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Old Yesterday, 09:55 AM   #4841
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Allen's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Last house on the left, across from the cemetery
Gender: M
Fan of: The Pern Series
Now Reading: Robin Hobb's Shaman's Crossing
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Looking good. I agree with the screw caps; the white ones do tend to jump right out at you, don't they.

All these photos remind me every time how I've fallen behind with my remodeling and the photographing thereof.

But in other news, I was out and about a bit yesterday after my wife and I had finished with some medical appointments and I think I may have a ring to build around a 27.55 carat ruby I've had for a while. At 18mm x 13mm x 9mm, emerald cut, it's quite an impressive stone, and on the large side for a ring. Quite gaudy, to say the least, but beautiful if you like big rocks on your fingers. My wife has an oval cut 17.7 carat sapphire in a ring I made for her, and wears it quite often. Like, she wears it more often than not. Yesterday she had it on and showed it to a woman who liked it. I told her I have another sapphire almost identical, only 15.5 carat, then the ruby. Turns out that she's even more nuts about rubies than me, and is really interested in that big stone in a ring similar to my wife's.

I get almost all my stones direct from India, where about 90% of the world sends raw stones to be cut and polished. Makes for tremendous savings. But there are a few problems, as well. Main one is time. Takes a while to ship one to me. But not as long as dealing with shipping anything from China. Another is authenticity. For instance, these stones ( the sapphires and two rubies) are supposed to be natural, earth-mined stones. I had a jeweler friend test them, and they tested harder than earth-mined stones usually do. He said that indicates that they might be lab-created. This of course lowers the value. How much? you ask..... well, okay, you didn't ask, but anyway.... Earth mined sapphires and rubies of this quality ( they're the same mineral) would cost in the neighborhood of about $1200 a carat. Lab created, about $750 a carat. That means that the 27.7 carat ruby might only be worth $20,775 if a lab stone instead of $33,240. Oh well. Anyone interested in a custom made, 14K gold filled wire-wrapped ring with a 15.5 carat sapphire for $100 plus shipping? Because if you consider what the stone is worth at the cheapest versus what I paid for it, I didn't steal the stone, I stole it! Photos of my wife's ring are on my Facebook page, Made in the shade Jewelry & Things along with examples of the other "Things" I make.
All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.
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Old Yesterday, 08:55 PM   #4842
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Milton Keynes
Gender: M
Fan of: Dragonsdawn
Now Reading: Working my way through the whole Pern series
Default Re: What is happening

Hardly any time to look at the cars today, so was just able to get a little bit of system testing done on the van.

Threw some water in the fresh water tank and set the pump running.

Soon enough we had water in the kitchen...

The odd arrangement at the base of the tap is my temporary solution to the problem presented by the emphatically not camper/caravan grade worktop being thicker than the threaded section of the tap is long. The worktop will be getting binned for something more appropriate as soon as I get around to sourcing something suitable. See also my previous comments about whoever started to "upgrade" this van having zero concept of the idea that unnecessary weight isn't your friend.

Bathroom sink had water through soon enough as well, taps work properly and don't leak which is nice - even though I do have a spare if there turned out to be any issues with the bodies.

One thing I was curious to see was whether it would be possible to actually get a useful amount of flow from the shower at an acceptably high temperature for it to actually be useful.

The water heater I have always eyed with slight suspicion given the fact that it did a good impression of a fountain the first time that I supplied water to it due to perished O-rings in several locations. Thankfully my replacements seem to be holding up just fine, and aside from making unreasonably loud gurgling noises for the first few seconds, it behaved. Yes, I did remember to close the drain down valve before turning the pump on.

Once switched on, it fired up as soon as the hot water tap was turned on, just as it should. I don't have a combustion tester, but the flame looks healthy to me.

Adjusting the shower controls to giving what feels a sensible temperature seems to be at a flow rate that's on par with any electrically heated shower I've used before. Not a power shower that's going to knock you over when you turn it on, but it's absolutely fine for taking a quick shower and to wash your hair with.

So I'm calling it done on the bathroom and plumbing in general for a bit. I still need to fit a shower curtain, finish off a few bits of silicone sealant and to fit a few pipe clips in the utility cupboard, but that's all just simple stuff. Next main target is going to be the kitchen.

What I need to do in there:

[] Rip out those poorly fitted household worktops (they're not even close to level for one thing) and install something that weighs less than a Mini.
[] Reconstruct the partitions below the worktops, including the gas cabinet and the support framework for the drawers.
[] Replace the crudely hacked off gas pipework to the oven and cabin heater. Really wish they had disconnected stuff rather than just snip the pipes off with a pair of side cutters. Need to confirm for definite if the manifold I have is a long obsolete size for with it's hard to get fittings for or not, and if so just buy a new one. If not, pick up the missing fittings so I can connect stuff up properly. I'm very, very aware that the current setup is absolutely NOT getting used beyond the one weekend away - and even then the gas was only on when we actively needed the oven or hot water.
[] Properly reattach the heat shielding around the oven - I'm absolutely certain that my current configuration isn't right as none of the holes in it line up properly. This is one of those situations where it would be really useful to be able to have a look at one of these vans in standard form so I could see how it was originally put together.
[] Once all of this is done, obviously re-route the plumbing as necessary. At least being flexible lines that's hardly an issue.

[] Finally, sort out the peeling wallpaper around that general area. I've pretty much decided at this point that the brown mosaic pattern from the bathroom will be continued around the rear window and across the worktop splash back, finishing where the cabinet for the water heater is. It should help make things look more seamless and professional I think, and be a lot easier to keep clean around the kitchen than the wallpaper.

First though, I think I need to have a bit of a tidy up. I have made quite a ridiculous amount of mess while working on the bathroom...

Some of the foam core board I didn't end up using in the bathroom will be retained though, I'm going to use that to line the floor before the cabinet bases are put down as a bit of extra insulation. It weighs nothing so no reason not to use it that I can see. Being honest though, given how foul it was outside a few days back when I was working in the van it seems pretty well insulated really. I've never actually even tested the gas fired heater yet other than establishing that the fan runs...

We're booked in for a weekend away in May - so that's my deadline to get the thing MOT'd and the kitchen into a serviceable state.
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