Sunday, October 19, 2008

Days Go By...

Days go by and not much gets done. Life has a way of interfering with my plans. Plans that involve working on my projects, fishing with my kids, working in my drug store, spending time with my family, and generally living my life according to the little post-it notes that fill my pockets and tell me what I will be doing next. I was able to get my interior skins put back in, and my next step will be to paint the interior. I could have Rob's Uncle Don do it in Brand Name Zolatone, or I could spend an hour or so on Airforums, researching what others have used to do it themselves. Then it's down to flooring. I've decided to go with a nice, organic looking cork. I just need to shop for the best price, try to find it locally, or at least semi-locally, so I can save on shipping. Unless the local price with tax but no shipping is more than the internet price without tax, but with shipping. Which it usually is. Then it's on to restoring / rebuilding the interior furniture. I think I finally know what kinds of wood I'll go with. I just need to go through the whole pricing exercise with the wood, too. I can't forget tanks, water heater, plumbing, and all that goes along with that. Once that's in, I'll pay a visit to Rob's beautiful trailer with my tape measure and try to get a handle on copying his bunk set up. And I hope to get all this done this winter and have things ready to roll come next spring. Gotta be at the Cherry Blossom.
A good race car driver has what is called "driver's confidence". It is the other-worldly self confidence that allows a driver to hustle into a corner at speeds that make his eyes wide, his fingernails carve depressions into the steering wheel, and his sphincter put creases in the driver seat upholstery. But he has the confidence in his own abilities to do the job, so he keeps his foot planted on the right pedal and delays removing it until the last possible instant. Most times he makes it through, and his confidence grows. I believe I am beginning to develope "restorer's confidence". I have done things that I never thought I would be able to, and my confidence has grown. I know that I will have a beautiful trailer when this is done. I know that I will be at CBR next spring with more than an aluminum tent. My eyes may be wide and my knuckles pure white, but I know I'll make it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Post for Ailish

The daughter of a friend of mine is coming down with a case of aluminitis. It sounds like she has it pretty bad, too. Her name is Ailish, and she is a perfect candidate for the WDCU and the vintage Airtream scene: 3 kids, a husband, and a sense of adventure. Another bonus is that her father is very handy. Rebuilding one of these old trailers would be a piece of cake for him. And what a wonderful gift it would be for his grandchildren! Just think, an opportunity to give something that will be handed down from generation to generation, with each succeding owner marveling at your mechanical abilities and love for family.
These pictures of of my friend Rob's trailer. It is a 1958 Sovereign of the Road, and a perfect example of how beautiful a vintage Airstream can be. You already know what they look like on the outside. This is what the inside can look like.

Simply beautiful. I think your dad has a spot out behind his garage that would be a perfect place to store an Airstream while it gets rebuilt. In fact, I know he does.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I Feel Like I'm In a Movie

Let There Be (a) Light...

At the WDCU Installation Rally, I spent a lot of time looking at other people's trailers. I wanted to get a feel for what others had done, and try to use some of their ideas and features in my own trailer. One thing that I saw in a number of vintage Airstreams that I thought was really nice was the Humphrey Gas Lamp. It puts off lots of light, and also about 2000 btu's of heat which I definately could have used at the rally. When I got home, I did a quick search on eBay, and found this one listed, but without a picture of it included in the listing. The description sounded good, and the seller's feedback was good, so I took a leap of faith and put in a bid. I ended up being the only bidder, so for $11.00 I got the exact light I was hoping for: Avacodo green with the small globe. It does need a new mantle, but you can pick those up for about $3.00 online. Sometimes, you get lucky.
Sorry for the poor picture quality, and the sideways orientation of the top one. Something must be up with my camera and picture software. I hate computers....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Call Me "Patches"

I went down to Lowes today to pick up some more Reflectix. Seems like whenever I buy something, I never buy enough. Frustrating. Then I over compensate and buy way too much. Oh well, at least now I'll have enough Reflectix for when I do the front of the trailer.
Left side panels in place. The forward panel was a piece of cake, and it lulled me into thinking the rest would be easy. Yeah, right. The curved panel was a pain right in the butt. When I rebuilt the frame, I must have raised the back end a fraction of an inch. Not much, but enough to make it impossible to reinstall the curved panel without it getting bound up on the floor. So, I drilled out the few rivets that I had installed, took the panel into the shop, got out the power shears, and proceeded to cut off way more than I should have. Enough to leave a half-inch gap between the panel and the floor. Ugh. Back into the shop I went, got out the shears again, and I cut out a 1 and 1/2 inch trim strip to cover the gap and give me a way to rivet to the c-channel. You can see it in the above picture.
Here's the patch I used to splice the long panel back together. If I didn't cut it when I was taking things apart, I wouldn't have been able to get back to the wheel wells without taking the front of the trailer apart. It is one l-o-n-g sheet of aluminum.
Here's a close up of the patch I used to cover my screw up when trimming the curved panel. I could have left it with the 1/2 inch gap showing, seeing as how this section will be hidden behind the vanity, shower, and closet, but I want to make things right for my trailer.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pop Pop Pop Pop Pop

I put one of the interior panels back on this afternoon. I used almost a full box of 100 rivets, and got quite sick of squeezing that damn pop rivet tool. Installation was easy, since the holes all lined right up.

River litter. I'll bet those little suckers would love to pop one of my tires.
When I took the panels out, I cut the long one underneath the windows because I was only doing half the trailer. I'm going to rivet a nice aluminum strip to cover this seam and make it all look good. I was going to do it today, but the boys came running into the garage at 5:10pm, yelling that they had to be at their football practice field for team pictures. The pictures were scheduled for 5:00pm, by the way. Oh well, the photographer was running late so they got their pictures taken. I guess I'll just have to spend some quality shop time tonight to make that trim strip.

I Killed Another Tool.

I killed my drill. I'm sad about this loss. Not only was it a great tool that lasted me through the construction of 2 decks, countless other projects, and the de-construction of my Airstream, but it was also a very special tool to me. My mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas 2 years ago, and it was the best gift I have gotten in all of my adult life. A DeWalt 18v cordless drill, for God's sake. It's one of those tools a non-professional tool guy like me drools over at Lowes, but just cannot justify the price. When you have a corded drill that works just fine, spending a couple hundred for the cordless version just seems wasteful. But my mother-in-law somehow knew that I would appreciate it. And I did. Very much. Thank you Joyce. I love you.
So the first thing I did Tuesday was to go to Lowes and get another cordless drill. If you have never used a quality drill, do yourself a favor and go get one. It needs to have a brake to slow it down when you release the trigger. Very important when you're driving lots of screws, say for a deck. Trust me on this. And if you think a corded drill is all you need, well, it is. But cordless is just so nice. I also bought some Reflectix insulation for the trailer, a couple hundred pop rivets, a new pop rivet tool, and a bunch of drill bits. It's time to put the inner skins back on.
I put these two guys next to each other for a while, trying to sync up the mojo a little bit.
Reflectix partially installed. One small roll is exactly enough to do back to the curved sections on both sides. It cuts easily, installs easily, and you don't have to wear a mask and gloves to work with it like you do with fiberglass. It is expensive, though. I'll have about $80 of it in the back of my trailer.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"Hey, pull my finger..."

I am having a wonderful time this weekend at the WDCU Installation Rally in North Norwich, NY. The rally site is only about 5 miles from my house which is a blessing, and a curse. See, I was supposed to have Saturday off, but ended up having to work. That means leaving the rally, and all of my new friends. I will be back there after work for Rob's installation as club president.