Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Taking out the bus walls

Floors gone. Walls going too. Will there be anything left?
 On Monday, while Phil was at work, I did some more bus work and cut off the bolts holding the aluminum walls together. We wanted to get in there and take out that nasty old fiberglass insulation to put in some more efficient insulation. It appears that the aluminum siding goes under the windows (we are not exactly sure yet). This looks like it might require taking each window out to remove the aluminum. Too much work! I use the angle grinder,  my new favorite tool, and cut each piece a couple inches below each window. Later we can insulate and just put the new wood walls on top, so the aluminum won't be seen.
This is a piece of the aluminum wall peeled back after the bolts were cut off, and in the top corner you can see that it looks like the aluminum goes under the window. 


I'm cutting off the bolts on the walls. I'm also melting holes in my gloves and knee pads!
Here is one wall all cut, showing the old insulation. (And we also taped out some possible floor plans the night before. Very helpful for visualizing, in my opinion)
End of the day. All aluminum removed and insulation taken out.

Layers of Floors

     Last Sunday, while I was in MA selling my art at the Flywheel Flea Market,  Phil continued pulling up the rubber floor. This is the top layer of floor that you see on a school bus. He used a crowbar and hammer to pull up the metal strip down the aisle and along the walls, and pulled up the rubber, which is glued down to the wood underneath. It didn't let go without a fight, I'm told. But here is the bus with all the rubber removed and a pretty nice wood floor.

     When we started pulling up the rubber, we saw that the plywood layer underneath looked really good, without too much rot. It was only around the wheel wells and some small places that were pretty rotten. We considered keeping this wood as our sub-floor. Many people recommend taking this wood up, so you can put down a moisture barrier on top of the metal to prevent more water from getting in and rotting your nice pretty wood floor. So on Saturday we decided to pull up the areas that were rotten and needed to be replaced anyway, and see how easy it would be to take the wood up.
     It wasn't taking Phil too long to pry the wood up, so he just pulled it all up! I followed him, grinding the nails that were sticking out of the floor. (more holes to fill later) We felt better about this decision because now we can put down a moisture barrier and properly insulate, and start fresh with a new sub floor. Under the wood, we found some very rusty spots around the wheel wells and near the back door. These will have to be cleaned and the holes by the wheel wells will have to be patched up.

A lot of rust under the wood near the wheel well. Rusty spots near the back door. Some holes. 

 More Surprises....
On the rainy Sunday while Phil worked, he noticed some leaks. This is to be expected with most buses. Usually rain comes in through the windows, the roof emergency exists, doors, etc. We have all these leaks. We also have a leak coming from one of the speakers in the ceiling. Before we can do too much more, we will need to seal these up to prevent more rotting and rusting. 
            You can see a crack in the plastic around this emergency exit on the ceiling. Water is somehow leading to the speaker and dripping out. We thought that speaker looked suspicious when we got the bus.

Phil prying up the old ply wood floor.

Making progress, getting that wood out.

Look at that clean metal floor!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Getting to Work

Step One: Get those seats outta there!
     We want as much room as possible in the bus so we get started removing the seats right away. We were really happy about the fact that our bus has little rust on the floor so we started removing the bolts by hand. This required me to be on the floor with the screw gun on each bolt, and Phil under the bus holding onto the nut so I could unscrew it. This was working pretty well, except when we came to one that was blocked by a piece of metal underneath the bus. After several minutes of unscrewing the visible ones and skipping over the hidden ones to come back to later with the angle grinder, Phil decided we should just take the grinder to all of them. So that's what we did. Sparks were flying as I went down the rows of seats unscrewing the seat cushions and bolts holding the seats to the wall, and Phil cut all the bolts on the floor. All together it was less than a full day's work to remove all the seats. No problem at all! And just look at all the bus treasure we found! Bunch of rowdy, candy eating, little pirate children!

Phil with the angle grinder
Phil removing seats.
All the seats are out!
Seats piled high outside the bus.
Arrrr! Found me some bus treasure!

The Beginning

     "It's really happening!" was my younger brother's response to my text, "WE GOT A BUS!". Yes indeed, its really happening! For 5 hours, I followed Phil on the highway while he drove the big white beast from where we bought it in New Hampshire (www.busandchassisllc.com) to its new home in New Paltz, New York. All I could see was white as snow was falling all around the white bus as we drove through the night.
      We parked it in a field belonging to a friend of my family's.  I was given permission to start my own farm in this field in the spring. That will be a whole big project in itself, but for now we have the winter to turn this bus into a home.We have a lot of work ahead of us!

     This blog is intended to track our progress with the bus and farm, to share pictures and stories with friends and family, but we also want it to be informative for others who are taking on similar projects, as we have found other sites and blogs helpful for us. We love to hear feedback and will be happy to answer any questions about construction.

Thanks for reading!