Playing with Power Tools (& Step Solutions)

Pretty day today, but rain tomorrow so postponed (yet again) un-tarping to start cleaning off the corner trim to reseal.  Some progress however - our handyman put in a new gate this week to make it easier to get in and out of the yard and he's going to quote me to put in a gravel pad and a carport.  

Today I tackled the steps.  The bottom one wants to sag forward, and it would take some serious metalwork to try to fix that at the pivot, so I bought a simple metal step brace from Amazon awhile back. Unfortunately, there is a metal ridge that runs along the length of the bottom on the step right through the middle, so it would teeter on the flat top of the brace.  

So, I fired up the table saw and cut out a piece of wood to fit the brace, cut out a groove, screwed and adhesive caulked to the top of the brace.  Not sure how the adhesive will hold as the brace is not fully flat, but there was only one hole in one corner to put a screw through and wanted to see if I could give it a little extra help.  It should fix my issue regardless and be pretty steady.

Then using inspiration from from Camco step covers and Pippi Peterson (ladies search for her on YouTube - she's a delight to watch) I also made step covers.  Freyja, our older border collie, can still do steps but the camper steps are particularly tough for her.  I wanted to give her a better footing.

Found $1 doormats at the Dollar Tree that were perfect - a little fuzzy and very bendy (since they are cheap) with some grooving as well in the matting.  Turned out in width they were exactly the length of the steps as well.  Trimmed a little (had to leave room for the step brace to fit under the bottom one, otherwise they would have been fine as is) and they were easy as pie to cut.  Just follow the ridges with the scissors.  Put in four grommets (the punch didn't cut the holes but easy to cut out with an exacto), wrapped around the steps, and secured with baby bungees I had picked up as an impulse item for a couple of bucks.  They were slightly long so just double knotted them to make them shorter.  Camco uses spring tension rods but was trying to use what I had.

Now if my steps weren't open underneath I could probably leave them on all the time even when traveling.  I suppose they'd be okay - the bottom flips up over the top, face down, then they slide in.  But then I'll be getting road goop on the bungies and grommets for the top step.  Not sure.  It was a cheap enough and easy project...but then again it takes 30 seconds to put them on.  When traveling all of us, including Freyja will be using the cab anyway to enter and exit.  

Well, as usual my projects are a little on the baby side - LOL - but maybe this will offer a quick and easy solution for someone else :-)

Stabilizer at Amazon $21ish (there's a smaller cheaper version but most people say you need two and I didn't want to deal with two).

Block of wood from the scrap pile $0

2 Mats from Dollar Tree $2 - highly recommended

Grommet Kit from Ace $8.59 (I'll use it again I'm sure so can't really count it fully against the cost!)

4 Bungees (had, but paid about $3.00 from Camping World I think) - this project ended up costing me the same as if I'd ordered the mats from Amazon, however, I have the grommet kit and there were a lot of reviews that said the quality in the Camco ones was lacking? 

I feel good about my results and can add extra grommets if I want. Right now, though there's just a little sag if you look underneath on the corners and middle but the mats don't move at all when you step on them.  

Well that's all for me to report.  Hopefully next weekend I'll have finally have tales of woe and silicone removal to share!

Oh, the weekend before I did rebuild, sand and oil the wooden range cover with mineral oil/beeswax so it's "food safe" now.  Not perfect but it's going to be a nice element in the kitchen.  Pictures when the interior is all done!

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Comment by Dawn Michelle on March 27, 2017 at 8:21am

Hahah - thanks for the pats on the back as it helps my confidence, but all the hard stuff is yet to come!  I'm still circling her like an unknown beast.  Making tentative prods.  Well, okay, I wouldn't prod a beast, but you get the picture!!!

Mostly I just hope I can help some newbies like myself that maybe feel like a project like this would be too much - but breaking it down in chunks, and slowly learning skills and asking for help (ya'll don't bite) can make a  dream possible.  You guys are the best.  The brothers I never had!

Comment by Lakota Wolf on March 26, 2017 at 10:46pm
Awesome job on the steps Dawn..... You almost ready to open up a vintage RV restoration shop, Doesn't look like anything in the restoration process seems to detour you from getting it done.
Comment by Rich Thomas on March 26, 2017 at 3:49pm

Your step job looks very nice Dawn. 

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