Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Bunch of Bunk

After a few weeks off for a trip to Northstar for some phenomenal spring skiing (truth be told, the conditions were phenomenal but my skiing was middling at best) and some business in London, it is back to the Sunrader for more fit and finish.

The looming project for the past few weeks has been the carpeting of the overcab bunk. Lots of corners, wrapping, edges, tucking and fiddling to do. Up till this morning, I had the excellent excuse that the water-based contact cement I had on hand was worthless or at the very least more time consuming and temperature sensitive than my patience will tolerate. Easily solved by a trip to OSH.

I started by rough cutting the carpet to fit the bunk area and the passenger-side truck/coach interface. This is a big piece of carpet, and pretty unwieldy, but the hope is obviously to minimize seams and overlaps. This carpet works a lot like felt -- it is extremely flexible and stretches easily.
With the rough cut done, I started under the front windows with a light coat of contact adhesive and worked down to where the bunk area flattens out. With the carpet folded toward me, I brushed glue on the back of the first third of the fabric. The glue takes a few minutes to set up. After that, it is just a matter of smoothing it carefully from the middle out to the edges. The willingness of the fabric to stretch makes it easy to work in some of the odd corners in the Sunrader, and the glue is plenty tacky to hold it once the two surfaces meet.
Once the first section was attached, I folded the rest of the carpet back on itself and worked my way toward the back of the coach, gluing a bit at a time.

The step was much easier to work than I'd expected. First i cut a piece that would fit over all sides of the step, applied some glue and stretched it into place. It isn't perfect, as there are some little wrinkles, but they're very hard to find. Basically the material fit over the wood block like a piece of plastic wrap. Having covered the step, I then just cut the main carpet to form a perimeter around the step. Voila, a seamless covering that almost looks molded to the step. Hopefully it will be durable enough to handle the kids going up and down. Maybe we'll start a shoes OFF policy in the rig. That sounds like a good idea to me.

I think i mentioned previously that the original shag (I wonder whether the words 'original' and 'shag' really belong side by side...) had been attached to the Toyota plastic moulding with about a dozen stainless steel wood screws. It left the plastic looking like it was full of bullet holes. During the last visit to the upholstery shop, Mike went ahead and covered the plastic with carpet.


That makes it possible to wrap the carpet from the bunk right around and tuck it in between the moulding and the rear of the cab. I love these little details.

Tomorrow I'll finish up wrapping the carpet around the inside of the "U" opening and glue all that in place. It is a bit tricky because of the two inside corners, but I think it will be tidy enough to pass inspection. After that, it will be on to the little bits and pieces of carpet that cover various parts of the ceiling, the supports, the entry door surround. Anywhere they could make a staple stick.
For now, I think this is a very nice improvement on the original entryway.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter is a Time For...

Aluminum stair edges and contact cement...

While Mike works on the new cushions for the dinette and the front bunk, my job is to get the rest of the carpeting finished. Today I focused on covering the two rear benches, which was actually a very easy little project. The contact cement is simple to work with, as is the carpet -- although as the afternoon warmed up the glue started tacking up a little too quickly. I just rough cut the carpet, coated both parts with glue, waited a few minutes and then smoothed the carpet on. On the front edge, I tucked it around for a neat finish. As simple as that. (I added some more project photos to the slideshow for anyone who is interested.)

Oh, did I mention that before I started I pulled out all the remaining staples? Yep. More staples.

With the benches covered, the back really looks sharp. I used new stainless steel screws with countersink washers to hold the panels in place. Hopefully they won't cause too much wear on the cushions, but I don't see any way around them because the luan just isn't very strong unless it is held in tension.
Duncan spent some time clearing carpet and staples off the 2x4 that holds the coach door strike. I love it when he lends a hand, but he probably doesn't think much of peeling off filthy shag. Today he was game and he did a great job.

At this point, I ran out of glue. A quick trip to Home Depot had that solved, or so I thought, until I got home and realized that the only type of DAP contact cement they carried is the water based version. Gasp. Unless I have significantly better (read "any") luck with it tomorrow, I'll call it a complete bust. The solvent-based glue reeks up a storm and gives a nice dip to the IQ if you stand too close, but it dries almost as quickly as I can work and sticks tight. The water based stuff...not so much. There went my goal of at least starting on the floor of the overcab bunk.

Instead, I opted to fit some aluminum stair edge to the cab-coach interface and to the lip of the entry step. It is thin and easy to work with using a hack saw and a drill. I used some longer stainless screws to hold it in place where there was a good substrate of chip board, and the included spiraled tacks in the middle. Hopefully it will stay in place just fine.

On the step I added some Gorilla glue since it seems to do a pretty good job of metal-on-wood. Now all that's left is figuring out a way to fill the space between the hardwood and the door frame. I haven't got that quite sorted out yet.

Through the whole project, I've been enjoying the new stereo. It sounds fabulous and I have it wired to easily connect up with the iPhone. The only problem is that the truck battery seems to run down awfully fast. Even though it cranks the truck powerfully and reliably, I think it may be heading towards end of life.

Bikes are so much simpler...

Oh, and Gonzo came for a visit today after the sun came out. I suppose this was his way of calling me a fool for not spending the day in the garden...