Blue View – The First Cut is the Hardest

 A few of the supplies

A few of the supplies

We have only a short stay here in Boston, and I want to be as productive as possible. Prior to our arrival, I pre-ordered all the parts and supplies I could think of that could possibly be needed. Solar panels, vents, fans, brackets, sealants, wire, adhesives, grommets, LED lights, cables and glands are all piled up in Lin's basement. It looks like an early Christmas down there … and Lin is absolutely thrilled.

Last week was primarily devoted to Marcie's school reunion, as well as catching up with friends and family, but I also started rounding up the tools I'll be needing for the jobs ahead. The plan is to buy good quality tools to make the project as efficient as possible, then sell them when the upfitting is done. I'm spending a lot now, but I'm hopeful I'll get most of it back later. I found the majority of what I need on Craigslist and eBay – used, but in good condition and reasonably priced. Home Depot is only 8 minutes away, and I bought the rest there.

So far, my acquisition of used tools includes a Dewalt router, an Hitachi portable miter saw with stand, a Ryobi drill press, and the crème de la crème, a Festool TS-75 track saw. The only things I had to buy new were a Ryobi 18v circular saw, with battery and charger, and a step ladder. I actually found all of these on Craigslist as well, but not nearby, and it wasn't worth driving an hour for the money to be saved.

 One Contingency Plan

One Contingency Plan

This week, the actual work began in earnest. Tuesday was sunny and clear, the perfect day for Mini-Project Number One – installing the roof fan. This required cutting a large, 14” x 14”, hole in the roof of our beautiful van. Cutting a hole like this made me rethink my usual adage – measure once, then go to Home Depot three times. I thought that if I screwed it up, I could make the hole into a skylight; or if I screwed it up really badly, I could always make Blue into a convertible. It's good to have contingency plans.

I assembled all the tools, parts and supplies I needed. I measured the area to be cut at least 18 times. I read the installation manual six times. I watched every YouTube video I could find on the subject. I readied the drill to make the first tiny pilot hole. I read the manual one more time. I had lunch. Then, I drilled the first hole through the roof of Blue.

 Drilling the First Hole - Gulp

Drilling the First Hole - Gulp

Next week, I'll try to get the video finished on how the project went. Did I manage to cut the hole and get the fan installed? Did the job entail more than one trip to Home Depot? Or the emergency room? Stay tuned.