Rain Delay

Today is probably the last day of 80° weather, so I spent it building the two fence panels for the RETROpad. We decided to abandon the louvered design because of concerns about privacy, strength and bowing. So I made the panels just like the gate, and the whole thing will look seamless now. This meant cutting and sealing 48 more planks of western red cedar, and that took forever. We’ll even hang the panels with the same beefy hinges, but on both sides of each panel.

Gary made some final cuts on the ragged patio edge. We’ll set a concrete trough under the fence line tomorrow morning, and hope to dodge the rain. That will require sixteen more 60-pound bags of cement mix. The trough will prevent debris from building up. I can just blow or spray leaves and dirt under the fence this way. The final pour for the RV pad slab is now scheduled for next Thursday, due to rain. That pour will be done by truck and wheelbarrow.

Diamond Fence came yesterday to install the RETROpad’s gate and a short segment of fence between our arborvitaes. But the gate was mis-measured and didn’t fit, so now they have to order a new one. You would think a fence company’s #1 task is to get the measurements right before involving a welder. But no… There was a miscommunication on their end. Three week delay.

The gates will provide some privacy and security, and make the RETROvan more insurable. Did you know that most insurers won’t cover a restoration project or a “vintage” vehicle like this? They will only consider insuring a completed show vehicle that is kept locked up and only driven once in a blue moon — like to auto shows. So the RETROpad will provide safe harbor and private access. It will get the RETROvan farther away from the street and make it less of an attractive nuisance. From gawkers, that is.

By now you probably find my posts about the fence and gates pretty boring. But they are an important part of the RETROvan project because this work will allow the rig to become an integral part of our patio and home. We also have to get this work done while the weather’s good. So the RETROvan itself is taking a back seat, while the cabinets are in the shop. And I still have plenty of rainy-day tasks to perform inside the van, the garage or in the house through the end of the tax year. Yep, I said tax year. The RETROvan will enter service as a Schedule C, Section 179 tax deduction in 2017.

The paint shop is starting on my cabinets tomorrow, once the special undercoat primer they need arrives. So those should be able to go back into the RETROvan late next week and I can start the final assembly phase in October.

I’m trying to order a couple 12-foot pieces of retro extruded aluminum tee trim from Eagle Aluminum in Minnesota. This metal band will go around my dinette table and along the front of the galley countertop. The problem is shipping. Because it’s so long, it has to be carried by freight and that can cost up to $200. But I may have to splurge because I only want one seam in the trim. The table is 24×48″ with rounded corners, which is slightly less than 12′ total. Fortunately Gary at HomeMasters agreed to take freight delivery. Otherwise they would charge even more for a residential address.

The top of the dinette table will be laminated, remember. But this trim has to be tapped (literally, with a rubber hammer) into a 1/2″ slot cut in the table’s edge, with a special slot cutter used as a router bit. So I’ll order one of those tools from the same company.

Speaking of exorbitant shipping costs, the cool picnic table I ordered still hasn’t arrived. The company (unbeatablesale.com) is trying to extort additional shipping costs because UPS and FedEx refused to pick it up. It’s already painted and ready to go, but now they want almost $300 for shipping. I think that a deal’s a deal by law, and they should honor the order as-is. If they refuse and cancel it, then I’ll probably build a traditional picnic table out of cedar and fir timber to match the fence.

I can’t wait to post photos of the final cedar fence on Saturday. It will be beautiful. 🙂

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