Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Some days are diamonds.


If one was working to a schedule, one could only describe today as a "setback".  As things tend to do when they come of the rails, they started poorly and went less well for the rest of the day.    Several steps were taken in a backwards direction and while I think in the end we were back more or less where we started,  it's difficult to avoid making the conclusion that there's actually more to do now than there was this morning.

One of the very cool things about being able to print anything at a whim, is that we can make incredibly accurate jigs and guides, such as the one in the photograph which would allow me to cut out that notch for the drawer slide with a zillionth of a millimetre precision using a trim router to great effect.   

I don't think I'd finished my pre-breakfast coffee when I was lining it up ready to make the first cut and wondering to myself (although I might have mentioned the haste previously) why I hadn't done this  in the first place.   Thankfully that wondering led to me realise that there were screws embedded right in the firing line of the router blade and that perhaps it was time to pull out the trusty Dremel, hence saving the cost of a router bit, and the potential healing time of limb and eye after picking shrapnel out of them for the rest of the morning.

The Dremel did the job remarkably quickly, and the hand plane and spoke shave made short and very pleasant work of shaping the edges before breakfast as it turns out, and that dear friends, was the last time we were to see anything go right this day.

PVC shavings do not absorb tears very well.  It's just as well we're doing this for fun!


Monday, February 27, 2023

On the subject of drawers.

While we were out having a splendidly long lunch today, and not thinking at all about what needed doing, nothing happened.

I know I seem to be fixated on those drawers, the ones that looked as though they'd been chewed on by a rat.  The ones that still had bits of plastic protection on them in places because at that point we were simply screwing things together and packing, not particularly in that order, and they certainly weren't in need of protection.

It's fair to say that the workmanship on those, while fundamentally sound is not something of which I can be proud, but there's nothing a bit of sanding, a few plastic bits and some vinyl wrap won't fix.

It was the frig that started it all, with its curvy edges and all its blackness.  The plan was always to add the dark wrap to the drawer fronts and some trim to at least show a bit of sympathy,  and although no one seems to have noticed that we've been testing it on the galley cupboard since we launched.  To cover up the nastiness of the industrial hinges we've planned something that looks as though we tried at least and with a few other bits it might all come together in the end.

A smarter person than I, might have edge stripped all the panels before assembly, therefore saving himself yesterday, but at least that bit looks as though someone cares now (not unkempt as in the photo!).

Tomorrow will be another day, and rested as we are, we'll fire up the printer and get them done, or maybe we can start tidying the shed and put it off until closer to our deadline.


Sunday, February 26, 2023

Therefore I made a mouse.


My spool of black PETG filament has been open for quite some time in our recent overly humid weather, and had absorbed sufficient moisture that print quality was being affected and remedial attention was necessary.   This is no big deal unless you are building a van and have a deadline - one of which I have not, yet.   

It was a bit of a relief really, to have a sort of tidy-up day.   I really didn't feel like battling on trying to sort out the last of the tiny details around the drawer slides, and while I was sitting with my CAD software open I discovered a competition to design a cat toy and this was the result.

I know a lot of people are under the misapprehension that I don't like cats, and would therefore perhaps under their breaths be mumbling things like: "You hypocrite". 

Let me go on the record here and now.   I actually quite like cats under the right circumstances.

They taste a bit like chicken.


Saturday, February 25, 2023

Not enough gas!

If we were playing one of those "spot the difference" games, most would notice the bed is made.

It has to be unmade one more time once the bolts arrive for the hinges, but when Paul arrived with his trusty bottles of nitrogen, to our surprise he added more gas to our strut and it started behaving as it was supposed to.  He of course was mortified, certain that we need a second strut, but the bin below the bed is only for occasional use and it's just fine for our needs.

You might also notice that things are looking close to complete, although the drawer-sized gaps are a bit of a give-away that this daily journal is also getting fairly close to drawing to some sort of conclusion for the time being.

It seems as though it's been a very long four weeks I must say, with very few breaks, and  I'm loathe to make any predictions but if we weren't going to waste all of Sunday in the company of good friends, I'd almost say we could be loading the food on Tuesday ready for an early departure. but things won't work like that and there'll be a day or two thereafter spent scratching around remembering odd jobs, (like the insulation in the cab which even now we are tempted to put off until a later time).

The trick now, is going to be in not giving up until those little things are done.


Friday, February 24, 2023

Too much gas.


I've had a gas strut sitting on my workbench for eighteen months, waiting for the time I guess, when I've figured out how to mount it without tearing great holes in the lightweight sheeting.

Well I've done that, made the mounts and installed the strut and of course the inevitable occurred.  What do you call a gas strut that doesn't move?   A pipe, I suppose.

Paul the gas strut bloke did warn me he'd probably made it a bit stiff, but he is coming tomorrow and he'll sort it, which will leave almost no work to as far as the "envelope" goes.   "Almost" because the vent grilles that go each side of the after most cupboards are printing as we type, and the sewing department is going along so swimmingly I suspect there'll be a few lengths of tube to cut and a few bits of assembly to go and that will be that apart from the usual last minute paint touch ups.

Every little electrical thing is routed and connected now, the fire extinguisher is mounted, the drawer slides are in and tweaked. even my hearing aid charger is mounted securely.

Which brings me to the drawers, all five of them.  

I keep putting them off until tomorrow. 


Thursday, February 23, 2023

The son of the son of a blacksmith.


My Dad was the son of a blacksmith.  

His dad was not a very big man, but he could hit things really, really hard with a hammer.   

Perhaps it was learning by observation, but there weren't too many things my Father couldn't fix with the use of a cold chisel and a decent whack, and to be fair quite a few of his repairs looked as though that methodology had been employed.

While I may have inherited a number of talents from them both, I tend to have a healthy aversion to whacking things really hard, particularly if one of my body parts has to hold the object being whacked.  I have been called "Lightning" in times gone by, by those observing my skill with a hammer, not because I'm so fast, but because I rarely strike twice in the same place.

It was therefore understandable that that methodology was not at the topmost of my mind when somewhere in the fourth hour of gently teasing out the broken bolt in the turning nutsert with a lack of enthusiasm that betrayed my frustration, that my forebears spoke rather loudly in unison.   "It's time!"

Thirty seconds was all it took with a tiny cold chisel and a big hammer, and the problem was solved and I was off looking for something else to whack with a bit of gusto.

The rest of the day may have been a little more productive in the sense of getting a bit done, but nothing came close in the satisfaction stakes to the way I felts as that nut fell neatly into two pieces.


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

A deadline looms.


It took a few hours last time.

Today every task left half-done then, took a few hours to put right, and I'm glad I didn't start the drawers until we can measure them in place one last time.   They "may" be ok. Logic says they will be as the runners haven't been removed, but I've spent quite a bit of time making shims that previously were unnecessary due to the miracle of the over-tightened screw and a bit of flex in the cabinet so who knows where the new alignment will be.

That might have been good of course - a bit of stress in the skin might make for very stiff structure, but I suspect not.  Mostly it's just inadequate construction.

Usually after a day like today one would feel quite dissatisfied with the lack of progress, but I think having the carcasses in place is a step in the right direction, even if it's going to take all tomorrow to finish that job!

This has gone on so long we now have a deadline - it's a few weeks off yet, so the panic is unlikely to set it, but it's reassuring to note we will be finished.  This may not be a never ending story after all.


Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Illusion or Delusion?

One of my boat building mantras goes something like: " Joiners work to the nearest fraction of a millimetre, carpenters work to the nearest centimetre, boat builders work to the nearest boat".

I know that it's folly to try to get parallel objects to appear that way when all of the surrounding surfaces are curved, yet there I was, hunched over like an apprentice bell ringer, with measuring tape, shims, thread tap, nutserts, and assortment of drill bits and a very big hammer in case any of it needed a nudge, fiddling for what seemed like more than the few hours it actually was.

It's a question of getting everything "close enough" then walking away and not looking back, and certainly not taking a picture.   

This wasn't necessary the first time round, it was late, we were desperate, and I drove a couple of screws into a block of pvc stuck to the wall.   It's been like that ever since, having survived some very very long patches of very very rough roads, and one of us has been happy enough.   

Why did I think it should be "done properly"?

The rear most carcasses are in now too - so tomorrow we'll repeat today, but a metre and a half to the left I suspect.


Monday, February 20, 2023

A splash of not colour.

If someone said "we are going to Birdsville tomorrow do you want to come", we are at the point where realistically we could throw it all back together and go.

If they said that of course we'd think of the temperatures in the forties there at the moment and politely reply: "sorry the van's not finished" and fiddle on with it for another week or so, and "fiddle" it is.   

There are lots of little detailed jobs happening that are too minuscule to describe - the making of some sleeves to prevent the hold-down latches from rattling among them, but we did get some colour (if grey is a colour - it does look a bit brown-ish in some lights) on the cupboard faces and we are now at the point where we have probably put off gluing in the carpet for as long as we can.

We have a dilemma though.  All the measurements to tweak the drawer fitting were taken of necessity before we dismantled everything.   Will things settle into a different place when we reassemble?

Should we do that, refit each drawer and measure from it's final resting place.   My head says yes, but my heart says "really?"

Will good triumph over evil?

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode. 


Sunday, February 19, 2023

The never ending story meets Neighbours

Life gets in the way of progress just occasionally and it did today in the most delightful of ways.

Not much more than a decade ago (refer the Archives of this blog 2010)  we lived at the end of a short cul de sac, where we enjoyed an extraordinary sense of community with each of the others sharing that tiny street. In some ways it like living a kind of utopian dream of the sort that movies are made about.   The theme song from "Neighbours" rang disgustingly sweetly in our lives.

Just when life could get no better the plot thickened, an evil government decided that a transport corridor would look great running through our bedrooms, and we all found ourselves dispossessed.    Ironically, on the day our sales contracts went unconditional, the project was cancelled or at least postponed for an indeterminate period on the grounds of "damage it would do to the community".

With the damage done, we scattered to the four winds, each of us maintaining contact with many of the others over the years until a week or so again when someone got the bright idea that we should all get together.  And that was today, eight households delightfully reunited for lunch, babbling excitedly away till almost bedtime, just like Fridays used to be, except that it was Saturday.   

We're going to do that again of course.  Someone is already organising a time next year.

Meanwhile back in the garage, the amount of work expands to consume the available time.   That's why when there's a deadline it all seems to work so well so a day lost means a day less work to do.

This photograph was supposed to make a triumphant announcement to the effect that I'd packed away all the woodworking tools, that barring a zillion coats of varnish the wood work was finished, and then I realised there are two parts missing from the picture.   Until we have a deadline, there's always tomorrow.



Saturday, February 18, 2023

A must to avoid.


I'm sure you've heard it all before, doing something right the first time around means you can avoid all the extra work that repairing it and making it right will entail.

I know there were excuses (reasons really) at the time for not peeling off the protective film on the cupboards or getting the cupboard sealing strips tidy, but they've been a thorn in my side or a stone in my sock or whatever and the time has come to sort them.   

As I recall, the only mitigating factor for what was really the only part of the job I have been genuinely ashamed of, is that when the time came to add the strips, I was straddling cupboards which were being packed by torchlight at almost midnight on the day before we were due to leave, and we still hadn't bolted in the bed.    Naturally the rubber-like strips I'd selected was the least forgiving product on the planet, so every little divergence from a straight line, and there were many, was there to stay.

Now, it's difficult to even sand the stuff off, but sand we will, and a few years of use have made that thin layer of clear film a real treat to deal with too, but with the few other little detail jobs on the cupboards almost complete we're hopeful the carcasses will be back in the van by the end of the weekend.

These are poky little repair jobs really, but the completion of each is quite each is satisfying in it's own way.


Friday, February 17, 2023

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarium.


He thought he caught the faintest whiff of "Old Hippy" as the panels were going in, which sent his mind scurrying to simpler times, when vans had vaguely rude signs on the back windows imploring parents not to laugh lest their daughter be within, and something about "rocking" which no doubt was a reflection on shock absorbers no longer at their best.

Then he realised the scent was a mix of Ikea and the water-based varnish he'd been breathing all day, and the bubble burst, and the cost of getting to this point flashed before him, dashing all those illusions of "cheap and cheerful" styles so enthusiastically espoused by every DIY programme on television.   

In that world, someone glamorous in a pair of brand new gloves so they don't get icky, manages to look straight into your eyes with a straight face and tells you how simple the job is, then cuts to an ad break and it's done!

On the other side of the screen, it goes like this:-

  • Buy a van, have an idea, buy enough quirky patterned fabric to do the job.
  • Do a half-baked job of the fit-out, make a temporary ceiling panel, and spend a year falling out of love with the material bought in haste yet never installed.
  • With the van in pieces and a solution needed, find a quilt cover with some turtles on them that might do the job.  For added interest, do that at around midnight and discover there is only one left at the nearest shop which is only eighty or so kilometres away, and no they won't "click and collect" on that item.
  • Safely home, after a trip to Sweden and a pensioner's morning tea and because you "know about this stuff", immediately cut up the pillow slip and start testing glues, and while you're doing that, give the panels that are to be treated a freshen up with some grey "cover all" primer.
  • Three unsuccessful attempts later you realise that the stretchy lightweight cotton/rayon blend really wasn't designed to be stuck down, and the grey primer has sucked the life out of the colours.
  • Then you remember that glamorous person with the brand new gloves waxing lyrical about a product she was using to stick glitter stars on the outside of a saucepan, and in desperation you fork out twice as much as the fabric cost for the glue to stick it down, and for good measure half as much again for some white primer in sufficient quantity to cover the grey.
  • You don't test it this time because, well, testing is for pussies, and all goes surprisingly well except for the bubbles which you convince yourself will be fine as they sort of go with the underwater scene, don't they?
  • Six coats of varnish later everyone is still wondering why it's taking so long.

Well it's done now, and if it falls apart or we don't like it any more, we'll do it over again. 

I suppose.


Thursday, February 16, 2023

How much of this is “just because I can?”….

In answer to the question posed by Don and Cathy Jo yesterday we would say - 

"Why, ALL of it, silly!"

Everything from deciding to do the work ourselves to going to the ridiculous extremes of making hat racks out of bespoke parts, are simply being done "because we can".  

I am not sure if we will derive any more pleasure from the van with its finishes than we did without, after all it's essentially the same fitout, just painted a bit so the grubby fingermarks don't show on the white plastic quite so much.    Of course they will show even worse on the grey felt and may not be as easy to clean, so there's that, but we no doubt will have a rule about not touching the felt with grubby fingers.   Let's see how that works for us!   Never the less the process thus far has been a joy, a painful tiring joy, but one we've both enjoyed.

 A lick of paint here, a dash of sandpaper there, some holes filled, some drawers eased, and five coats of seal on the roof panels all contributed to today's progress.   

The simple little hat rack end is probably my most complicated in place print yet. In a forty millimetre diameter we have three zip ties, two screws, an embedded nut, and a machine bolt as well as room to turn the elastic on itself.    Yet there it is.   Finished (except for that one screw top-right which I hadn't tightened at the time of the photo).   Every time another little part is complete a new wave of satisfaction washes over us, and we expect a tsunami of that over the coming week.

And of course we now have somewhere to hang our hats.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Working with plastic.


I've made mention of the poor little 3D printer pumping out parts all day without complaint, although the filament it's using doesn't like the humidity particularly either, and the ambient temperatures do create a challenge from time to time, so in that sense it almost seems to be a living thing.

When one of us is asked "what do you print", most often he lapses into that rarest of conditions; "lost for words" relying on the other to fill in.  She has a well-practiced speech which begins with the word "everything" and ends exactly where it began.  When there are no gaps in a one word sentence, there's no need to fill them.

We continue to be amazed at the opportunities the machine provides to make stuff that doesn't exist, to modify stuff that does, or simply to create a bracket or jig in less time than it would take to drive to the hardware shop to buy one and at far less cost.

There are hundreds of custom made parts in the van, perhaps the most obvious at present (if you don't count the dashboard parts) are the luggage racks which will comprise more than a hundred individual bits when full assembled, but they are the least of them, and what's visible in the photo accounts for a tiny fraction of the project components.   Over the next couple of days a quite large collection of drawer trims, vent grilles, plumbing parts and cover strips will miraculously appear to add the finishing touches, while the machine rattles away day and night without complaint.

Welcome to the 21st century people!


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Working with wood.

It's not actually a change, but  eighteen months have confirmed reservations about the durability of the lightweight PVC in some places subject to impact, nothing terrible and nothing that can't be improved upon.  

The curved beam at the head of the bed has suffered a couple of little dings that will show through the finishing wrap, and in truth if I hadn't been quite so clever and made the top all rounded it would be a nice place to rest tins of beetroot on while getting things out of the fridge.   It's getting a nice flat timber cap as we speak/write/read/whatever which will trim everything nicely and will be a bit more resilient when I'm throwing sheets of ply in there to carry home for the next project.

The bed also is being treated to a timber edge (part of the plan) to keep the mattress in place, and to stiffen the edge when it's lifted to access the storage bin under, and the cupboard sides surrounding the only bit of internal floor have a few scuff marks, because that's where we carry stuff when we are using it to do that - so I'll add some timber battens to make the scuff marks less obvious.

So that's it. Another day when the temperature was a bit too uncomfortable to actually work inside the van.  Another day of no progress, yet lots of baby steps taken towards actually finishing something and it was nice to be making a bit of sawdust.


Monday, February 13, 2023

What would we change?


We've often been asked over the past eighteen months if there's anything we'd change after using the van for a bit, and the answer is "nothing - we've already put half a century of camping experience into it", and while that's true, we're always on the lookout to see what we can leave out to save a bit of weight and generally simplify our lives aboard.

The plan was to build a set of pigeon holes on the back panel on either side of the bed to hold our clothes,  which we always keep sorted in little zipper suitcase bags in any case.  Building that in a way that was light enough, big enough and simple enough was a challenge that neither of us had got our heads around, opting for the lightest, simplest and biggest interim solution, which was to do nothing at all and sort of shove things beside the bed.

When inspiration finally came it was from a panel van lined with racks of those little boxes full of screws.  Yes I know one or two observant types have noted that we have had some screws in the plywood all along, it's just that it was a lot easier measuring the location before they were on the wall.   Each of these modules weigh just 200 grams including all the fittings so by my sums, six of them will add a bit over a kilogram to our payload.  They are quite experimental in terms of durability so we're both hoping they stand up to the rigors of life with us.

While one of us busies herself for the next day or two, slicing up pieces of RipStop and mesh and reassembling them in different configurations, and the poor little printer works twenty four hours a day churning out the parts, the other is thinking seriously about having the rest of the day off while it all happens around him.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

It's the little things

They say it's the little things that take the time, but I can't be sure about that although I must admit there are an awful lot of them.  

For instance, the one length of cable we couldn't hide is located under the jack and runs exposed for about 150mm in a place where no one would see it, but the thought of a bit of wire poking through a slit in the wall liner did not sit comfortably at all.

The 3D printer is working fairly long hours at the moment, but I managed to get it to squeeze in this little grommet just to tidy things up a bit.   I think that the ten minutes i took to draw and send it to the printer and the two minutes to screw it in place were worth the delay.

It's not as if we've been slacking off, the roof panels have their fabric glued more or less successfully, all of the fuzzy stuff is in place except for one panel which needs a little magic to get it to sit right, the door rubbers are clean and back where they should be, and the plastic covers on the back of the seat bases have (finally) been adapted to make them removable.

Meanwhile, yes folks it had to happen - the other of us is also fully occupied manufacturing bits out of fabric and polyester mesh.

Stay tuned, there's something of a crescendo coming methinks..


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Just one shade of grey.

If a job is worth doing it's worth doing twice. 

Or three times.

The old roof liners have seen better days and I made a new one out of some wondrous material called "caravan ply" which served faithfully in the interim, but was clearly here for a good time not a long one.    Fortunately I didn't throw the original panels away just in case I needed a template at some future time, such as for instance - now.

With a well practised squint, I assessed the damaged parts as "repairable with a bit of fibreglass and epoxy I have lying around somewhere" and the results were so pleasing I wondered why I hadn't squinted at it earlier.  

I then bought some terribly expensive sealer primer in a nice grey colour that matched the original dull grey so well that we had a near perfect finish after just one coat.  Then, we glued a sample of our intended fabric onto a test piece, and not to put too fine a point on it, it looked horrible with the grey showing through in rather dispiriting patches.

Subsequently I discovered that white primer of sufficient density to cover expensive grey primer is even more costly, and because the grey is all pervading, you have to buy twice as much to achieve what some in the trade call "cover".

Ahh well, onwards and upwards.   By tomorrow they'll both be pristine white and waiting for the fabric gluing error that's bound to be next, but in the meantime the van's interior is beginning to show more than a passing resemblance to the inside of an ugg boot.

We're only been at this twelve days although it feels like months.   By this time next week, notwithstanding that we haven't got to the fiddly bits yet, we might be getting close to the end of this chapter.  


Friday, February 10, 2023

Four-way stretch.


I'm pretty sure it's called four-way stretch fabric because that's what one has to do to install it. Contact adhesive used correctly is deadly stuff, when the two surfaces meet no man can put them asunder, so things have to be just so when they do.   

It's a case of having to be simultaneously underneath the entire show spraying the glue then keeping the glued surfaces apart while at the same time gently working the fabric from the top side into all the little nooks and around all those corners.  It's like a game of championship level "Twister".

I must confess had I an inkling that it was going to mould around that wheel in one piece I might have sold tickets to the performance.   Now that it worked so well I'm not game to tell anyone before I do the other side lest the inevitable should occur.

It's all looking quite trim we think, and we're pretty sure we've picked a colour that will hide the stains from the red bulldust beautifully!


Thursday, February 09, 2023

I phoned a friend.

 If this had been a proper internet heading it would have read:

"I phoned a friend, and you won't believe what happened next!".

It's astonishing how little problems just seem to vanish with just one extra pair of hands on the job, to say nothing of an entire extra brain.

It really only did take one or two jiggles and joggles, and perhaps one "let's pull it out and fix it" before the job was done a very long time before lunch, and with Pat doing most of the donkey work and pretty much all of the thinking as well, by the end of the day (which was really in the middle of the day) almost nothing hurt.

Yes folks ten days in to the project, or one year and ten months if you want to be picky, the lining is complete and ready for the next terrifying step.

I am now going to take the rest of the afternoon off to contemplate how much easier it would be just to give it all a quick sand and a lick of varnish instead of trying to turn it into some sort of reverse fur ball.


Wednesday, February 08, 2023

Wood. Ducks. Row.

All our ply panels are shaped and ready to go, apart from that inevitable final fettling which always takes longer than one imagines it will.

An eighty kilometre round trip today was all that was needed to purchase the last tube of Sikaflex in existence so we can stick stuff with confidence, the batteries for the drills are on charge and there are felt pen marks all over the inside of the van to remind us what goes where.  

The Pineapple Princess Runner Up has lent me a chap for the morning (presumably conspiring with the other of us to have a bit of a lady's time, no doubt over strong coffee and well out of earshot of the muffled grunts and manly conversations which will surely emanate from within the dear little van in the course of installing the panels.

So there you have it.  Our ducks we think, are in a row.

In the absence of some sort of catastrophe, or a shortage of screws, we should have a lining by day's end, or even lunch-time if we're really lucky.


Tuesday, February 07, 2023

It's been a week, and all we have to show for it is an empty van.


Projects like this one do tend to go through  phases.  

We've been through that one where progress is rapid enough to document every day, and at the same time in those early stages there's sufficient adrenalin flowing through ones veins to ignore the creaking of bones unused to being twisted into positions  usually reserved for far younger and perhaps lesser dimensioned folk.

Today we seemed to be over all that.   

From the first staggering steps out of bed waiting for the coffee and paracetamol to work their magic on mind and aching joints,  it was hard to see what progress had been made in the course of the previous day, nor for that matter what might come of the next few.   It's all down to a bit of a grind where dozens of little thankless tasks need to be done in order to move forward.  It was all so un-enthusing that I even started to look forward to my dental appointment in the middle of the day.

Curiously even simple tasks were made extraordinarily complicated but with a little luck the value of the work done will be evident in a day or two when hand laminated plywood panels (because nothing resembling the correct thickness is available at the moment) pop into place with no sign that they weren't there from the beginning, and the phones plug in to the conveniently located charge ports and a satisfying little "ding" happens to let us know that all is working.

Now if only I could just plug in my shoulders and hear that "ding" of reassurance that the recharge was underway, the world would be an even better place tomorrow!  


Monday, February 06, 2023

Maybe it's time for a day off!


It seemed as though I spent most of the day in vain, trying to tidy up a bit while also trying to remember where I keep the collet for the under-bench router and when I did and set it up, I saved at least as much time making a few dozen little curved staves as I spent looking for the part.

Almost all of the panels are cut now, out of 3mm ply because 6mm can't be had, so I'm making the curved parts out of two layers of three just to increase the degree of difficulty a bit and add another day to the schedule.

The electrics are (re)done though, ready to tuck away out of sight when the rest catches up, even if I am a bit dismayed or perhaps downright disturbed by the orientation of the inverter.  Hopefully it's been calibrated and won't do as it's name suggests.

Have you ever wondered about how every space ship in every movie that's ever been made, is always travelling the same way up even though in the absence of gravity that doesn't make sense?  I did hear that the earliest pilots used a piece of heavily buttered toast as a visual gauge.  Whichever direction the butter faced was down, making it quite a simple matter for all to remain in sync.

Those were simpler times of course,  now when intergalactic travel awaits, we have our inverters to keep us on the straight and level.


Sunday, February 05, 2023

Making new parts.


One of my very favourite parts of the boat building process is the lofting.    

That's the process where, in almost the reverse of the normal building sequence, a drawing in three dimensions is converted to a series of two dimensional profiles from which the three dimensional object can be built.  It's also how sail shapes are traditionally drafted, hence the "sailmakers loft", but the really satisfying part of that process for me and arguably the bit that requires the most practice if not actual skill to accomplish efficiently is when the boat hull has taken shape, and various parts need to be fitted to the odd shapes and around all the obstacles created within. 

Fitting out a van is a similar process to building a boat at that time, in that there are lots of little curves to be taken into account when making wall panelling, and since very few of the original parts could be used as templates, the afternoon was spent very pleasantly indeed.  Except perhaps for the bit about trial fitting each piece, returning to the garage to shave off half a millimetre and so on, eleventy-five thousand times,

The morning wasn't half bad either, given that we'd spent it sipping coffee with friends at the beach, but you know what they say about all work and no play!


Saturday, February 04, 2023

Silver linings

Things weren't actually all tickety-boo by the end of yesterday.  A momentary lapse on my part meant a tiny but terribly inconvenient bit of remedial work had to be taken care of today, which only added to the bits that didn't go entirely to plan.

By one measure, that one where you compare where you think the job might have been at the end of the day versus where it actually is, we may have actually lost a day in the programme.  Since in the absence of working space in the garage we'd decided to postpone painting one  of the cabinet carcasses until we could shuffle things, perhaps one could argue that perhaps that was the plan all along.

Another day lost is neither here nor there as it seems to be a daily occurrence, and it did happily create a fortuitous lay day in the middle of a heatwave warning where "older people are advised to use air conditioners where possible".

The warning didn't say who one had to be older than, but since one of us is older than the other, there didn't seem to be any point in not taking advice.   

I could just scurry out into the steam pot for a bit, spend twenty minutes or so laying on another coat, and then sit quietly in the cool for two or three hours for the time to pass until the next one.

Everything is hiding under the spray covers so even finding tools would be a challenge even if I had the motivation to do so.  Not being able to find my (insert name of tool) will be tomorrow's problem.  


Friday, February 03, 2023

Paint it black.

I looked it up and discovered that one's 49th wedding anniversary is apparently celebrated by giving copper gifts.   I thought that was the seventh, which by my sums happened 42 years ago so I happily concluded I have dodged that particular bullet.  If you do a reverse look-up there's no mention of 49 in the copper stakes, so that's good enough for me.

It's a scary day, that day you cover perfectly good paint on your van with thick black goop, but if it sticks it will make the bit around the rear door more durable, and it certainly makes the white PVC look like something it's not.   I suspect that now is not a good time to discuss how well paint sticks to PVC either, but if it's half as good as the way it sticks to skin it will be fine.

Oh well, happy anniversary my love, they tell me that black is the new copper, so how lucky are we to be covered in the stuff!


Thursday, February 02, 2023

Holy Bed Base Batman!

 It was the kind of day which would have been enjoyed by anyone who gets their jollies doing repetitive work while standing in a sauna wearing sweaty earmuffs and a dust mask, as their hands go slowly numb from the vibrating machinery.

At the end of it, another four kilos of PVC had to my great shame, been dispatched to add to our land fill catastrophe, although I am consoled by the thought that the weight saving achieved may well contribute ever so slightly to a carbon offset by way of fuel saved during the service life of the vehicle.

Thanks to the miracle of 3d printed templates, the job was less difficult than it might have been.  I am not sure how I avoided the temptation of spelling out a secret message in binary code, but I think I did.

At the end of the day, not much else was done, but if I had a box on my list next to the words "add lightness to bed base" there would be a check mark in it tonight, and the tingling in my fingers is slowly abating.


Wednesday, February 01, 2023

The Summit.


I think today was some sort of turning point.   Everything that has to come out is out, which logically means that the only direction things can go is 'in', and everything that goes in is therefore evidence that some sort of positive progress is being made.

The fridge drain seems to be working well enough, so it stayed, which accounts for that tiny piece of silicone tube poking through the floor near the wheel well.

The wiring was going to stay too, but it turns out when we uncovered the switch panel that one or two things had not been done in our final rush, in quite the way we expected them to have been.  On closer inspection one or two turned out to be three or four things and by the time we'd finished wondering what to do about it, the wiring was lying in a small heap on the floor, and we were ready to start again.   

It's curious fact of modern life I suspect, that the only area of the work which, due to pressure of time we entrusted to qualified person, is the only part of the job that requires replacement.

Ah well onward and upward, or possibly not, since we are standing at the top of the mountain. It's all downhill from here!

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