Monthly Archives: January 2013

I cut and folded the heater shield this evening, it works. 1/2″ bends top and bottom for strength, folded 22″ long, 13″ wide and 7 1/2″ deep. That allows 2″ off the wall to spec. We’ll add hinges and latches to it using my home punch, better than the abused punch in the model shop. It’s a good shield. Thoughts, we could use free pins on the hinges and remove the shield and heater for transport. It’s a wind shield to keep it lit. We could put holes through the pins for a snap ring type fitting so it stays but is easy to remove.
The shield fits. We have a 24″ x 20″ scrap piece that would make the hand sink counter in metal.
As I had some extra time (45 minutes to form the real metal), I imported the CAD stainless main sink and redrew the counter with a thicker partition between the hand sink and stove all the way down to match the stove height. Trimmed the drawings to fit it all in, good. It looks nice, could be all metal for the same $13 more. That or we could use the 20″ x 24″ for an overhead duct.
I don’t know. We have a good heater shield and a piece of metal.
I ordered a pre-pump water filter, an electric quick connect for the pump and a couple water quick connects for the heater, be here next week sometime. The heater and shield pic:


I worked out the plan on the heater shield metal this evening 28 3/8″ wide before folding will leave a scrap piece 19 5/8 x 24″, minimum on the stove bottom and side is 25 3/4, short 1 3/4″ dang. It would fit the hand sink but that’ll be Formica. It would fit the bottom of the stove shelf with two separate pieces for the sides, but another $13 will do the stove section complete, sweet and simple. Let’s just get another piece.
But the design for the heater shield is ready. Just measured the vardo outer wall, 13 and a short 1/2. the design will fit, but better to loose the 1/2″ tab I added. Latch into it with a barrel into a hole, or Ah, rivet a new tab back out to fit the back corner slat, either will work. I’ll make a raw shell, add hinges and latching with the hand punch here, rivets or bolts and nuts. The hinges will be attached inside, the latch to the back corner frame, with the shield closer to the back so it has clearance to open, may need to bevel the forward slat for more clearance. Hope you still have black slat paint. It’ll work, a mind puzzle.



Mellow day, did a bit. I had an idea on how to mount the pump and still be able to remove it in freezing weather. I went to Garrett’s hardware and picked up 4 T-nuts, 10-32 size, plus 4 wing nuts and 4 screws. Plus coffee at Flying Goat.

Got home, cut a piece of 1/2″ ply 4″ x 5″, drilled it to fit the T nuts spaced to fit the pump.  Added the 10-32 screws, fitted the pump and wing nuts, it works. Took it out, measured the fit to the wheel well and mounted it with 2 wood screws, removed it and counter sunk the marked screw heads to the wheel well, then replaced the mount with 4 wood screws. It works, a mount for a removable pump. It’ll still need a quick disconnect for the electric.

I covered the two cutouts for the outside lights on the back wall with thin panel stuff and small sheet metal screws, 2 each.

I sanded most of the filled screw holes in prep for the flush cut router when it dawned on me, the P side drawers are not set up with spacers for the router. I measured them all, about 13/16ths (little over 3/4″) at 3 1/2″, cut 6 on the table saw and fitted them. The aft drawer has a bit wider gap, cut a couple spacers from scrap. I’ll need to clamp and glue them in but it’s getting dark, enough.



We got some done today.  I met Raven at the Community Market, picked up some herbs and roots for lunch. We took my car down to the salvage yard and picked up a sheet of aluminum for the heater cover. I want to make a shield over it to keep the wind from blowing out the flame but keep it open top and bottom. I’ll draw it up at work, then bring in the metal, cut it on the sheer and brake the folds after hours in the model shop.  I’ll fold a small lip on top and bottom to strengthen the structure, maybe a pop rivet in the corners to hold its shape. Hinged forward for access and latched aft.

Picked up Raven’s truck and headed home. Chicken root stew for lunch served in the vardo as we discussed plans.  That done Raven worked on the cabinet doors.

I started with knocking the table down and cutting a leaf from the mahogany ply to fit behind it on the table saw. Also drilled holes in the bench covers so the table pegs seat to hold it all in place, a bed surface for vardo mode.


I put quick dry putty in all the cabinet screw holes so the flush cut router won’t gouge the face panel.  Next I called Raven in, where do you want shelves? We’ll leave the D side alone until plumbing is in place, on the P side lets extend the wheel well forward and keep it at 6 1/4″, then add another shelf  half way up all the way out 13″ wide. I cut 1 x 2s for bracing on the ends and one in the middle to hold up the long piece.


The pic was before the middle piece was installed but the end support and lower shelf are visible as well as the door frames with dark putty in the screw holes to be sanded flush. Thought, we should add a slat in front of the lower shelf  to keep things in on the road. I still need to cut the upper shelf, may need to go out back to find a good piece of pine shelving where the landlord’s son threw out a bunch, mind the good stuff is deep. Maybe tomorrow. A good day.



I talked to Darin about how to cut the plywood to fit the frames today. He suggested using a flush cut router (I have) as it would give an absolute fit to the frames except for the corners where we can saw them out. I’m thinking the Japanese pull saw cuts flush in the corners. He said we need to be careful to fill any voids in the frame as the router bearing will drop in and cause an indent. We’ll need to putty that, especially the countersunk screws.
We’ll rough cut the plywood to fit to save the excess, fasten it to the frame either temporarily with clamps (several so we can move them without loosing registration) or permanent glue, drill starter holes then router them out. I’m thinking clamps then glue after so we have more clamps in place for the glue to dry.
I reprinted that pattern you like at about 75%, four on the page, why not. I also penned one in as I had after hours time to kill. It’ll fit the 1 1/2″ slats nicely. Then I flipped the page and copied freehand the curved pattern, a few minor mods but pretty much the same. I drew a couple arcs, then fit the pattern inside all in pencil as you can erase it. It wouldn’t be hard to straighten it out either. Drawing patterns on paper, anything is possible there. My friend Art.

1/21/13 Sink Cabinets


As it’s MLK day I worked some more on the driver side (D) cabinets.  I disassembled the sink, stove and lifted the whole cabinet frame out to the driveway on it’s side.  To get the stove section lower frame in, I had to unscrew the lower screws in the frame sides and swivel them out so I could drill and screw them straight in from the bottom, then refasten the sides. I had to remove the stove paneling to get the upper hand sink frame screw in place, counter sinking all the screws so panels will be flat. Once all the frames were screwed in place, I put it back in the vardo, replacing the sink and stove. Took a couple pics posted below. A good day.



I’ll need to panel it next. Thinking the D side can be removed again and clamped to the birch plywood then mark it out for cutting. I’ll need to check the floor to back wall for square first. The P side I’ll need to leave in place and do with measurements on the outside cuts. Once fitted I can draw in the door and drawer cuts from above with the counter off. I’ll need to ask Darin about cutting the inner cuts smooth. I put the two spare bench supports under the P counter by the table and clamped it tight to try and relieve the warp there, leave it until next week.

1/20/13 P counter

Productive day on the vardo. From this morning “Just finished soldering the copper connectors, I fixed the torch and used jewelry grade silver solder, beyond code, just silver and copper. They are in the slow cooker pickling off the borax flux, be fine. I also glued the last cabinet door, drying now.”
So I worked on other stuff below, then pulled the connectors out of the hot sodium bisulfite pickle, a mild acid to dissolve the borax flux. Rinsed and checked them with the oral thumb vacuum test, one still leaked. Cranked up the torch again (oxy-acetylene hot) with a ring of wire silver solder and more borax, watched the liquid neon ring flow capillary tight, quenched and back in the pickle.
So I worked on the server counter P side, the two done doors match at 18″ x 11 1/8″ so I cut the next spacers for the wider back cabinet again 18″ long at 1 3/8″ each side. The front cabinet door still under clamps drying is a little narrower 10 7/8″. The split difference was again 18″ x 1 3/8″, cut on the table saw. I clamped them up pulling the warp out, drilled and screwed them one by one forward to aft. The doors fit well, some room for hinges. We can always unscrew them if they need a final trim.
Time to fit the counter on top as I know the size of the 1/4″ siding. I secured the frame, screwing it into place in four places at 32″ high. I fit the last big 3/4 ply panel, needs a 1/4″ removed for the window trim, did that first including the front 1/8 panel. Refit it and marked underneath in pencil as pens don’t flow up. I measured the birch plywood facing width with the sliding square tight, then transferred the measurement to the counter top, laid out with the big straight edge in ink at a 1/4″ wider, cut with the jig saw but first verifying the blade square and following the line tight, back filling occasionally to get it perfect as possible. Nearing the wider angle I stopped and grabbed the duct tape for a clean curve penned in and resumed. Relief cuts to make the straight, stopping before the cutoff, trimmed any wide cuts to the line as close as possible, then cut it off. It fits great, a little wide aft on the wall, but the 1/4 round coving will cover it. There’s a 3″ gap as expected to the back wall, I measured and cut a piece to fill it, tight, sanded good, still need to cut the lower support that will join the two pieces flush.
I measured the total length at 75″, then checked the Formica roll sheet length, plenty of room with enough width to get the edge stock.
As the cab door was dry enough I removed the clamps, taped the doors up inside and took a shot.
I screwed in the under stove vertical planks. As the door is measuring tight in height, I trimmed a kerf width off the inside bottom door on the table saw, not visible and it’ll fit. I’ll need to disassemble the D-side to attach the lower stove plank. I disconnected the drain but will wait until tomorrow.
I twist wired the fuse into pump circuit, the switch needs figuring, hmm.
I pulled the last copper solder from the pickle pot, looks good, sanded them all shiny as the game ended, 49ers won. Finished out by cutting the bottom of the drawers to catch shut, will need to do that again after the 1/4 panels are up. A good day.


Well, I didn’t actually work ON the vardo today, but I really did. I broke out the plumbing parts trying to figure a way to attach the pex connectors to the standard compression valves under every sink. I grabbed a valve and a Flair-it pex to 1/2″ FPT and headed to town. Stop for coffee at G-mud, and a look around Salvation Army, found a set of those stacking mugs you like. Next stop Restore, a couple more pex connects and some half turn buttons to hold the bench backs in place. They have a lot of new hinges, oh $#!*, just dawned on me we need some for the bench seats, well they have a lot. I headed for the salvage yard, thoughts and measurements on the water heater cover in mind. They’re out of 2×4′ stainless, 20 GA aluminum and galvanized, none of the sheet metal I wanted. 😦 I looked for 1/2″ ball valves none of them either. They did have some fine mesh SS screen, I picked up a 3″x 6″ piece, another plastic hose valve and a few magnets for my fridge freezer door (close assist). Nothing suitable for the plumbing adapter, wasted trip. On check out he said they just ordered more sheet metal.
I stopped at Friedman’s couldn’t find it. H-Depot’s got the better pex supplies, studied the shelves awhile, finally found the right part, not pex, a copper piece with 1/2″ male threads and a sleeve for a 1/2″ tube, score, 4 for $6 out the door, cheap. I headed home and dug out the scrap fittings Warren had given me, one has a good length of 1/2″ copper pipe, hacked 4 pieces at 1 1/4″, cleaned up on the lapidary and sandpaper. They’ll be perfect soldered with food grade tin or hard silver solder, then fitted to the compression valves and up to the faucets. The pex elbows will fit the 1/2″ threads, tubed to the pump and heater. The missing connection has been found, success!
I’m thinking to use short 3/4″ garden hose connections to run to the heater outside as they are not as UV sensitive and that size quick connects to the heater are cheap. Standard hose valves outside, one cold, one hot return with a red handle (we have), and the heater came with 3/4 adapters. A simple hose kit and we’re done with plumbing. Course there is always getting it installed without leaks.



I read some stuff on line this evening about pex, interesting. These connectors we got are cool, Flair-it, no crimp connections. I looked through the elbows we got, four are FPT (female pipe thread), perfect for the stop valves to the sink connections. I’m thinking we want more of these if they still have them. We have enough (4) tees to make it I think but the elbows are useful in different configurations. Some 3/4 FPT to 1/2 pex connects with stop valves would be good for the heater connections, though the sharkbite quick connects would be better but at more than 10 times the cost. Pex to pex elbows are good, MPT to pex too. I think I may check out RS for more of these some time tomorrow. We can just clamp them down with the pipe straps I got (or plumbing tape). We’ll also need some check valves to meet code. I’ve made them before with vinyl tubing and a ball bearing, cut one straight (stop), and one with a notch (flow) with a tube over size to fit, it works well, but to code?? May need to buy something approved. Hot and cold running shall be.


I did a little more on the vardo today. It turns out the new putty doesn’t really dry, shucks, need to get a different jar. I figured that out after going to town for one last fitting for the drain, so that will need to wait for next week.
It took me awhile to find the drain tubing, nicely hidden next to the refrigerator, it all fits. I got out the hole saws, found the right size for the pipe in the floor, larger would be better, enough to fit my home made expansion plug, measuring underneath, 2″ while the Xplug is 3″ tall, bigger hole. There is a 2×4 underneath to hold the grey water tank at an angle, may hit it, oh well, can always move it. I drilled the hole through the floor. Sure enough, hit the 2×4, switched bits to the long one and punched through the tank to mark the location.  Broke out the green cushion and crawled underneath, removing the tank, unscrewing the 2×4, re-drilling it and securing it with the same ground down screws.
I changed the hole saw to fit the expansion plug size, drilled through the plastic tank. I went in and found the brass holder I made to hold the plug while tightening to expand the rubber grommet, that and the big bent pliers. It went in right, fits tight, cool, nicely engineered. I installed the tank from underneath, securing the straps once the expansion plug was in place through the floor hole. Back inside, I measured the height to cut the drain tube, a tinny bit long is OK but it still needs to clear the tailpiece, cut on the band saw, it fits.
We need to seal the floor. I found the right size hole saw to fit the tube adapter and another larger one. A scrap of good mahogany 1/4 plywood , large drilled, then smaller, fitted in but will need some calk to seal it tight. Not yet as we need to remove and redo to complete the cabinets. We have a good drain, although it will leak until we get the hand sink installed unless we plug that. The drain to the grey tank will work.
I need to add an air relief and a drain hose, but the sinks will drain to the tank. The hose will complete the flow to city, but we need a large valve to comply to code, 2″ fits the tank or whatever size hose we use. We’re good.