Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Great Build -- Day 2

It took tens of years and cost thousands of lives, but the great Roving Home rose from the ashes of a crippled civilization.  Yes, a little dark humor coming your way from southern California.  I think we're due for a "big one," if you know what I mean.  At least, that's what's been floating around the media circles as of late.  Scientists have stressed concern over the frequency of quakes throughout the southland during the past few months, yet we'll never leave.  It's either bear the quakes, or  the tornadoes,  the hurricanes, blizzards, flooding or God knows what else, depending upon where it is that you call home.  My house will be quake proof.  So with that covered, I'm more than happy to call sunny SoCal, home.

When I bought the truck, I asked the owner about the bulkhead door, because only a thin frayed bungee cord held the thing against the wall.  Absent were a track, lock, floor guide and wheels.  Well, actually there were wheels, but not very good ones.

That one is the good one.  The other ones lack ball bearings and rubber.  My first instinct was to call the stepvan parts website to figure out what I need to hang this thing, until I realized that the website has no phone number.  So, basically you have to know exactly what you want, because you're getting zero customer service from those folks.  I don't know about you, but if I ran a store, I would make sure that my customers were happy with their purchase, including assistance with their problems.  But, what do I know?  They lost business from me because I didn't know what I should order. 

There's a gap in the door that's supposed to have something in it.  I think it's the locking mechanism.

I have no idea.

Is that the back side of the door or the front side?

I was clueless.  So I called Utilimaster, left a message with their parts department and never heard back. 

Off to Ace Hardware!

The knowledgeable guy directed me right to the sliding door aisle where I found this track, suitable for 60 pound loads.  I wasn't sure if my door was 60 pounds, so I first stepped on my scale -- YIKES -- then stepped on it again with the door in hand.  Low and behold, 41.9 pounds.  Woohoo!

So, here's the door, back in action.  The angled piece actually guides the spring lock into place.  As you slide the door, the guide squeezes the spring lock downward until the lock reaches the end of the line.  The lock then pops back up, thereby securing the door.  Pretty basic mechanics.

From the front, in the driver's cab, you just push your finger through the hole, lower the hook and slide open the door.


From inside the Roving Home, you just lower the hook.

Anyway, I'm yawning just talking about this.  Probably should have just left it out, except for the fact that I spent all weekend putting this together.  Let's not forget the floor guide, too.  It just so happens that two identical pieces of angle iron worked out perfectly.

Each bag there represents a trip to the hardware store.  Whew!

But wait, there's more!  Before I start my framing, I have to finish that door.  It's going to be blocked in as soon as I build my walls, so I have to do the finishing work now.  I had to take a deep breath and switch gears, for finish carpentry requires a whole different attention to detail and focus. 

I figured I'd kill several birds with one stone and do a bulk lumber purchase to get a good start out of the gate.

Stocking up!

Heading out!

Looks like she plays well with the rest of the cars.  She minds her own business, and they mind theirs.

So, the front side of the bulkhead door will remain rough and industrial.  I'm rather partial to that look...

 But the rear must remain civilized and will be finished appropriately.

A little light gluing...

A little light clamping...

And we'll let all that fresh wet and sticky lumber dry out over the week -- preheat truck to 115 and leave for 5 days in the baking sun.  That'll do it.  

Until next time... 


  1. This is definitely one of my favourite blogs to follow. :)

    That door is going to be really nice. I like the idea of leaving one side with the industrial look.

  2. Hey Anne,

    I appreciate the nice words. After I had set the clamps, I realized that one corner of the door is a bit warped. We'll see if the whole thing will work. I may have to drive the truck over it to flatten it out. I should probably do a video entry for that.

    Stay tuned!