Out of the Old, Into the New

After getting tied up in wire yesterday, today saw some actual progress. Aside from the fact that the Bus won’t be ready to go roadtripping on Wednesday, it is starting to look like I wasn’t completely insane when I started this project in the first place. Sometimes it’s better to approach a problem from the opposite direction when you hit a wall on the original path. By focusing on the checklist to road-worthiness I’ve had to postpone the more satisfying and fun parts of the process in order to get the work done. Being unable to tick the Electrical System box yesterday was a bummer but not the end of the world (sideways supermoon eclipse reference there…). Time to switch gears.

 

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The elusive VW cargo shelf
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Ikea Monkey’s dad…

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This morning I cleared all of the tools, various parts, empties, bits and pieces out of both vans and started to pull the furniture out of the Rusty Westy. A couple of stiff fasteners required some extra encouragement to come apart, but that’s what drills, chisels and hammers are for… As the furniture came out, I discovered some more treasures hidden in the nooks and crannies. The best find was rolled up and stored on top of the side closet, the drivers compartment cargo hammock. I’ve been in many vans over the years and I’d never actually seen one until today. One of the poles was slightly bent but otherwise it looks to be in mint shape. The other find was a page of The Columbian newspaper from Aug 7th 1965 with articles about veils in Afghanistan and what looked to be the father of the Ikea Monkey, seems like some things never change…

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Once the bus was gutted, I splashed a couple of coats of spar varnish on the interior trim and headliner. At this point I decided to see about stripping the ugly pink paint off the underside of the rear cargo shelf. Once upon a time, a previous owner had decided to paint over the beautiful Baltic Birch veneer with a light pink tone that is particularly ghastly. I was having none of this so went on the attack with the orbital sander, the paint coming off slowly but surely. Then after a quarter of the panel was cleaned up, I peeled up a big slice of dried out veneer with the edge of the sanding disk, opening up a strip like a Brazilian wax job. Instead of trying to fix it I discovered that the whole panel peeled off in strips quite easily, with the better adhered bits coming loose with some help of my trusty Swiss Army Knife. A pew passes with the sander and some varnish got it looking cherry!

The furniture went into it’s new home and suddenly the old shitbox shed was transformed into a seriously tight and tidy conveyance. If only the lights worked, I’d already be out doing a few loser laps on Columbia Ave just to show her off!

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