mounts. I left the lights unattached until you finish the paint, but it’s just 3 wires each, screw the grounds down and wire nut the leads, easy. Take the fancy brass nuts off before you paint.
Next I tackled the main in, that was hard. I measured the width under the vardo rear, 5′ 9″, half that 34 1/2″. I cut the grey conduit pipe that size on the table saw, less an 1/8th for the coupler, tried to fit them, not enough room to attach them under, cut a little more. I cut a 45 on each end for wire clearance and carved them smooth with my knife (easiest way, I’ve found a knife cuts quick whereas a rasp is slow on plastic). I drilled another 7/8 hole with the spade bit under the hand sink, disconnected the main from the circuit breaker box, the stud mount and fished it out. Stuff it through the new driver side hole from inside, thread the conduit 2 pieces, oops, need to clear the 45 brace, undo it, clear the 45 redo it and fish it up the P side. Now there’s not enough room to connect in the middle as the cable is looped in the way and won’t budge. Take it all apart and chop another chunk off the pipe, put it all back together, yank, pull, nudge, get a cushion as my knees are not liking the rough. Finally got it, a bit long on the P side, stuffed it under, can’t get it to go through, but it’s just a little, it’ll do. Sweating heavy by now as the P side is full sun hot. Kick it in the shade. I’ll need to add some plumbing strap to tie the conduit up, another day.
I noticed the outside light mounts are a little off center but there’s a hole on the bottom, I dug a couple more short screws from Dad’s stash and trued it up. Enough. The electric is complete except for the table dual box and the outside lights, both easy, half hour complete. I still need to cut a square hole for the new D side electric, build a box and make a small door to cover the hole outside. Thinking an upper hinge and lower latch with some kind of close able notch for the cord to fit through, slide or a spin disk. And conduit mounts. Good day.

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