Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Officially an (insulated)Aluminum Tent.

The long gaps in postings here may make it appear that nothing has been going on with the Double Door, however that could not be farther from the truth. We have been plowing through the project full steam ahead. A tail wind and the tides seem to be helping move us along to boot.

I had not really anticipated the amount of work required to get the skins stripped, cleaned up, and installed again. The end caps gave us a work out also. The flimsy front shelf was to go away and all the holes cut into them for lighting also.

The rear end cap had been gel coated originally for this served the rear bathroom. The front end cap did not have the same smooth surface. The original finish was Zolatone, and it being a very forgiving paint, allowed for the rough fiberglass finish.

Fortunately for me, Wayne is a very talented guy. He knows a little about body work and he made all the holes go away. I really cannot say enough good things about Wayne. He comes to work sober (and stays that way), he is always on time, and is willing to learn anything that comes his way. He chews his cigars, hums to the music I have blaring and just does his best at everything. This country needs more employees like Wayne.

He had never stripped paint before meeting me. I unfortunately have stripped way too much paint in my life. I had originally planned to send the panels out to be stripped, but the cost was prohibitive on top of a very long lead time. Instead we did it in house. The panel you see is very typical of what we had to deal with. The blue(acrylic) and yellow(oil based) paint came off rather easily. The Zolatone however is another story. It was very stubborn, requiring two applications of material. The Zolatone primer was even more resilient than the top coat. Even with multiple applications of stripper, it still left 20% the primer on the skins.

We did not fool around with this. I do not feel a product like Citrus Strip is aggressive enough. We went right for the nuclear stripper. This is a Methyl Chloride based stripped and there really is nothing more powerful one can legally buy. It chewed right in.

Sorry for the big jump here, but we were just too busy working to take photos. Here all the skins have been installed and all the opening have been taped off. We sanded every square inch of aluminum.

This may seem like overkill, but for one, I learned a long time ago the paint will only look as good as the prep work. Once you start painting it is very hard to go back and fix it. I also do not want to see the paint fail. We sanded it all, vacuumed it all off and followed up with washing it all down with mineral spirits.

I next applied a Sherwin Williams primer that stated "ideal for aluminum and other non ferrous metals". You ask "why no Zolatone?" That was my preference, but Bruce does not like the textured surface Zolatone creates. He prefers a smooth flat surface.

Three coats of this primer were applied with sanding of every square inch in between. Remember, it will only look as good as your prep work. It might seem like overkill, but it was imperative. The top coat is a matte paint. Zero sheen, dead flat, Dove White.

Not a good lighting situation, but the top coat is a slightly warm white. You have probably been in many houses with this particular white, for it is Sherwin Williams best selling white. It sells so well that this white is available premixed in every line of paint they offer.

One serious issue with this paint is that every single time I touch it or lean against it, I leave a hand print. Trailer work is dirty and white loves to show dirt. A matte surface makes it even easier for the dirt to show.

The flooring had been stacked right outside the trailer to acclimate to the humidity levels in the shop for a couple of weeks. We moved it inside to let it condition close to where it would be laid.

A cork floating floor is being used. This brand goes down on a felt pad with a vapor barrier. The pieces actually lock together with a click.

Running the lines down the length make the trailer makes it look longer. As if 30 feet is not long enough visually already. This also allows for very little cutting. Less cutting equals less waste.

Cabinet building time is coming up soon.

The wet bath module will sit where the is no flooring right behind the door. This will be the next major phase moving forward.

Thanks for reading, please come back soon.