Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ceiling is up..

Once all the new Birch panels were finished it was easy to pop them up in to place.

I got the new Fantastic Fan wired in and installed too.

I still need to run the strip of trim that will hide the center seam, but I'll wait till I do the front cabinet to install that.

I also finished the exterior painting this weekend. Now that the roof vent is in, and the roof is sealed I don't need to climb up there again so I figured it was safe to paint the side I hadn't painted yet.

So now the exterior is done (except for the baby moon hubcaps) and the interior is under way. I'm going to work on the front cabinet today and try to get that framed and lined with Birch.

I ordered the new black and white tiles for the floor but they won't be in for a couple weeks so I'll be working from the top down.

Here's the picture of the ceiling up in place:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Later that same day...


I got all 6 panels and the seam strip done with amber shellac..
2 coats each applied with a 4" Purdy brush and they came out great.

2 things contributed to this process going well..

First, I found my orbital sander. It has been in the bottom box of my tool chest for years, unused.
Today was its day.. That, hooked up to the shop vac made quick and easy work of getting the bare panels nice and smooth and ready for finishing.

Secondly, the Purdy brush. Normally I don't pay $15 for a paintbrush but this was worth every penny.
Very smooth and glossy finish without paintbrush streaks.

Here's a few pictures, but trust me, the pictures do no justice to how cool the birch looks now.
Lots of 'figuring' that catches the light..

Tomorrow I'll try to get a few of these panels installed :)

Wood! (and other things)...

I have not been good about updating this blog but I have been getting things done on the camper.
(and thats good as I'm supposed to be using it in less than 8 weeks)

I got the front half of the camper completely insulated and seam sealed.
I got the roof vent off.
I got the fridge vent off and sealed.
I got the 12 volt wiring completed and tested.
and...  I got Birch!  well, at least for the ceiling I did.

Long story short, 1/8 inch birch is only 'easily' found in 5 foot by 5 foot sections..
4x8 sheets are far and few between (at least here in New England)

Since all the channels that hold up the ceiling edges won't take 1/4 wood I had to use the 5x5 panels and cut them to size so there is a center seam. Turns out this was a happy providence as getting a full width sheet up and in to the channels would have been next to impossible.

At the assembly plant, they could bow the panel in to the side channels then slide it forward in to the front channel.. then they would add the rear channel, slide it forward and screw it in to place from the outside in prior to the skin going on.

Since I couldn't move the channels that run side to side I don't think I could have bowed the wood in such a way to get it in to all 4 channels well (and without damaging it)

I'm going to run a strip of wood down the center of the ceiling to hide the seam and secure it with rounded brass washers and screws every 8 inches or so.. It'll look OK.

I test fit all the panels once they were cut to size and marked each ones position as now I have to finish them..
Thats a whole project in itself.. I'm trying to get a nice warm  'amber' look without a 12 step process.
I picked up some amber shellac (did you know shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand that is processed and sold as dry flakes? Neither did I) anyways, I picked up the amber shellac and did a test last night that shows 1, 2 and 3 coats of coverage.

I like 2 coats the best, its a nice color, and its pretty smooth. I'm going to look in to buffing it to see if I can get a higher gloss.

So here are a bunch of recent pictures to catch you up~

Here's the vent for the fridge.. won't be using a propane fridge so this will be removed and sealed off

After 30 minutes of (not fun) work

Then it was time for the roof vent to come off (again, not fun)

Here's the 2 front ceiling panels test fit up in place

And a wider shot so you can see the insulation

Now 4 panels up and fit in to place so I can mark the roof vent opening

From left to right.. 1 coat, 2 coats, and 3 coats of amber shellac

From farther back

I like this '2 coats' color the best

Well, today I'll be sanding the ceiling panels and hopefully applying the first coat of shellac on some or all of them. Wish I had some sort of sprayer, maybe I'll appreciate it more when I'm done that its all by hand??  :)