Staining Trim for a School Bus Tiny House

staining trim for school bus conversion

Improvising a work spot while traveling.

 

 

staining trim for school bus

I used cheap 1×2 and 1×4  furring strips for the trim. Hand sanding with #220 grit sandpaper worked well enough. But I started using a palm sander later in the project and now wouldn’t recommend hand sanding. The sander was much faster and made a better final product.

 

 

staining trim for school bus

The exact stain that I used for the school bus tiny house trim. It came from Home Depot.

 

 

staining trim for school bus

The trick to the stain was figuring out how long to leave it on before wiping. Keep mixing also or your stain will get progressively darker throughout the project.

 

 

staining trim for school bus

I underestimated how much trim the bus would take. It ended up being three days of just sanding and staining trim. I cut these longer pieces as needed then touched up the cut ends with stain.

 

 

staining trim for school bus

Trim with two coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.  I’ll add a third coat to the entire bus conversion when I have more time and a controlled environment to work in.

Want your own self-hosted WordPress blog like this one? Web design is how I pay for The Bus Experience. Feel free to call, text, or email me for help with making your website ideas a reality.

Next Page: Trim Install

 

Boondocking Security Incidents

I’ve spent about 6 months boondocking / urban camping / free camping while working on the bus conversion. Mostly near Portland, OR. It was a challenge to transition to van life from the standard routine.  It’s been a super positive experience and I regret not relaxing a bit more earlier on. But there have been a few boondocking security incidents… I”m going to go through them so hopefully, other people can learn something from my experiences.

 

boondocking

First incident: At the location in the picture above. I had a drug addict run onto the roof of the bus while I was working inside. All the bus doors were closed and there were drop cloth curtains over the windows. The roof vents were open for ventilation. He saw the open roof vents as a chance to steal something. Luckily I was somewhat mentally prepared for this possibility. I had watched one of The Nomadic Fanatic’s Youtube videos where he talks about a belligerent drunk climbing onto the roof of his RV.

So I quickly went out the front bus door and see that there is some delinquent drug addict on the roof of the bus. The guy would have made a good Walking Dead extra. I start insisting that he get down but he stayed up there for an extra moment out of concern I might attack him. He finally came down and proceeded to start acting like he was from the area and just curious about the bus. Then he scurried away…I called the police to report the incident but I should have made an effort to take his picture. Lesson learned.

 

 

Bus conversion paint

Incident #2: This is the parking lot where I painted the blue lines on the bus and completed the penny countertop.

Some random woman pushed open the bus door right after I had stepped inside. I heard the bus door starting to open slowly and immediately went to the door before she could fully open it. She was shocked to see me standing there and immediately went into nervous, drug addict babbling before scurrying away. I didn’t bother calling the police but I now regret that decision.

Incident #3 Same location in the picture above. One of the side tool compartments was open, but still secure with an additional latch / lock I added. Suddenly I felt the whole bus shake while I was working inside. I looked out the window to find a vehicle stopped by the bus and man making his way back to the vehicle. He had been trying to pry open the tool compartment. I yelled to him and he started a similar type of nervous drug addict babbling as the vagrants in incident #1 and #2. I went to snap a picture of his vehicle but he quickly backed away as to not expose his license plates to the camera.

 

 

100_5728_opt

Incident #4: Boondocking near a random business park. I forgot a small black air pump on the front seat of my dingy car. Someone saw it and must have thought it was valuable. They smashed the window, took the air pump, and rooted through the glove box. It was only a $10 air pump but the lesson learned is not to leave anything visible! Luckily they didn’t go to the trunk where some tools were. I did go through the motions of filing the police report.

This was the worst experience over the six months. It was also preventable on my part. It’s also important to keep these experiences in perspective. I spent about 180 days working on the bus in public spaces and only had these four security incidents. There are lessons that can be learned or reinforced from this post but it definitely doesn’t represent what the average person will experience.

There are a few more pictures below to give you a sense of the area.

 

 

100_5731_opt

 

100_5735_opt-1

Please share this post if you found it useful. Thanks for reading!

Click here to start at the beginning of the bus conversion project

Visit me at EcomWebDesigner.com if you need any web design, development, or promotion.

,

How to Make a Penny Countertop p1

Penny counter top

 

Here is an Amazon link to the Epoxy I used for the penny countertop.

Penny counter top

 

Pre-cut pennies for the edges. This ended up being too many. Cut them as needed. Metal shears worked well.

Penny counter top

 

Pre-cut pennies for the edges. This ended up being too many. Cut them as needed. Metal shears worked well.

Penny counter top

 

Tracing the sink for the cutout.

Penny counter top

 

Empty parking lot where I stopped to make the penny countertop

Penny counter top

 

Drilling holes in all 4 corners of the sink outline.

Penny counter top

 

Using the jig saw to cut out the sink outline. With the drill holes allowing you to make the turns at each corner.

Penny counter top

Want your own self-hosted WordPress blog like this one? Web design is how I pay for The Bus Experience. Feel free to call, text, or email me for help with making your website ideas a reality.

Next Page

,

How to Make a Penny Countertop p3

The resin curing process slows down below 70 degrees. It ended up taking a few hours to harden which forced me to stay in this parking lot overnight.

Penny counter top

 

Sink still fits

Penny counter top

 

Penny countertop in place. The edge needs to be sanded.

Penny counter top

 

Close up of the surface.

Penny counter top

 

I sanded the edge with a belt sander.

Penny counter top

 

Polyurethane the underside of the countertop to prevent the wood absorbing moisture.

Penny counter top

 

Simple backsplash cut from sanded plywood. Then 3 coats of polyurethane.

Penny counter top

 

Counter installed with the wood edge painted black. Eventually, I will epoxy cut up pennies to this edge.

School bus conversion penny counter top

School bus conversion penny counter top

Want your own self-hosted WordPress blog like this one? Web design is how I pay for The Bus Experience. Feel free to call, text, or email me for help with making your website ideas a reality.

Next Page: Finishing bus conversion walls

,

How to Make a Countertop with Pennies p2

Hole cut for the sink.

Penny counter top

 

Sink fit just right. I order the sink from Amazon. Here is a link to the Amazon reviews and description.

Penny counter top

 

Black paint for painting the surface before laying down the pennies. You can see the cracks between pennies and black seems to be the best choice for making the pennies stand out.

Penny counter top

 

Foil tape worked well for making an edge to hold back the epoxy resin. I also stapled the tape all the way around the edge to make sure everything was secure.

Penny counter top

 

Close up of the foil tape. Here is a link to the tape I used.

Penny counter top

 

Picked up $40 in pennies from the bank. $2 per square foot is a good estimate when making your penny countertop. Get extra so that you can select the bet looking coins.

Penny counter top

 

All the pennies laid out. I opted not to glue down the pennies first.

Penny counter top

 

I only had two saw horses so I had to improvise a brace for the pennies. Make sure the countertop is level in all directions before pouring the epoxy.

Penny counter top

Want your own self-hosted WordPress blog like this one? Web design is how I pay for The Bus Experience. Feel free to call, text, or email me for help with making your website ideas a reality.

Next Page

,

Penny Countertop for School Bus Conversion

I made a penny countertop for the school bus conversion while boondocking this summer.

School bus conversion penny counter top

School bus conversion penny countertop

 

Here is an Amazon link to the Epoxy I used for the penny countertop.

Penny counter top

 

All of the pennies laid out with foil tape around the edges. A random empty parking lot turned into my workshop. Luckily there was a bank across the street. I accidentally corroded a batch of pennies in an attempt to clean them with peroxide and vinegar, Choose one or the other!

A pair of $20 metal shears from Home Depot allowed me to cut the pennies where needed. The cut pennies turned out to be my favorite so don’t hesitate to incorporate cut pennies in your design.

Penny counter top

 

Countertop leveled and resin poured. The sun went down then the temperature dropped below 70 degrees, The curing process slowed way down at that point. I was forced to camp out in this parking lot until the next morning when the counter could be moved.

Penny counter top

 

The epoxy had cured by morning. A leaf found its way into the epoxy during that slow dry time. But at least nobody stole the countertop while I was sleeping!

Penny counter top

 

This resin turned out very clear and you should definitely make sure to get excess pennies so you aren’t forced to use any ugly ones. You will be able to see the funky pennies! Click here for a more thorough breakdown of the build process.

Penny counter top

Want your own self-hosted WordPress blog like this one? Web design is how I pay for The Bus Experience. Feel free to call, text, or email me for help with making your website ideas a reality.