We live in a pretty large city (Raleigh) and one would think there would be lots of hardwood distributors around here that carry 1/8" birch. Well, after many phone calls, we found a place on the other side of the city that carries "bendable birch 1/8" plywood. So, hubby took the van on a mission to get some. He came home and we looked at what they loaded into the van. It's bendable, all right! A little too bendable. The original birch was 1/8" and had 3 layers - two birch exterior good faces with an inner layer of inferior grade wood. The "bendable" birch that we picked up had just one face layer and a back layer of inferior wood. Two ply, not three, and barely 1/8 inch thick. It just won't work as paneling. So, he's returning it to the store. While he's gone, I'll bring this blog up to where we're at in this process.
Last week, hubby removed a gazillion rusted, painted over screws so we could remove the dinette windows and also open up the back end. The interior paneling was shot, a PO had used multiple layers of polyurethane to cover up the damage. We decided to completely redo the back end before we take her camping this season. It looked severely damaged and we were afraid of the rot we'd find behind the skin, with good reason!!
So, we began the task of removing the back skin, taking off the lights first, which had gobs of silicone caulk on them, removing drip rails on both edges, and the rear window. The offending screw was just the tip of the iceberg, evidently. Eeek. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's my novel:
|Eyebrow removed over the rear window, rear Hehr window removed. The original caulk is still in place under the eyebrow. It's different from the putty tape we'd expected. It's more like plumber's putty, and it's still soft.|
|Our first glance at the damage under the skin.|
|Here's the back lower skin removed, we tried everything to get this thing loose, turns out it just lifts off. We see some damage, but it's not as bad as we feared....yet.|
|This is where the Shasta assemblers nailed through the exterior into the potty closet frame.|
|Streetside back end.|
|Curbside back end. Lotsa rot.|
|We found this symbol stamped all over the back of the paneling - Made In Canada. Eh?|
|Peeled away the insulation and you can see the problem right away.|
We were aware that she would need a few months of work and quite a bit of cash to fix her. We bought her anyway. We'll make her strong and sturdy, and she'll bring many years of enjoyment for our family. She may never be a showpiece, but she'll be a lot of fun!!