A Helping Hand

My son came over yesterday and we moved the back tank’s fuel filler line!  It takes more muscle than I posses to force the pieces together, so he donated his strength to the cause.  It is so nice to have a little help sometimes, even though I wish I could do it ALL myself.  It’s an internal fight I tend to have over many things, but this one is too important for me to be too proud.  There are times when accepting or even asking for help is the smart thing to do.  We didn’t do the front one as it turned out I didn’t have enough hose clamps.  They will be arriving tomorrow so this should finally be completed by end of day tomorrow or Wednesday.  I so love Amazon Prime!

Needs a couple more clamps here....

Needs a couple more clamps here….

There was no way to move these things in such a way as to keep them out of the living area.

There was no way to move these things in such a way as to keep them out of the living area.

Looks professional!

Looks professional!

Before my boy got here, I spent several hours filing in the cabover sleeping area with the sheep wool insulation, and getting part of it covered with the sub floor.  I was afraid it would be difficult to handle the heavy plywood up there, but it went quickly and easily.  I was pleased to see that everything was square.  I have to use the truck and metal bracing itself as the “level”, and thankfully the ground is pretty level so it hasn’t been hard to handle that.  Otherwise, I’d have to keep everything equally unbalanced, if that makes sense.

As for the insulation, I discovered something interesting.  I pulled both some pink fiberglass and a box of sheep wool out, and found an ugly and disgusting RAT NEST, complete with a freaking large rat (which scared me and yes, I squawked!) in the pink stuff.  The wool, while a little musty around the edges, was otherwise perfect.  The box was super disintegrated from moisture, but no rats, mice, bugs, etc.  I’m once again glad I went with the expensive but environmentally-conscious wool.  No matter how I try, everything here molds, melts or rusts!

So gross!  Big ol' rat jumped out while I was moving the bag, yuck!

So gross! Big ol’ rat jumped out while I was moving the bag, yuck!

Completely undamaged sheep wool withstood the weather and local wildlife.

Completely undamaged sheep wool withstood the weather and local wildlife.

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Once again needing cutouts for the metal bracing.

Once again needing cutouts for the metal bracing.

Last thing is I picked up a couple more windows from the local ReStore/Habitat For Humanity for $10 each.  I am not going to be able to use the gorgeous double-paned windows I already have, as they are not advised for campers.  The seal breaks too easily, especially for a house that might go four-wheeling!

36" by 18" Matching Single-Pane Windows.

36″ by 18″ Matching Single-Pane Windows.

Sorry about the picture placement.  WordPress and I having our typical fight.  Peace out :)

Mostly Moping But A Little Progress

Yeah….Hi, my name is Parker, and I’m a moper.  Do they have a 12-step for that?   All I can say is that depression sucks.  It hasn’t completely gotten the best of me though, and I have gotten things done.  Short post today because I’m still not in a great mood, but I wanted to record my progress.

First off,  the cabover portion is ready for insulation and the 3/4″ plywood subfloor.  Everything is bolted, nailed or screwed firmly together.  One thing I did differently with this area as opposed to the flatbed was to use several layers of fine metal screen mesh over the planks for both keeping the wool inside, and for allowing it to dry if it gets damp.  The mesh will also keep bugs and tiny critters out of the insulation (shudder).  On the flatbed I used metal panels with drip holes.  Another difference is that I used angled metal straps to attach the planks to the joists as another way to ensure they hold together snugly.  I’ve stood on the joists, jumped up and down on the planks, and tried to shift the various pieces, and it’s solid.

Three layers of metal mesh will serve to allow the insulation to breathe, yet keep out nasty critters.

Three layers of metal mesh will serve to allow the insulation to breathe, yet keep out nasty critters.

It doesn't show in this picture, but the metal angles are spaced evenly over the cabover to ensure each plank is attached.

It doesn’t show in this picture, but the metal angles are spaced evenly over the cabover to ensure each plank is attached.

On another subject, I finally checked out the fuel filler hose situation myself today.  Turns out it’s not that big a deal and I’m going to do the fix myself.  The supplies should all arrive by the end of the week at the latest.  This piece from Amazon turned out to be perfect for my needs, and is inexpensive, to boot.  Unfortunately, it’s not long enough so I had to purchase more hose from another company, and some quite expensive couplers.  Still, the total cost of parts will only be about $100, a quarter of the cost to have a shop do it.  Plus of course, there’s the satisfaction of doing it myself!

That’s it for now. hope you are all having a great summer so far :)

Perfectly Good Isn’t Necessarily Perfect

Wow it’s hot outside!  I am afraid of gettiig heat exhaustion and hurting myself again.  Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I watch Buffy and drink iced coffee on my multiple breaks from working :)

I am not good at precision with power tools.  I’m getting better, but my work isn’t pretty and probably never will be.  I console myself by thinking of the amazing houses built before precision tools were available.  On the carpenter forums, professionals are always talking about having to “eyeball” levels and straightness in old homes, stating that it’s better to do that so things look good, than to actually be level but look askew.  In other words, perfectly good homes aren’t necessarily perfect.

Using reclaimed materials necessitates compromise.  There might be gouges, scrapes, nail holes, etc in otherwise useable goods.  As you can see in the pictures, the 4×4 I’m using has metal connector pieces still attached, which I couldn’t figure out how to take off.  The lumber is square and true, no dry rot or any damage, but it has these big metal “things” on it.  What to do?  I’ll tell you, cut off what you can and smash flat the rest with a hammer. Problem solved.

The next puzzle was how to firmly join the planks with the joists I cut today.  The solution here?  Push all the planks forward so the ends are hanging off the metal frame, then clamp each one individually to the doubled end-joists in order to get them firmly screwed into place. One screw in the front joist, one in the back joist on each plank.  Of course this must be done by leaning out and over the edge (basically upside down) to use the screwdriver, as I couldn’t reach the area from below, unless I stood on the hood of the Beast.  I didn’t want to do that, so monkey time it was.  It worked, and I didn’t fall and break myself today!

That’s all I accomplished though.  The heat combined with climbing up and jumping off the truck many multiples of times wore me out early, and so I’m back here with another iced coffee, watching an episode of Buffy, and writing this.  I’m OK with that.

Lovely long piece of 4x4 I got for free.

Lovely long piece of 4×4 I got for free.

I removed the few nails present, and removed as much of the metal as I could, then hammered the rest flat.

I removed the few nails present, and removed as much of the metal as I could, then hammered the rest flat.

One thing I learned on the first Oliver's Nest is to work smarter, not harder.  Clamping the boards together and cutting them all at the same time just makes sense.

One thing I learned on the first Oliver’s Nest is to work smarter, not harder. Clamping the boards together and cutting them all at the same time just makes sense.

The ends aren't perfect, but they are pretty good, and will work.

The ends aren’t perfect, but they are pretty good, and will work.

This is the edge I leaned over in order to screw through the planks up into the doubled end-joists.

This is the edge I leaned over in order to screw through the planks up into the doubled end-joists.

I used a block of wood to ensure the doubled joists stayed level with each other as I screwed each plank in from below.  Worked really well.

I used a block of wood to ensure the doubled joists stayed level with each other as I screwed each plank in from below. Worked really well.

I hope you were able to solve a problem or two today.  It feels good. :)

Digging Deep

***How embarrassing it is to wake up and find you’ve hit “publish” on a half-written, mostly-incoherent, rambling rough draft.  Well!  To those who saw it, please disremember!  I claim being awake for almost 48 hours plus a nice Merlot….***

I’m having trouble with this post.  I’m torn between focusing on the actual, physical build, and my “process” ~ an often confusing mix of inspiration, depression, impulse and frustrating errors.  Maybe it’s different for people who don’t have “issues” to contend with, but needing to get life done while contending with anxiety and depression is a real struggle for me.  I have tasks I NEED to accomplish.  I don’t know the timeline, never having been in this situation before, but obviously at some point I will have to leave and have safe and secure shelter.  Yet, equally strong at times is my inability to get those tasks done due to fear and/or depression.  It’s a quandary.  Yes, I take medications, and they help, but too often not enough to keep me out of bed.  2015 has been a very full year.  At least I’ve been awake for a much greater portion of it than 2013-2014.

To sum up advancements on Oliver’s Nest v.2.0 and other goals:

  • The Beast is up and running great again.  A total blast to drive. :)
  • Floor framing on flatbed completed except for bolting it together.  That must wait til the fuel filler ports are moved.
  • Mockup boxes for new fuel filler ports in place.  These will hold the ports until the wall framing is in. They are super rough looking but work as intended.
  • Cabover sleeping area started.  More on this later!
  • Packed up for long-term storage the few things I want to keep but will have no room for in ON.  It’s not a lot of stuff, mostly some books, pictures, artwork I love, and other misc stuff.
  • Pared down my belongings again to the point where in theory it should all fit into Oliver’s Nest when the interior storage is finished.
  • Lost 40 pounds!  Still have 25 to go.

So.  As I’ve already said many times, the wall framing can’t be done until the fuel filler ports are moved (I have the appointment for it still on the books, but after meeting with two super-nice and knowledgeable guys from a local Ford truck club, I want to try to do at least the back one myself.  I’m planning on starting that process today…intimidated but determined).  I have my stack of 2x3s and 2x4s for the walls beside the Beast, ready.  In fact, I have a nice work area set up with everything I (think I) need to get the walls completed.  I’ve decided to go with T1 11 for the sheathing.  It’s strong, reasonably attractive, easy to work with, and affordable.  If I can move the fuel ports myself, I’ll be buying the sheathing this month.  Crossing fingers!

During my organizing/paring push, I unearthed a great find ~ thick slabs of old utility poles I’d forgotten I had.  I dragged them to my new work area, cleaned them up, and cut them into planks.  I used these for the foundation of my cabover sleeping area.  I love using reclaimed materials, and these were free, which makes it even sweeter.  I had to take a selfie once they were in place, laying down in exhaustion but very happy to have gotten this done.  Yes, I am filthy!

There hasn’t been a gratuitous critter pic in quite a while, so I’m posting a shot of huge Leo, who keeps me company while I work.  He’s a rescue I adopted last year, a loving and happy boy.  I was stuck in the nursing home, recovering from my injuries for several months soon after taking him in, and it has taken months to gain his trust after that abandonment.  It feels good to finally have reached a solid friendship with him.  My mother’s cat likewise has adjusted to her absence and my presence.  He definitely is OK now, affectionate and happy and constantly pestering me for attention.  On those days when I can’t get out of bed, he keeps me company.

Now, the pictures. WordPress is not being friendly to me today, so the pictures are a bit disorganized.  Sorry ’bout that.

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Screwed down until replacement by actual walls.

The new location will make refueling much easier.

The new location will make refueling much easier.

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DIY cutting fence

Some of the rough-cut planks were about 15 feet long by 12" wide.  Heavy stuff.

Some of the rough-cut planks were about 15 feet long by 12″ wide, and an actual 2″ thick. Heavy stuff.

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Error! Error! Made my first cut in the wrong place. Don’t have enough of the wood to replace, so making do. It’s still strong, and won’t show once the framing is finished.

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Much neater cutting around the metal bracing than down on the bed. Looks good.

Fits nicely.  The gaps are not an issue.

Fits nicely, with some minor gaps. These don’t affect strength at all. This will be the sleeping area, and is 7 1/2′ by 5′. Enough room for a queen mattress, and will have 3′ of headroom, not bad for a Tiny Home.

Resting on the cabover sleeping base, happy :)

Resting on the cabover sleeping base, happy to finally have this process finished.

Next up, framing the subfloor in the cabover.

Next up, framing the subfloor in the cabover.

Big black Leo boy!

Big black Leo boy!

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.