Now that we've reached May, and still living in our pandemic bubble, we started ramping up our efforts to get this camper finished by the end of summer. What else are we going to do since we don't want to socialize with friends or go out to restaurants/bars?
Additionally, to bolster our resolve to complete all of our work sooner rather than later, we reserve a campsite for September 11-13 at a local state park. No turning back now.
We're literally working every weekend to get this done, but it's starting to pay off as you'll see below.
Since the demolition and stripping away of unwanted items is now complete, we want to start the process of adding elements back into the camper. This includes new wall paneling, paint, and the framework for benches, cabinets, and our table. We're literally seeing visible changes on a weekly basis, and that is making Dana very, very happy (she's ready to be done with all of this madness).
But, before we do that, we decide to remove every single window and reseal them with butyl putty tape. This will provide some additional peace of mind that everything is sealed and (hopefully) leak proof. Plus, it gives us a chance to also replace all of those weathered screws with new stainless steel screws.
It's a little disconcerting having a giant hole in the walls of your camper when the windows are out. But the time it took to remove, clean, and reinstall all of the windows was definitely worth the effort. Things are sealed/installed properly with new butyl putty tape and stainless steel screws.
The butyl tape that was recommended to us was purchased on Amazon. There are other versions of this tape that have a channel in the middle. Don't buy that version – get the flat/continuous tape for a better seal.
Scraping away the old butyl tape and scrubbing the windows to a shiny finish is very satisfying. Bar Keeper's Friend was definitely our friend to get rid of a lot of the residue and grime that has built up over 54 years (and neglect from the previous owner).
It's starting to look like a sauna in here (and feel like one, as the temperatures were in the upper 90's as we're doing this). The most challenging part was getting the birch paneling to bend along the curved upper rear wall. But we watered down the surface of both sides and bent it until it fit perfectly.
We did keep some of the old paneling (shown at left).However, most of these visible panels are either going to be painted or covered with vinyl planks that resemble reclaimed wood. We sanded the parts that were getting painted (including cabinets). The rest of the walls that aren't painted are getting covered, so it didn't matter how they looked. We just needed a better surface than what was there previously. And fewer exposed nails.
Nothing like a coat of fresh paint to liven up the place. We had sanded all of the surfaces that were original-stained panels and cabinets, so the paint would take to the surface better. The color is a very light grey (Toasty Grey, officially) that really brightens up the space without being white.
The interior is starting to look more and more like what we envision for the end result. And now that things are getting painted, we'll be ready for wall and floor coverings. Speaking of...
This is exactly what we were hoping it would look like. A Colorado-ish cabin on wheels. The vinyl planks are designed for flooring, but take to the walls very well with some Liquid Nails and finishing nails. Yes, we put nails back into the walls, but this is different. We didn't use a million of them. A closed cabinet with doors will be installed to the upper left and open shelf to the rear will sit above the top of the panels shown above.
It really looks a heck of a lot better than even a couple of weeks ago. This front area will have a full-width sofa that converts to a sleeping bed when finished. And now that the wall coverings are up, it's time to hide that hideous linoleum.
And the linoleum is gone! We elected to keep the existing linoleum floor in place and simply install new vinyl planks over the top of it. We had read there are potential risks of asbestos in the underlayment of vintage camper floors and didn't want to risk anything by messing with it.
You can also see the water intake connections to the lower left. This is where the city water comes in as well as the separate connection to the fresh water tank.
The view of the rear dining area, with upper areas for the new cabinet above the left window and a full-width open shelf above the rear window. Someone said something about needing an abundance of storage areas, in addition to the abundance of storage we'll already have in the rest of the camper interior. :-)
With the floors and walls installed, we're now building framework for the benches, new cabinets, and front sofa. We kept all of the original kitchen cabinets, cabinet faces, and drawers by sanding and painting them. Saved a little bit of money and knew everything would fit since they were the original pieces. We painted the brass handles for the cabinets matte silver and used pewter twig-looking handles for the drawers.
The dining area to the right, looking to the forward area of the interior. The dining benches are comprised of a short bench (above right), and a full-width bench that creeps into the former toilet/shower closet.
The front sofa/bed frame in process. There will be a top board that pulls out to extend the bed to its full width. There will be two separate boards beneath the top board that will allow access to a storage area (right) and fresh water tank (left).
The dining area will covert to a second sleeping area by having the table drop down and sit between the short and long benches. The back of the short bench was able to be repurposed from the original backing board. We simply sanded and painted it to match the rest of the interior color.
Another view of the future dining/sleeping portion of the rear area. Due to the design of the original camper interior, we had to install an angled element to cover part of the protruding wheel well beneath the short bench (above center). However, we are able to engineer it in such a way that it's actually 4" shorter than the previous version. Each bench will have a removable top panel to access the storage areas beneath them.
This is the full-width rear bench at the rear of the camper interior. While we gave up the toilet and "shower", we like that this will make a nice little nook to sit back in and read or hang out. Plus, the small window above it on the right wall (not seen), helps bring more light and cross-breeze into the rear area. We're also installing a homemade coat/bag rack that we're making from a log we found on a recent camping trip. This will be installed on the short wall facing the rear of the camper.
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