Restoring My Vintage Spartan to Glory

...and crafting a purposeful recovery

Month: February 2019

Making tracks

Have you ever noticed that when a new house was going up in the neighborhood the framing and shell seemed to pop up overnight and the finish work took forever? Well, not so with Sparta. If you have been with me these agonizing months (wait, years) then you’ll know the infrastructure (electrical, plumbing, etc.) and walls took forever. The finish work, relatively speaking, seems to be proceeding posthaste. This is exciting and begs the question, “Where to put this behemouth when I’m done?”. Well, I was hoping to make some progress on that by travelling to southern California this week to check out possible destinations (Anza-Borrego and Julian), with a side trip to the annual Vintage Trailer show in Palm Springs. Those plans were dashed by the passing of an old friend and his memorial this coming Wednesday. Can’t miss it.

Here are some pics and their captions will help tell their story:

The bathroom walls are all up. If you notice a tilt, you are not imaging it. I will correct that a bit.
One of the few 2 X 4’s used on this project. Note pocket door hangar on left.
Same view from the inside.
Original pocket door track re-used.
But pocket-door has some rot and I am determined to fix that with a little 2-step epoxy and Bondo.

Remember. I am following the 4 “Rs” here – re-use, re-cycle, re-store and re-fuse to spend money unnecessarily. Ha!

Just like the floor restoration. Drill lots of tiny holes and fill with plastic.
My so called Bondo
I bondo’ed both the pocket door and the wall.
Meanwhile my ace refinisher stays out of the rain but without toxic fumes indoors (she vetoed that after the last experience).
Lots and lots of cabinet space. She’ll be thankful for this someday.
This original metal detail has faded with time. Copper paint will bring it back. Note footprint of kitchen cabinet on that new wall. That will be going in next.
Speaking of kitchen counter, look at this awesome laminate I found. It is a discontinued product from Formica called “lacquered linen” that I tracked down at cabinetmakerwarehouse.com. It also comes in burnt orange. Totally retro!

That’s all for now.

Message in a bottle

Sometimes, while blogging, I feel like the old Maytag repair man – I’ve the loneliest job in the world. I will figuratively throw these missives out into the sea, wondering what, if any, distant shore they make landfall on. “Is anybody reading? Does anyone care? Hello our there! “.

And then it happens. A nibble – my bobber bouncing slightly, my pole tip twitching. And then a full strike, my reel spinning as I grab my barely attended rod. (sorry for the tortured and slightly vulgar metaphor). Unfortunately, I usually just catch the bottom-feeders with inspirational observations like:

I have learn several good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for
revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you set to make any such
excellent informative web site.”  
or

“これ1本で済むという化粧品で、顔のしわの進行を改善効果が期待できます。ホワイトニングリフトケアジェルは、多くの商品の中でもリピーターが多い化粧品です。アンチエイジングにはお勧めのアイテムです”

or the ever-popular

Meet sexy girls in your cityhttp://awalsh.com/getsexinyourcity59582″

Click at your own risk.

Sigh.

‘Oh no! The spammers have found us.’

“Yes, but is it art?”

I guess it doesn’t matter what we call it. If it meets this definition, Let’s call it art – “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

Besides, it’s fun and sometimes (esp. in the right light) pretty. The grounds around Sparta are filled with such expressions and, occasionally, they inspire me. But today I must go from the sublime to the monotonous and deal with sanding. For that I have called in the reinforcements. Cristina has agreed to help me with that drudgery. Lots of old cabinets to bring back to life.

At least I have a dust mask for her
Taking a break between cabinet faces. Is that look one of disgust? Note in foreground how nicely the old birch comes back.
Meanwhile, the bathroom build-out proceeds. Oops. I miscalculated the light placement. Oh well. I’ll make it work.
Cheap Home Depot plywood is warped. I will bend it into place.
Awaiting Cristina’s sander. Note 120v wire above to power BR wall heater to be placed in that big rectangular void.

Sparta satisfies both sides of my brain, calling upon my artistic and technical abilities. Such as they are.

Ship in a bottle

OK, guys. This is where the rubber meets the road…a moment of truth…a time to learn if my plan is solid. It is time to find the tub drain and position the bath.

Way back when, I tore up parts of the rotted floor. While doing so I replaced the waste line for the bathtub. Then, when I put down new 3/4″ subflooring I marked the spot where the drain should be with a Sharpie. Then I put down 1/8″ underlayment and marked the spot again. The passage of time, dirt and foot traffic has left that black “X” faded and sketchy. So yesterday I grabbed my drill and said “I’m going in”.

If you look closely you’ll see the remains of “drain”.
“Eureka!”
You can see where the 1/8″ underlayment pulls away from the plywood.
Tub down. Note wall panel (also 3/4″ ply) to the left.

I just love it when things turn out like I planned.

Time Passages

I woke up this morning thinking about time, or the lack thereof. No, not time in the ” I can’t get things done” sense. More like time in the “this won’t happen” sense. More of a existential view. There is a cruel irony as one gets older, at least for me. Minutes can take hours and years, mere months. As I greeted my therapist the other day we made small talk. She couldn’t believe it was already February. I was flummoxed by it being 2019. I told her that the passage of time accelerates in proportion to how long we have lived. The older the faster. She said she had never thought of it that way. She is 28. My contemporaries are thinking, “Thanks, Captain Obvious”. She will see. Life is like vacations. You get your two weeks off, go to Mexico and for a couple of days float aimlessly in the pool with the time flowing nice and orderly, predictably. You’re thinking, “I should go to Isla Mujeres. I hear the snorkling’s great”. Then you slip off your raft, swim to the bar and have another pina colada thinking “tomorrow”. Next thing you know you’re packing your bags, tossing the brochures and Isla Mujeres is on the top of the pile mocking you. “Damn!”.

So what does this have to do with trailers? Nothing, other than adding a modicum of urgency to my efforts. Here is what my laser-like focus has produced over the last week or so.

Here is the right side of my office nook awaiting a panel. Note little spacer in center.
New panel positioned
Bottom bookshelf on the level
Hatch cover built
Hatch cover in place awaiting hinges. Top bookshelf in.
Hinged and hanging
Refer nook done. I will be challenged by the depth of this space. 23 inches. Not many shallow refrigerators out there.