Monthly Archives: July 2012


Well I got a bit done today. I painted the stove high heat flat black, looks good although the bottom plate is galvanized and doesn’t look as good, maybe I’ll paint that too. I cleaned out some behind the band saw and found another burner cover, it’s not the same but it works well. Now we just need a matching pair of knobs, can buy them.
While I was digging behind the saw, the router table is back there, pulled it out. I cleaned it up, brushed off the cob webs, put it all back together and attached the router. I attached the 1/4 round cutter and cut a practice piece, it works, cut the other side and used the table saw to cut them up to size. Bit tricky that, be easier with a zero clearance plate in the saw, I’ll have to make some. The 1/4 rounds will be good for the backs of the counters where they meet the wall for cleaning, also good on the floor.
I cut the parts for the counter P side, I made it for 14″ wide 52 1/2″ long, seemed about right. I made it to attach to the fridge counter using those legs to support it that end. I attached a short horizontal to the fridge counter and another upright in front to accept the long front and back 1×2 beams. I doubled up the legs in front near the table same as the rest with a 1/4 high peg to accept the long and side beams. When I set the long beam in back even to the lower window, the fridge counter was 3/8″ to high, hmm, so I trimmed the fridge counter down 3/8 all around and put it back together, good. I trimmed the table end to match, oops, too short, the vardo is not square. I can make it up with the short cross brace by adding a 3/8 lap underneath, creative engineering, it’ll work. We have a 6′ x 23″ x 3/4″ piece of plywood left over from the floor. The fridge counter plus the addition is an inch longer, but 20″ wide, we can add an inch to the corner section by the door, add another 1×2 flat support on that end, easy. We’ll add a 45 degree support between the wide fridge and the narrower addition. I had a thought, it would be cool to have some 45 shelves under there for stuff with front upper braces (so you can still clean it) to keep stuff in on the road.


The gas line is all in less the water heater. I had to take the whole thing apart to get all the fittings in. The main off valve is under the sink, the tee on the end splits down to the stove with a shorter 2″ nipple, capped for now. The upper tee line elbows out with a 7/8″ hole, an elbow back, a short nipple and the heater off valve outside facing up. I need to tape it to keep it clean, but it’s all in, awaiting the heater. By the way while I’m thinking of it, all the gas lines need to be purged of air, open the gas and let it run free for a bit, no smoking or sparks. Air in the line can cause a back fire, possible BOOM, not recommended, purge the lines.
When I finished my shirt was soaked with sweat, it’s hot, took a Pepsi break. We need screens and a bead curtain for the door. I added some gun bluing to the lock, needs a couple more coats.
I took the small stove apart, cleaned most of it. I put the cast burner parts on the house stove and cooked off the rust. I hammered the lower tray flat (ish) with 2 hammers. I used the rotary brush in the orange drill to clean the metal top of rust, was going good until I burned out the bearing in the drill with the side torque, oops. Time for a new drill. Harbor Freight (HF) will have one, oh well, the cord was splitting anyway. The top needs a coat of good heat proof black paint. I need to dig behind the band saw for the other burner cover that holds the pots up. We can get new knobs anywhere. No oven, but no aluminum, good little 2 burner stove. While looking behind the garage for knobs (no luck yet) I found a flex gas line from the old house stove, grabbed it and cleaned it up. It’s corrugated hence not easy to clean, we’ll need a new smooth one but it’s the right size standard threading. We can use it to get the 1/2″ pipe adapters to fit all the gas fittings, we’ll need 3, one in and two out to stove and heater. We also need regulators, $40 for the automatic flip dual or $15 ea at HF (recommend the dual flip auto).
If we use the little stove there’s plenty of room underneath for the water drain line so we won’t need to drill the studs. If we use the oven stove I may be able to lower the trap and tee in to fit as I really don’t want to weaken the structural studs.
So basically, the walls are ready to install. I need to hook up a gas tank and check for leaks with bubble soap first, then we insulate and seal them with cheap stuff from the garage low, paneling above. Get more 1x2s to tie the paneling together, less than a buck and secure, but we’ll need to fit them between the upper and lower plates, more to secure the lower cheap stuff to the panels between the studs. Seal it all with caulk, taped like the door, a lot of tape. We’ll add another barrier of tar paper before we seal the walls, loose or cut where the 1x2s fit.
The difference between the sink and Pside is only 3 3/4″, not enough, need to lower it more or splash guard over the window. I need to read the specs again, get it right, will do. Low sink, just hope there’s no min height.





Well, we did alright today! You put on another coat of burgundy paint including the inner door. I cut a hole for the electric main out and built a small door and latch to cover it. I also put pipe compound on gas lines, rigged it with a tee for the water heater and out for the stove. I’ll need to get a couple short 1/2″ nipples and elbows to route it outside for the heater tomorrow. Once that’s done the inner wall is pretty much done and ready for insulation and panels.
We headed into town, stopped at RS, no 1/2″ fittings but picked up a couple nice 1/2″ brass valves, perfect for the gas line shutoff to the heater, maybe the water line and a 50% sale, $30 worth for $4.50, deal.
A couple stops and over the hill to get some free paneling I found on craigslist. We found the place where google maps said it should be and loaded up the truck, barely fit with scrunched head room, but we got it in, had to bend some nails to save the roof of the truck. Score! Free walls. Drove home and unloaded it, pirate booty. A good day.

Free paneling!




I’m thinking it would be best to finish framing in the counters so we know what we need in SS (stainless steel), before we go buying it. It may be worth checking on Reliable hardware for new price on thinner stock SS as thin stuff may be cut able at work. It’d be worth checking if even by phone to compare (707) 545-7822. The salvage yard is probably cheaper, but you never know and thinner is easier to work mostly. We went to a restaurant in TC had all SS table tops, thin gauge folded, looked good, I checked it out close. We don’t need heavy gauge, just metal on ply wood and thinner is cheaper generally. Equivalent of flashing but in SS would be enough to meet the code if glued down as it’s tough. Bit of a trick cutting the sink hole to be sure, but abrasive wheels should do it, followed by a jig saw for the wood, and the sink lip will cover it.
On paneling, if we can’t get it free on craislist, it may be worth checking Mount Storm (707) 838-3177, they’re a wholesale building supply in Windsor, open weekdays, cash or check, no credit cards. Thin luan ply should be relatively cheap, equivalent to door skin but full size 4×8′. We can paint it to meet code for clean ability.
We need to finish the stuff inside the walls so we can seal it, electric is in, the gas lines need to be re routed and cut/threaded for the water heater and sealed with tape or pipe compound, tight. I’m thinking the water system can be inside under the counters with a possible exception on the hand sink to main drain, not sure there. I’ll look into that. We should insulate the walls after that, those ceiling tiles would be good, don’t know if they’re available any more, worth asking. Else some straight pink insulation (hate that stuff, itches), then plastic or more tar paper we have. Then the paneling to seal it in.
I think it would be best to finish the walls top to bottom before we add the counters so it’s sealed and cleanable. Maybe the floor too. Then mount the cabinets removable with screws. Mark the floor for studs, panel, mark the panels for studs low, floor it, then you know where to secure the counters. The counters where the stove mounts need to be thicker to support it unless we use the 2 burner without the oven. Enough for now, we’ll see how it really turns out.



So you paint some more, I’ll cut the wood we bought last time to finish the counter Pside, work on the benches and table. We need to discuss how we plan to meet the code. Thought, I could lower the sink some to match the other side or more to allow for the back splash guard, couple screws and 4 cuts to shorten the legs. It would make it a bit low but doable, $15 for a stool at the Asian store. Lets talk about it. I need to set up the router bench and cut a bunch of inside radius stock for everywhere with the new cheap router bit. I should get a matching outside radius bit when we’re at the salvage yard to fit the table bench backs so it fits together (for the bed, hush), $3 is cheap. The water tanks need to be stowed with additional braces to keep them in place and holes cut in the floor to match for plumbing. Mount the outside lights, you could do that, green ground to the screw, black and white with wire nuts, easy, I’ll help if you need it. Cut a hole and make a small door for the main electric cord. That will finish the electric system.
The gas line still needs Teflon tape and the tee installed for the water heater. We’ll need to shorten one pipe at the mercantile to fit, drill a bigger hole in the stud, add a few 90s (RS) and later the heater ($$). All this needs doing before we insulate and panel it in. Look for paneling on craigslist.


I hooked up the new box, had to disconnect it all again and reconnect it, mounted. I plugged in the new adapter, fits. I plugged in the extension cord, no circuit breakers blown. I grabbed a florescent bulb for the over head, pushed the reset on the GFI, it Lit! The dimmer makes it blink, test shut it off, cool, reset good. I plugged in the wine bottle lamp to the other side, reset, on, test off, checked all the circuits good. We Have Power! Yes! The circuits are good, we have electric. I still need to cut a hole and box/door it so we can close the main door, attach the out door lights when you paint it (do that first)  but we have power inside, Yea.
Sink counters, plumbing and gas next, but we have power mostly done.

4th of July!

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.

7/3/2012 4th tomorow

So what to do, well, there’s a gallon of paint…should keep you busy for a while.
Trim the tar paper off the roof, attach the other outside light fixture, same as the other one. It would be cool if you could attach the small boxes behind the outside lights, punch out the center slug first and screw them to the inner wall with really short 1/2″ screws to match the drill holes. I may have some around, I’ll dig tomorrow, or I may just do it, we’ll see.
I just had a thought on the overhead light, remember we wanted a pull string? We could just buy a pull string switch and wire it in up there. We may need another short box for that, but it’d be easier than stringing a whole new wire to the door switch. We could even drill a hole in the center of the light cover for the string, or put a switch on the wall near the table, make that one the dimmer. Use the one by the door for the outside lights.
Let me know ASAP what you think about that as I’m here and able to work on it. I think the dimmer would be nice near the table, straight door switch to the out lights.
 So we need some metal for the sink counter, what kind? SS is really hard to work, tough stuff, I can’t use the shear on it unless it’s really thin, hard to bend and cut or weld. Aluminum is a breeze and much cheaper (not easily welded), copper is another option, also easy to work and solder able, even tin able (food grade tin, got it, an ingot for frying pans). Tinned copper would be a good workable option. It’s just holding the sink up, you’re not chopping on it, and it is food grade metal easily formed. I think tinned copper is a best option strictly for the sink. And it’s Gypsy. The rest I’d use Formica (not really gypsy, but walnut (faux) is), with a cleanable chopping board. I can get a sheet of copper at the salvage yard. The tin would be a little grainy, but nice (or could polish it out, lot of work). What do you think?
Oh, BTW, the stove is a lot of aluminum and needs polishing, fine grit 320 – 400 – 600, then polish I have with a cotton wheel and drill. Ammonia to clean the polish off. Wear a mask and safety glasses. I’ll leave some sand paper out if you get tired of painting. We do need the stove soon to fit it, but could polish it later. It must be cleanable to meet code.  It’d be good finish the electric, plumbing and gas to get the walls up.


Didn’t get much done on the vardo today. Went fishing though, a bite on my first cast, wasn’t expecting it and didn’t get the hook set, spit it out. Nothing else, but nice by the river.
I did some thinking on the grey tube for the big electric line, we can’t put it in whole as the metal is in the way, we’ll need to cut it in half to fit past the 45 braces. So I went to town and bought a 1-1/4 grey coupler for a buck, also a short nipple for the gas line and qty 4 – 3″ bolts to finish the water tank mounts. I installed one bolt, but didn’t feel like climbing under, we’ll get it. I ground down the screws that came through under the sink and drilled the hole for the other outside light so you can paint it over. That’s all I did.
One of the magazines you brought has an article on On Demand Water Heaters, read most of it piecemeal, good info. You should check it out, I’ll leave it open for you. Thinking about the gas line Tee fitting to supply the heater, we’ll need to move the Tee to the other side of the stud as the Tee is longer than the straight coupler and it’ll avoid the window. The stove fitting will move in a bit, no problem, but the outside will need to be trimmed back. I know Bosworth’s Merchantile has a thread die, used it before, we’ll get Harry to cut it, he’s reasonable. We’ll need an upright pipe anyway, we can swap the existing pipe up and get a new one from Harry cut to fit to the outside front. A couple elbows (RS?) and the nipple I had should put the heater outside under the eves low enough to be safe (may need to cut it a little shorter, Harry again).



blood and sweat was given in installing the straps for the fresh/graywater tanks today…next we’ll start with the actual plumbing that will attach to the tanks once they’re set in the straps…see the tank in the distance?  yay!

We did good today, tanks ready to go in, final primer done. We’ll need to sand the door a bit before the final coat. A lot of work there, let’s make it pretty. You going to paint it burgundy? That would be cool. Inside it may need a gloss finish for cleaning purposes, we’ll do the interior when we get there. A wood wall painted gloss would be fine, that’s why I thought the door skin. Had a thought on that, we could glue a 4″ section behind to make the skins wider, 6′ would fit the stud pattern for a vertical grain. We’d need to measure the 4″ backing to fit between the floor and ceiling plates, doable. It’d be light and real woodish, ply really, but better than sawdust boards. They cost less than $15 each and I have 2. They even fit in my car.
Think seriously about aluminum sink counter, way easier to work with and form, with a curve in the back and cheaper. You won’t be chopping on it, it just holds the sink.