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…
Here she is on the day she arrived. I haven’t named her yet. Her name will come to me. I found her on a website called tincantourists.com. I was so excited because I had been searching for a year and a half to find a canned ham style camper. I have bid on a few but to no avail. The morning I woke up and saw this one, I jumped on the chance to get her. She is missing her wings but I didn’t care because I knew I could get her new wings.
I called right away, and when the owner called back I bought her immediately. She was in Arizona and I considered going out to pick her up but I figured out how long the drive was and how much gas I would use to go out there, so, I decided to list it on Uship.com and find someone to drive her home to me. That site is interesting because different companies bid on your job. You can check drivers out and see comments that other people who have used them have posted. You decide not only on price, but experience. They show you how many times the service has been used. Wyatt from Texas picked her up and called me. She was in much worse condition than the above pics showed. In my excitement, I never realized there was no picture of the door side. There was a window missing and the door didn’t stay shut. But I didn’t care, at this point it was like adopting a dog, in my mind she was mine and whatever I had to deal with I would do it happily! When Wyatt pulled into my driveway 3 days later, I was so excited I can’t even explain how tickled I was. He parked her for me and handed me the title, which said she was a 1974. I thought she looked older, so I immediately put her picture up on a club page on Facebook called Vintage Shasta Trailers. I started getting comments immediately on her age 🙂 They said she looks more like a 1960’s style. They were so helpful, they told me to look at the underside of the sink to see when it was made. I found that the sink was made in 1962. Then on another day someone told me to look behind the mirror to see when that was made. So I took the mirror down and it said March of 1963. After talking to other people with the same looking camper, we determined she was a 1963. Now the only problem was that my title said 1974. In Illinois you must have a title to get plates. I went to the currency exchange and got my plates. I was excited when I got what I thought was my title in the mail. It wasn’t. It was a letter saying that it doesn’t match any records and that I would have to fill out the following forms and have either a dealer verify the info or a police department. I have never driven with a camper on my hitch and she was in such bad shape, I was not about to drive her to a dealer an hour away. So, I decided to call my local police department. They were nice enough to send an officer to my home and he gladly signed off on the Vin number. He also agreed with me on the year and signed off on that too. Yesterday I got the title in the mail, and now I have a big smile on my face!