When we started this school bus Airbnb back in March, we had no idea what was in store for V and me.
We thought we would be able to wrap up the conversion in about three months. Back in that spring of 2017, we expected to finish the project in time to go on a tour of the country, attending the Burningman art festival in August, spending a few weeks on the road and finally bringing the bus to Huntington Beach where we would rent it out as an AirBnB while we left the country to visit Australia for a wedding and some surf.
If you’ve been following along on this journey via our YouTube channel, you’ll know our plans were laughably optimistic. Burningman came and went while we worked on the bus, then the weeks between the art festival and the Australia trip passed. V actually left me with the bus while she flew out in time to make her sister’s wedding. I was left alone to finish the bus.
So I pushed on for another month or two. Finally, all the systems were in and the bus was ready to go. Again, I had problems with mechanical stuff. The fuel pump needed to be replaced and the bus needed to be registered legally. I wrapped those two projects up in Reno while I watched my parent’s house while they were out of the country.
That’s where this video comes into play.
Now the bus will become an AirBnB property in Southern California. That’s the goal.
You see, when I started, I wanted to drive the bus around to national parks and work online from the comfort of a dusty road. Now, I just want to leave the bus behind and start recouping a bit of the investment.
While driving from Reno to LA, I realized the bus has a new oil leak and the power steering leak became progressively worse. It seems that the more time I spend with the bus, the worse the problems get.
Therefore, it makes sense to allow the house to start taking care of its self.
The next few videos will be about getting the bus ready for a vacation rental. Once that is complete, I plan on having a point where we have no plans.
I’ve planned my life out for the last 5 years. It’s time to create an opportunity where I can wake up one morning and think, “Today we are free to do and go wherever it is that we want to.”
Recent Thank You
Mom and Dad -Mom your emotional support has fortified me through some very challenging times. Dad, if you didn’t teach me to build stuff, this project would have been 100% impossible.
Lauren – You’re a best friend sis’. Also, you’re able to sew like a pro, despite being an am. 😀
David Vu – Your excitement to take on business challenges and work with V and I is a life saver.
Scott Siller – Thank you for reaching out via the YouTube comments and supporting me in the Nevada Vehicle Registration process. I was afraid of the process until your calm explanation made it feel like a simple hurdle to jump over.
The Kinsinger Family – Thank you for keeping me at your Thanksgiving dinner. It was an absolute delight.
Registering a skoolie in Nevada is not as challenging as I initially anticipated. It’s just like registering a salvaged car. Check out the video to get an idea of the story. I’ll add additional information related to costs and document types on the blog below.
How I Registered My Skoolie in Nevada
More to come shortly.
This video is a more complete documentation of building the custom drawers and Installing soft-close ball bearing drawer slides.
If you’re finding this because you plan to do the project yourself, I suggest checking out my previous video on soft-close ball bearing drawers as well.
Notes on Installing Soft-Close Ball Bearing Drawer
The devil with installing ball-bearing sliding drawer rails is in the details. The reality is that I spent a lot more time contemplating and measuring. These videos appear as if it was a quick, easy process to plan what to do next.
Because the drawers are square and the hardware is straight, it is critical to measure carefully. I was off by 1/4″ in terms of square-trapezoid shape. That difference in sliding rail measurement differences was enough for the hardware to function improperly.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask below. If you ask pertinent, important questions relating to the topic of installing drawer slides, I can respond below with my thoughts. Those comments are public to everyone else reading this post. With luck, we can build a great resource here for future people.
Ideally, I’d like to have a great resource for others while learning the ways that others can improve the installation process.
In this episode of the bus conversion story, I install the skoolie pocket door.
Pocket Door Installation Tips
I believe my adhesion of the poly wall to the door was insufficient. This is only something I wanted to do because the door is there to keep water from going into the hallway.
The second thing I wish I had done was that I wish I had installed the handle before I put the door up. Here’s an example of the handle hardware:
Pocket Door Handle Hardware: http://amzn.to/2z5A797
One thing that I struggled with was getting the door in place. I learned, through trial and error, that the best way to get the door to hang was it get it in place and then pry the door up using a corner. I then used the back side of my utility knife (this one specifically) to push the slider onto it’s mount. Once that first slider was connected to the door, I pried the door the opposite way so that the other mount met the sliding hardware. I hope that helps.
If you have anything to add, or you have any questions regarding skoolie pocket door installation, please let me know in the comments below.
Pocket Door Materials and Tools
If you’re hoping to do this, here is a link to the hardware I used to build the door:
Pocket Door Slider Hardware: http://amzn.to/2z47KIl
I used the 60″ version of the hardware, but I believe I cut the hardware down a little bit. My door turned out to be about 26 inches wide and the door way is 24 inches wide. Therefore, two inches worth of door stays hidden behind the wall at all times.
It’s this video that I actually make the drawer work well. Here is a link to the sliding door hardware I used:
Sliding Drawer Hardware: http://amzn.to/2hoZRG4
. For me, it was all about moving the supporting struts around so that the drawer slid back and forth smoothly.
To be honest, I didn’t quite get it perfect, it’s just good.
Next I do some more table saw work. I added in a little outtake from one of my favorite carpenters. You can find the whole of Jimmy DiResta’s table saw tips here:
Next, I went about addressing the footpath between the shower and the kitchen. I used silicone, grout and epoxy to span the gap. Here is a link to the heavy duty two part epoxy that I used:
Two Part Epoxy: http://amzn.to/2gQdM7a
When I made the pocket door, I used liquid nails and white silicone. I’m not 100% confident in that job, but here is a link to the stuff I used if you want to give it a try:
Liquid Nails: http://amzn.to/2iNAr8C
White Silicone: http://amzn.to/2iNAr8C
The Man – Clueless Kit
This video details what may be one of the more challenging parts of skoolie cabinetry, installing the hinge and other hardware.
The image below shows the completed cabinet doors.
The below image shows a closeup of the hinges. These are 1/2 inch overlay hinges. The brand I picked up was called Liberty. I spent $19.98 on a 10 pack of these hinges at Home Depot. If I were to do it again, I would have gone with the soft close option. Soft close means they have a piece of plastic inside the door hinge part of the hinge. That plastic pushes agains the hinge to soften the closing mechanism. It’s only a little more expensive, but it might add a bit more to the “wow” factor.
Here’s what the hinge I installed looks like:
Tips for Installing Half Inch Overlay Hinges
- Use millimeters to measure your distance from the edge. 20.5 mm is far more precise than whatever it is in imperial increments
- Use a square to draw a cross for exactly where you want your drill bit to start the hole.
- The instructions say the mm size for the forstner bit. I used a 1-3/8″ steel forstner bit and it worked fine. It cost $16.99 at Home Depot. It’s available on amazon for $11.80 via this link (link). If blog saves you $5.00, let me know in the comments please. 🙂
- Have a fast square on hand. I have an aluminum one that I purchased a long time ago, but you can find them very inexpensive on Amazon for less than $5.00 (link here). The fast square is a very useful tool.
- I installed the hinges so that the center of the hinge is 3″ from the top and the bottom of the cabinet. I’m happy with this and I stole the idea for hinge location from some professionally built cabinets in my friends house.
The bag called the knob that I used a Liberty 1-1/8″ scallop edge round knob of antique brass.
Be careful, these are for sale on Amazon for $10 each in some scammy places. At Home Depot I picked them up for less than $1 each and they can be found on amazon for the same price.
These are really easy to install. In the video I demonstrate the process very quickly. Here’s some quick details just in case reinforcing knowledge would be helpful.
- Measure 1 inch down and one inch inside the doors to make your mark for drilling
- Use a 3/16″ drill bit to go straight through the cabinet
- Hand tightened the knob with your thumb on the back bolt
If I find in the future that they are coming off, I can add a washer to the back and use a screwdriver to ensure they never come loose.
Previously Posted Relevant Skoolie Cabinetry Posts
I would appreciate your feedback on anything mentioned in this post. Please feel free to leave a comment below with tips that I may have missed, or with specific questions you have regarding your own build.
Thank you for visiting.
Metal Trim Process
In this video I installed the metal trim for the rear door of the bus. That trim came with the bus but it was rusty and ugly looking. As we’re trying to make the bus a really beautiful place that will last a long time, getting the rust off and dressing it up was important. All the grinding and painting happened off camera, but the installation is shown in the video above.
- Grind rust down using an angle grinder and a braided grinder disc.
- Once rust is completely removed, set metal on thin blocks. The goal is to make it so that the metal piece to be painted touches as little as possible.
- Use white primer for the first layer of paint. Spray from 2-3 feet away and move paint can continuously while spraying.
- Use whatever color you want after that. I used black for this trim piece.
Wood Filler Substitute
Off camera the night before, I made a mistake and cut my hole for the electrical outlet too long.
To remedy that, I want to fill the saw lines with wood filler. I don’t really like the normal wood filler that we used on the ceiling so I tried something new. It’s something that I think I learned from a DiResta video. Here’s how it works:
I use a combination of wood glue, saw dust and water to fill the mistakenly cut lines. I’m not 100% happy with the way it turned out. My guess is that the saw dust I used was too thick. If I could have found some more dusty wood dust, I think the final product would have been better.
Also, I would have mixed up a greater amount of the mixture. With more to work with, I can make more conscious decisions about the texture and construction of the material. In the video, you see it kind of working. I look forward to doing this again in the future with better results.
Wood Paneling the Skoolie
Paneling is actually a time intensive process. My process is to carefully measure, cut, sand and stain each piece. It takes a lot longer than I expect. IN the video above, I paneled the bed which encloses the 47 gallon water tank. This enclosure also encases the water pump and all the pipes that empower us to decide between filling the water tank or using city water. It was a tough collection of cuts.
Slats for the New Bus Bed
Today I also did a lot of table saw cuts.
The bed needed to be built differently. The existing 1/4″ plywood was cracking if I rested on the open span areas. Also, there is a chance that the lack of ventilation with the old build strategy would have been quite limited. It had to change.
I took the old 1/4″ in plywood off and used 3/4″ plywood strips cut at 3 1/2″ in to make up the bed. I spaced the 3/4″ plywood slats apart by 1 1/2″. A single slat and it’s space between the next one added together for an even 5″. Because a Queen bed is 60″ in by 80″ in I knew that (60/5) I would be needing 12 slats to complete the project.
That said, I knew I had to develop a different strategy for the area which covers the water tank. I wanted to easily be able to access the water shed should we need to make adjustments. For that reason, I stopped at 7 slats. I’ll do the next 5 ASAP.
ASAP isn’t accurate. I’ll do it at my next opportunity. I was exhausted from this day of projects so I went to bed.
Thank you for watching. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or concerns.
Soft Sound by Clueless Kit
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