Monday, April 18, 2011

Pictures of the Gutted Forester

Here's what we're looking at as far as a blank canvas.  Not quite sure what we're going to do with the floor heater.  First off, we've disconnected the propane and I'm not overly comfortable using gas inside a small space anyway.  The floor is original tile but in the front, it's pretty cracked so we'll probably replace that with laminate or maybe vinyl, just not sticky back tile .. I hate that stuff.  As far as the rest, who knows.  First step will be replacing the rotted framing wood, checking for leaks and then using rigid insulation to insulate.  After that, the sky's the limit!  Now if only it would stop raining!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gutting the Forester

Well the lil Forester canned ham is gutted ... we had a break in the weather today so decided to do some work and completely cleaned her out.  All the paneling is removed, all the "innards" are removed and I removed all the fiberglass insulation before quitting for the day.  She's down to windows, floor, framing studs and skin.  It's odd how roomy she looks without all the stuff inside. 

We did find some rotted framework which will have to be replaced but for the most part, the wood is intact.  There are some random nail/screw holes that will be sealed and unfortunately there are some places where we can see daylight on the edges through the floor.  Hubby says he has a plan to fix that so I'll just have to leave that up to him.

When I ripped out the insulation, 90% of it was dry and clean so that was a good sign, a lot less water rot than I was dreading.  I just can't wait to get the rotted wood cleaned out and replaced so we can start designing the interior and get on with the fun stuff.  Can you tell I'm impatient?

Word to the wise though ... if you're not patient, capable or interested in fixing, save your $$ to find a pristine already restored camper.  Some days I wish I had adhered to that advice myself!  It would have caused a lot less stress.  But this is fun, right?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Wasps Nests, Wood Rot and Leaks, Oh My!

Boy hubby sure wanted something to keep him awake yesterday (it was prom Saturday night and he worked post-prom until 5:00 a.m. and then slept till 10).  He kicked butt on the Forester and pretty much completely gutted her.  Lots of clean up which I'll probably attempt to do later today but most of the inside is ripped out.

All in all it was in pretty good (dry) shape except for the kitchenette area.  Once the stove was out we found what we were hoping not to find and that was wet, rotted wood!  :(  The whole area below the front window will need to be re-framed but we first need to find the source of the leak and patch it.  I don't see anything right off the bat except maybe it came in from the 2 vents ... heck I don't know. 

We also found a ton of wasps nests behind the paneling in the walls ... how could someone camp with all that buzzing?  These were old and dead by the time we got to them but there were mud wasp nests and paper wasp nests ... yikes!  Ignorance was probably bliss at one time! 

Once we get this all cleaned out, then we're going to try to figure out a game plan for the restoration.  I'm debating whether or not to put a little dinette in the front instead of the kitchenette area.  Where the 2 closets were along the street side wall, that might end up being the kitchenette section since I don't really need a clothes closet and a port-a-potty closet and would much rather trade that room for a small one-seat on each side dinette.  We'll see.  We're definitely going to put a twin bed along the back wall horizontally for more room. 

This is the fun part ... trying to figure all this out.  I can't wait!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Prom Time!

Well tomorrow is our school's prom .. my daughter is a senior so this is her last hurrah.  She's "prom royalty" which is kind of exciting and we will find out tomorrow night who gets crowned king and queen.  This is actually her 2nd prom in 2 weeks, yikes!

Anyway, being as she's the "spontaneous" type (meaning she doesn't tell me stuff until the last minute), she informed me last evening that all the senior girls are wearing garters.  So I called all over the place looking for a black or a silver garter.  All sold out ... ugh.  We went to the bridal shop (actually 2 of them) to see what they did have and she didn't like any of them.  We went to Hobby Lobby.  She didn't like any of them.  Then she said "Mom you can make me one!"  WHAT?

So we bought ribbon, we bought elastic, we bought sequins, we bought a 2011 charm ... I went back today and bought more ribbon to try to figure out how in the heck to make a garter.  None of the you-tube videos worked so I just decided to piece this thing together.

The base ribbon is a pleated black satin with a net background that she picked.  Then I fabric glued a row of silver sequins along the center of that. (Her dress is black/white/silver sequins.)  Then I hand sewed some black/white ribbon along the back to make a casing for the elastic and ran elastic through the back to gather it up.  I sewed the opening closed, made a decorative bow to hide the seam out of some narrow white/silver organza ribbon and sewed a "2011" charm below it.

She said it works ... I guess that means it's not an epic fail.  Now I'm ready to start working on my camper damn it!  At least a little bit before graduation next month!  :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Discoveries inside "The Burrow"

After consulting the wonderful folks at the Vintage Shasta Trailer Forum (, we've decided to attempt a skin-on restoration of the Forester rather than taking the skin off as we initially thought we'd have to.  I'm happy because I honestly didn't want to try taking the skin off this thing if we didn't have to and to find out it's doable is fantastic.  We worked all day yesterday trying to get the camper into the garage and there's no way it's gonna fit so a skin-off restoration would be a disaster here in Nebraska with the crazy wind and weather fluctuations.

Today hubby found a multi-tool thing at Menard's (miniature electric saw with other accessories) and went to work cutting the paneling so it can be removed.  He took off part of the ceiling in the vent area and the curbside wall and we were pleasantly surprised to find that the wood supports/studs weren't rotted.  Also the fiberglass insulation, while the backing had stains, was intact and dry.  I was afraid we'd find wet, blackened, moldy insulation so finding nice clean yellow insulation behind the paper backing was a plus.  We're going to remove that and replace it with the rigid insulation anyway but in my opinion, any sign that points to NO water rotting is a good sign.  I'm most worried about the porta-potty closet wall (street side) and I'm sure in there we're going to find all kinds of disgusting things but if 90% of this thing is intact, I'll be a happy camper.

Also, we pulled up the disgusting carpet and found tile!  This was kind of exciting to me because I remember my parents house having that same basic tile (not sure what it's called) and my sister and I spraying it with silicon spray and "ice skating" in our socks all around the house.  Yes, I know that's crazy and we're lucky to not have broken bones but it was kind of a fun find for me.  The stuff toward the back of the camper is slippery and looks to be in excellent condition.  The stuff toward the front near the door and in front of the kitchenette has some crazing/surface cracks but I won't be able to tell how bad it is until I remove all the disintegrated carpet backing that has left a nice yellow dust all over the floor.  Ideally, if it's in decent enough shape, I plan to leave the floor tile but if not, I guess I'll stick some kind of laminate flooring over it.  We'll see.

It's supposed to snow (AGAIN) tomorrow and the temperature dropped drastically while we were out there this evening so that kind of stinks.  Now that we've made some progress, I'm anxious for warm weather and a less hectic schedule so we can get this thing in motion! 

Oh, one of the things we found yesterday was a gray water tank mounted under the camper.  I didn't know it even had that.  My Shasta just has an opening where you hook up a hose and drain it into a plastic tub so this was another one of those "cool finds" in my camper world anyway.

Now if only I could find a US equivalent of a baby Belling cooker I'd be even happier!