Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–The last Demo, Clearing the Bathroom–Part 1

Now, you’re all probably wondering, as I said in my last post “We’re on a Roll!”, and now we’ve moved away from finishing the cabover and moved on to other parts of the Ms. Merry.

Well, the answer is pretty simple.   In the process of completing what you’ve seen in the cabover, I successfully hurt my knee, and since I couldn’t crawl around until it healed up, I decided rather than waste time, the Gang and I would go and work on other parts of Ms. Merry that needed doing. 

So, we figured we’d move on to finish the side walls and roof, and to tackle that, we had to finish doing the last Demolition that we’d been putting off, the bathroom.

We’d put off the bathroom as long as we did because when I first started on Ms. Merry, we were racing to try and get done as fast as possible to try and make the Glacier National Park Rally with the other Truck Campers.   So, we weren’t certain if we were going to do anything with Ms. Merry’s bathroom or not, other than shove it out of the way to finish the wall behind it.

Now, that we’ve got more time and making sure we’re doing everything right, I decided that I would take a page from Old Mr. Kit and completely rebuild the bathroom.

With that decision made, the next big one was, “What do we want to save?”   Ms. Merry did have a nice one-piece fiberglass bathroom, problem was, it was just a hair too short front to back and a couple inches too narrow. 

We guess Gardner did this so that one bathroom mould could be used for all their RV models, vs having different sized ones for different models. 

So, I decided that we’d keep the bottom half of the bathroom (It was two pieces glued together), and junk the top, as the medicine cabinet wasn’t worth keeping and the roof vent was going to be redone anyway.

Now, that was decided, it was time to take the proverbial to it.

One last look at the old bathroom.


Then off came the door wall and the door:


Then Mr. Dremel really got to work, cutting out the upper bathroom walls in pieces:


You can see the water damage where it got in around the junk roof vent above the bathroom. 

It was too long before we had half a bathroom and the rest was pieces thrown out in the dumpster.


Most of the roof above the bathroom we were able to just pull out with our fingers, it just crumbled into thousands of tiny pieces.  

Now, that the upper half of Ms. Merry’s bathroom has been cleared away, we can hold off on working on the bottom half until we get the roof and ceiling done so we can start planning out the new walls. 

First up, we’re going to start reframing the roof and remove those old vents, but that’s a story for another chapter Smile

Monday, July 10, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–Completing the Cabover, Part 2

We’re on a roll, now!

Soon, as we finished getting Ms. Merry’s new plywood walls done, we couldn’t wait to get to the next  step, installing the first of the new finished wall board that would adorn all of the inside walls inside of Ms. Merry Smile !

Since our plywood boards fit so well, we decided to trace them onto their finish wall boards before we had glued them into place. 

So, other than troweling on the flexible wall-board adhesive we’d selected and putting in the perimeter staples to keep everything nice and tight, it took very little time at all to really make Merry’s new walls look wonderful Smile

The pattern on the finished wall board is called “Sea Mist”, though we’re not entirely sure where it comes from, as we’ve never seen a sea mist that looked anything like it.

For our friends that own Ms. Merry’s brothers and sisters, you may or may not have noticed, but as part of our redesign of Ms. Merry’s interior, we did away with the little wing shelf-thingies that were under the bottom edge of the wrap-around front window.  

Given one of our main goals was to fit a full queen size mattress in Ms. Merry’s cabover, we saw no use to the little wings since our front ledge is anchored in place using a custom cut 2x6 and is securely attached to the cabover frame which supports it instead of the ledge trying to support the floor, as it was when we first brought Ms. Merry home. 

The remaining void between the fiberglass body and the frame will be later filled with expanding foam, the low pressure variety so that it doesn’t accidentally deform the fiberglass body, this will insulate and remove any cold air voids near the front. 

Once the main cabover walls were finished, the next part was to close back in the top front corners and install the insulation. 

Yes, the gang and I decided to use pink bat insulation, we don’t have the tools to use expanding spray foam, which would have been ideal and the canned stuff wouldn’t have ensured an even insulation layer.  Plus, if we ever need to replace the clearance lights, not embedding the wiring in expanding foam was a good idea Smile

First we temporarily installed the corner boards to help hold the ceiling up while we removed the front board that had been temporarily screwed in place, then installed the fiberglass Smile.   

The temporary bracing is to straighten the upper plywood ledge back out, the staples that held the bottom ledge for the front plywood had pulled out over the winter and had caused a bow to form in the shelf.

We glued and screwed the ledge back in place this time, so we’re going to leave it wedged up for a while to get the bow out. 
Once that was glued and screwed into place, we next removed the driver’s side corner board, installed the insulation, then reinstalled the plywood.

You can see the extra piece we glued on the back to give us extra thickness to later attach the reading light fixture for Mrs. Dawn and the hole for the wires to come through.

Then we did the same (minus the wiring) on the other side.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–Completing the Cabover, Part 1

Poor Ms. merry, she’s sat waiting patiently for almost a year before the I got the gang back together again.  

She’s even had to suffer through the indignity of her Cabover Escape Hatch giving way under a snow load in January and it not being noticed for quite some time, leaving us alot of clean-up work to repair the damage to the brand new inside.

We’ll have a picture soon of Ms. Merry’s better than new escape hatch and her nifty-new Winnegard Batwing antenna (Just as soon as we clear the two inches of fir needles off the rest of poor Merry’s roof). 

When we stopped last year on Ms. Merry, we’d just gotten the brand new ceiling in, and were insulating the cabover walls and trying to cut the plywood to close in the side walls. 


We’d gotten the insulation down pat, but we’d made a miserable mess of trying to make new cabover sidewalls, attempting to reuse the old wall paneling to trace out the new panels, but they would never line up properly. 

Finally, Mrs. Dawn said, “Why don’t you just staple some cardboard on the wall and make a template of what you need and then trace that out on the wood instead?” 

The Milwaukee brothers and I looked at each other and had to scratch our heads to ponder why that idea hadn’t come to us in the first place.  Good thing we’ve got Mrs. Dawn to keep us blunderheads from wasting anymore expensive wood!  Smile 

Sure enough, we made a perfectly fitting template on our first try and it worked so well that it even fit on both sides!


In case you’re wondering, the floor is just sitting in place, the wall panel goes all the way down to the cabover floor frame.  Smile

A quick zip with Mr. Router, and we’ve got side windows again Smile


We liked how it was looking so much, we decided we wanted to show you how the frames for the inside cabover wall looked sitting in place Smile.


You can kind of guess where the opening to the caboverr will be Smile.   Some cross pieces to support the cabinets in the kitchen and where the TV cabinet in the cabover still need to be added, but it’s coming together Smile

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Rebuilding “Ms. Merry”, the Amerigo–Dusting of the Tools

*Gets out the broom and dusts Mr. BadAxe’s keyboard off*

My goodness, its been almost a year to the day since I last wrote an update on poor Ms. Merry and all the gang!

Sadly, shortly after I wrote “Ms. Merry Lights up the Night”, I was informed that we would have to break down the workshop needed to do the day to day work on Ms. Merry for the annual investors walk through (Investors don’t like seeing work benches full of tools and stacks of wood, puts them right off!) for the park where I, Dawn, Ms. Merry and all the gang live.  

Given the amount of time it would take to get the workshop set back up and the lack of a definitive date for when the Investors were going to visit, and how badly I was hurting from trying to rebuild Ms. Merry in time for the Glacier National Natcoa Rally, we were forced to the conclusion that it was time to pack it away and take our time after the Investors were done with their visit.

Unfortunately, I never ended up picking the tools back up, as work got busy and I never really got my energy back.   By the time I finally got back to Ms. Merry, it was already going into October and the season for doing structural building was lost. 

So, why so late a start this year?

Same thing that killed me the rest of the year, last year.  


The worst of all the evil four letter words known in the English Language.  Nothing destroys dreams of working on your loving restoration projects than working 50-60 hour weeks and watching the sun set and then rise again from the windows of your work place without having gone home in between Smile with tongue out


I’ve finally been able to resume, thanks to things falling into place at long last, and the time invested into improving things at work so that they don’t need me to spend all night caretaking them anymore (I’d call it Idiot-Proofing, but that would be an insult to my fellow lab denizens, they’re all very hard workers, but they’ve got the Devil’s luck at finding every weakeness in my designs and making them fail in catastrophic and time-consuming ways). 

So, I thank everyone whose patiently waited, Rebuilding Ms. Merry, is back Smile!