Friday, March 27, 2015

57 Caravanner 6 of...

I try to practice modesty. In all honesty, I am very self critical and even occasionally self loathing. What you see in the photo above however, impresses even myself. It has been a very long journey to the photo above. It has cost me a great deal of lost time, struggle, unwisely spent money, and many nights of lost sleep. Now that I am here, I would not trade it for anything.

Many posts ago, I waxed poetics about how easy that damaged segment was going to be to replace. If this trailer had been any year besides 1957, it would have been very simple. Unfortunately for me, in 1957 the Ohio factory decided that they were going to show great skill in a simple edge detail. The factory did a full roll over of the edge. This is not a regular detail. It takes special tooling and special skills. I spent many hours seeking out this talent. Even though I visited a lot of metal shops and talked to many old time tin benders, not one could do it. Not one, knew even where to send me. They all kept saying it was a roll over die.

It takes a very special die to make this edge correctly. After three incorrect die purchases(Price them. You will be surprised) I finally found Joe at Hoosier Profiles. He custom made a die just for me. It took him two tries to get it correct. I admire a company that stands behind what they do and will make it right. Hoosier Profiles did a great job for me.
I was trained as a cabinet maker by a man named Mr Fitzgerald. Mr Fitzgerald was a serious hard ass, old school master woodworker. He trained me well and I am forever indebted to him for the direction he gave me. One of Mr Fitzgerald's favorite things to say was "it's either right, or it's wrong" This edge detail became an obsession to get it correct. With perseverance, I got it 100% spot on correct.

The new segment slipped into place as if it was originally made for it.

Such a sexy curve. It amazes me that flat pieces of aluminum can be made into a half circle like this. 

We bucked the new segment in. Copious amounts of Trempro 626 were used. I told Wayne I want squeeze out. I got it.

Once polished, no one will be able to pick this segment out from the rest. It is work like this that sets my shop apart from the rest. anyone else would have said close enough and cut their losses. Not me. It is either right, or it is wrong. 

 I will get a message asking. I have nothing to hide. 
This segment, billed to the client; Materials: $100
Labor 2.5 hrs@ $70: $175
$275 total
Actual materials spent $457
Actual hours spent: 26

Celebrity Visit

We were anticipating a visit from celebrities. I had Wayne clean the bathroom extra special knowing three of them were women. Just incase, I wanted everything comfortable at FTW for their visit. They came a day early however. They kind of caught me running out the door. 

Brian and Lynnetta came by with their vivacious kids for a visit. I love kids that will look you in the eye and talk to you, kids that are engaging.  It gives me hope for America's future. 
I have been following their blog since they started. I deeply admired how they have been able to combine work, travel, and raising kids into an Airstream lifestyle. 

They have a super sweet 1959 Overlander. It is classic Airstream, classic American icon. The fact it looks so original appeals to a guy like me. The way they use it should inspire you also. I highly encourage you to read their blog

It was an honor that in their itinerary of seeing the Baltimore/ Washington region they made their first stop FTW.

I was trying to get a good candid photo of the whole family together.

Every time I pushed shutter, someone was hiding. Sarah hid the best. 

I wish the Sanders Godspeed. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Vogue Worthy

I often get asked to be allowed to come work. I know the intention is good. Unfortunately, more often than not, I am slowed down managing the help. I usually decline the help. Chris has been an exception. 

Chris got cut loose stripping panels. He does not realize it at this juncture but he has his work cut out for him.

Typical of many vintage Airstreams, the interior had been brightened, rejuvenated, freshened many times. On top of the gorgeous original zolatone some ochre paint had been applied first. I am fairly sure this was of the lead paint era. On top of the ochre was a cream enamel. Also most likely of the lead paint era. 

And then there was this. This is firmly in the 'he thought it was the right thing' category. It is paint, with sand in it. Yes, sand. Added into the paint and on top of the paint. It is a paint system, I believe made under the Martha Stewart line.  

With this much square footage I had Chris roll the stripper out.

The sand was actually black. 

You have to let the stuff work for a while

One coat is never enough.

Three applications later you are done. 

"So, Chris. Is Airstream work glamorous?" "Well, yah!?! It's Vogue worthy"

Monday, March 23, 2015

But, But, But It's Free!?!?

Today I driving down the road, sort of minding my own business, on my way to pick up some supplies and I see the word "FREE" on the side of an old trailer. And it was an aluminum trailer to boot. I locked up the tires in astonishment. 

After doing a semi illegal U-turn I pull up beside it to see the golden words to any free trailer; "have title". Free, title, vintage aluminum...

Then I begin to see why it is free. Someone had a blow out.

They lost control and the tongue broke. It was in it's side at some point.

But it was aluminum. 

And free...

With very little to offer.

The thing that had me not take it? Someone has been using the toilet. Unfortunately a few years back it looks as though someone removed the entire bathroom. This minor detail has not stopped them. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Clearing The Bad Link

This post is being made to fix a glitch in the matrix. I accidentally posted another blog of mine on this one. Even though I fixed the post, the link it puts out is incorrect. Hopefully this post fixes that. sorry if you got excited for nothing. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015


I am not going to lie. I like looking at hot ladies. I am a normal American man and I just cannot help myself. 

The 1968 Caravel I did last Winter came in for some minor adjustments and a few additions. She has been living inside the shop for the past couple of months. The dust was getting thick on the roof. 

I took her outside and gave her a bath.

My God, is she sexy! 

I just had to get this off my chest. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mike's Equipment Recycling

In my continuing series about the vendors I use...

Tucked behind, and to the side at 603 Dundalk Avenue is Mike's Equipment Recycler. Mike and two lovely ladies work out of this location selling industrial surplus of all sorts. I found Mike's through Ebay. 

I was looking for a corner notcher and Mike's Equipment Recyclers had one listed. One thing led to a another, serendipity, fait, call it what you want, Mike's is 5 minutes from my shop. So what is a corner notcher? A corner notcher does just that; it cuts up to a 6x6 notch in metal up to 14 gauge mild steel. Aluminum should be no problem up to an 1/4" thick. When that lever is pulled the knife shears the material.

I plan to use it to cut miters on gasket material. It was put to use today doing that very task. This tool retails for about $950 new without the stand. Mike sold it to me for $550. I also bought a 60 gallon flammable liquids storage cabinet for $250.  That is the super big size cabinet. Brand new, they retail for $1200. I am now not only a very happy camper, I am a safe camper too.

Mike has some wild stuff. The inventory is all over the place, but industrial is the theme. I could not figure out what to do with this 55 gallon drum mixer.

Put a disk of polished glass on this valve and you have a super stylish coffee table.

Pallets of computer towers.

You need this. You know you do. There are a lot of different optical devices.

There was this very unusual item, The Empathy Belly. This is designed to let the man experience what the woman does carrying a child. Somehow I doubt it is remotely the same thing.

There are a lot of measuring devices. Mike had no idea what this did. I didn't know either. Do you know? I bet Tom knows. 

There are some cool signs. 

Put four of these under a polished edge glass top and you have got yourself a high fashion, steam punk decor, item. 

I am sure I will be visiting Mike's Equipment Recycling again very soon. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Twins From Other Mothers (Version 2)

One was born in California. The other was born in Ohio. Twins from other mothers they are.

The year was 1978.