The camper and I have been spending time apart from each other lately. It’s being an asshole and I’m being stubborn, or maybe I’m avoiding confrontation. I can’t blame the camper. It’s experienced so much neglect and trauma; I guess it deserves to be an asshole. We will get through it together and our relationship will be stronger, but right now we’re experiencing a rocky phase.
In other words, I’ve been overwhelmed and procrastinating a lot. Procrastination takes many forms for me—making and eating chocolate mug cake, playing Hearts online, taking a nap, gardening, playing with Poppy; there are so many possibilities. Naps and chocolate are at the top of the avoidance list.
After hours or days of procrastinating successfully, I return to the task and just do it. I surmise that while procrastinating, my brain has been processing the task subconsciously which enables me to move forward.
I’m currently stuck on and avoiding the front-right section. There was so little left of the framing that I really don’t know how it was or how it is supposed to be. While that allows me some freedom to be creative and make it my own, I hope that the metal siding, or skin, will still fit when the frame is finished. And I want the camper to be structurally sound.
The Door Frame
At the end of my last post I had completed the door frame and was ready to move forward. Although I didn’t realize it through my FIVE DAYS of procrastinating and doing NOTHING on the trailer, the door frame was bothering me. It just didn’t look right.
Normally, when I’m building something and want to see if it’s square, I’ll use a plumb line—a string with a weight at the end. Since the trailer is not level, this won’t work. When I rebuilt the door frame, I reattached the supports at the top and bottom in the exact places they were when I removed the rotten pieces. It seemed if they were there originally then they should be square and fit the existing door properly.
The more I looked at that door frame, the more I felt that it definitely was not square. Once I finally got back to work, I propped the door up to the frame. As I suspected, it was not square at all, but more of a parallelogram. Before moving forward to continue framing that section, I needed to bring it to square.
One of the door frame supports was original and was still connected at the top with the original staples. The only way to remove those is to cut through them with the multi-tool, which I started doing. Soon it was smoking and then just stopped—dead. No more multi-tool. Fortunately, enough of the staples had been cut that I was able to move the top of the support. (Harbor Freight exchanged the multi-tool for me since it was within 90 days so I do have a working multi-tool again.)
With both supports moved, I still needed to determine whether the door frame was square. While I do have a square tool, those aren’t always truly square (from past, unfortunate experience). I realized I could just use the door, so I placed it inside the frame and adjusted the frame until it was right, then reattached the supports at the top. I could finally move forward to the framing in the front-right.
Framing the Front-Right Section
There was some existing frame in place for this section before I tore it out. I saved that frame to use as my guide for the new frame. This section had a window and a storage hatch door. It was important to get those done properly so the old window and door would fit in place after replacing the skin.
Measuring each piece from the old section and using it as a pattern, I was able to get it built pretty quickly. Again, my main concern here is whether the siding will fit, so I held pieces of the siding up to it and tried to get the window and storage door holes in the right places. Although it was pretty easy to build this section based on the old framing, it was hard to get it in place and adjusted properly. It took several times of attaching, measuring against the siding, removing, and reattaching.
The very front of this section is the hardest part and still has me stuck. On the front-right this was completely gone. Some of it is still there in the front-left so I could use it as a guide, but since windows and storage compartments are in different places on each side, I couldn’t use the exact same measurements. I’ve had to guess, try, build, tear out, guess again, rebuild, etc.
I did have one more moment of amazement even in the difficulty, although I didn’t yell out to Poppy that I’m a genius this time. At the very top of the front sections on each side, the siding curves down over the frame. In the front-left section this framing piece is still intact. I needed a similar piece for the front-right side. I couldn’t get to the piece on the left to trace it but needed to replicate it. Here’s the process I came up with:
- Take a picture of the piece.
- Print the picture and measure to see if it’s the same size. It was bigger, so I had to adjust the print size percentage until the picture was exactly the same size as the actual piece.
- Print the piece and cut out, then trace on wood.
- Cut the piece out of the wood using the miter saw and multi-tool.
It worked! That was pretty exciting. It is in place now and I am moving forward on building the very front of the right section. I feel pretty nervous about it because I am making up the rest of the frame on my own. There was some remaining on the left which definitely helps, but I really can’t tell how it is supposed to be built.
I am hopeful that I’ll finish the front-right section soon and move to the front-left. I’m not looking forward to that since I need to tear out the kitchen sink cabinet, but I’ll get through that just like I’ve gotten through every other challenging part of this project. I anticipate a lot of naps and chocolate in my near future.