Monday, 5 August 2013

They say it always gets worse before it gets better...

The restoration of Jennifer began in ernest this week. After spending the weekend getting used to her foibles, I put a restoration plan together. Despite her being in structurally sound, she still needs an awful lot of work doing. The main issue for now is the mouldy paint inside: although luckily there is no damp yet! If you missed my introductory post from last week, see HERE  


05/08/2013: The restoration began, oddly, with some gardening. I had to move Jennifer a few inches nearer the house to allow me to get all the way around her, so I pulled her forwards to cut the Ivy hedge on my drive to give me an extra few inches of room. This was made possible by the now working jockeywheel! In my earlier post I explained how the jockeywheel was fixed and only allowed you to move the caravan in straight lines. It turns out that this was a tale spun by the previous owner! The jockeywheel was seized up and after dismantling and re-greasing, now works a treat - just as a jockeywheel should!

Next came the big clean. Dirt can work in two ways: it can make things look worse than they are or can hide the condition of something. So it's always best to start your restoration by cleaning - even if you're getting rid of the item that you're cleaning. On the left here is the kitchen worktop as the caravan came. On the right is another piece of it after twenty minutes or so of elbow grease! Just hot soapy water and a decent cloth were all that were needed. I also ran a scraper along the glossy surface to chip some dried on paint off the worktop.

Here's the cooker top during cleaning. It has come up like new! I recommend wire wool for coated metal items as it won't scratch them and wire wool really shifts the dirt. I used stainless steel cleaner that helps to loosen the dirt quicker, but you can also use hot soapy water.

Now for the scary part - removing the internal furniture! The previous owner had remade these bed bases. I would have preferred for the original ones to have been left in regardless of condition as these new ones weren't even squared up. Not to mention that fact that they had silicone all over them to glue them to the caravan. Annoyingly these took a long time to take out as the silicone did not want to budge. Some bad language, a few cut fingers and a lot of hammering later and the first one came out. It only took 45 minutes!

Sadly the mould in the rear corner was totally unventilated as the seat cushions were pushed up against it - so damp is beginning to form in this corner. I've now got to replace the wall panelling and I will be making all new bed bases with in built ventilation and I will also fit draught boards to allow air to circulate to stop this from happening again. I've also removed the kitchen unit and above cupboard to properly strip off all of the paint.

I've decided to remove the modern, out of place laminate flooring. To my amazement, the original lino is still present underneath! It's got a wonderful leafy pattern on it but sadly is too badly damaged to salvage it. I will be putting new lino down. It's a shame I can find an identical replacement as this lino is wonderful!

The original lino pattern. The green is a little lighter than this picture and the leaves more prominent.

This is the awful, messy bed base construction that I am having to contend with! This stuff doesn't like to come off and looks horrible. I'm pleased to say that this stuff won't be getting put back into the caravan.

And finally the front end all stripped out. It's official - there's no going back now! The first plan is to strip all the paint inside and repaint, then add new lino before beginning to reconstruct the interior. Along the way I'll be rewiring the road lights, adding 12v electrics, replacing two damp wooden wallboard panels and constructing a new kitchen, bathroom and bed bases! I've got my work cut out!


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