Prioritizing

In hospitals, it’s called triaging.  Deciding what is the most urgent need, and addressing it first.  That’s what I’m presented with now, taking a long look at my truck and figuring out what needs to be addressed next.

I have enough studs to fully frame the walls of the living space, including the cabover portion.  But.  Due to the weight of the sheathing, I am going to need to attach it to the studs prior to lifting them into place.  On my first build, I learned the hard way that I’m not strong enough to handle full-size plywood panels myself, and ended up cutting them into much smaller pieces in order to hang them.  I don’t want to do that again.  The only way around that is by screwing them into place onto the studs while they are still laying flat on the truck bed.  I can leverage the heavy walls sections up and into position myself, and brace them while I work on the next section.

I don’t have the sheathing yet, though.  It’s expensive.  Plus, there’s a more pressing need that has to be addressed first ~ the fuel tank inlets.  They must be rerouted from the bed to the new sides, and it’s an expensive process.  Unbelievably expensive, in fact, as in $400.  So, I have to wait.  I do have the appointment made for next month so I can reassure myself that progress will be made as soon as possible.

Inconvenient spot to fill your tank, believe me.

Inconvenient spot to fill your tank, believe me.

Why don’t I at least build the wall frames while I wait?  Because once again, the weight issues mean I need to build them on the flat of the bed of the truck, so I can lift them into place.  I can’t simply do it on the ground.  There’s also the issue of access to the fuel inlets where they currently reside, which would be inaccessible if I had a pile of wood framing laying in the way.

So, I will wait.  Bored, frustrated and scared by the time this is taking, but I will wait.

Hope your week goes swimmingly :)

Is My Phone Dumb, Or Is It Me?

I don’t own a smart phone.  My phone is so bad, I can’t even use the speaker/hands-free option.  So it really shouldn’t surprise me to find out just now that my truck has been ready since FRIDAY.  Yep, the day after I dropped it off.  That’s how awesome my mechanic is.  I finally rang him up this evening for an update, only to find out he’d left a message for me to pick up the Beast days ago.  Sigh.  My phone isn’t telling.  Maybe it IS me….

Dumb blonde?

Dumb blonde? Yeah, I know it’s blue right now.  OR….

The Jenny Blu aka POS phone.

The Jenny Blu aka POS phone.

Insulation Medley, Anyone?

I have multiple boxes of sheep wool insulation that completely slipped my mind.  I dragged one out of storage, cracked it open, and BOOM, more insulation than I even needed to finish filling the floor.  So that makes it four different types of insulation in there: Polyisocyanurate, a different kind of rigid foam board, Roxul, and wool.  Kinda makes me smile, but it’ll work just fine.  Dragged up and cut to size one of the 3/4″ plywood sheets, but then realized I’d forgotten to sand down some uneven spots.  Sigh.  Back on the scooter to the local big box store for sandpaper to fit my little powered sander.  Now it’s too dark to work, so I thought I’d throw on a quick update.  Raring to get out there first thing in the morning to finish up the sub-floor so I can finally start on the walls.  That’s when it looks like an actual build is happening.

Met my first “travelers” today, by happy chance.  We chatted for a while, and exchanged emails as they know of some great places to camp and stay for longer periods of time.  It was pretty cool to talk to people who are already doing what I’m just planning…makes it more real…or something.

Tomorrow is also (hopefully) Beast repair day, as I’m going to take the batteries to my mechanic to see if he won’t start due to a problem with them, or if it’s maybe the alternator or cables or whatever magical mechanical thing is keeping him stuck.  Those batteries are huge…it’s going to be super fun taking them on my scooter…but I’ll figure out a way.  After all, she’s carried 10 foot long pipes, big boxes of random stuff, and even a window home once.  I love that scooter.  Ted (the mechanic) is also going to help me figure out how to reroute the fuel lines to the tanks, as the fillers reside on the bed now, which obviously won’t work.  I think I love Ted, too. :)

Pics of the day:

This is what sheep's wool insulation looks like.  Pretty much like sheep wool :p

This is what sheep’s wool insulation looks like. Pretty much like sheep wool :p

Inconvenient spot to fill your tank, believe me.

Inconvenient spot to fill your tank, believe me.  Apparently typical location on flatbeds.  I have two of these to reroute.

A little dusty to work with, but not toxic in any way, and super effective insulation.

A little dusty to work with, but not toxic in any way, and super effective insulation.

Floor Framing Finished!

I did come up with a reasonable (but somewhat goofy-looking) way to work around the metal bracing.  I took lots of pictures, including the failure of my first attempt.

I worked all day ~ about 7 hours ~ and although I didn’t have enough insulation on hand to put on the sub-floor, I did get a lot of fiddly things done.  Once again I have to say, it’s amazing how quickly a simple plan can turn difficult.  Making sure the bolt holes stayed lined up properly while hanging the joists..wow…I had to re-align them again and again and again….and It took a couple hours just creating a workable solution for the area around the metal braces.  I also took a break from building and washed the tin roofing panels I’m planning on painting and using on the exterior.  Hot day, cold water, very nice!

To finish the insulation, I now have to start dismantling the original Oliver’s Nest.  I’m at peace with that.  I’m just worried that it will be a complicated and time-consuming process.  Plus, I’ll have to be on a ladder, and I have a trust issue with ladders these days!  Speaking of which, my ankle is healing well, and doesn’t hurt all the time (so thankful!).  My shoulder is also much better, and I have most of my range of motion and strength back.  So good to not feel like an invalid!  But…getting on that ladder again….and working with power tools overhead…honestly, I’m scared and not ashamed to admit it.

Ok, time for pictures!  Hope your day has been full of happiness :)

A little rough, but I thought this would work.

A little rough, but I thought this would work.

Trying to get it into place but....

Trying to get it into place but….

It didn't work.

It didn’t work.

Second try was sturdier, and fit, kinda

Second try was sturdier, and fit, kinda. Well enough, anyway.

Double-up 2x6 scrap wood fit well in the odd space.

Double-up 2×6 scrap wood fit well in the odd space on top of the little wood piece shown in the previous picture.

Filled in the gaps on both sides, and finished hanging the joists. :)

Filled in the gaps around the metal braces on both sides, and finished hanging the joists. :)

Even without the cab-over portion, it's a roomy space.

Even without the cab-over portion, it’s a roomy space.

This is R-23, so will help with both insulating and as a sound barrier.

This is R-23 Roxul insulation, and will help with both insulating and as a sound barrier.

I Fought The Wood, And Won (Mostly)

Such a dead-simple design…sill, rim joist, joists.  Attach and feel joy and pride.  But even though I picked out good quality lumber (straight and true), it STILL wanted to move around, go askew, and even fall on me for a little laugh.  But I have something that conquers working alone with lumber, even 10ft lengths of 4×6: clamps!  Clamps are the single most helpful tool a person working alone can have, I swear.

Looks all nice and innocent, doesn't it?

Looks all nice and innocent, doesn’t it?

What a fight to keep the pieces all where they belonged!

What a fight to keep the pieces all where they belonged!

Had to figure out how to drill through 7

Had to figure out how to drill through 7″ of wood with a 5″ spade bit.

Clamps and scrap wood help (and a hammer to pound things into place).

Clamps and a couple of scrap wood pieces help (and a hammer to pound things into place).

I found more saved up stuff that came in amazingly handy.  I used to haunt the local ReStores in the area, and I especially liked buying nails and screws and whatnot. I have a big container of 6″ long hot-dipped galvanized “nails” (more like spikes) that I got for about $5, and they ended up working perfectly for the joining the joists to the rim joist (remember, I used a 4×6).  I had to pre-drill holes, and one of the joists did split a bit due to the thickness of the nails, but overall they did work quite well, and hammering those in gave me a good workout, to boot.

If only the bit had been a couple inches longer, the joists wouldn't have split.

If only the bit had been a couple inches longer, the joists wouldn’t have split.

I don't know what these nails are made for, but they worked for this.

I don’t know what these nails are made for, but they worked for this.

I still haven’t fixed the issue of working around the metal braces, but I think I’ve come up with a plan for handling it.  What with the angles and placement of the metal, I’m going to have to be creative. The last picture shows the area I’m referring to, specifically the very front part where the angled metal bar hits the frame.  .

Need to work around these braces on both sides.

Need to work around these braces on both sides.

I am going to work on this part today, as I can’t attach the end joists behind the cab until it’s done.  Then I’ll attach the end joists at the other end of the bed, and THEN It’ll be time to wrestle the 3/4″ plywood sheets into place.  Google tells me each sheet weighs approximately 70lbs.  That’s a lot of awkward weight to heft 4 ft into the air by myself!. Plus, the sheets are stored about 300 ft away so I need to figure out how to even get them to the truck.  They will made a good, rigid sub-floor.

And the sub-floor is in place, I can start framing the walls.  Thankfully the studs are only 2x3s and weigh very little.  It will be a nice change.  I’m using 2×3 studs because RV windows are designed to take a 3″ thickness at the most, and I want this build to be as quick and easy as possible.  The trade-off is less insulation, but even 2 1/2 inches of insulation is better than most campers.  It’s also quite easy to heat such a small space.  Plus, the floor and the roof will both be quite well insulated.

Anyway.

Wish me luck and lots of energy.

I think I need more coffee….

Hopefully you are all enjoying your day!

Framing And Using Reclaimed Insulation

I’ve been collecting building materials for literally years.  Some of it I’ve used already in various projects, some have sat there, collecting dust and waiting.  One of my favorite finds was 2 full sheets of 2″ polyisocyanurate for only $8 each.  That’s incredibly cheap for quality insulation, at approx 13 R-value.  And now it has finally found a use. :)

First though, some pictures showing the steps I’ve taken so far.

Equivalent to a home's foundation.

Metal frame is the equivalent to a home’s foundation.

Reclaimed metal roofing panels set onto the truck frame.

Reclaimed metal roofing panels set onto the truck frame.

Had to cut around the metal bracing.  Wood is set on special barrier to protect it from metal condensation.

Had to cut the rim joists around the metal bracing. Wood is set on special barrier to protect it from metal condensation.

Used a 4x6 for the rim joist as I needed the thickness to match up with the bolt holes in the truck frame.

Used a 4×6 for the rim joist as I needed the thickness to match up with the bolt holes in the truck frame.  Once I get them installed it will all become clear.

Didn't have quite enough to cover the whole bed, so used 1/4

Didn’t have quite enough polyisocyanurate to cover the whole bed, so used 1/4″ layers of some rigid insulation to fill the gap.

So it looks like the blue insulation isn’t laying level in the last picture.  That is due to the metal panels having ridges which are pushing the pieces of insulation up.  Once the joists are in, the insulation will be perfectly fine.  This type of insulation is rigid, and doesn’t easily get squashed (which loses R-Value).

I’m a real fan of insulating well. This bottom layer of insulation isn’t the only one for the floor.  I’m using 2×6 joists set at 24″ On Center, as I already have a supply of Roxul that sized for that opening.  Roxul, like polyisocyanurate, handles moisture well and isn’t susceptible to bugs.  So these bats will go between the joists, creating another level of insulation.

In the last picture is one joist that I place there just to admire it :)  Nothing is bolted, nailed or screwed down yet, as I need to return the bolts I bought and get longer ones…sigh.  I always end up returning something I’ve sized wrong…at least this is an easy fix.

For the mess of metal bracing behind the cab, I believe I’ve figured out a solution.  I got hot and tired so didn’t do it yesterday, but will today as soon as I get back from the hardware store with the proper bolts.  I will take pictures, although it might look wonky.  You asked for the pictures, and you shall have them!

I’ll also show the bolts installed to show the strength of the framing.  This will be a good, strong little space.

These are the holes that are placed every two feet along the edges of the truck bed.

These are the holes that are placed every two feet along the edges of the truck bed.

Thanks for reading my little blog about my little house Oliver’s Nest.  I appreciate it very much!

Peace to you all.

Tiny Cabin Isn’t Moving

I think the truck needs a new alternator, but I won’t be able to tow him to the shop until next Wednesday, the 8th, to find out for sure.  It’s problems like this that worry me the most about going on the road ~ the unforeseen mechanical issues.  I’m, typing this with a nervous feeling in my stomach, knowing we could get stranded anywhere…but at least I’ll have my trusty scooter.

I think the first thing I’ll do once the cabin is built is start saving as much money as possible for emergencies.  Yes, I want a new upholstered seat, but what if I need new belts?  Yes, I want to replace the rotting floor mats, but what if I need new brakes?  I’ve joined a local Ford truck enthusiasts club which meets monthly, and I think the smartest question I can ask is, what all could reasonable go wrong?  Then, start saving for it.  Let the beauty come later, my Beast must be reliable.

At least the truck decided to stop running while I was out wood shopping.  I’d decided to put the building materials on my credit card in order to keep momentum going on the little start I’d made.  So I have framing I can do while I wait for my next payday to roll around.  The weather is supposed to hold for at least a week, so my goal is to have the floor in place and one of the walls framed.  If I can get my hands on more 2x3s, I’ll frame all four (lower) walls.

Here’s some pictures of the most awkward part of the upcoming build:

Complicated

Complicated

More complications

More complications

This isn't going to be pretty.

This isn’t going to be pretty.

How to fit wood tightly and with structural strength between all these metal angles?  I have a lot of scrap wood laying around, so today is going to be spent (hopefully) figuring this problem out.  I need the floor joists to be strong and level, and I need the sill and bottom plates to be level and secure for the walls.  Oh boy…  Maybe I’ll take pictures of my attempts, if they aren’t too embarrassing.

Wish me luck and good engineering, folks!