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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Stage 1 Photos

I am very fortunate to have a great space to work on this project. My father (Armand), has graciously donated the corner of his barn/woodshop for the job. He is also donating quite a bit of time. We frequently work on the camper together. He runs a engine rebuild/restoration/machine shop,  (Bessette Motor Works) so all of the tools we might need are at our disposal as well.  Have a look at his website : http://www.bmotorworks.com/ . Its safe to say that this project would probably never have gotten off of the ground without him.

Most of the time I am working, he is right there with me lending a hand, his expertise or an opinion that turns into a half hour debate/argument... its all part of the complex father son relationship. I will have to post a few shots of the barn itself. He built it, and its just a great place to do work like this. The second floor is a full woodworking shop with all antique tools from my grandfather. The Planer, band saw, table saw... all from the 40's and 50's. the same generation of wood working tools that the folks who built the Shasta in the 60's would have been working with. How fantastic is that!

Its the 4th of July today and I am here working. There are no such things as free weekends and holidays. My in-laws are kind enough to watch my son on the weekends my wife has to work. You really have to dedicate some serious time to take on a project this big.

Here are some photos that I thought I would share. I call these "Stage 1 Photos" because its the beginning of construction, post tear down. We are WELL beyond this stage of the game, but I am creating this blog closer to the tail end of the renovation, so I am playing catchup with the postings.


Frame Rust free and Painted Black
We used Ospo(sp) on the frame instead of sandblasting. Its an acid that converts rust into a paintable surface. I highly recommend it... works wonders.
The Original Floor... can you smell the mouse pee?
Fender wells had some surface rust... Ospo again and a heavy coat of truck bed liner paint inside  the wells.

Driver Side wall With new skin. other wall in process
This birch skin is 1/4 thick instead of the 1/8. its a bit heavier but its readily available at Lowes... and its good quality. It will NOT work on the roof however, just too thick to make the bends. You have to use the 1/8 thick birch plywood and will need to order it through a lumber yard. 40-50 bucks per sheet.



Wall skeleton being repaired and prepped for interior Birch skin
Plenty of rot from leaks in the walls. each piece was cut out and replaced. You can see a very large piece of wood in the back. The Shasta had a bunch of tiny pieces of wood stapled together to form the curves, it was pretty shotty. We used the old interior skin panels as a template and cut some more rugged sections for the walls. TIP: DON'T remove the wall skin when the walls are still in the camper. leave the skin on and it will hold the geometry of the walls. This is a mistake I made, not knowing how this was built at the factory. The walls are skinned with plywood and then nailed up (as you will see below. If you take too much plywood off the walls skeleton will have no strength.



A fresh deck, undercoated with truck bed liner paint

Underside of old floor... still smells upside down


Fenders were narrowed by 1 inch and shortened by 1 inch... every inch counts!
This was critical to fit the new bathroom and there is still plenty of clearance for the wheels.
New walls propped up
Judging by how it came apart,  the factory would have built the camper in the same order that I am: Frame, add Floor decking, interior skinned walls go up, add front wall skin ribs and bunk, interior walls/furnishings, roof panels (nailed to top of walls), roof ribs. There is also three layers of 1inch wide plywood strapping all along the edge of the roof. Finally the outer aluminum skin  and windows.  Keep this order in mind if you are tearing one apart... you need to do it in the opposite order of what I have listed. There really is no way to get items apart in any other order.

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