The Cameo Camper Renovation: Demo Day 2 — Thumps & bumps & tetanus, oh my!

This should've been our second and final day of demo, but it got cut a bit short because *spoiler alert* someone (ok, me) pulled a total Kristen and had to go to Urgent Care. NBD, but it just means we get to extend the demo party into a third day, which we probably would've had to do anyway based on how long yesterday's demo day 3 took, but more on that later. Because I'm a glass-half-full kind of gal, this snafu gave us some extra time to discuss what we wanted to do with what's left for next time based on the day demo 2's discoveries, including possibly breaking down and renting a dumpster. If you haven't been reading from the start, follow along from the beginning here.

 

Let's just follow the damage & see where it takes us

Again, Nick and I are not ones to just throw stuff out if it can be repurposed or restored (plus if you get too crazy with a sledgehammer in a camper there wouldn't be much of anything left!), so we began and continued demo day 2 by methodically unscrewing screws, alternating our drill bits between Phillips, flathead and hex sockets, because true to form this camper seems to like keeping us on our toes. Since this thing was built in layers, we decided to remove the rear couch-to-bed conversion area bench framing (one of the more relatively sturdy things in this camper) so we could get to and address all of the water damage underneath and behind it.

Look at all that water damage. Yikes. Good wood should not look that spotted and discolored.

Look at all that water damage. Yikes. Good wood should not look that spotted and discolored.

After carefully labeling and removing all of the interior aluminum window frames that sort of "locked in" the wall paneling to reuse later, we began slowly and systematically removing the thin, damaged wall panels. There was so much damage as we peeled back layer after layer in the back of The Cameo and we quickly discovered we had no real leverage to remove the layered paneling from the "studs" since a lot of the structural framework was also rotten and crumbling from either water damage or what appeared to be some kind of termite/carpenter ant issue. Oh, the walls were also glued to the studs with some form of adhesive. It's about this time where we started to think someone at some time since the original build in the 60s has been in these walls for repairs since some of the wood looked fairly new. Unfortunately most of the newer wood stud pieces were cut short so they did not connect to the corners/main structure of the camper and were sort of floating within the walls, providing next to no structural support. You can see the level of damage we're dealing with in these photos:

You can probably tell from the photos, but the entirety of the walls consists of the exterior metal siding, a very thin and unevenly cut layer of insulation, thin strips of wood that act as structural support "studs" (if they're attached to each other properly), and very thin — now brittle and peeling into little layered shards — wall paneling.

All of those paper-thin wood shards on the ground used to make up the back and side walls of the camper. But look at that cute little metal hatch to the exterior of the camper at the bottom of the wall! We've got some ideas for that later.

All of those paper-thin wood shards on the ground used to make up the back and side walls of the camper. But look at that cute little metal hatch to the exterior of the camper at the bottom of the wall! We've got some ideas for that later.

The walls seemed easy enough to quickly remove, but since this was part exploration, part salvage mission and part torture (see again shredded shards of wall), it was a hot, tedious process that lasted about 5 hours, until...

 

Precision demo, with a side of tetanus

Because it wouldn't be one of my projects without an injury (or two). Sometimes I think I willed it upon myself since not five minutes before the incident, I was thinking "Wow, self... you are doing completely awesome and haven't heinously snagged yourself on any of the quadrillion staples and rusty nails hanging out everywhere, but you probably should go get a tetanus shot sometime soon because you're overdue."

*Sigh*... Long story short, the silver lining is we're both now up-to-date on our shots.

 

Kids, welcome to a short lesson on what not to do:

  1. Wear tennis shoes for demo, even if it's what I call "light" demo. (Narrator: "It was not light demo.");

  2. Wait over 10 years to get a tetanus booster shot before you start demoing a cute vintage rust bucket;

  3. Finish off your genius plan by accidentally on purpose hardcore kicking a rusty nail sticking out of a door frame that's wedged between the ceiling and floor whilst trying to remove it wearing aforementioned tennis shoes, instead of using a hammer like you've been doing the rest of the day, causing said 1.5" nail to puncture the tip of your right big toe.

Instead, please be a "Nick" and proactively get a tetanus shot. (I don't want to downplay this, but as they say hindsight is 20/20. This is now the obvious answer after seeing your wife learn a very painful, bloody, valuable lesson). #SafetyFirst everyone.

That cute little brown pinhole is where the not so cute, incredibly rusty finish nail went through my shoe and into the tip of my right big toe.

That cute little brown pinhole is where the not so cute, incredibly rusty finish nail went through my shoe and into the tip of my right big toe.

In the very short time between demo days 2 and 3, the camper sits in the garage overnight, stripped of what feels like just about everything (except the shower/toilet area and remaining ceiling and walls we haven't gotten to take a look at quite yet. Here's how we left her while we went to get our tetanus shots (shoutout to Medspring Urgent Care — they truly are the best).

Looks like we've already got enough blood (for my liking, at least) and tons of sweat into this project and it's only been just a few short weeks. Here's hoping any tears to come will be only of joy. Good news is we'll be back really soon to share the next (and final!) demo.


In the meantime, my mind has been going crazy with all of the thoughts of what she could be, now that we have much more of a blank slate to work with than we did when we picked her up. Thoughts of different materials, paint swatches and layouts all are swirling around in my head, usually while I'm trying to get to sleep. What do y'all think so far? Any fun ideas we should think of incorporating as we look toward the planning and design phases? And what should we do with that cute little door hatch in the back?