June 2016: Skinning the Bus

Posted in : Catching up to speed, History, June, Window Removal, Window Skin on by : Tai , freemiumfreemiumfreemiumfreemiumfreemium Comments: 2

Somewhere around this time the bus project started getting really fun.  It no longer felt like troublesome work, from this point on the bus project was pretty much all I could think about.

Skinning the Bus

Copy Pasta

This past two weeks has been an emotional roller coaster, I had a few other pictures I thought I emailed to myself last night, but apparently I didn’t. However I really wanted to share my progress while my residual tenacity lingers so here we are. I ordered some 18 gauge galvannealed sheeting from a metal shop (pacific metals) very close to me in Kent. I made a few last minute changes (some necessary, some not) and as a result had my plans delayed. I went back and forth, but I decided that having them professionally cut to size was well worth it. I forgot to look at the receipt closely but the cuts were $35 total and the sheets were $64 a piece I believe, I’m pretty sure I paid 9.5% tax as well, but financial review is an end of the month thing for me. Luckily one of my kitchen staff has some personal issues with his housing situation bad enough to make him want to spend his day off in my bus- also he owed me a small favor. Now the pictures!

I painted 2 layers of primer on the outside, and 1 layer of primer on the inside before putting the work in, I caulked between with polyurethane based caulk. I followed somewhereinusa’s procedure and used a wooden structure with cheap bottlejacks to hold the metal on. It worked REALLY well. I couldn’t imagine doing this any other way.

note:  For anyone not familiar with somewhereinusa’s build, he did a phenomenal build-you can visit his webpage here, and read through his build here.

Okay, back to the build.


I reparked my bus in a fairly level area at the end of my driveway. Due to a sloppy uncalculated mistake I made with thin gauge extension cords and my neighbors GFCI outlet, the first half of the work was done by trolling the air compressor back and forth between my neighbors garage to the bus. It was a little frustrating but worked out, the neighbors later brought out some thicker gauge extension cord to keep progress steady, huge help.

I followed some of aarsonsb’s suggestions from my window skinning input thread one of which was to use cleco’s as temporary fastener, they were EXTREMELY helpful.


I drilled my pilot holes with 11/64 cobalt bits, I also made two uneven poorly designed jiggs(one of my last minute changes to the cut) to consistently distribute my bad measuring skills around the bus. The spacing is approximately 2 inches vertical, 1.5 inch horizontal, no mathematical backing will be provided to support my “conceptual engineering” My procedure was
1. Clamp the jigg,
2. drill a few holes
3. cleclo through the holes,
4. unclamp the jig.
5. Finish drilling pilots

We had a pretty good system developed. My kitchen mate drilled through the pilot holes into the exterior sheet/skin. My wife would cleco through the holes & take pictures, and I would pull the cleco’s out, drill through them with my #10 bit, and re-cleco them.

Note:  Overtime we slowly phased out the 11/64 drillbit foreplay, and went straight to the #10 bit.


After all of this was done, we rivetted them with my boulderfly 4x rivet gun, we didn’t eat much throughout the day, you can see this by comparing my stomach to other pictures of me.



I’m pretty sure my 3/16×5/8 rivets were too long for the bottom horizontal section, and maybe too long for the vertical stretch, but at this point we were well past the point of no return. We laid down a lot of really bad solid rivets, some look like mushrooms on the front side, some look like melted tootsie rolls on the backside, most of them are dented and scratched. This quality of work is typical for me so it does not bother me too much, it looks great from any distance past 3 feet away

The finished result (poor quality pix from my flipphone)


Overall the process of drilling pilots, setting metal, drilling extra pilots, fastening the metal, drilling full size, rivetting took a little over 9 hours with a few 5 minute breaks inbetween. We finished around 10pm, hungry, tired, exhausted, with fatigued hands. We ate some food and back to non bus work! There are some rivets here and there that need to be redone, also the aft side of the skin has yet to be rivetted vertically.

I wanted to include some pictures of my jiggs and swivel captains chair but you all can look forward to that another day. Yesterday the rain in Washington was fierce, I had the luxury of cleaning up the bus and seeing that there are no leaks detected yet on this new roof patch.

The next week’s agenda goes as follows.

Saturday(rain): I go to wallys(only hardware store open after I’m done with work) and buy primer on my way home, I prime first layer on both sheets for my port side.

Sunday: I prime another layer in the morning, I return and remove the windows, clean off the adhesive gunk from the weatherseal, finish the evening with a layer of primer on the “inside” of the port sheeting.

Monday: Maybe prime a second layer for the inside of the port sheeting (probably not). Drill as many port side pilots as possible. Determine proper rivet length.

Tuesday: Finish port side pilots, shorten rivets with bench grinder if needed. Also will probably cut one or two sections of the frame.

Wednesday: A good buddy is coming up to help me out. I hope to knock out the port side sheeting with him.

I will likely be on a vacation for a week after this so you can expect another relevant update sometime in July.

July objectives: Interior insulation&plywood flooring, dual pane window & roof vent installation, painting. Also considering more starboard sheeting.

Worth noting: I just got myself a 48″x15″ dual pane slider ($65 shipped) window. In my storage shed I have 3 more dual pane windows (2x$75, 1x$100). I am excited to say that I don’t think I need many more windows.

I hope this update finds you all well. Thank you as always for following, and advising my build.

Once again a lot of these ambitions were very off.  Also the 48×15″ dual pane slider was actually a single pane egress window.  I will never ever buy from rvpartsdirect on ebay again, terrible seller.

Also a week or so later, I got another buddy to chauffeur me out to a vacation, the day beforehand we got the Port side skinned.


2 thoughts on “June 2016: Skinning the Bus”

  1. Ron Feaster July 11, 2017Reply

    If you get the time and are curious, do a google search on a term “The Inner Skinner”. You will find a guy who glued the skin on his MCI bus from the inside. As he puts it.. it has never been done this way. That guy was me. Ron Feaster My video is on YouTube. Not edited so fee free to skip ahead.

    1. Tai July 12, 2017Reply

      Hey Ron, I was curious and I went ahead and included a link to your video below. I have a question, but I’ll ask it over in the comment section of your video. Best regards and thanks for stopping by!

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