I started this post last July of 2018. It has been almost that long since we worked on Peaches. I wanted to get these photos in here but i am not sure i will remember all the details. I know we were rewiring the camper. We had to cut holes for lights ect and get the wires to the correct spots. There is also some photos of the back end and how we made the finished end on the bottom of the camper and other photos of how we cut around the trailer front. There is also a few pics of how I made a marker pen the right size to mark the top of the camper so we could cut it off at the size we wanted. I will ad more information if i remember something. I think that this is the summer we finish Peaches but i don’t want to jinx us. Knock on wood.
It has been a few years since my last post. Since then we have changed our minds on a few things. First and most noticeable will be that after all the shellac testing and talking about keeping it original, in the end, i didn’t like the color combo with my Peachy , Coral colors. So i decided to the dismay of many purists to paint the interior a cream color. Now it will be Peaches and Cream colors on my camper named “Peaches” We have redone a lot of things over the last two years, i will post photos and tell about it as i go along.
The bed in back was also modified after we decided that we wanted the legs to fold up under the top and slide out as i pulled it out. I bought a twin size comfortable memory foam mattress and had it cut down to fit. with the pull out and another piece cut as a bolster for it as the sitting configuration and then as the bed gets pulled out and the legs drop in place and lock, the cushion drops down and makes almost a twin size bed. I had it covered in the same fabric as the front seat cushions by the same company but i had a cream fabric on the back side so when i sleep it doesn’t get too hot like vinyl would normally do. I will have sheets on it too but this added detail with help out with the comfort level for sleeping but still keep it easy to clean.
The reason that we couldn’t get a whole twin size back there was that i wanted to have room to open the bathroom door.
The Bathroom was another place where we scraped the original idea and made it better. I was originally OK with a portable Loo. But then Frank said he could put in a real bathroom for me and i said that would be great. We had to make some adjustments because the tank couldn’t sit below the floor so it had to sit on the floor. So the toilet sits on top of that. Still a comfortable height and a much better solution for emptying!
The plumbing is covered by a box and the back shelf with the wavy edge was originally across the whole back of the camper was cut in two so one side is on the inside of the bathroom and one half is on the outside of the bathroom.
We also put in a little cabinet that we will put a mirror over but decided against another little sink as the sink is right outside the door and its much too small.
The cabinet door has just been painted and is drying. I’ll post finished pictures at the end.
The front Dinette overhead cabinet was a mess and we ended up re making the whole cabinet.
We love this tool for this and and other things. This was a Frank favorite tool.
In this photo you can see the kitchen, the cabinet on the right is smaller because a stove vent used to be hung there and a stove sat below it. As i plan to mostly cook outdoors i decided to put in a bigger fridge instead. I also have a small counter top microwave that my sister bought for me in case of inclement weather and starvation :). This gave me more counter space and more room for goodies. I lost the cabinet on the other side where the icebox was because i turned the bed sideways to make room for the bathroom.
You would be surprised how much you can fit in small spaces in a camper so don’t waste any of it.
The kitchen table was reused and we glued the new top on and put the old trim back on and polished up.
I think at this point before we put the back 1/8 birch panel on we had to finish the electrical and the plumbing. Luckily Frank knows a lot about stuff like this and if he doesn’t he finds someone who does or looks it up and figures it out himself.
Frank came up with a great idea to sand the wood to better fit the curve of the camper but still fit a straight flat window in the proper place.
Trial fitting the window after we replaced the broken glass then cleaned, buffed, re-screened, and added new seals.
I don’t really remember which happened first but i am adding the air conditioner heating unit here. Which has also since been modified and one of the hoses, the output has been moved to a new location lower on the front, i’ll add the info on this unit and the new photo all installed at the end of this reno project.
Before i start putting in the photos of the finishing up of the outside skin and insulation i want to add some interior detail photos here. The front light fixture was originally a propane lamp which we had modified to be electric. The glass fixture is a reproduction sold at Menards.
I was glad this fixture was in good enough shape to re use it.
The Bathroom fixture is a new fixture
The hallway one is original.
The Insulation came next.
Thanks to Larry at Mobiltec for the idea to make this rig to help with raising the metal to be attached to the sides. Watching his videos has gotten us thru this project. I love his motto ” I make mistakes, so you don’t have to!”
Did i mention that my sister Sharon gave me my wings? I love that.
It was time to cut the metal, we knew it had to be less than 3/4 of an inch overlap so that the edge would be hidden by the j rail. So we rigged up this marker and wood piece to be the right size line to follow with the tin snips.
Then it was time to cut out all the windows and openings that we needed.
The wheel wells needed to be cut out too, we saved all the metal so we could use pieces as a pattern if we needed and that helped us out in few situations.
I also wanted to mention that we put metal pieces to protect the wiring and then on the metal we put tape where we knew there was wood behind so we would know where to put the in field screws an so that we wouldn’t screw through wiring or plumbing.
We started to add the roof skin , but the metal wasn’t siting right because i had too much insulation. So we had to remove the vapor barrier from the roof and the front and back and peel away half of the insulation. Let me tell you that is a nasty job, wear a mask and long sleeves and then change your clothes as soon as you get home.
Then after the insulation was removed and the vapor barrier replaced and the skin put back up on there, it sat much better. And i need to mention that we first used only 3 straps across the roof to hold it down while we are working and after we added the 4th one it worked much better. You do whatever you can to avoid buckling the metal.
Francisco lends a hand whenever needed. Thanks!
The second piece that attaches to the front slides into the top piece. We decided to cut out the window so we could clamp it to the sides while working on it. So we slid it into the channel then held it there while Frank traced out the opening. Then we took it to the work table and cut it with a razor and bent it back and forth to get a clean break.
Then we clamped it up so he could staple it and do the edges and the bends around the edges. Using a block to stabilize the metal and a rubber mallet to hit the edge with slowly and methodically he wrapped the edges.
It is here where i will mention the cuts you need to make along the way to make the metal lie flat and not buckle. This is key, especially around the edges.
Today we were lucky, Frank’s wife brought Truffle and Dapper to visit! She also brings us Flavored Ice Tea on hot days. Thank you Deenna for brightening our day!
So that’s it for this post. Hope to post another real soon.
Frank built the cabinet around the fridge to match the rest of the kitchen, and i helped He really loves the Joint Pro. It is an invaluable tool for using dowels to join wood. It lines them up perfectly! On the other hand, the most exciting part for me today was getting to use a brad nailer!
Tested the Shellac today. Amber Shellac with 20 percent Denatured Alcohol. We tested it on samples of all the different wood in the camper. There was the original wood that needed to be sanded, the new birch, also sanded .and the pine parts, again sanded. Then we applied the Amber Shellac waited for it to dry and reapplied. It took 3 coats to get the darkness we liked. Then we did 3 coats of clear. The Amber really shows off the grain of the wood. I was originally going to paint the interior but after all this hard work, Frank and I decided that we need to go original on this one. We can always paint it later if we don’t like it.
Samantha joined the Navy! She is in basic training at Great Lakes Naval Station. She wrote me a heartwarming letter, thanking me for all the opportunities we gave her and for all the fun she had working on the camper. I plan on sending her pics as we go along with the restoration of “Peaches”. She will pop in when she can to check on our progress.
We took out the stove and i will put a refrigerator there with the counter top extending over the top giving me more counter space. I gave up the wardrobe cabinet to have a toliet room. After taking out the wardrobe cabinet we started on building the bed. We wanted to make it so that it could be used as a bench during the day for seating and then pulled out at night to give me more room to sleep but still leave enough room for someone to get by me to get to the toliet.
Frank loved the Joint Pro! He was able to drill holes that perfectly lined up for the dowel rods. The rods make this sleeping bench stronger and makes us feel like cabinet makers
The wood lines up so that it can slide back and forth to bring the bed to the full size or push it back to be a bench.
This is the finished bench or so we thought. After we made this nice hinging system we realized that it won’t work exactly as we wanted, It sticks out too far from the wall and a few other concerns with the window height ect. So we are taking that hinged piece out and it will sit on top and then i will push it back when time to go to bed, just like the original design of the bed from the back.
The next step was building the inside bathroom wall with a door opening. We clamped 1/4 inch birch plywood to the outside wall so we could use it as a pattern.
cutting out the doorway two sheets at a time. One for each side of that wall.
Then we added wood to frame the inside of the inside toilet room wall, then we glued it and clamped it.
After the glue dried we added insulation. We used a spray glue to hold it in place.
Then we glued the other side to it and clamped it up.
We put it in temporarily to see how it looks. We are nailing it all together before the final installation.
I love seeing it all come together! Thanks again Frank! I am glad you share my interest in restoring this peach.
The kitchen cabinets are next! The counter top was hard to find but i am very happy with my choice. I originally wanted the boomerang pattern but i couldn’t find it in the color i wanted. I tracked this down and it has a similar feel. The manufacturer only had 4 sheets left and I bought two. Enough to do my table and my counter top.
I highly doubt they will do free installation Especially since i want to cut each 12 inch tile into 9 inch tiles. I would like to do that to keep it in style with the original tiles which were that size.
It has been a few months since my last posts. Living the crazy, wonderful life! We only work on “Peaches” on Fridays and we have only missed a few. We are making great progress!I took photos of the back wiring and framing so that we know where things go when we put it back together. I cannot stress enough how important it is to take photos! Because you think you will remember how it goes back together, but you won’t
You Can see how the roof sags in this next photo, we will reinforce it when we get to the roof.
Now here is where it gets interesting…. We took all the trouble to save the old birch interior to use as a pattern for the new birch then Frank had a grand idea… Slip the whole sheet of birch in, clamp it and cut it with a jigsaw! Before we started, we had to decide if we wanted to use the 4 foot sheets as they came or cut them down to 3 feet like the original. We went with the 4 foot pieces because there would be less seams. The next thing we did was to add 1×2’s to the framework because now the seams didn’t line up with where the framing was. It was an easy fix and makes the whole camper much stronger!
Sam started on the Insulation as soon as the walls went up For now we are using a spray adhesive to attach it, but i am worried about it slipping down into the walls over time. Before we close her up i hope we solve that possible problem.
Sam and I had a great time using the Palm Nailer to attach the birch to the frame with the nail screws. It can be tricky, but once you get the hang of it you will love it.
Joe is always ready to lend a helping hand.
Frank using the Radial Saw to cut more birch
He taught me how to use it too! It is loud, and scary in that you could cut your fingers off. Besides that, making sure you are putting the wood thru from the right side seems to be one of the most important things i learned. I just hope i get to use it enough so that i can remember it :).
After we put in the birch panels, it was time to put on the curbing. We measured and cut and realized we would have to compensate for the curve and the three layers of plywood. As you can see each layer was shorter than the next.
Look how nice the front looks now! On to the back…
EWWWW, i was so glad when we took this panel out.
Notice the trees are still green in the background, not for long
We finally got that big cabinet out and the spider was gone… ewwww, i wonder where he is….
We were so excited to put the cabinet welting on. We stapled it down at just the right spot, can’t be too much hanging over, you just want to see the rolled edge.
In this photo below you can see the welting goes all around the curve and around the door frame.
Frank, always measuring…. measure twice…. cut once
Imagine how exciting it was for us to put the first ceiling pieces in…. then double it !
Frank made a piece of wood to brace the ceiling so our arms didn’t get so tired
In the meantime while we were working in August. My sister was buying me a birthday present… The best present a sister can give… She gave me WINGS!!!!
I came back one day to see how it was going to look. I brought a pattern i made for the Chevron design. I loved talking to these guys about the reconstruction of my dinette seats.
They held it up so i could get an idea of how they were going to look.
They retied the springs, fixed the frame and put new stuffing inside.
I left feeling very happy about the great work they were doing!
We continued working and putting in the wall panels in back.
Wow, next is the new floor.
We put in 3/4 inch plywood flooring in. We cut it, glued the old floor and then screwed the new one over it. Look how nice this is… No more old musty smell!
So as you can see we have come a long way baby…
The leaves have turned into beautiful colors of fall. We need to get ready to move Peaches for the winter so we can park our cars in the garage. Luckily we have a warehouse to move her to so we can work all winter in a warm place.
We feel a great sense of accomplishment even if every piece of the camper is spread over 4 garage spaces.
The Vent was a little difficult to remove as it was painted with this silver slush that is hard as a rock and painted over the whole top. The only place that didn’t have it was the hole Frank found in the top.
I WOULD LIKE TO ADD A WARNING HERE
WE TOOK THE TOP OFF AND SET IT OUTSIDE ON TOP OF THE GARBAGE CANS TO KEEP ITS CURVE AND THE WIND PICKED IT UP AND SLAMMED IT TO THE GROUND!
It is a good idea not to take too much apart at one time. As is the case for the curbing that sits on the framing and follows the curves on both sides of the camper. If you leave some on, you have a place to match the new with the old. I learned that and so much more from watching videos on
(See Larry? , i was listening!)
His videos are very detailed and i can’t thank him enough for giving me the courage to try to restore this camper.
Check out his video tutorials! They are very informative!
The curbing is made up of 3 strips of 1/4 inch plywood. The thin strips are wrapped around and then glued and nailed or screwed into the framing. We will be taking off small parts of the curbing at a time so we can match the new curbing to the old so the depth stays the same. It is extremely important to make the framing and curbing the exact same measurements as the original material so that the skins fit when you put it all back together.
Samantha screamed today when she was trying to remove the big closet. She said she saw a huge spider that she described as about the size of her fist! He crawled back into the box that sits over the wheel wells and she couldn’t get to it. So he lives another day, I just hope he doesn’t crawl out and into my house!
He is replacing the wood on the frame to the right of the new wood you see there. He had to cut the two carriage bolts that hold the camper to the trailer. I found new ones that are stainless steel so they won’t rust.
and the scraping continues, 4 squares at a time…
Samantha and I were pulling out parts, carefully labeling each piece. I took photos of each part before we removed it and even saved the screws in baggies and labeled them for where they came from. All our tools are put away at the end of every workday and I am feeling very organized about the whole process. I bought the black shelving unit you see in the photo so i could stack the windows to save space.I took this photo so i could remember how the skins of the camper go together. It is a little blurry but you get the idea.
We took the J rail off the front nextIt was at this point that our Knight in shining Armor (aka my brother in law Frank) appeared!
My apprehension about this project disappeared as soon as he walked in the door. He brought his tools and we got started.
I should mention at this point that Frank had the idea that we should cut that front curved piece on each side out of one piece of 1X6 wood instead of using 3 pieces of 1X2 like it comes from the factory. Each of the three pieces was on an angle and stapled together. It was very wobbly. The first tool he showed me how to use was the Jig Saw!
The paneling is loaded with little screw type nails that have to be dug out. It is painstaking work. I bought a few different tools for this job but i keep coming back to the Cat’s paw as my go to tool. We Duct taped the pieces together so that we could get them out in one piece to use as a pattern to cut the new piece out of 1/8″ Birch.
We had a little trouble getting the water tank out so Frank cut a hole in the top so we could get at the fittings that go through that side of the camper.
I heated up the fitting so that Frank could unscrew it from the tank and remove it.
Sometimes you find little treasures when you open all this stuff up. We found old newspapers, a toothbrush, many cigarette butts, and a plastic box from the Union Plaza Hotel/Casino Las Vegas. My favorite surprise was when Sam found this…We will not be painting over this… Big Ken would want it that way!
As you can see Frank and Samantha made metal plates and attached them to all the places where the pieces joined. Now that front end is very sturdy! By the end of the Day Frank had the whole front framing rebuilt! I am so thankful that Samantha and Frank are enjoying this work as much as I am.
I thought I was on my own and I was thinking I could do it myself if only I could learn how to use some power tools. I took a wood working class in high school with Mr. Dispensa as my teacher, and I made a fabulous butcher block cutting board for the final project but that was the extent of my experience. Samantha, a friend of my daughters who is staying with us has been interested in the renovation since the day the camper was delivered. She helped me rip out the carpeting and take out a broken window on the first day.
In that first photo you can see that there was no window, just an old wooden frame with cardboard in it. I found two windows in the closet that look like they might fit. So now I need to decide if I should replace the matching window on the other side of the camper. The problem is that one is original. The ones in the closet are similar but aren’t the original design. Below is the gross carpet we pulled out. We had a pile of smelly innards by the end of the first day. A few more before photos There was an incredible amount of water damage, from every window and the vent in the ceiling. The seats in the dinette area smelled awful and were destroyed also. Under the carpet we found the original tile. A beige with streaks of pastel colors in it.
We have been scraping the floor taking turns with this great little tool, Chicago Electric Multifunction Power tool which I bought at Harbor Freight. It works great, but it is a slow process and the vibration gets to you after a while, that is why we take turns on the scraping. Some people just put another subfloor on top and don’t bother taking the old tile up, but I felt that it was too loose in spots and we might feel the bumps under the new floor, so out it goes. Slowly…