Installing a pantry shelf in the bus.

Man, its about time to get organized in this steel beast!

First, I found a board and reclaimed it. (Its part of upcycling!) This particular board was round on one half, and shaved flat on the other half. I thought it would look “quite nice,” precious.

I want to put brackets on there securely, so we notched out for the brackets. I also wanted these brackets to be attached at the steel frame, so I measured out for that; afterall, I want it to be secure!

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It was a meticulous process, to get everything lined up correctly. Make a couple slices with the saw, perpendicular to the board, and then chisel out the pieces to create a nice flat spot for the bracket. Then, if you need to, “tap” a hole in the bracket with a metal-tapping screw; then trade out for a wood screw to secure the bracket to the board.

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After attaching the bracket, I used a hammer to form the end around the beam, and put on more screw at the very end (into the top of the board.) The one pictured here is a little windowsill I made out of a 2′ cutting of my reclaimed lumber. This left me with a 12′ board to make a jar shelf with.

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Now, to prepare the space in the bus. I want to be able to store quite a few mason jars up here on my 12′ shelf. The curve of the ceiling panel really cuts into my headspace for the jars!

How can we best utilize this space? After removing the side panels, I discovered even more space than I had hoped. However, it needed some modification to be useful to me.

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I ponder. How to improve this situation? (Again, with minimal effort and without spending any $$$…)
Well, we have some tools lying around:

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I make a cut on either side of the steel frame:

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I intend to “bend” this metal upward, increasing the headspace for my jars! But how to accomplish this? I want a nice, straight bend, and that’s steel, thicker than HVAC metal, that’s for sure!

I default to one of the most useful tools (in my opinion, based on how many problems they have solved for me!): clamps.  In this case, some pretty dang big ones! They are great handles for bending.

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I ensure they “bite” exactly where I want my bend. Then, I grab each clamp firmly and press forward and up, encouraging the metal to do what I’m asking of it. After bending one portion, I move the clamps down a little, and bend again. It takes several positions to get the metal to crease all the way down.

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Ah! Now I have a nice crease, and the perfect amount of space to fit my jars…

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Now, to get this thing installed, level, and all perfect-like… its good to have some friends!
Okay, friends, let’s do this!

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Keeping it level while we drill some holes into the steel frame; these holes will allow the screws. Make sure they’re exact, because unlike wood, the metal won’t “spread” to allow the screw. Wood is forgiving, and you don’t even have to do the pre-drilling (I think this is called a pilot hole.)

We do one in each side, then finish up with more screws for security.

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It takes a little while and a lot of effort to get through that steel frame!

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Nice one! 

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What’ya say we get those jars up there and see how it fits?

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Lovely! Just what I wanted. I’m very happy with how this turned out!

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Another job well-done, and on to more organizing! This helped empty many, many boxes, and get the ideas rolling for what’s next!

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