Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The Spare Room Part II

A big day today as the carpet has been fitted in the spare room. Since the last post we have been decorating. Both walls and ceilings have had three coats of paint, with a bit of filling and sanding before that. Just finished the final coat, last night about 9.00pm and opened a bottle of wine at 9.01pm.

The next job is to make a door and box in the hot water tank. Will probably do this with some reclaimed timber (soonish).

Also move in the first bit of furniture. Paula's aunt gave us an old chest of draws. It was nice but a bit too yellow, so got the belt sander out. Paula did try paint stripper a while ago on one of the draws but it was too slow and expensive. Anyway after an hour or two of sanding, soak it all in woodworm killer. When this had dried, rubbed in some furniture oil.

Will replace the knobs with some others as I can't be arsed to sand them (it would take an age). With that all done I can start thinking of the camper again and get this blog back on track.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Spare Room

Unfortunately I have had to put the camper on hold for a while, as finishing the spare room is taking all of my camper building time. About five years ago I rebuilt the front of our old cob cottage because it was falling down. The spare bed room was never finished (along with some other bits) and am trying to have a push to complete the house over the next two years. A lot of renovation has been done but with work and stuff I lost momentum and it came to a bit of a halt.

The room use to look like this, nice eh! The A frame truss had broken and the roof was also collapsing pushing out the front wall (which typically had next to no foundation). The wall was rebuilt on a decent foundation with cob blocks and the building was re roofed. Most of the house was finished bar the dining room and spare bedroom(and some odd bit here and there).

So back to the spare room, first I had to finish some walling that was left and then, re plaster the whole room.
All the plastering is traditional lime plaster and takes a while to cure. The walls had two back coats and a finish coat. There was about seven days between coats.

Before the final coat on the front wall could be done I needed to fit the window board and wooden shelf. I wanted to make these out of local oak so went of to see my mate Dan who works with it to make timber frame building so has a good stock.

First I trimmed off the sap wood and cut it to size

Then planed and sanded for half a day to get a decent finish

Was a bit tricky to get in the room.

And here it is fitted.

Also made a window cill.

Did the final bit of plastering today and now it just needs decoration.

Oh and a door making.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Dam Work

After a week of quite good weather, I have been thwarted with making progress on the camper due to work commitments. Plus my spare room which has been waiting 5 years for a coat of plaster or two. But despite this I manage a couple of hours this morning. Spent most of the time removing old rusty screws from bits of aluminum profile, that I need to re use for attaching the cladding to the frame. All this is not very exciting or photogenic but has to be done.

I did though get the base in position. It is a very durable and water resistant plyboard used for shuttering concrete formwork. It will be just the job for the base.

Did a bit more timber stud work too, but need some more of the self taping screws before I can do much more. I am also having a bit of a problem sourcing the dimpled aluminum to clad the sides, so may have to change to something else.

To make up for doing the dull stuff thought I would get the door frame in position. Will probably make another door but the frame is good. Well thats about it, will have to do a bit on the spare room tomorrow but may get a bit of time in the afternoon to get some more bits.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Me Shell Ma Belle

Finally the weather has improved a bit and I can get the covers off and make some progress. The main task now is to get the roof on.

First I need to cut it out of the caravan, and this didn't take long with a Sabre saw.

Now is just the small matter of moving it. Obviously this is a bit awkward, its not too heavy but cumbersome. I made up some T bars and the idea was to walk it into position along a plank. First though I had to get some help and Tubs just happened to be in the pub. So a quick ish pint or two and we set about moving the shell.

Here we are almost there and all going well. We didn't nearly drop it and the acrows didn't fall over just missing us, the T bars were fab and our judgment was not at all affected by beer, honest.

One more push and it on and fits like a glove.

Its starting to look more tangible now and Tubs kindly models on one of the potential seats, a future beer drinking moment. Well I think all that deserves a beer, so thats it for now.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


Have manage to get a bit more timber fixed to the frame the last couple of days, but work and the crap weather are getting in the way of progress. Hopefully a bit more will be done at the weekend. Here is a few of the latest snaps.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Red Oxide and a Good Screw

After a couple of coats of red oxide primer its time to start timbering out the frame.

The frame has to be timbered out to strengthen the shell and for fixing the cladding. To fix to the steel frame I've got some cool screws that will cut through the timber and the steel, then self tap to give a good firm fix.
Due to the fantastic British summer weather I'm now working under a tarpaulin because its hammering down, so photos are a bit green.

Here is the start of the framing process using 40x25 mm treated batton.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Stripping and welding

Most of the internal cladding and frame are out now and the skin is marked ready for cutting. The roof structure is fine so I've left it and two acrow props are now stopping it from crumpling into a heap.

On the right is the basic plan of the frame and skin. The overhang sits above the cab.

This is an approx. layout, with bed above cab and a little storage. There is a table and seat below that could convert to a single bunk and at the back a sink/hob, fridge, water tank and more storage. I will also fit the gas bottle and 12v battery in there too. Might be a bit tight!!

Here is the frame welded and ready to try for size. Note the high tech welding props.

And now on the truck. A perfect fit.

Next step is to take it over to the caravan and a good few coats of red oxide primer.

Why build a demountable camper?

Lets face it buying a camper van is not a cheap purchase, so as I am a builder converting a panel van was a good option. After spending an age deliberating about converting, the cost of the project got the better of me. This is especially if you include the additional cost of insurance, maintenance , MOTs' etc and the fact that the van is standing for long periods between use. I'm not into towing caravans any more and do have an old one rotting in the garden. It was this that sparked the idea of making a demountable camper van for my Hilux truck. These are popular in the US and have seen a lot of them on my travels through Australia. I mentioned the idea to my mate Tubs who is a welder/fabricator and after a few beers the idea got better and better (Other more sober folk seemed not so impressed!). Anyway not to be put of so easily we pressed ahead. I did a quick sketch on Autocad and priced the materials and approximated the weight on a spread sheet. All looking good. After a search on the internet for a few examples and dimension checks, I ordered the steel and Tubs made a start welding it together. Meanwhile I started stripping out the old caravan.

This is the old caravan to be used as a donor for a large part of the shell. Most of the internal frame is rotten and has been chopped out. Have saved a lot of the internal fittings as some of these may come in useful. Thats it for now will update soon.