Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jan. 31st- Next phase

The walls are finished...finally.  The right side was much easier to do with the old frame underneath.  I used as much pressure treated wood as possible when near anything that would be exposed.  Now on to the trailer.  First step is to get it cleaned up to see what's underneath the dirt and grime, and then get the rust off.  I am "working on" the welding part, but that isn't my forte.  Neither are the brakes or tires, but I've learned as I go on this thing every step of the way, so might get to learn a little more once we take the tires off (I want to paint the rims anyway).  So far...still confident.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jan. 29th- In for a penny, in for a pound

Really...I built the left side from a rotted frame and upside down tin.  Why not redo it all while it's out there.  This one is soooo much easier.  I just laid the imprint down on the existing frame.  Looks like I need to redo the wheel well while I'm at it, but I have the template from the left side. 
I am starting to weigh possibilities on what to do with the front and back of the frame..  I want to add a bumper on the back, and also a trailer hitch to add a bike rack if we want, but I need to find a place for a spare tire.  I really never paid attention, but after looking at several of these trailer sites, most of this era of trailer have NO spare tire. I will be figuring this one out over the course of the week while I rebuild the wall.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jan. 28- Holy Crap!

What a beautiful day.  My wife and I decided to make use of a warm Saturday and get busy.  We supported the right wall with cross bracing to keep it in tact, and went to town on the rest of the roof.  Got the top rails off and was able to salvage most of the curfed pieces for the edges.  I think I will replace the bottom plate on the right side, and re support the door frame with 2x4's, but the rest is good.  After all the walls were down, we got a good chance to examine the frame.  I have been told by several people that "if you're going to go this far, might as well go all the way"... so off came the floor.  Used a sawzall to cut the carriage bolts that connect the frame, and took my skill saw to cut out the floor boards.  I never did really like the sound "barrier" that was used, but there is little to no rust on the trailer frame itself, so I guess it served some function.  We are replacing the underlayment with marine board plywood, then pressure treated base plates, then 3/4" T & G plywood for the floor...then we can put the walls up.  My wife decided a "clean workspace is a happy workspace" so the pad is ready for phase 2.  All in all, I am happy with the decision to strip it down, and we pretty much have all the materials, so off we go.  Now for the fun part...putting it ALL back together, and making it fit.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jan. 26th- one down

One wall down...now the challenge begins.  The other wall is pretty much structurally sound- looks like most of it was rebuilt in the near past.  The top rails are rotted,and I want to exchange the two posts of the door frame with 2x4's, but I think I can do that with it in place.  I am keeping the new wall in the garage for now, partly to keep it dry and let it set up, but mostly because I have nowhere else to put it.
Next step is to measure all the placements of the top/outside rails so they go back in place.  Once everything is marked, we can take the rest of the inner paneling off- my wife is convinced it's going to collapse- oh ye of little faith (truth be told, I have quite figured out how to support the frame walls while we reinstall the ceiling either).  It's sunny and in the mid 70's for a while, so we'll need to make some progress while the weather is good.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jan. 2st- Oops

I had a great evening with my family and wife's parents tonight at a local blue grass show.  Wish I had know we are are the the front end of a wind storm this weekend.  It was a little breezy when we left so I secured the tarp on the frame, but when we returned 3 hours later, things had picked up a bit.  The tarp was in the garden, and the remaining tin on the roof (all nails were pulled- it was just there for the weight) was laying behind the trailer.
For a silver lining, I had been worried about how to get that piece down without bending it.  I am going to replace it, but needed it intact for a template.  Looks like the wind slid it straight back without a crease.
Now is as good a time as any to take the top rail off, remove the ceiling panels, and the right side frame.  There aren't too many pieces that need fixing on that side, and I can finally take a good look at the floorboards and framing.  Once I start reassembling, this is going to snowball quickly.  But, yes, still having fun.

Jan. 21st- assembly

I got half the frame assembled yesterday on top of the tin.  There are a couple boards that look a little out of whack, but had to lay out that way to match up to the screw holes in the tin.  So far, all the windows fit with just a little play for adjustment, and everything is relatively square.  Hope to finish up today and post some photos.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Jan. 19th- Plan "B"

I truly has occurred to me that I am over thinking this thing.  In all reality, this was built over 50 years ago, they were mass producing these things across the country, and they really aren't meant to last that long based on the materials they used.  However, there is always the thrill of finding that diamond in a lump of coal.  Thus, regardless of the age, I really do envision a finished product that will stand out.

So...back to the drawing board.  I follow a site called "Vintage Trailer Restoration" that I have learned millions of little tips, met some great people, and have been able to find others that have had the same issues that we are faced with on every turn.  With that being said, I have also followed several people in several stages of rebuild.  Reinstalling it directly back onto the trailer is not an option, and neither is detaching the wood frame from the metal (at this time).  My original goal was to build the walls to match exactly, take the roof off, remove the walls, and put it back together.  I just haven't been 100% confident on the new frame fit, so (upon advise from another "restorer"), I am doing it upside down.

Ultimately, no matter how you build it, the tin has to match the studs, and some of them aren't the best of the lot.  I built some more saw horses, made use of some very old, but long 2x6's as a base, and ran 1x3's across all the vertical seams.  I used drywall screws to attach the tin to the "base" with the inside panels facing up, matching up all the center seams and nail patterns, and then laid out the wood on top based on the screw holes.  Basically, it is recreating the frame from the inside out. I have it pretty well laid out and even found a couple supports that I missed ( they had rotted out on the old frame, so I never caught it), and ready to finally assemble.  My wife and daughter have been very patient as I have been working on this project every night this week after work, but I will be glad to finally answer the persistent questions..."When are you going to put it back together?"

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Jan. 17th- Dry fit

Well- I have measured this old frame down to the 1/32" and tried to keep everything identical.  However, keep in mind, this original frame is sagging, rotting, decayed, and listing- nice model for a prototype.  I pieced everything down, cut out the tire "flame well" from a treated 2x6, and pin nailed it all to hold in shape.  Just to check progress and accuracy, I laid the tin back down.  Granted, it isn't nailed or straightened, but it comes pretty close on the edges and some windows.  Again, there is straight...and there is trailer straight.  Need a few adjustments.  I am considering flipping it and laying the frame out based on the the inside of the tin, but seems risky to square up once it goes upright.  There is always a bigger picture when it comes to every step of this, it's just trying to find out what it is?
An yes...I am having the time of my life.  It's just prolonging...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jan. 16th- Framing cut

With the help of my wife and daughter, we spent Sunday afternoon measuring and cutting the frame wall for the left side. We ended up ripping 2/4's down the middle, so the width will give a little extra support, and it will be a bit wider on the inside (1/4").  I will drag out the tin to match everything up, and then assemble.  A dim light at the end of the tunnel.
New Post at 8:00- There is "straight...and there is "trailer straight".  I laid most of the posts out based on the measurements taken off the bottom sill plate and just shot some pin nails in to line the vertical posts.  Safe to assume everything would line up at a 90 degree angle.  I dragged all the tin sides out and just did a brief mapping to see how close I was...got some work to do.  I have to keep reminding myself this was done 60 years ago.  A little difference in craftsmanship.  Time to take a step back and try at a different angle.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Jan. 14th - lumber prep

Bought 20 premium 2x4's and a couple pressure treated 10' 2x4's to do the top and bottom sill plates.  A huge thank you to my brother in law, Travis, for helping me rip everything (on a 10 year old $100 Craftsman table saw- way past it's time).  We split it all down the middle so it will give a little more strength- they are 1 1/2" x 1 3/4", as opposed to the 1 5/8" from the original.  Measurements will have to adjust a bit, but worth the math .  Also bought 6 lb. of stainless steel deck screws for assembly.  Those suckers weren't cheap, but I am planning on durability and making it last another 50 years for the next guy. Oh, and thank you Santa / mom for the great Rigid Miter saw.  A great investment and will last me a lifetime.
Tomorrow is assembly day.  My wife and daughter are now "active duty" on the rebuild. More to come.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jan. 13th- time to reframe

Getting ready to reframe the trailer this weekend.  New miter saw, gathering the wood, and diagrammed out to match the existing walls.  This is the make or break it point- it will either work or be a disaster...stay tuned  :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Jan 6. 2012- I'm comitted now

Well- off to a rip roaring start for the new year...pun intended.  The tin is completely off all sides and the roof.  No sign of rain for a few days, so I figured best to make good use of the time.  It's looking a little rickety right now, but at least I have the full idea of what I have to work with.  Plenty of rot, but also plenty of salvageable studs.  I joked with my wife that all I wanted for Christmas is 50 2x2's.  Too big to stack under the tree, so I guess I'm Home Depot bound this weekend.  I am still thinking of leaving the current frame intact, and rebuilding the new one in the shop so they mirror exactly.  The reoccurring question from my wife..."are you sure you can put this back together?".  Guess we'll see.