Salvage and Sand
One main feature I wanted the bus to highlight was the use visible wood throughout the interior, primarily in thick wood countertops. With todays lumber prices I simply could not afford such a thing, so my initial plan was to mill up some yellow cedar with my Alaskan mill and chainsaw. However, a much better opportunity presented itself through my Brother, Nicholas, who works for a company that specializes in engineered wood panels. These panels are called Cross Laminated Timber, or CLT and are very strong and as such are used in applications traditionally reserved for steel and concrete. The Plant that makes these panels is located in Penticton, and they were willing to allow me to look through their cutoff pile and salvage what I could. So some time in November I drove out there with my chainsaw and a book of measurements to see what I could find. Once out there I realized finding the panels would be no problem, but cutting them down to a manageable size to move into my truck would be a formidable task. Luckily Nicholas joined me for the day to help find the wood, measure it out, and safely move it to my truck.
Since the panels are cross laminated, cutting them was unlike bucking a natural tree in that the panel would not flex or pinch but would then suddenly release at the end of the cut, sliding the huge panel down the pile. The whole time we were there I was worried one of us would get pinched between sliding panels, and either be horribly injured or simply just kicked out for being reckless without any wood! This did not happen of course and I was able to get all the wood I needed for the counters, tables and more. So with my truck riding the line of a legal load I headed home to fine tune the rough chainsaw cuts, and start sanding!
Now as per any new-age home renovation blog, show, ect, this is the part where I am supposed to brag about how the salvaged wood cost nothing but alittle elbow grease. Although the sentiment is true, a little elbow grease becomes quite expensive when you have a short timeline and it comes at the cost of other tasks. In addition, moving these huge chunks of wood around to cut and sand them was extremely taxing. After a few times moving them by hand in and out of the bus, I eventually started using the backhoe to lift them up and into the bus's rear window on the second story.
My vision for these countertops was to have that thick glossy glass like epoxy you see in old timey Pubs perfectly encapsulating the wood. To achieve this look I decided to order in a new acrylic epoxy product from Benjamin Moore, knowing they have an excellent line of thick paints. Unfortunately, not only did this product costs a lot, it ended up not working at all, and added weeks to the overall build. The two part epoxy was mixed and applied within spec, and left to dry in a stable room temperature of around 18 degrees (contested by Benjamin Moore). When I returned in the morning, I found the epoxy had crystallized and left a rough sandpaper like finish across all applications. I applied a second coat hoping it would smooth out, but it too crystallized. I now needed to sand this coating off and go with a new product. In fear of a repeat epoxy issue, I decided to go with a product I knew and trusted, Varathane. Varathane is a great as it is very predictable, and offers the same benefits of epoxy as long as you have the patients to apply enough coats. In my case I was able to get six coats on before my patients ran out, but it felt good to finally close the countertop chapter of the build. After weeks of sanding, coating ,sanding and re-coating, they were finally finished sometime near the end of January, allowing the rest of the interior work to begin.
Patrick Sills is the owner and creator of Double Decker Coffee Roasting. The purpose of the Build Blog is to share the story of the physical build, its components, Patrick's growing education in the coffee industry, and the overall creation of the business. Warning: if run on sentences, poor sentence structure, or simple spelling mistakes bother you to the core stop reading! The Build Blog has a very loose format, I am a builder not a writer, just thought some people might be interested in the story. Enjoy!