Framing, wall panelling and rain rain rain: Days 15, 16, 17 and 18

So as previously mentioned last Thursday saw us head to Hobart to get our wood heater and run some other errands. We picked up the heater- at a greater cost than we’d been lead to believe- and then went to the hardware shop. Our aim was to find some wood that could be used as the top beam for our wood frame.

The hardware store didn’t have the length we needed but we were able to come up with a solution: we could cut our excess timber from the frame in half and these would be our beams. With a solution we headed back to Huonville to meet up with Dad, Greg and  Sophie. Whilst we waited we decided to use the time to pick up the plywood for the wall panelling.

After bumping into Dad, Greg and Sophie at the petrol station we headed to the supermarket. In the distance we could see dark clouds forming and thick rain bucketing on the hills of Lucaston. We decided to hightail it back to home before the rain was too heavy (and our plywood to wet).

At home we quickly unpacked the now wet plywood under cover and caught up over a cuppa and waited for the rain to ease so we could give them a tour. When the rain finally did ease we ended up congregating under our tent tarp as the rain bucketed down once again.

The rain didn’t ease much for the rest of the afternoon or evening. A nice Tassie summer welcoming for our guests! We had over 40mls. It was a good opportunity to see how the rain falls on the site and how effective our rain water catchment is.

Friday we awoke to a cloudy sky and fairly constant drizzle, weather not particularly conducive to power tools. After some manouvering of vehicles and equipment we were able to set up a work site under the carport protected from the rain. The first job of the day was to get onto those top beams. After helping Dad set up the saw and measure out the wood I left Dad to cut the beams.


Father and son consulting over their work in our lounge/worksite/dining room.

Whilst I had been helping Dad, Deirdre, Greg and Sophie had got to work screwing in the rest of the side beams. As Dad worked quickly Deirdre and myself started on the top beam on the passenger side, whilst Greg and Sophie continued on with their work on the drivers side.


Greg and Sophie at work screwing the drivers side top beam ready for the wall panelling.

The rest of Friday was spent in much the same way. Three to four of us in the bus working away on measuring and screwing whilst the others worked in the shelter to cut timber ready for the next stage. By the end of the day we had all of the top and side beams attached ready to start on the wall panelling on Saturday.

Tired but glad the day was over we headed into town for pizza and cider. On the way picking up a ladder as Dad had noticed the gutters were quite congested and we weren’t catching all that much rain.

Saturday morning was a little better. Although overcast there was enough of a break for Dad, Deirdre and myself to work on cleaning the gutters. Precarious work given the steepness of the site and the not level footing of the ladder. With one up the ladder and two rotating on holding it, we filled four 9 litre buckets with some good leaf matter, which of course went straight in the compost!

With the gutters cleaned it was time to get on with the wall panelling (we were initially going to panel the walls in pine board, but after trialling a sample, we thought it was too woody. So decided on plywood and paint instead). As luck would have it just as we went to get started it began to rain. Any chance of working outside to the cut the panels went with it and so Dad, Greg and myself moved the saw horses and generator into the bus and got to work there.


Dad and Greg measuring up the passenger side wall panelling. As we discovered with this job, it is ‘bespoke’.

Despite the difficulties of it all Greg, Dad and myself were able to make do and by early afternoon we had 4 panels in. By this stage the rain had also cleared so we were able to move the sawhorses outside to do some of the finer corner work with the jigsaw.


Dad ‘supervising’ Greg’s leveling skills as they work on inserting the back wall panel in. With this in place we were able to work out the last two side pieces.

We kept on working until around 4 and then packed up for the day. By the end of it we had most of the passenger side panelling on, half the panelling on the drivers side and the back wall on. All we had to do was the two back sections from the wheel arches to the back. A job that I thought would take an hour or two come Sunday morning.


The bus end of Saturday. It’s taking shape!

Sunday morning we woke to… you guessed it: rain! After a breakfast of ironic comments about Tasmanian summers we settled into finishing off a few remaining jobs. In less than half an hour Greg and I attached two panels on the drivers side and the last of the top beam. The bus was now ready for the final two panels to be added.  A job for after lunch as it was now time for markets and a wash. After 3 days of dampness we were all in need of a hot shower!


Early morning job finishing, Oscar has just left happy with our work!

After a late lunch- I had utilised Dad’s van to pick up the rest of the foil boards for the roof- Dad, Greg and myself set back to work in the bus completing the last panelling. As the photo below highlights it was time consuming work. The bus had more subtle curves then we had imagined and our cutting was not 100 % accurate. This meant that each panel had to be fine tuned as it went. Without even realising it we were getting a bespoke wall!


Dad and Greg combining practicality with theory to complete the panelling.

The three of us worked on the paneling and Deirdre worked on the silicon around the windows for the rest of the bus. Completing all of the panelling by the end of the day. A job I had envisaged would be an hour had again become more than double that.


The end of three days of work. All the paneling done! Now to clean it up..

As we worked on the bus Sophie lit a fire and prepared a great curry for us all. We never envisaged that the last day of January would see us having our first fire but it was a welcome addition as that evening I was able to introduce Dad, Greg and Sophie to the joys of banana boats.


Summer in Tassie!


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