Sunday, April 28, 2013

My nemisis, the floor.

Someone said to me recently, I could never do what you are doing. I wouldn't know the first thing about renovating a trailer. My answer, I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I'm making it up as I go.

The truth is I have never done anything like this before. It's a lot of work and a lot of learning but it's also very rewarding. I've always been able to look at something and envision what it would look like with some TLC and hard work. Luckily there is a large Boler community out there and they are more than happy to help. Two sites I've joined that are proving to be unbelievable resources are the Fiberglass RV Forum and the Facebook group, I Own a Boler. I can ask any silly old question and people are there to help.

While waiting for mother nature to help find the leaks (by raining for 3 days) I tackled the floor. The two linoleum floors didn't match so I wanted to redo them. I was originally going to leave the black and white checkers down, laid by the previous owner,  but once I got the first old floor up I decided to rip that out too. (Sorry Amber). I figured it's easier to replace both at the same time rather than trying to find the exact match. Wow, was I in for a lot of work!

I used a heat gun and scraper to lift off the linoleum. The upper, older floor came up pretty easily even though at the time I thought it was a disaster. The newer checkered floor however proved to be the real pain as it left all the paper backing behind. I boiled water and soaked the paper, repeatedly, scraping it off with a putty knife. It took a lot of water, a couple of days,  and intense scraping to get it all off.
Then I was left with two layers of glue; the old, hard yellow stuff and the newer, gooey glue. It was off to the hardware store to find out what to use to remove it. I bought some water-soluble floor glue remover which I applied liberally over and over again. Although it doesn't say it in the directions I used water and a scrubbing brush, the same one I used to clean the interior walls and ceiling, to work the gooey glue into a lather. The foaming glue remover basically liquefied the top glue but the older yellow glue wouldn't budge. It didn't even soften up.

I would guess you're wondering why I would bother trying t get the old glue off when I'm just going to lay down more vinyl flooring? The answer is I'm a bit of a perfectionist. The yellow glue seemed to stain its way through the white squares of the lino leaving a yellow marbled effect. I'm hoping to put down more black and white checkers but I don't want the yellow to come through again. After all the work put into laying the floor I would be really annoyed if I saw the yellow seeping through again.

As of right now I still have no solution to getting the old glue up. I have to sand and repaint the whole interior so I may see if painting the floor would seal in that glue while being suitable to apply new glue over. My concern is that the paint in between the fiberglass floor and the glue for the lino would prevent the floor from adhering properly. Again, I have a lot to research and learn but I know this is going to be one sweet little camper when I'm done!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A list, a lot of time and some elbow grease.

 I’m so fortunate to be able to keep the Boler at my sisters place while I work on it. Since I’m working for her and my brother-in-law’s moving company, Short Notice Movers, I am near the camper every day and able to pick away at it. Turns out this is both good and bad. The good being that John has every tool under the sun for me to use and connections with people in the know about fiberglass and such. The bad is I get to know all the nooks and crannies of it therefore finding all the little problems; ie leaks, missing rivets and broken window cranks. In the end it’s actually a good thing since I want to fix it up as best I can anyways. I might as well know all of it so I can do it up properly.

The first two days I had it in my possession I scrubbed the inside walls and ceiling with an RV cleaner bought at the local

hardware store. I used a hard brush and all the muscles I have over 8+ hours to get all the mildew out. The interior is insulated with a material used in aeroplanes in the 70s. After scrubbing it I don’t think I need to tear it out (thanks heavens) but I do need to find a way to hide the seams and it will need to painted. A previous owner filled them with some kind of putty and it was a mess so I pulled that all out in preparation for sealing. I have a connection with someone who works in the marine industry and is hooking me up with some industrial, paintable, flexible caulking. Hopefully this will do the trick.
Seams with putty removed.
Before I start caulking the inside however, I have to focus on the outside. Next I will locate the leaks by laying a garden hose on the roof and watching for water inside. When I have found them I have to drill out the rivets holding in the curtain rod brackets and take out the windows that need repairing. Then the sanding will begin. I've been told it's a nasty job but there are already too many layers of paint on it and in order to get a proper paint job I want to start at the base. All the holes will get filled in and all the rivets/screws will get sealed and then the trailer can be painted. After the painting is done then I can begin to reassemble the camper. Sounds simple hey?

I would say lots of what I want to fix can be done cheaply if I do it myself. Luckily the internet is filled with resources for renovating vintage fiberglass trailers. I’ve also been introduced to someone through my brother-in-law who is not only willing, but actually WANTS to help me restore the trailer.
It will be a big learning curve but I have time on my side, especially since I still don’t have a vehicle to tow it and have no idea when I will. One thing at a time.

So, Here’s a picture list of bits that need to be fixed in case anyone out there has tips or is hiding parts away somewhere....
Board for attaching bunk bed is soaked from leaking window.

Plexiglass window leaks and is VERY scratched.

Curtain brackets are rusted so rivets will have to be drilled out.

Top hinge on the door
Bottom hinge on the door
Replace seal in door frame.
Door is sagging

Think this is part of a gadget to lock the door open (?) It's on the front of the door.

Door window crank is broken
Window over stove needs to be riveted back in

Window #2 goes up but not down.
window #1 won't stay shut

fix tap
Match floors.

Seems a bit overwhelming right now but I KNOW it's going to be an awesome home/studio when it's done!! Stay tuned......

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Barter Van will become the BARTER BOLER!!

I am beyond excited to announce I purchased a camper to replace the van. The fact that it's a 1976 Boler is the most exciting part! I've always loved these little 'eggs', as they are lovingly nicknamed, and can hardly believe I own one.
side door outside front
outside back side door open
Despite my excitement now, it wasn't an easy decision. My original plan in acquiring a camper was to try and find one for under a grand and fix it up with my father. After doing research and reading about other people's ventures  I realized I may end up getting in over my head. Many old trailers have problems with rust and/or leaking not to mention the weight of them would require me to get a truck to pull it. This kind of goes against what I am aiming to do; buy a car to tow a lightweight camper so I can park it and have a home base while I drive a vehicle that isn't a gas- guzzler like my current van. So, when a friend texted me about a Boler she saw for sale up the road from me I jumped in the van and off I drove to see it. The thing about these sweet little campers is they are made of fiberglass and weigh in at about 1000lbs; easily towed with a four cylinder car. They have also become highly collectable so the resale value won't go down and will hopefully go up after my renovations.
After a couple sleepless nights and some math I decided to nab it. You may wonder how the hell I can afford to buy a camper. The answer is I can't, but sometimes you just have to jump in head first. I also don't have a car to pull it yet and have no idea how I will pay for one but I have faith once again things will come together if I just keep trudging along. It may just take longer for me to get back on the road but I feel it’s worth it in order to do it the way I want. I found it difficult to make work while traveling in the van and have been dreaming about having a studio space so I can truly focus on bartering my art, this time with artists.
I’m a girl who likes to get down to business right away so as soon as the trailer was in my possession I began to tear it down. There are a lot of things I need to do to it but I love envisioning something and then working to make it happen. Luckily I have family members who have the tools and the know-how to help me along. I want to do the whole thing myself and my brother-in-law is happy to guide me and teach me, while letting me go at ‘er.  Thank heavens for family and friends!
I will be scrubbing, painting, making new cupboards, curtains, and deciding how to configure the closet. Eventually the outside will get sand-blasted and repainted as well; color to be decided.  Here is the first look at what I’ve done.
dining dining stripped
bench bench stripped
kitchen kitchen stripped