Thursday, February 4, 2010


I have a friend that loves to quote Friedrich Nietzsche a lot. He actually annoys me by fitting the phrase "that that does not kill us makes us stronger" into just about any situation. For some reason I was hearing him say that quote today, yesterday, and a few days previously. The weather here is really testing my perseverance. Another close friend has told me the cold wintery weather is rejuvenating. I am still trying to figure that one out.

Today was a balmy day. At 2pm we pegged the thermometer on the shop at a strong 26 degrees. Even with temperatures well below freezing, the snow from yesterday was melting off of LuLu and running down the sides. It promptly froze upon hitting the ground. Much of it ended up on my coveralls and on one of many pairs of gloves I went through. I did mention the snow right?

Yesterday night we got 6" of the white stuff. I cannot help but love it. It really makes everything look so clean and tidy.

I thought it really beautiful the way it collected on the clecos. This weekend there is a Nor Easter forecast for Maryland. 18" is the expected amount of snow fall. I will preserver. I have been getting a great deal done none the less. I wanted to share a couple of observations I have made about Airstream construction while working on this project.

If you see Made in America with John Ratzenberger (always known as Cliff Clavin to me) or How it's Made on Discovery Channel they show Airstreams being made. The rivet holes are punched by a big long line punch. The holes are perfectly and evenly spaced. However in 1960, when LuLu was built, it was done pretty much by eye. I wanted to make sure that the new row of rivets I was installing mirrored the existing row. I first started out by using a tape measure, but quickly realized there was a serious issue. The spacing between rivets is all over the place. They run 2 1/4" on center to as close as 1 5/8" on center. They also are as close to the edge as 3/8" of an inch and as far away as 5/8"in other locations. I had to make a story board to transfer the same spacing as the boys in the plant used back when she was built.

Another odd thing I noticed is the line of where the shell meets the belly skin. On this side of the trailer the line of clecos is 1/4" below the plywood floor. On the other side of the trailer I used the same distance from the shell down on the belly, however, it was 5/8" below the plywood floor. This can only lead me to believe that the shell is actually not centered on the central axis. I personally enjoy seeing these hand made traits in these old trailers. I am wondering which year the line punch comes into use. There is something special about seeing how it was made by hand.

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