Category Archives: The COMET

Installing the Fresh Water Tank Fill Spout

The fresh water tank (the only tank in the COMET – no grey or black water tanks) lives underneath the rear couch/bed. Originally it was under the dinette bench on the port side, but that meant that there was about 15 feet of tubing wrapping around the entire trailer to get from the tank to the faucet on the other side. We moved it to underneath the rear bench to be closer to the faucet. The fresh water tank is 15 gallons and I refill it about every 3-4 days. You don’t really use a lot of water when you have to pump it by hand. And the hot water is just one of those black bag camp showers that I hang up outside.

Here’s how we installed the new fresh water tank.

Here's where the new fresh water fill spout goes. Thanks Timbucktu RV Supply in Worcester for all the parts needed for the water tank installation!

Here’s where the new fresh water fill spout goes. Nothing is pressurized, so it’s just an angled spout where you put water form the hose. Thanks Timbucktu RV Supply in Worcester for all the parts needed for the water tank installation!

Close up of the fill. We caulked around the edges, and screwed it into the wall. The small spot to the left of the spout is the vent, which allows the tank to empty correctly.

Close up of the fill. We caulked around the edges, and screwed it into the wall. The small spot to the left of the spout is the vent, which allows the tank to empty correctly.

Here's what it looks like from the inside. We toe-nailed in a piece of plywood so that we would have something more than just aluminum to screw it into from the outside.

Here’s what it looks like from the inside. We toe-nailed in a piece of plywood so that we would have something more than just aluminum to screw it into from the outside.

Here are the lines attached, using hose clamps. The blue and white striped line (the larger one) is the water fill line, it goes from the fill spout to the tank. The clear, smaller line is the vent line for air to escape as the water drains. It goes from the tank to the spout, then outside via that vent.

Here are the lines attached, using hose clamps. The blue and white striped line (the larger one) is the water fill line, it goes from the fill spout to the tank. The clear, smaller line is the vent line for air to escape as the water drains. It goes from the tank to the spout, then outside via that vent. Don’t skimp on the caulking when you’re dealing with the water situation. Better safe than sorry!

Some context.

Some context.

The tank! It came with no pre-drilled holes, so we could decide where to put them ourselves. Using a hole saw bit on the drill, we cut out the correct holes for the hose attachments. There were 3 holes in the tank total: one for water to come in from the spout, one for air to escape when it's draining, and one for water to travel from the tank to the faucet via another line, which is down at the bottom.

The tank! It came with no pre-drilled holes, so we could decide where to put them ourselves. Using a hole saw bit on the drill, we cut out the correct holes for the hose attachments. There were 3 holes in the tank total: one for water to come in from the spout, one for air to escape when it’s draining, and one for water to travel from the tank to the faucet via another line, which is down at the bottom.

Then we cut the new panel for that wall (the old panel was all water damaged under the window and at the floor) and tacked it in.

Then we cut the new panel for that wall (the old panel was all water damaged under the window and at the floor) and tacked it in.

We then put in the framing and front of the rear bench (not tank yet) because we needed to see how we would run the line from the tank to the faucet and make sure everything would fit.

We then put in the framing and front of the rear bench (not tank yet) because we needed to see how we would run the line from the tank to the faucet and make sure everything would fit.

Now, we actually installed the kitchen before attaching the water tank and hooking everything up, so that’s where I’ll stop for now. Basically, the tank got put into it’s spot under the bench, it fit very snugly. We hooked up the fill line to the appropriate fitting that we had installed in the side of the tank, and the air vent line to the appropriate fitting. We put the fitting (barbed) into the bottom for the faucet line as well, but didn’t hook it up until the kitchen was finished. So we’ll look at the kitchen then get back to finishing up the water tank. Photos to come!

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Sheet Metal Patches & Bodywork

It’s about 10 degrees here in MA today, and while I look back at these pictures from the summer I am wistful to say the least. So here’s some pictures of some sheet metal work we did on the trailer to patch some gaping holes and button the skins back up after replacing some of the wood inside the walls. Sometimes, when you replace the old rotten wood under the skins, they don’t fit back on just perfectly (they would if I wasn’t going to repaint the thing, but I am so I wasn’t too vigilant about it this time around). There was a gap on the corners of the trailer where the aluminum met and started to separate from the weight of the rear. These gaps had been there since I got the trailer, so I knew I’d have to patch it anyway.

First, we put a strip of sheet metal (aluminum flashing for this application – because it’s flexible/malleable) around the corner and underneath the member for extra protection. We just nailed it in to the new wood. This would be the flashing that would keep any water out. When you put the skins back down, caulk around the edges and screw it in with sheet metal screws (the ones with the little rubber gaskets work well for this, but we just caulked each spot where the screw would go before screwing it in).

This will fill the gap between the original aluminum siding that had separated at the corner. This is common to find in vintage trailers.

This will fill the gap between the original aluminum siding that had separated at the corner. This is common to find in vintage trailers. Matt’s hairy arm, not mine :).

Caulked and screwed back down.

Caulked and screwed back down.

We did the same thing to the spot under the old heater vent, which was a big gaping hole. We flashed with the aluminum strip wherever the skins didn’t meet up just right. This will keep the water out.

Under the old heater vent next to the front door (heater was removed). This step can be a pain in the butt, but is worth it to keep the new framing dry.

Under the old heater vent next to the front door (heater was removed). This step can be a pain in the butt, but is worth it to keep the new framing dry.

Once the flashing was in, we needed to patch that huge hole. We used a different type of sheet metal, stainless steel, for the flat panel that will cover this whole mess. See below.

The process is: caulk around the edges where you're going to place the panel, then lay it on and hold it in place. The caulk should squish out a little, and create a full seal. Put caulk dots all around and sheet metal screw into these spots so that it seals around the entry point of each screw.

The process is: caulk around the edges where you’re going to place the panel, then lay it on and hold it in place. The caulk should squish out a little, and create a full seal. Put caulk dots all around and sheet metal screw into these spots so that it seals around the entry point of each screw.

Close up detail.

Close up detail.

There you have it! We did this on the other side of the trailer where the original water fill was. We didn’t match the corrugation of the original aluminum siding because we figured it was all getting painted turquoise and won’t be a big deal, but if I was doing a period-specific restoration I would match the corrugation pattern of the aluminum.

Thanks for reading and there’s more to come!

 

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Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop in Boston, February 9 + 10

It’s that time of year again! The Tumbleweed Tiny House Workshop will be happening in Boston in a few short weeks and I’m excited to say that I’ll be guest speaking at this SOLD OUT (!) workshop, talking about my experiences building a Tumbleweed house this fall and sharing my expertise in small-scale (tiny) off-grid systems for your tiny house. The workshop is Feb. 9-10, and you can still put your name on the wait list! Deek Diedricksen is hosting this one, and he’s a wonderful teacher and makes the workshop really fun.

So if you’re already signed up, I’ll see you there! Bring your tiny house questions and get ready to be inspired.

Here's a photo from last year's Tumbleweed workshop, when we visited the first ever built Tumbleweed house that Jay lived in for years.

Here’s a photo from last year’s Tumbleweed workshop, when we visited the first ever built Tumbleweed house that Jay lived in for years.

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Adding Structural Strength for a Bumper Garden

When Matt and I went to re-frame the rear wall of the COMET, we knew we had to do some re-design as well. First of all, at some point there is going to be a “bumper garden” (hehe, get it? on top of the bumper…) mounted onto the back of the trailer under the window. Ok, so it’s like a way-glorified window box, but on a moving trailer, and made with polycarbonate so it’s also like a tiny greenhouse too. Since there will at some point soon be soil and metal and plants hanging off of the back wall, we knew we had to beef up the framing. I wanted enough studs that we could lag into to support the bumper garden. The second part of the design had to address the really weird original framing, which had the rear bench (couch and also my bed) come down halfway in front of the rear hatch, which is the only place to really store anything large. Basically, the rear bench bisected the hatch, and I thought that was dumb, because I want full hatch access! So we raised the bench up 6 inches, so it now clears the rear hatch door and give us a little more storage. Here’s how we did it!

A little reference, so you can see how the original framing interfered with the rear access door.

That beam spans right across the access opening, so we did a little re-designing.

That beam spans right across the access opening, so we did a little re-designing.

Those new studs are 2x6's, so very strong. We cut them to match the profile of the curvy back of the trailer. It had to match the existing aluminum shape. Notice that the problematic beam is gone.

Those new studs are 2×6’s, so very strong. We cut them to match the profile of the curvy back of the trailer. It had to match the existing aluminum shape. Notice that the problematic beam is gone.

Here's another view. The 2x4 spanning the two studs ties them together and gives me another place to lag into when I go to attach the bumper garden.

Here’s another view. The 2×4 spanning the two studs ties them together and gives me another place to lag into when I go to attach the bumper garden.

More framing! We added a 2x4 across the top of the access opening. That member will support the bench framing. We re-used most of the wood from the original bench, just re-arranged it. We tried to make the back as strong as possible. We'll see how it holds up when the bumper garden goes on.

More framing! We added a 2×6 across the top of the access opening. That member will support the bench framing. We re-used most of the wood from the original bench, just re-arranged it. The studs (2×2’s) on either side are for nailing  the new wood panel up, you need something to tack into. We tried to make the back as strong as possible. We’ll see how it holds up when the bumper garden goes on.

Just another close-up.

Just another close-up.

Now you can see that the rear hatch is entirely accessible. Much better! And we made room for a slightly larger fresh water tank too.

Now you can see that the rear hatch is entirely accessible. Much better! And we made room for a slightly larger fresh water tank too.

Just a little tip/reminder for those of you that are doing this yourself: NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE SURE THE TOW WIRING WORKS! While you have access to the wiring for the rear brake/turn lights, make sure everything works. Luckily, the Avalon was working when we got her. But my other camper, the Beemer, needed to be completely re-wired, and it’s better to know before you go closing up the walls.

Insulate with UltraTouch Denim Insulation. See previous post for more about this cool stuff!

Insulate with UltraTouch Denim Insulation. See previous post for more about this cool stuff!

Here's the plywood I cut to be the rear panel. See that little window cut out at the top (the right side?), that's going to be a picture frame that let's you see and feel the UltraTouch from inside the camper. I thought this would be cool for people to see and feel at workshops and such.

Here’s the plywood I cut to be the rear panel. See that little window cut out at the top (the right side?), that’s going to be a picture frame that let’s you see and feel the UltraTouch from inside the camper. I thought this would be cool for people to see and feel at workshops and such.

Well this photo skips a few steps ahead, but you can see the 1/4 inch plywood panel installed (use shanked finish nails). You can also see the new (though made from the original old wood pieces) bench framing. See how the front of the bench, with the access door which is removed in this photo, has a 2x6 (which is 5.5 inches wide) attched to the bottom. This gave us the height we needed to clear the rear hatch! It all worked out as planned.

Well this photo skips a few steps ahead, but you can see the 1/4 inch plywood panel installed (use ring-shanked finish nails). You can also see the new (though made from the original old wood pieces) bench framing. See how the front of the bench, with the access door which is removed in this photo, has a 2×6 (which is 5.5 inches wide) attached to the bottom. This gave us the height we needed to clear the rear hatch! It all worked out as planned.

Here's a close-up of the little insulation view-hole. I have a picture frame that will go around that square when everything's finished.

Here’s a close-up of the little insulation view-hole. I have a picture frame that will go around that square when everything’s finished.

 

 

And that’s how to frame for a bumper garden (or any other weight bearing rear storage container)! I really hope this works. I think it’s probably a little overkill, considering the bumper garden will also be supported by the bumper, but I’d rather be safe than sorry!

Next post will cover more insulation and paneling (quickly), and maybe a little more of the bench building. It will definitely cover how to install the fresh water tank.

Thanks to everyone who’s been reading along while I play catch up! I hope all of this is helpful to those of you who are restoring your own vintage trailers. And I hope it doesn’t scare away those who one day hope to!

 

 

 

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Thank You Sew Fine Fabrics!

sewfinefabrics logo

 

Who said organic fabric had to mean neutral tones of hempy linen? I was bummed out about what I was finding online for organic fabrics options for the COMET upholstery, until I stumbled upon the Etsy shop, Sew Fine Fabrics. I wanted something bright, fun, and retro – not pea-green and scratchy. I was also looking for something affordable (everything else I came across was about $40/yard – yikes!) and Sew Fine Fabrics delivered everything I wanted at an affordable price. Sew Fine Fabrics offers organic lightweight and home decor weight fabrics in bright colors, amazing prints, and retro styling. Jodi Walter Jones, the owner of this lovely shop, says, “I’m seriously obsessed with finding fabrics I love. I spend way too much time tracking them down. I love that organic now means colors and textures and modern designs rather them the plain oatmeal color of the recent past.” I could not agree more.
I used the Pinstripe organic home-decor weight fabric for the rear bench in the COMET (also my bed!). I also used the Starburst Orange fabric for accent pillows. I was so excited to find an organic fabric in a pattern that I loved in the exact color scheme of the COMET – teal and orange! It’s a perfect match. And all the fabrics are SUPER soft and sturdy. Just recently I ordered some more teal + orange fabrics from Sew Fine that I haven’t used yet, but plan on incorporating into the trailer soon.
So if your looking for some eco-friendly fabrics to use in your tiny house, vintage trailer, or other project, please do check out Sew Fine Fabrics on Etsy. Jodi is super sweet, and is happy to make up custom listings. I wholeheartedly recommend Sew Fine Fabrics.

Here are some pictures of the couch and pillows, all done with fabric selected from Sew Fine Fabrics.

starburst

comet couch

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Here’s a taste of some of the other organic fabrics that Jodi has over at Sew Fine Fabrics (I’m in LOVE with the vintage trailer one – check out her website for other vintage trailer themed fabrics):

camper fabric

sew fine 3

sew fine 2

THANKS SEW FINE FABRICS!

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Thank You Fletcher’s Trailer Sales!

As the weather get’s colder and fall is in full swing, it is safe to say that work on the construction of COMET is winding down for now. It’s a little too cold to paint the exterior outside, so until I find an indoor workspace I’ll have much more time to post about the progress of the last few months. I’m glad for the change of pace!

Lots of exciting things happened for us in the last few weeks. We brought the COMET to Deek Diedricksen’s tiny house workshop in Stoughton, MA. It was an awesome weekend of talking tiny, building a super teeny house on a trailer, and lots of time around the campfire. We got to hang out in the Whittled Down Caravan with Tristan and Libby, which was great. At the workshop we were interviewed for an NPR show coming up (I’ll definitely let you know when I find out the air date), which was unexpected and totally awesome. We also did a video with Deek for Tiny Yellow House (his youtube video channel), which will be out soon I hope! Even though the COMET remains a work in progress, it is really shaping up into something lovely, and people seemed excited about the future of the project. After the tiny house workshop, we did a video shoot for a Spaces.TV “Offbeat Spaces” webseries episode, which was really neat and a new experience for me. The COMET is such a technical project for me, and talking about the aesthetics and interior design choices for the Offbeat Spaces video was a welcome change!
Anyway, lots of re-capping and catching up to do as always (I think the only solution to this would be a clone…anyone?)…but I promise now that the weather has made working outside less feasible, I will be spending more time with the blog!

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Now, to the rest of this post!

I got a really good question about where to get replacement windows for vintage trailers. I thought I’d share the best answer with everyone in this post!

I want to introduce you to one of my supporters, Fletcher’s Trailer Sales. Some of you fellow trailer nuts probably know about them already, and for those who don’t – they are an amazing one stop shop and resource for all things vintage trailer related.

I always loved the Vintage Kingpins website. Before I had a vintage camper of my own, I would always keep an eye on it for project trailers for sale, and when I bought my first trailer the website was a great resource (and their parts inventory is AMAZING!) I hope to have as many vintage campers (and other neat stuff) as these guys some day.

One of the windows in the COMET was broken, not just the glass, but the whole assembly was just trashed. I was nervous that I would have to replace it with just some inoperable system of my own devising – like a stationary piece of glass in a frame. I thought there was no way I would be able to find a matching window.

But I checked on the vintage trailer websites, and saw some campers that looked similar to the Avalon on the “Trailers for Parts” page of the Fletcher’s Trailer Sales website. I called them up, and Fletch  – who is as helpful and friendly as can be – was happy to go out into the lot and look for a double jalousie that was the size of the one that needed replacing in my own camper. Within minutes he had located the exact window that I needed, and promptly pulled it from the parts trailer and shipped it to me. I could not be happier with what I received in the mail. It is amazing to me that from anywhere in the country you can find something so hard to come by – a unique vintage trailer window that perfectly fits my camper. I don’t know of any other business that will pull exact parts for you out of their “harvesting” trailers and send them to you anywhere in the US. It’s amazing! And they have a great selection of campers (for parts and for sale) from all eras and styles. If you don’t see what you need in their trailer parts category on the website, give them a call and tell them what you need. I’ll bet they have what you’re looking for. We all want the most authentic parts for our restorations – and the best (and greenest!) way is to get it vintage.

Here’s a little bit about Fletch and Denise, the Vintage Kingpins themselves, from their website:

“I’m Bill Fletcher and along with my wife Denise we own and operate Fletcher’s Trailer Sales and Service Inc. We are a second generation, full time family run business that has been serving the public since 1963. Since then we have sold many brands of camping trailers, travel trailers, motor homes, truck campers, and utility trailers of all sizes and types, both new and used.
During the past several years we have turned our attention toward vintage and classic travel trailers. We feel that the timeless styling and rugged construction features of these beauties is not only a good investment, but also one that you can enjoy for a lifetime. Why be one of the masses with a cookie cutter box on wheels that will only depreciate in value? Why buy a trailer for $20,000 that is constructed of re-cycled beer cans and chipboard when you can spend far less of  your hard earned dollars on something with soul, that will turn heads and get thumbs up wherever you go.
Our mission is quite simple, treat others like you would like to be treated, honestly, fairly, with courtesy and consideration. We feel that this policy has kept us in business year after year while others have come and gone.
What do we have to offer? A nice selection of un-restored trailers from the smallest Scotty’s and teardrops to 40’ birch paneled mobile homes. We also have a number of ‘parts’ trailers that have unfortunately surpassed their own lives and will contribute their various parts to help other trailers go on and on. Although we do not offer full restoration services we will accept small projects and/or general service work from suspension and running gear up dates, to appliance repair with most everything in between. All work is preformed by myself with 36 years of past experience. Looking for vintage, hard to find parts? Give us a try. Either E-Mail or call (607-387-5838) and we’ll guarantee to do our level best to help you out.”

Oh, and they are also the Northeast Representatives for the Tin Can Tourists group!

I highly recommend Fletcher’s to anyone working on a vintage camper, or anyone looking to purchase a project trailer. And, if you’re on the tiny house wavelength, Fletch said that he has sold a few trailer chassis’ to people planning on building a tiny on a re-used trailer. A great idea! So get in touch with him if you need a trailer to build your tiny house on!

Here’s some pictures of Matt and I replacing the old window with the new one from Fletcher’s. THANK YOU FLETCHER’S TRAILER SALES!

Here’s the replacement window from Fletcher’s, before it was installed. It is an exact match to the one that was originally in the trailer (actually, it is a little nicer than the original!).

We removed the original window, scraped off all of the old caulking, and had a clean slate to work with.

Matt scrapes off some more old caulking before installing the new window.

We ran a bead of new caulk all around the edge of the window before installing it, to seal it (you can sort of see the white caulk around the edges). We used stainless steel sheet metal screws (which match the rest of the screws) and installed the window in a snap. It fit perfectly, and works great!

Again, a big thank you to Fletcher’s Trailer Sales for supporting The COMET and education in sustainable, tiny living!

 

 

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Catching up, Again

So, picking up where I left off in the post “Replacing Rotten Wood in a Vintage Camper.” I’m going to try and squeeze a few days worth of progress into this post. And again, I’m going back to June/July (wow, it’s crazy that it’s been that long! I have so much catching up to do here on the blog and so much to share! If only there were two of me – one to wield the drill all day and one to blog about it at the same time!). This stuff was all happening in June, in preparation for Tiny House Summer Camp, in the beginning on July. Okay, let’s get to it!
So where we left off I had replaced the rotten framing on the starboard (door) side of the trailer. Now we’re moving over the the rear port side of the trailer, to replace what was rotten there. The damage hadn’t reached as far as on the starboard side, which was a relief.

Here, I’m just removing all of the rotten framing to make room for some replacement framing.

I used a pry bar, a five in one, and the Rockwell SoniCrafter (again, can’t recommend this enough to vintage trailer restorers – it’s a life saver) to dig out the old, soft framing to the place where it was solid again. And as on the other side, we cut the studs to 5 1/2 inches above the trailer frame, so that we could replace it with the 2 x 6 on end.

Same as the starboard side replacement joist – we bolted it to the frame (notched the 2 x 6 for the length of the longest bit we had) and used metal strapping for extra structural stability. No way my house is falling apart now! At least it’s better than the original stapled construction 🙂

Here you can get a feel for the bigger picture. Also, in this photo I want to point out something that I knew I wanted to change in the rebuild: on the left side of the photo, spanning across the rear wall of the camper, the 2 x 2 that is right in the middle of the rear hatch opening really bothered me. It’s right in the middle of the only large storage space, making it so that you can’t fit large things through that door. I decided I needed to re-design the bed/couch framing so that it didn’t interfere with the rear hatch opening.

Well, it’s time for me to get back outside and keep working on the COMET. I’ll be back later with more catching up on the last few months of progress and bringing the blog up to speed.

 

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Tiny House Tour + The Second Wall Goes Up

Okay, so as usual I have just a few minutes to post before breakfast and then getting out to the build site – but here’s what we did yesterday.

In the morning we toured Susan and Emily’s tiny house in Montpelier VT. It’s the tiny house that last year’s Yestermorrow 2 week class built. They finished the exterior since and are now working on interior – plumbing, electrical, and finishes. I really like the details of their tiny house.

 

It was a wonderful tiny tour.

 

Also, back at the Yestermorrow ranch, we finished the floor (the finished floor – I’ll talk more about that later. There’s a few issues I have with the way we’re building this house, but I’ll go into it at a later time). We got our second wall up too!

This is me at the chop saw. Best tool ever.

 

All photos courtesy of Timothy Ettridge. Thanks Timothy!

Timothy had this posted next to the picture of Linda and I at the chop saw:

“Mariah is the unofficial fourth instructor, for whom several of us have already expressed particular appreciation for her presence in our class. Though only 21, she already has more knowledge about tiny dwelling design and construction than many of us ever hope to attain. Working with her reminds me of working with Huw Fernie years ago on the Velux 5 Oceans sailboat race, for whenever he would come up with a MUCH better way of doing something I was doing, I would always say, “It’s not that I’m dumb. It’s just that you’re a frickin’ genius.”

What a compliment! Thanks Timothy! Timothy and I are on similar paths. He is living in a trailer that he has re-done right now as he begins to build his tiny house on wheels. I think it’s a good approach!

Last night I gave my lecture on Tiny House design and the details of my own project, as well as explained some tiny-house scale off-grid systems. It was really fun! I hope to come back and talk again at future tiny house courses at Yestermorrow.

Alright, back to work!

 

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Updates, Updates! Plus: Vintage Trailer Eye Candy

Hello!

I need to apologize for my lack of uploaded photos of the COMET progress from the past month. It’s so frustrating, because I really want to share them with you all, but I am having technical difficulties with the camera, alas! HOPEFULLY I can resolve the issue soon and we can get back on track!

Until then, I have some other news:

1. Just got back from a 2 day “Greenhouse Design” workshop at Yestermorrow Design/Build School, where I finalized the design of my “bumper” garden – a mini, lightweight greenhouse mounted to the back of the trailer, supported by the bumper. It was great to learn about the different material options for building a greenhouse. In order to be as lightweight as possible, I’m going to go with aluminum framing and polycarbonate  sheets – a structural panel. Can’t wait to get started on the fabrication/building of that!

Greenhouse made from recycled windows, as seen on Apartment Therapy. Such a good idea! I also thought of upcycling an old carport into a small greenhouse.

 

2. Lloyd Kahn, my favorite tiny house/alternative dwelling author, is coming out with a new book and guess what it’s all about? Campers and houseboats! yay! He recently released his Tiny House book, which had a full page spread about mobile dwellings, but I can’t wait to get a hold of this book dedicated to unique camper houses and house boats. I think it is going to be titled “Wheels and Water”. If you live in an awesome trailer or houseboat, he is looking for submissions too for the book. Head over to http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/ for more on that!

3. I’ve been on a fermentation rampage the last few weeks. Saurkraut, Curtido (Salvadorean suarkraut for papusas), and Kombucha have been filling the fridge and the dark corners of the basement. I’ve been experimenting with double fermentation of the Kombucha and have been perfecting the Curtido recipe (which is extra magical as it uses whey as part of the fermentation process). I have more Kombucha mothers than I know what to do with at this point, but it’s nice to have enough to try all different flavors with. My first batch turned into straight up vinegar, but I have been planning on using that for salad dressings and other vinegar drinks that I have recipes for from the book “Making It” by Kelley Coyne + Erik Knutzen. I will share my super affordable, DIY $5 fermentation set up and some recipes soon!

4. I’m addicted to looking at Pinterest pages that are all about vintage camper eye candy. I have 4 new ones to share with you. It’s such a high concentration of vintage camper pictures in one place, it is almost overstimulating. Each one is full of good ideas for design + storage too.

Here we are:

Trailer Parks + Trailers I LOVE!

My Vintage Trailer Restoration

Creative Camper Interiors

Fun Little Campers

Some of them have some of the same photos, but for the most part each one is worth checking out if you love vintage trailer eye candy!

I am always trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up (I feel like the answer will always be “Everything”). While at Yestermorrow, I get so excited about each subject I learn about it’s like a new career path unfolds in front of me every other week! I’ll be a solar house designer, I’ll be a Greenhouse builder, I’ll be a tiny house builder or a teacher. I made use of the drafting tables at Yestermorrow while I was there and after class did some “architectural” drawings of camper designs of the future (We can all agree that most modern RV designs are terrible and tacky, right?). Maybe I’ll be an RV designer and try to usher in a new era of campers that look like old campers! While I work towards the silliest degree in the world (I think I’ve explained my major before – vintage trailer restoration and the culture of mobile dwellings?), I try to see how I can apply it to the future of our culture and the planet. Not sure where I’m going with this, but that’s okay once in a while right? One step at a time! Sorry this was a bit of a rambling paragraph.

 

Anyway, I really hope to have the camera situation fixed very soon and then I can share more COMET progress and trailer restoration how-to’s. Until then, have a lovely day! and THANK YOU for reading!

 

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Before + After: Replacing Rotten Framing in a Vintage Camper

Like I said, lot’s of catching up to do!

I’ve got to go back to 5 weeks ago and bring you all up to speed on the progress of the COMET. She was a MESS before we went to Tiny House Summer Camp, but if you saw the article on Deek’s website, you saw some pictures of what she looks more like now – less of a mess.
Anyway, here’s the first installment of catching up the website to where the COMET stands now.

BEFORE:

Some serious demolition. After stepping around the back and almost falling through the trailer floor onto the pavement 3 feet below, we decided to replace EVERYTHING. This demolition was made 10 times easier by the use of the SoniCrafter, using the plunge-cut blade to remove rotten wood to where it was solid again.

We cleaned out all of the wood-dust (used to be framing) and insulation from the floor. Under the floor, above the chassis, is a layer of sheet metal for protection. Everything had been destroyed by the termites/carpenter ants and water damage.

Daylight is never a good thing!

The photos above show where we removed the original rotted out 1 x 1 (yes, 1 x 1) framing from that rear of the trailer to halfway under the door frame. We had to remove up to the next joist after the wood became solid, so that we could have something to screw the new subfloor into. We removed the floor framing, then, using the SoniCrafter, we cut the wall studs at a line 5.5 inches above the metal trailer frame. We decided to replace the old 1 x 1 framing with a big 2 x 6, hence the 5.5″ height.

Spongey floor spots, be gone!

AFTER:

The solution was to replace the rotten frame piece with a 2 x 6, so that we were rebuilding the trailer better than it was originally built.

 

This 2 x 6 is the length of the beam we just removed and is marked to be notched out for the framing around the door frame, which we wanted to save.

We knocked it into place with a few hammer swings and it fit like a charm.

We ended up shimming a bit of this, but it fit nicely for the most part, and we didn’t have to rebuild the door frame!

Bolting the new frame piece to the chassis. The 2 x 6 is notched so the drill bit would reach the top, because it wasn’t 5.5″ long.

Somehow Matt was less excited about the new framing than I was. Thanks for the relentless help and support, could not have done this without him!

 

View from interior, all bolted in down the line.

Sistering on some new floor studs/joists.

Reframing around the wheel-well for the new subfloor.

I was a happy camper by the end of this little part of it. Next, we re-framed the entire back, raised the rear bed up 6  extra inches, re-insulated with the denim insulation, and more! More pictures of that part soon.

Oh, and all the lumber I used is FSC certified 🙂

As always, thanks for reading!

If you like the blog and would like to help me continue working on the COMET, please consider making a small donation over at the DONATE page of this site 🙂 Thanks!!

 

 

 

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