Monday, September 6, 2010

Love 3-Day Weekends!

Just one extra day seems to make all the difference in the world.  Come Sunday afternoon, I'm usually packing up my tools around 4:00pm so that I can rush the van back to storage by 4:30, in time for closing.
Each weekend it seems like I have to start over.  Pulling out my tools, remembering where I left off and gaining some momentum usually takes an hour off of the first day.  So all told, my two days of build time works out to maybe 1.5 days of real progress.


I started by throwing up the ceiling beams  Pretty straight forward process.

Check out this awesome feature -- built right into the Roving Home --  for your ceiling beam installation pleasure. 

All I had to do was notch the wood a bit.  How amazing is that?!

Time to build some walls!

The framing in the picture represents the wardrobe.  I went up to my girl's closet to measure the depth of your garden-variety hanger.  By the way, I've never seen so many clothes in my life.  I informed her that the closet of the Roving Home will accommodate maybe four wardrobe changes, and that's it -- which is a good thing, because that way she won't be waffling between outfits for 30 minutes, thereby draining all of my precious electricity so she can see how she looks (which is always fabulous).

So...a garden variety hanger holding a long-sleeved shirt or light jacket takes up roughly 19 inches, with wiggle room. 


Not too bad!  And that's without the front facing. 
So, that's a clean 19.5 inches of raw hanger-holding freedom.  And, no, I didn't just "luck out" on that one.  I did my homework.  

A bit of back-tracking.  

I picked up my van on Saturday morning, after a week of absence, and I parked the van in my usual spot and unlatched the wooden bulkhead door.  With a heave-ho I forced it open.  Hm...something didn't feel right.  Last week that thing glided back and forth as if mounted on ball-bearings.  Apparently the aluminum angle piece that holds the overhead track didn't like all that weight and started to droop.  

Back to the drawing board.  

I replaced the support bracket with a steel piece. 


Kind of a bummer, but now it's solid.  It closes perfectly and locks nicely in place.  Taking that whole thing apart and rehanging it set me back a good 2 hours. 

Now, I've noticed throughout my armchair travels on the Internet that most people who build "house-cars" have started from the ceiling, down.  They cut all of their holes in the roof, first, then adhere insulation and wire the necessary roof mounted appliances before sealing up the framework and continuing onward to the walls.  I don't have that much confidence in my ability to think of every last detail on paper.  With my luck, I'd seal everything overhead before realizing that if I'd only moved that one beam over another 4 inches, then I'd be able to set the bathroom wall up, perfectly.  I also want to be able to test all electrical circuits, plumbing and propane before closing everything up. 

So I'm working in a linear fashion from front to rear, beginning with the framing. 

There's the bathroom fan.  I also slapped up the first layer of insulation. 

With regards to insulation, it's all about the air gap.  Think of it this way:  You've fired up your kitchen stove and have dropped a frying pan onto the grate.  After a few minutes parked over that flame, the frying pan is going to give you a smart burn if you touch that metal surface, right?  But if you hold your finger an inch above the pan, how hot would that be?  I would suspect, not very. 

As with the frying pan, metal roofs contain all of the heat.  So the most important thing to establish is an air gap to block the transmission of the radiant heat.  The first layer of insulation adheres directly to the scorching - and I mean scorching - hot aluminum.  The second layer suspends taught, between the beams. 

A staple gun seals the deal.

So, now you've got layer 1 which touches the metal.  Layer two is merely an air gap, followed by more insulation.  And finally layer 4, which is another air gap.  Adjacent to the completed portion of the insulated roof, the unfinished metal ceiling was hot to the touch under the afternoon sun.  The air below the insulated portion was luke-warm.  


Let's finish up the bathroom fan!


And, look at the super secret profile from above.


Take note of this ceiling fan.  This came with the truck. 

That thing seriously cramps my style...


But it sure didn't want to go without a fight.  I whacked that thing into submission for about 5 minutes.  They probably used Henry's 900 adhesive -- my all time favorite.   

I had to wrestle with the roof top vent, as well. 


Before sealing in the door behind the bathroom wall, I'm going to have to stain it while I can get to it.  However, that will have to be next weekend's project.  Here's a little test I did.

I'm partial to the Minwax -- less red. 

Had just enough time to wrap things up before heading inside to a another fabulous post-build pre-work meal.

If you haven't had a Belgian Ale, I'd highly recommend it.  They tend to be smooth, roasty and sweet.  This is one my new favorites -- Terrible, by Unibrau in Quebec.



  1. More progress, nice to see! Keep it up Rob, looks great so far man!

    97 RT 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  2. Mike,

    Fingers crossed. I haven't even reached the hard part, yet. As always, thanks for stopping by!

  3. YAY now it's really getting exciting...

  4. Now you are ahead of me! Looks great and thx for the good info on the insulation. I'll be starting mine as soon as I finish painting the outside of my bus. Had to rearrange my work plans because of cold weather showing up early.