Monday, December 6, 2010

Sad Trailer :(

So after removing the trailer from the neighbors garage, it has been covered with a tarp in the sad!
We bought a 10' x 20' structure to give it a more appropriate, permanent home. We had to build walls to set the structure on, to make it tall enough to get the trailer under it. Steve added lights to the enclosure today and will back fill it with gravel tomorrow. May have the trailer resting comfortably in its new home by the weekend. Then we can start working on it again. By the way, the truck next to the trailer is a 1946 Ford that Steve has had since high school.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

We have windows!

We have been working our tails off to get the trailer weathered so we could get it out of Greg's garage. This last weekend brought  us closer to that completion. We got the door on and four of the seven windows in.

 The door is ajar because we didn't have the door hardware yet. It is so nice to see it this far along. Just compare it to the before picture at the top of the blog. One more weekend and we may have gotten two of the other windows in and the door finished up. Unfortunately Greg, the neighbor, had moved his nicest boat out of his garage so we could work on the trailer. The boat has a 454 engine with aluminum heads and he doesn't winterize it because he uses it year round. When Steve went over to talk to him Monday night about needing one more weekend, Greg reluctantly said he really needed to get his boat back in the garage. The forecast here was for weather in the teens and he didn't want his engine to freeze. It was getting dark and beginning to snow when Steve got this news so he had to get it all tarped up and get it out of Greg's place ASAP.  It looks like we won't be doing anymore on the trailer for a while :( But we thank Greg for letting us use his garage as long as he did. We would never have gotten this far on the trailer without his generosity.

This is the rear window. It has cargo doors that go on it too. They will sit below the tail lights.

This is the door from the inside with its new cherry paneling. It was originally metal, but we thought the cherry looked nice. 

 This is the inside view of the front window.

Inside view of the passenger side window. You can see the new screen in this shot. I used the original galvanized type screen when I rebuilt the windows. I now know what a diabetic feels like when they have to test their blood. The screen was very pokey and I pierced my fingers dozens of times while installing the screen...ouch!

 Inside view of the rear passenger window. 

This is Dixie our helper...LOL! Dixie is Greg's dog and she is the sweetest dog every. She would often come out to inspect our progress.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The new siding is on!!!

Last weekend we took on the siding. it was quite a task with just two people, but in the end we prevailed.

Here is the first piece.

The first side done, complete with child sized door.

The other side complete (sorry trailer is too close to wall for a good shot).

 Here is a shot of the back. Check out the cool 1950 Pontiac tail lights.

Here it is all complete except the last piece on the front that needs to get cut around the tongue.

You may have notice there are no window holes, except the one in the front. We have decided windows are highly overrated, and since I resigned from my position as window cleaner/polisher/restorer we won't be having any...kidding. We will cut each hole out and install the window as I get them done. This pictures shows how funny it looks to go inside the trailer and see siding out the window holes.

Here is a pile of tinsel. Well actually it is what is created when you trim tiny bits off the edge of the siding.

Not sure what this weekend will bring. We may work on installing the new glass and glass seal, and getting the windows back together, at which point I may be able to reclaim my kitchen, office, guest room, and garage. A person can dream can't they! 

The Guys at D & S Metal Designs Rock!

Sorry I didn't post anything sooner this week but left my camera at Steve's and didn't have any pictures. I want to express my thanks and gratitude to Jared at D & S Metal. This trailer is 52 years old (jeez that is as old as Steve). There are many aluminum parts on the trailer that are trashed and being that it is as old as Steve, you can't just go out and buy new parts at Camping World. I decided to see if someone could replicate some of the most damaged pieces and took them to Jared. He did a fabulous job making new ones that look exactly like the original ones. This is a picture of the exterior door trim, the one on the right is the old piece (duh, like I needed to tell you that!). The one on the left is obviously the new one.

Thanks Jared!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wiring and Insulation

The goal this weekend was to get the rough wiring done and the insulation on so we could be ready for the siding installation next weekend. Despite that brief interruption for Halloween, we got it all done.

Wiring to vent, dome light and kitchen area.

 Wiring to rear of trailer.

Insulation on passenger side.

Insulation on rear of trailer.

Not very exciting this week, but things that needed to get done before we can put the siding on.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The trailer restoration was briefly interupted by Halloween.

Just to let you all know that we do have a life that extends slightly beyond the trailer project...our friends had a Halloween party and the theme was 50s and 60s TV shows. We went as Jeannie and Major Nelson from I Dream Of Jeannie. Actually, I was Jeannie's evil sister, Jeannie, who was a brunette and was constantly trying to steal Major Nelson from the good Jeannie.
My sister was Olive Oyl. 
 My girlfriend Candi, was Gidget. 
Bob was Freddy the Freeloader from the Red Skelton show. 
Dee and Hollis were Maxwell Smart and Agent 99. He had a cell phone attached to his shoe...the new age versions of a shoe phone :)
Okay, enough goofing off. Tomorrow we finish wiring the trailer and get the insulation in. And then we are on to siding.

Monday, October 25, 2010

We have really I know I said this before, but now we have walls on the trailer (whew that was a long title!)

So aside from polishing a mountain of aluminum, which by the way never seems to get smaller, we have made more progress on the trailer. Our friend Jan, who is restoring the same trailer that we are, graciously donated her Saturday to help us get the trailer back together again. I think she was happy to leave her mountain of aluminum behind for a day:) We appreciate her help immensely and will be there to help get hers back together when the time comes. We also owe a BIG thanks to Greg, Steve's neighbor, who graciously cleared out some space in his awesomely huge workshop so we could work on the trailer indoors.

This is what the trailer looked like Saturday morning...not much of a trailer.

Steve fabricated some supports to hold the walls up and keep them straight and they worked wonderfully. Drum roll please....may I present to you wall number one. Okay I know not much to you, but huge to us.

Now we have two walls.

Next came the front.

This is the roof. The original roof was really saggy and so Steve decided to reinforce the roof braces with angle iron. Worked like a charm, the roof is rock solid now.

This is what we had at the end of Sunday. Now that looks like a trailer again. 

This is a picture of the interior looking towards the back. Notice the pretty cherry paneling.

Looking towards the front.

A very productive weekend!!! Now back to my aluminum polishing...heavy sigh! Next weekend we will start the wiring. 

The DMV Gods have smiled upon us!

I had a cold last week so didn't get much done. The great news of last week was that we finally got the title...YAY! We were relieved to finally get that taken care of, now that the trailer is well on its way to being rebuilt.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Final Countdown...

…to re-assembling the trailer of course! One big obstacle that was in the back of our minds was where to re-assemble it. You may be wondering why – when there is a shop in the background of many of the tear down pictures – we were working on it outside.  Both overhead doors at my shop, the garage door at my house, and the garage doors at Jeanne’s house are too low to get the trailer inside. The weather was good when we tore it apart but we knew that by the time we were ready to start putting things back together, we wouldn’t be so lucky. I came up with several plans that involved tarps, plastic sheeting, various scraps of lumber, 500,000 BTU space heaters, Native American sun dances, and moving to a warmer climate. All of which were greeted with skepticism from Jeanne. During all of this it hadn’t escaped our notice that my next-door neighbor Greg had a really nice shop building with nice big roll-up doors. He of course had it filled up with his own stuff but we wondered “What would it take to get him to let us use some space for a month or so? Money? Cookies? A year of washing his truck? I decided to throw caution to the wind and just ask him. He said “No problem – I’ll just clear out some space and you can go for it. That’s what neighbors are for.” Yay!!! Thanks a bunch Greg! We are going to owe you big time! If all goes as planned – we will roll the frame next door this coming Saturday and start putting the trailer back together. We are totally jazzed at the prospect! Here’s what we’ve been doing to get ready: We replaced most of the plywood decking on the frame. It really wasn’t in too bad a shape, but it smelled terrible and had some minor soft spots so we figured the time and relatively small cost to replace it was probably a good idea.

This isn’t the best picture, but it shows the plywood decking we replaced.

This shows the only portion of the original plywood we left, and the new caulking around the wheel well and seams.

Some previous owner had hacked up the floor in the doorway and installed a goofy step that neither fit nor worked correctly. We had to re-do the floor and structure in this area.

Originally there was really no structure or framing to attach the bottom lip of the rear siding to which explained why it was all bent to heck. We re-designed the rear to accommodate a solid anchoring point to eliminate that original design flaw.

Next we primed and painted the decking except where the flooring will be.

I made all new Cherry top bows and top trim.

One of several batches of Cherry plywood being stained and finished for the interior. It’s amazing how much plywood a trailer this small takes. I can only imagine on a bigger trailer!

There are a few more framing pieces for the roof and front and back windows I still need to make, but we are almost ready! We can’t wait to begin the process of putting things back together. That’s when you really start to see the reward for all your hard work. It’s going to be fun! Stay tuned……

Oh and in case you hadn't noticed...I (Jeanne) had been blog hogging so this post it from Steve :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More cleaning/polishing

I'd say, "One of the worst things about this aluminum stuff is...", but it is all awful so how could I possibly choose. Right near the top of the list would be removing the caulk from the drip caps, or from any other part of the trailer, there just happens to be a surplus of it on the drip caps.The drip caps, or eyebrows as some call them, go above the windows and keep rain from dripping down the side of the trailer directly on to the windows. Some previous owner had a love affair with silicone caulk. It's everywhere. Did you know that silicone caulk was created to withstand a nuclear holocaust?...or maybe it just seems that way. I did some research and tried an environmentally friendly product called Motsenbacker's Lift Off. It did absolutely nothing. Then I tried, acetone, paint thinner, lacquer thinner, and paint stripper. I also tried balancing on my left foot, blindfolded, while hula hooping, and reciting the alphabet backwards (one person on the Internet said this was the cure for everything, hey it was worth a try) and still nothing. Not even a little bit of it was removed.

Desperate times call for desperate measures so I got out the absolutely not environmentally friendly, nor skin friendly, nor lung friendly adhesive remover. The first attempt with this was to brush a little on and let it sit a minute and see if the caulk would come off. Just the tiniest bit did come off (thank you baby Jesus, maybe I'm onto something). So I employed the Tim Taylor methodology. I created a soaking vessel out of a piece of flashing. I had to dam it up at both ends so the stuff wouldn't leak out onto the floor and I used my hot glue gun for that, then I put the drip cap in and poured the adhesive remover in the vessel to cover the caulk. Here is a photo of my creation.

I wanted to let it soak in there for an hour or so and went off to take a shower and get ready for work. I didn't want to get my work clothes all icky so decided to check out the progress in my robe. I went into the garage in my robe and slipper and donned  my super heavy duty rubber glove (quite a sight I'm sure) and when I leaned over the tie on my robe must have dipped into the remover and brushed up against my newly shaven leg...did I mention that the adhesive remover is not skin friendly. I won't repeat what words came spewing forth as I ran into the house to wash this off, and while I ran the robe tie brushed up against the other leg...more words I won't repeat were heard. The good news is that the soaking worked pretty well. I decided to soak another one and leave it all day and it worked even better.

Here are the drip caps. Top: Right off the trailer. Middle: The caulk has been removed, it has been bathed in an acid wash, and has been straightened. Bottom: Cleaned and ready to be polished. Quite a difference!
Here is another window that has been cleaned and is ready to be put back together.
 And this is the interior window trim. One before cleaning and one after. 
Despite my chemical burns, I am getting a little done each day on this daunting task. At this pace I may be done by Memorial Day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Help. I am drowning in a sea of aluminum!

It is a good thing that no one was here to witness my latest melt down, as I lay on the floor staring into space mumbling…”What have I gotten myself into?” What is it that has reduced me to a pool of snot bubbles on the floor? This pile of aluminum parts, pieces, and windows in my garage. All of these pieces need to be cleaned, repaired, smoothed, and polished. 

The only thing that makes me happy about this picture is my Chevelle in the background.

Here is a picture of some of the chemicals and things I have used so far on this pile of stuff. Some previous owner had a love affair with silicone sealant and it is on everything, just getting that off has proved to be a huge challenge.

Here is a picture of some of the tools I have tried so far to accomplish my mission.

I have read many tutorials created by people restoring their trailers on how they managed this process and have tried many of their suggestions. I am currently developing a process that works for me. Here is what one of the windows looked like before. 

Dirty, rusty, and just plain gunky. Pieces are bent, scratched, and otherwise trashed. It took me a couple of hours just to get this window apart, get all the old gasket and silicone cleaned off, and get the pieces all hammered back into some shape that resembles its birth shape. Two hours and I haven’t even begun the cleaning, filing, sanding, buffing, polishing. Here is a picture of what my windows won’t look like. This gentleman, I refer to him as the Aluminum Polishing God, has spent 18-20 hours per window just in the cleaning/polishing stage…does he have a life????? 

 While these look incredibly amazing (they look like chrome OMG!!!), I will be happy to have mine just looking clean and marginally shiny. Here is my progress so far on window one.
It hasn’t been polished and buffed yet, but is clean and all the rust and 52 years of smoke, food guck, pet odor, and the like are gone. I have spent a small fortune on things to help with this task and imagine I will spend more before the process is complete.Great aluminum polisher is a job I would have rather not added to my resume :)