With the power of Gumtree Alerts, I wake up every morning to a couple of emails pointing me to objects that are relevant to my quest of building this van on a budget. After a slight adjustment to light, my scanning through the various caravan parts that have come onto the market in the last 24 hours begins. One peeked my interest recently, that being a collapsible bunk bed.
As you may already know, this van conversion is for the sole benefit of me, okay, and the wife, not forgetting the two dogs (if I still allow one of them to live that long (see the previous blog)). However, a few hints have been dropped by 'She who must be obeyed' that it would be nice to have extra sleeping space in the van to cater for the two girls to tag along. With space being so tight at the minute (in my mind, cause I've yet to spec this out properly), I didn't want to add another double bed into the limited space, or put permanent bunks in either, so having this collapsible bunk frame was going to be a win.
Arrangements were made between myself and the seller, Anna, and a drive was on the cards for the next Saturday.
Finding Anna's home was easy enough, a mix of GPS and handy notes had me gingerly driving up her narrow drive in my mahoosive van. I would have been tempted to reverse up it, but since I'm now blind at the back thanks to Milo, that wasn't gonna happen! Anna's having a clear out and she has an old caravan she's stripping for parts, none-of-which took my fancy, as I'm after something more compatible with a hot water system. Her son was kind enough to give me a hand shifting the frame from the rear garden to the van, and a nicer fella I have yet to meet. A few shekels changed hands, and I was blindly backing out of the drive back onto the main road with no clue as to whether I'd get creamed by a lorry. Thankfully traffic stopped for me, making me even more determined to get these cameras fixed, and soon!
Rather than bringing the bunk bed straight home, I called out to Mick, my welding hero from Ballykelly. The reason I needed his skills was that the bunk beds are 73" wide, and the space I have for them is only 71". I could say I knew this in advance, but I will freely admit that it wasn't until we loaded it into the van that I then thought to measure them. Another rookie mistake! But, I was confident that Mick would be able to solve it, and solve it he did. He took a section of the springs out, cut the side supporting poles down, a little bit of nip / tuck to wedge them together, some welding, a bit of red oxide paint, done! They're prefect.
The only thing that remains for me to do now is, sand them down, thin a bit of Hammerite paint, then give them a quick freshen up.
My wife didn't understand why I had to buy them straight away until I explained that when hunting for bargains that are actually relevant to something you've an interest in, you can't just wait until you have the money or the time to sort it out. Who knows when an item you might need will come up again? It's not like I can just go into my local store and ask for this stuff. I probably paid twice as much in fuel getting it, but hey-ho, I have it now, and they'll factor into the design of the van build.
As for the design, this is where the awesome product Sketchup Make comes into play. I'm now trying to learn 3D modelling, which is a whole other level of head melt. It has to be done though, there's just no escaping it. I'm going to be that dude that always has a tape measure stuck to his arse, for that 'just in case' moment...