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Old 03-28-2015, 05:45 PM   #1
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Restore vs Rebuild vs just being crazy

So... I recently got an 88 Fleetwood Southwind, 34 foot, with dual beds in the rear bedroom.

I wanted to sleep more people in that bedroom, so I am putting bunk beds on one side, and a small double on the other, in that same bedroom.

Now, this is not my first MH, and I am both pretty handy, but also pretty cheap. I also like to think that I respect craftmanship, and believe there is a certain value to the integrity of an entity.

I have a good relationship with my vehicles, both cars and campers. I had owned a mopar convertible for 25+ years, at a different time, a Volvo convertible for 230,000 miles. I liked those and and my previous MH and campers and feel that they liked me. Like most things in life, I believe that if you treat them well, they will treat you well. I run my stuff hard, and they run hard, and we all have a good life.

Now comes my question.

I have a tendency to rebuild campers and houses and whatnot, with the same bits that I disassemble, when I can. In this case, I had to take apart the current bunks, and take out several cabinets and storage points to make the back bedroom a bit bigger, and am in the process of making the bunk beds.

So, I took much of this corner of the MH apart, and am re-using much of the lumber and bits. This is a very time consuming effort, in that removing these wall sections, support structures, and wall surfaces, it would be much easier to cut them out, or damage them on the way out. Once removed, there is glue, staples (seemingly millions of them) screws, and many other bits that need to be removed carefully so the pieces and bits are not damaged beyond the capacity to be reused.

So, am I crazy to think there is a value in re-organizing my MH with original bits? It would be easier and faster to buy new lumber, and use that. But I feel that my MH has my respect, and I do not relish the idea of discarding parts of it when they still have their integrity. (if they were damaged, or rotten, or if this was a water damage repair, as an example, it would be different. That is not the case, the bits I removed were fine and healthy)

SO, where do we all come down on this? I like to keep the bits that are good in the MH which is good, when I can. I think the end result is better, the MH itself feels better and is happier if I did not waste its bits, and replace them with new when it was for my convenience, and not necessary.

In this case, I might call this change to be a restoration, but to a point that looks different than the original, if that is possible. It is a labor of respect that I do this in this manner. I respect my colleague, my Southwind.

An I alone?
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Old 03-28-2015, 05:54 PM   #2
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You sound like a craft person. I worked on old victorions for years. If it's salvageable use it. If not burn it in the campfire and thank the old girl for the warmth.
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:26 PM   #3
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You sound like a craft person. I worked on old victorions for years. If it's salvageable use it. If not burn it in the campfire and thank the old girl for the warmth.
Thank you for understanding. I also appreciate your brevity. (That is a skill I never mastered.)
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Old 03-28-2015, 09:39 PM   #4
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i like to reuse also good call
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Old 04-07-2015, 11:21 PM   #5
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Keep the old to maintain the original look if you want and need to. Buy new and reuse what is visible if you want less time and effort to remove all the old fasteners. I like to recycle what I can but not if it takes more time and adds complications.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:21 AM   #6
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Time has a value and we each decide what that value is to us. Match it to the value you get from your effort. Not all value is money. Sometimes it is the satisfaction we get from working.
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Old 04-09-2015, 01:14 PM   #7
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I reuse if the old parts are good, sometimes repurpose.
Toss if rotten, broken, or will cause me additional work in the forseeable future.


I built a new upper cabinet a couple of weeks ago. The bottom shelf was a piece of paneling that was in the 70's slide-in pickup camper I grew up camping in, Dad had it leftover when he scrapped the camper. It felt great to reuse it in a similar manner to its original purpose. Dad helped me install it and Mom painted it.


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Time has a value and we each decide what that value is to us. Match it to the value you get from your effort. Not all value is money. Sometimes it is the satisfaction we get from working.
That says it all. Very, very well said.
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Old 04-09-2015, 01:50 PM   #8
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In every project I do I salvage what is useable to achieve my goal. If its potentially useful elsewhere I store it until later, if not I burn it, recycle it or trash it. Be sure to post some pix of your project
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Old 04-09-2015, 05:43 PM   #9
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Time has a value and we each decide what that value is to us. Match it to the value you get from your effort. Not all value is money. Sometimes it is the satisfaction we get from working.
I like this.

Some of the value is tinkering, and being in the MH working slowly. I enjoy the solitude (two teenagers in the house) and some of the value has very little to do with the wood being repurposed.

I am moving slowly on this project, and will be posting some early shots soon.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:16 AM   #10
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I'm pretty careful when removing paneling, to minimize issues trying to match the original when going back together. Other than that, and hardware bits, if I can reuse something I pulled out, fine. Otherwise, not too concerned. Everything else easily reproduced using pretty basic materials.

Last thought, pulling it apart a piece at a time can often teach you how it was assembled originally - for reassembly, or for general knowledge regarding maintenance and future projects.
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Old 04-10-2015, 07:49 AM   #11
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The one that got away



I re-use. The 1960 Mobile Scout travel trailer that my grandfather had went to my dad and my dad gave to me. I had re-furbished inside and out, keeping the wood paneling from inside that was removed when I re-did parts. I had loaned to my brother and he was using as a hunting camp and one morning tried to light the stove for some heat after an early morning hunt and it blew up from a propane leak. Blew him out the door and on the ground outside. He was OK, trailer burned to ground. I made a "one that got away" missing fish wall hanger for him out of the last piece of wood that I had left from that trailer.

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Old 04-10-2015, 10:07 PM   #12
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We've had our 88 Gulfstream since 2001 and have done quite a lot of work on the unit. I always try to use as much of the original bits as I can but do draw the line at some of the woodwork. A perfect example is that sawdust wood with vinyl covering printed to look like wood. I can't even throw that stuff in the campfire.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:58 AM   #13
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I found out that my fiver had massive water damage due to a roof leak. A high school buddy of mine took up the challenge and removed the entire roof structure, repaneled most of the interior, and rebuilt the roof strong enough to where a herd of elephants could dance on it. So in many ways my twenty year old fiver is only a year old, having replaced most of the structure in the roof and some of the walls, new cooling unit in the refrigerator, and new water heater with DSI. I just put new tires on it this week. The beautiful thing...it's paid for!
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:38 PM   #14
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Is it worth it to rebuild a unit? Ask this guy, his project is inspiring
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