Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gray water tank, etc.

Finally starting to feel just a tiny bit like a home in here....

Finished the plumbing for the sink's drain. Used ABS and PVC for the s-trap. Braided pvc hose goes down into our gray water tank. PVC and ABS are yucky but there's not really any better options out there short of copper or galvy...and that's kinda crazy for our drain. Also, the sink came with ABS fittings and the gray tank has PVC fittings glued onto it so we just went with the path of least resistance there. At least it's not for drinking water.

Here's our gray water tank all bolted into place! We were able to position it right under our sink for an easy drain. Used more scrap metal from Shnitzer Steel to make the cage. Bolted the box steel onto the ribs underneath the bus.

We also built the skeleton for the bed. The whole structure (with the exception of the 2x2 ledges on the perimiter of the bed) is removable. This way if we need to take things in and out of the back door we can. We used some old plywood sliding doors from Julia's old closet for the platform.

Our fresh water tank insulated with foil bubble wrap. We had a problem with condensation forming on the outside of the tank. Hoping that this solves that problem.

More foil bubble wrap for the covered over windows. We figured out that the oven part of our stove operates with a direct vent system. This means that the reason there are 2 vents (one nested inside the other) is that the outer-most vent sucks combustable air into the appliance and the inner-most vent pushes combusted air out of the appliance. We can't just bend up some sheet metal around the outer-most vent and call it a day because it won't work....they 2 need to be separated on the way out and they need to terminate in such a way that they wont get involved with one another....hard to explain. Anyway, it's back to the drawing board with that. We are looking into ordering the parts for it right now. If it starts to look expensive, we are thinking of scrapping this thing altogether and pulling another stove out of the RVs they have at the pick n pull right now.

Found a bunch of this gorgeous tile at Bring Recycling!!! They match our woodstove! We're going to use this to tile over the kitchen countertop. Still hoping to do a swirly broken-pieces mosaic over the heat walls around the woodstove.

Also found these awesome pieces of junk at Bring. They are little archetechural thingies that I personally ripped off of a piece of rotting Victorian house that someone donated to Bring. Hoping to clean the up, refinish them and mount them somewhere in the corners of our bus...maybe making an archway in the hall? Not sure yet. I'm really excited about them though.

In other news....we've decided to put the propane tanks in a sealed box underneath the bench/couch. It's making the most sense to us right now. (Thanks to Richard for his encouragement on this topic!) It'll be a way for us to really shorten our run from the tank to the appliances which is always a good thing - less pipe, fewer connections, fewer places to leak. It'll also be cheaper than buying a super-expensive under-mount tank. We found a couple used under-mounts from the 70's with no OPD valves...that looked kinda rusty...and decided that we'd be better safe than sorry on this one. Pretty sure that's what we're going to start working on tomorrow. =)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Odds and Ends

Weatherized chimney in all it's glory. It is detachable at the seam above the boot. Had our first fire 2 days ago and it worked beautifully! Bought fire extinguishers. =)

Here's the shut offs for our propane lines - fridge and stove. We hid them underneath the sink so that we have easy access.

Here's the flex hose we're using to connect the propane to the stove. We'll use another one for the fridge. It's plastic coated steel.

J replaced the gaskets on our stove. Nice. Good seal.

Co-pilot chair - so we can both ride shotgun! Ripped it out of a van at pick n pull. Smells a little - will need to be annointed with some kind of essential oil? Cleaned it up and sawed off it's arm rests so it can snuggle up against the driver's seat. I'm going to make a nice fabric cover so that they'll match.

Here's a partial solution for our woodstove security project - plumber's flanges. This keeps it from sliding but not from jumping up and over. We find jumping hard to imagine but we're going to bolt down some u-bolts so that we can ratchet a tie down over it on the road just in case. In the pic it looks a bit like the legs aren't seated on the ground - they are. The flanges are just surrounding them tightly.

Ripped out two windows yesterday! They come out so easy. Sheet metal (aluminum?) from Shnitzer steel.

Top vent is for the range hood fan, bottom vent is for the pilot of the oven. The duct tape is temporary, folks. =) We are going to paint the sheet metal white to match the rest of the bus.

I ripped this ugly 12 volt fan out of the old ugly range hood that came with our stove when we scored it free. The hood is too big for our space so I salvaged what was useful in it. Haven't hooked the fan up yet so I don't know if it works. If it does (I think it does), we're planning on bending a sheet of pretty, decorative metal grill over the front of it. Difficult to explain effectively but it will look cute, godammit. The sheet metal covering the windows still needs to be caulked and insulated. We're going to use that foil/bubble wrap stuff in several layers and then cover the whole thing over with wood. Still need to fabricate some kind of heat-guard for the back of the stove.

Blocking out those 2 windows has really changed the space in an exciting way. For some reason I was getting an Austrailian vacation feeling in the bus now. I've never been to australia but it seems like a good theme to roll with for now. =)

You might have already been able to tell from the pics: it finally stopped raining for a minute! YAY!

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Here's Julia's hilarious photo essay of our wood stove installation.....maybe it's only funny to me but here it is. I think the pics speak for themselves.

It's in! Don't worry - the gray cement board look is temporary. We are going to do a tile mosaic over it in time. The very top part of the side wall above the heat barrier is going to be filled in with wood, too. We're thinking metal blinds (not fabric curtains) behind the wood stove. The window that gets cut in half by the side wall is going to be blacked out.

The chimney is secured to the roof but we still haven't weatherized the flue collar. What with snow and rain we're worried that the silicone won't cure right. We're waiting for a dry, non-freezing day. In the meantime, we uesd good old duct tape to hold down the collar and weighted down a tarp over the top of everything. Of course, we can't really light it up with duct tape wrapped around the flue and a tarp over it. Which means we haven't been able to test the stove - there are still questions about whether the stove will have enough draft to work in our bus. We also need to replace the braiding all around the stove door and in some other places (if we're keeping it). Once we decide what stove we're going with we'll still have to tackle the fun challenge of how to secure it in place!

Here's a pic of how we did the heat walls:

Here's me re-wiring our salvaged RV propane oven with high temp wire. The previous owner - some weirdo McGyver - got in there and did some real funky wiring.

Spencer came over today to help us test out the propane part of our stove. It works! I tested and there are no leaks, either. We plumbed the main lines for the propane this afternoon. Working in groups is fun! We still need to figure out the venting situation before we can situate the appliances and hook them up.

We aren't planning on mounting the 2 BBQ tanks under the bus anymore because I've decided it's dangerous. I've been looking at side-mount tanks meant to live underneath RVs. They're about $300. I'm planning on buying one off eBay when Mercury stops being retrograde on the 18th.

Pics of propane progress to come!