1st Coat Poly on Blue Varathane Stained Floors

Short post today but I was able to throw down a first coat of polyurethane on the oak floors.Lana and I ran out of the city to see friends and swim in a lake while we waited for the floor to dry so I wouldn’t be tempted – out of excitement – to try to sand too early to get on a second coat. …looking forward to tomorrow!

Doing Floors / Doing Exterior Paint

We’ve still been busy building – sometimes it’s been in the house, working on refinishing our new bedroom floor, other times it’s been on the bus, refinishing our new bus floor.

Last week I was able to obtain enough solid oak flooring from a neighbor who reclaimed it out of one of these old St. Louis homes to do the floors in the bus.  He sold it to me for a few bucks and we ran it through the plainer to remove the prior finish.  …being reclaimed the tongues and grooves were split here and there but this wasn’t my first time rebuilding a floor with reclaimed wood.


I put down the vapor/thermal barrier and began the install as soon as I could because well, I was tired of looking at that naked floor.


Lana likes to check in sometimes and make sure I’m working and not dreaming…


The floor went in fairly easily and once it was sanded was a REALLY pleasing transition to behold, the warmth of wood always makes things better.


Around Starlight Lab and Camp Jessop, we’re not afraid of color – it’s welcomed in fact so we went with a blue stain from Varathane called “Vintage Aqua”.  The color theme of our bus it to be coppers/bronzes/aluminums/blues and gold.  Later we will be incorporating the burned wood/2-part epoxies w/mica and the Lichtenburg burning machine to make the faces of the cabinets, their doors and the walls of the shower/toilet room.  (That be the really fun and pretty part and when our skoolie really will start taking on it’s own character.




(I was on the roof the other day and took another photo of the solar panels)


I found one day so far that the humidity was low and the heat wasn’t horrible and took as much advantage of it as I could to begin painting the exterior as well.  We chose a hammered copper for the base color.


Luckily the bus is in pretty good shape and requires minimal prep for most of the surface though I will need some metal work on the bottom of the “garage door” due to rust.  The Rust-Oleum – Hammered Copper covered well and sticks better!


The hammered copper actually hides many imperfection in the surface anyway if they are not too sever and ends up looking very smooth.  I just rolled it on with a 4″ roller that I made sure would shed very little.


Below is the first real look I’ve been able to get outside of my mind of what the bus will become.  We are painting the black rails a bronze color that will be a little lighter than the copper and Lana is going to paint ALL the rivets individually, with hammered aluminum and we know it will look awesome – to us anyway but the good thing is – as far as this is concerned – we’re the only ones we have to make happy.  :). The roof is getting hammered aluminum as well and I can not wait to paint and take more photos to share.


…as for now – ON TO THE NEXT DAY!

Long time, no Post BUT – Progress is Being Made

Lana and I have not posted in a week or so (I think) but we have made some progress on the bus none-the-less. I’m still installing wiring and fuse systems for our solar power plant; obviously this needs to be done before the walls are closed up so – slow going getting to the pretty stuff up but we have lots coming in that area soon. We work with 2-part epoxies and mica and our interior will be adorned with it accordingly.

Lana has been working on making our solar powered, back-lit, stand off “Camp Jessop” letters that go in place of “School Bus” sparkle. Very deep clear coats with lots of multi-color glitter makes them pop against the silver body.

Flooring has also started as well. After a decade of custom interiors – I do floors near last. So much rough work happens during the real building that I can’t stand to lose a nice looking floor to accidents and our floor is nothing short of custom as well so – I don’t want to have to fix a bunch of dings and can’t stand grinding crap in under cardboard.

We’re using basic pine boards but are using a couple different techniques to make ordinary wood – pop! We’re using a torch & brush method with colored stain, mainly blue/tan/gray and the more dangerous method of burning with a Lichtenberg “machine” and filling the “lightening bolts” with mica enriched 2-part epoxy for the cabinet facings & doors/drawer fronts.

Below are some photos of the boards we are making for the main run of the hallway between the dining room and kitchen at the front of the bus. We are setting them in a herringbone pattern and each board is burnt and scraped and stained to be individual all on it’s own.

To get more consistency in my 20″ boards I took the lumber down to the big saw to cut stacks all at once – plus, it saves a LOT of running around cutting individual boards.

We started experiments with the colored stain in the closet/chest storage area under the bed, in front of the solar science station and water holding section.

Below are the first boards of the torching and color stained main flooring we are installing in the main living area of the bus. Yes, it will take a fair amount of work to make all the boards individually but we are sure it will be well worth the work in the end.

That’s most of what has been happening on Leauxie – Camp Jessop’s Mobile Starlight Lab. We are hoping for a short test run weekend in a few weeks so… lots to be done before then!

Happy trails!

…a little body prep work and electrical upgrades…

Today the flashers were removed, the flasher hoods were sanded, primed and painted copper.  We are installing LED flashers in the front and back warning flashers, removing the old incandescent lights and running the LEDs off the solar system.  Of course the new flashers will have entertaining patterns and such for our personal enjoyment and hopefully the metallic theme of silvers and coppers and metallic purples and blues is pleasing to the eye of those who behold Leauxie X42.  IMG_E6929IMG_E6928





I got the bed lifts in the other day. Our bedroom, a very cozy space in the back of our bus right next to the garage, will be our little sanctuary. We are excited about the storage opportunity under the bed as it is. There is a large trunk sized area towards the foot of the bed that will be able to store large items, extra bed cloths, shoes & boots and whatever else we can cram in there. I have a set of doors that open into the kitchen hallway into the same storage area that you can open to access the compartment without lifting the bed as well.

The rest of the two thirds of the area under the bed holds out 42 gallon water supply tank. The pumps, one for the cold/drinking water and one for the solar heated water will both be mounted next to the tank and towards the open rear for easy access to the filters.

The 2x 200 amp hour (total of 400 amp hours) batteries, charge controller, 12/24v step-ups converter and 5,000/10,000 inverter are all installed conveniently out of the way in this area as well.

The bed lifts are from Woodcraft.com and feature 210lbs. of lifting support. They were very easy to install and the deck mounted right on top with no problems.

Now it’s going to be time to build up our individual storage/desk areas on each side of the bed and begin routing water supply and solar circuits throughout the bus, it’s going to start whizzing to life and be a force of its own!