Thursday, January 1, 2015

57 Caravanner 2 of...

As stated in the last post; many repairs to the frame were made. Some, like this hole that was created when the outrigger rusted around the elevator bolt were cut out and new metal was welded in.

In the end, four out riggers were replaced. The longest, the shortest, a right, and a left. 

Overall, I am impressed with the construction of the frames in 1957. I like the use of 2x 4 tube for the frame rails and the 14 gauge channel used for the out riggers and cross members. 

I need to switch back to color for this one…
Some kind of rubberized coating was applied to the steel plate that keeps the shell from sliding forward. I have never seen this in Airstream construction before. When this trailer was built, Airstream had been in business, post war, roughly 10 years. Wally Byam was leading caravans all over the Western Hemisphere, beating the heck out the units and sending the results back to the engineers at the two factories. Ten years of time is probably long enough to see how the dissimilarity of steel and aluminum was becoming a problem and someone decided to do something about it. Why this did not continue is my biggest question. Galvanic corrosion will be an issue that haunts Airstream to this very day.

After stripping the plate all down, It was treated with POR15 and then a rubberized coating was applied to the plate where it contacts the front skin.

2 coats of POR15 were applied to all the frame parts. POR also makes a top coat that we applied to all areas that would eventually see the light of day. I have used this system on the last few jobs and tend to like the results.

Using the templates I made earlier, all five sheets were cut to size. I machined all the edges of the sheets for Lamellos(biscuits for all you who are not old school woodworkers) to give alignment and added strength to the joint.

Just to field the questions I know are to follow; 
I have used many glues. I have used yellow glue, construction adhesive, and even thickened epoxy. All of them have worked very well. This time around I used polyurethane glue. Many of you know this as Gorilla Glue by brand name. All of the above work very well. 

The plywood I use is AC 5/8"plywood. I used to use marine plywood and honestly prefer it for it's lack of voids, water proof glue, and numerous plys in the sheet. The reason for using the AC plywood is two fold. It is 1/4 the price and it is made in the USA. I am on a personal crusade to use as much 'Made in AMERICA' as possible. 

The steel is also Made in America. I had my friend Tom at Metal Benders fabricate the new channel from mild steel. Tom is a part of just about every single project I do. His computer operated shear, burning table, and break made easy work of bending such heavy stock. ,

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