Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Big Move

After many years of working from my house, and most recently, Mike's yard, I have moved into a commercial space. Frank's Trailer Works now resides at 824-D Landay Street, in East Baltimore.

The space seemed so immense when I first took possession. I knew it would be filling up quickly.

My space includes a wrap around fenced yard.

Also a dock height door in the rear. The yard is big enough that I could park 4-5 trailers with out any problem.

I put the Fan up front as my office. The coffee maker lives in there and the dinette makes a nice spot to order parts, drink my coffee, and eat my lunch. I have become a huge fan of the Fan. It is a very cozy trailer. I was in the process of setting up the dust collection in this shot.

She is a pretty little thing. Polished up she will be a real head turner.

Here the dust collection pipes are all run and Sovereign is in the service bay. The interior end caps have been sitting next to the shop. They and all the interior skins for the 64 Double Door are now neatly stowed above the bathroom

The 64 Double Door fits in with lots of room to work around her. I still have plenty of room for a woodworking area and a metal area. I am so glad to be out of the cold and off the wet ground. There will be no more days of being shut down due rain or snow.

Hope you enjoyed the quick little tour of the new FTW shop. Come on by and pay me a visit now.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just Cannot Get Enough..

Ace came back to lend a hand at FTW this past week. He loves the work and getting paid to do a labor of love has big pay offs too. His timing was great, because I had gotten the jalousie windows to the front of the door taken care of and the windows and panels needed to be bucked back into place along with a new 20 foot awning rail and numerous errant holes from screws.

I had asked for your opinions on fixing the the 1 7/16" slope to front. Before even the first opinion had come in I had determined to correct this issue. A call from Bruce telling me to make it right confirmed the choice. Thank you all that posted your opinions on this issue, good to know everyone think doing it right is the only option.

I first removed everything from the opening. In this photo you can see how the roof panel trails down severely toward the front. That edge was trimmed so it runs parallel to to the floor. It was just a matter of re building it using new square material for the rest.

The narrow piece of skin at the door was cut with two parallel edges, unlike the original that was tapered 1 3/4" over 4 feet.

The window now sits parallel to the floor as you can see.

Looking at this photo as I write, it looks as if the windows go down down hill again. I assure you it is straight now. The wide angle lens I have on my camera must be distorting the angle a bit. I am still learning my new Lumex, Something Something 10 so please go easy on me...

The only un square part is the narrow panel to the right. It tapes 3/8" over 4 feet. I did the best I could. You can also see the new old stock banana wrap has been installed.

Ace went right at any task I asked him do. I got the door drip cap set and he pulled the monster rivets I had to use.

Another big achievement was getting all the Herh vents removed and new Fantastic Vents put in their place. The numerous attempts to seal seams made for a serious chore. A little heat, a little solvent, a little blood, and lots of elbow grease got it off. Remember, in painting and just about anything you build, it only will look as good as the prep. When replacing the vents, one little bit of old junk could break the water tight seal. Make sure it is very clean.

Bruce is opting to not install Air Conditioning in this trailer. Those three fans should do a great job moving the air. They have the rain sensor option in them. This is a feature I highly believe in. It has saved my bacon many times during a sudden rain storm.

I also managed to put together two perfectly functioning Ladue lifters from the eight that came on the trailer. This allowed me to install a new Astrodome. This Astrodome is a new product from Vintage Trailer Supply made from lexan. It does not have any metal in the lip to strengthen the rivets used to hold the lifters on like their earlier reproductions. I think it will still work very well. It also allows a great deal of white light in which is a vast improvement over the fiberglass version.
My main focus has been to get the shell tightened up and weather tight. As all the holes are closed in, the windows rise higher on the priority list.

I ordered up all new glass for every opening. The jalousie glass was the first to be completed. Maryland glass did a great job making me this laminated safety glass. They polished the long edges perfectly. Now I need to get the openings all ready to get accept the glass. A bit of info here, each pane will be a serious pain when the bill comes. 36 pieces adds up VERY QUICKLY. Polished edge, safety laminated glass is just not cheap. The six awning windows should be done any day. I opted to let a local Ace Hardware obtain all the glass and splines then put them back together. I will just have to slide them back into the openings.

There is a good amount of rusty metal that needs to be removed and replaced. The corrosion in the window jams needs to be dealt with also.

I could use some help with this part right here. This carrier is turning out to be very elusive. I contacted Blain Windows who seem to be the authority on jalousie windows and none of the carriers they offer are the right size. I had a friend send a few out of later models and none of those fit also. Maybe some 1964 owner will be able to help me out. I need at least one right and one left. I would also like to replace a second left, but can straighten the damage out.

There are so many minor details that did not make the photo cut. I managed to install the Bargram 99's and license plate holder salvaged from the 1961 parts trailer. Cleaning up window frames does not really make for exciting photos either. It does make for many hours of tedious work though. If I could just get Ace back for that...
By the next post I will be in my new shop space. I am going to work Friday on getting the 64 DoubleDoor ready to move over there and then the next week or two moving my business across town and getting set back up. After more than a few projects being done outside, all winter long, I look forward to a heated space. After many days spent laying in the mud or on frozen ground, I look forward to a smooth concrete floor to roll a creeper on.

Thanks for tuning in and thank you for listening to The Vintage Airstream Podcast

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It Really is a 64 Double Door

A ton of work took place over the past two weeks. I am very proud of the results achieved during this period. The Willows has really become a double door. A great deal of damaged skin has been replaced. I do not mean to sound lazy, but sometimes the photos just speak for themselves.

Next up is the repairs to the crooked front jalousie. The entire area will be torn down and rebuilt correctly. All the glass should be in and all the windows working, as new, by the next post. Perhaps a jalousie rebuild 101 might be good future post. Roof vents should be in also.

I also want to give a big thanks to Ace Goldberg. He was a champ at helping me buck a ton of rivets. I really could not have gotten all this done with out you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Full Throttle Ahead

If you are not aware, I am also documenting this project on the Vintage Airstream Podcast. You can hear some explanation that might add to what you read here. Go back to episode #120 to find the beginning.

Some days seem to go nowhere fast and others plow through full throttle. There are so many details to deal with before I could drop the shell back down.

An area of concern for me was where the frame rails and the plywood meet. There is this gap in the belly wrap. This is a serious weak spot in the amour. At all four spots where the frame meets the body this situation exists.

I made this plate to protect that spot. The back side is filled with Vulkem and there is no water going back under there now.

I am always blown away by how much supplies and tools accumulate doing the most simple of tasks. This is all associated with wiring the brakes and the emergency break away system.

I went with an independent break away system, not dependent on the trailer batteries. The unit has a battery and charger working off the umbilical cord. In the event the trailer falls off the ball, this will set the brakes fast to stop the trailer from rolling.

Eventually the time came to roll the chassis back under. I was fortunate to have the help of Ace Goldberg for this task. Ace came on down from Pittsburgh and gave me two solid days. He did an awesome job.

We got the chassis as close as possible before lowering the shell down.

Nice and slow. Push here, pull there. Wiggle, wiggle wiggle...

We got the front plate lined up and just started filling holes. With Ace's awesome help we managed to get the key areas riveted around the belt line . The only ones we did not do around the belt line, were where panels are being replaced. Ace was a huge help to me. Just like Steve, I wish he lived closer so we could work together more often.

Bruce, my client, came for two days. He stayed in Anna, our 62 Overlander, and we spent the time working out many of the details associated with layout. We sat and communed with the trailer a good deal. The layout will be very functional. More of that in the future. For now, the main focus is structure.

Here is an aspect of the project I thought the input of some of you readers might come in handy with this. At some point in the past this trailer was hit. The rib to the left of the jalousies window was replaced. When things were bucked back together, the left side of the window was bucked in 1/2" lower than the right side. Should I correct this? What would you do if you were me? Most people would never pick up on this down hill slope. I bothers me tremendously.

Here you can see the different sized ribs used to replace the damaged one. One was added under the original and a second was used as a splint. If it were you, would you correct this slanting jalousie. The window functions perfectly. The rivet lines all looks good from the outside, but what would you do. Reader votes solves my decision.

At some point this segment was replaced also. I think all this repair work was done at the factory or by an Airstream service center. It was done very well.

My next step was to launch into body work. I need to create a weather tight shell with all functioning windows and hatches. I also need to move a window, add a window, and install the second door, creating the one and only 1964 double door.

I am stripping the exterior of everything. All vent pipe penetrations are coming off and most are being patched over. The awning rail is being replaced with new straight stock so that also is being stripped. Look at all that dirt build up behind it. If it protrudes, it is getting removed.

We are going with three new Fantastic Fans up here. All three will have rain sensors in them. Bruce is forgoing air conditioning, so the Fantastic Fans will need to be able to move a good deal of air.

I also removed all the glass from the jalousie windows. All the glass will be new in every window throughout.

Even the porch light will be replaced. Ahhh.... BEAUTIFUL FALL DAY IN MARYLAND!!!!!

Another discovery was how the wheel wells shape had been raise up to give more tire changing clearance. I always thought it a weird shape, but had never studied it closely. This photo is a great "BEFORE" photo. Ready to see a big change? Seriously, are you ready?

Whoa... Where did that third safari style window come from? Nice look if you ask me. Much better balance with that one there. See the 12 foot panel under those three windows? It is getting replaced. So is the same one on the other side for that matter.

Bruce wanted a lot of air and light in his trailer. I made that desire come true for sure. With the curb side changes you will see in the next post, that dream is going to be an ELEVEN.

Now that is a nice set of windows. When that big crease is gone and the wheel wells are cut out this side will look tremendous. I am very proud of the direction this is heading.

For my next post, I should have the second door installed and the jalousie window next to it. By the next post, this Sovereign will be a double door for sure. Hopefully the next few weeks will be as productive as these were. Thanks for reading and listening. Send me your opinions on the slanted jalousie window....