Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Removal of the interior continues

After all of our snow (and thus snow removal) we received on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and after the great holiday activities both days, work continued on May for a few hours both Saturday and Sunday. The side bed, overhead lockers, and street-side closet are all out now. I also figured out that I do not have Hehr Hall-Mark 12 windows all the way around. 1964 again became its own mystery year, with side windows on May that have very different operators than the 12's. It seems only late model built 1964 trailers have this anomaly. So I posted this on the Airstream forums, and hopefully I am on my way to finding a window operator replacement. I am again grateful to the fact that there is an internet and a forum to turn to. This means that someone of my more limited yet eager talent can tackle such a project. May was built in March of 1964, which actually would have been towards the end of the '64 production year. Production on '64's would have begun in 1963, like automobile manufacturer back than, and still to this day. So Airstream must have been experimenting on different windows, and since these windows do not appear in any future models, you guessed it, these windows are not the best. No matter, I need new window operators, so stay tuned on that front.

This picture is with the overhead lockers out, and a full view of the kitchen removed, and the curbside closet it out

This view is with the side bed/couch removed

I did remove the tall street-side closet after this picture was shot, but I still have the remaining cabinet to remove. That will expose the old water heater and wiring home runs, and allow me to tackle the tub/shower/sink. Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 25, 2009

I Dreamt of a White Christmas

By my calculation we have had 16” at our house since Wednesday at 5:00 pm. Right now it is falling again, although lighter than one hour ago. I hear we might get another 4-6” before tomorrow morning, and possibly another couple tomorrow. What a white Christmas indeed!

As for May, I did get the furnace and curbside closet out last week. I removed the furnace shroud on the exterior, and used my new rivet removal tool with a Cobalt bit to drill out the rivets on the sheet of aluminum that allows access to the furnace from the outside. I drilled out a couple of rivets that attached the furnace to the duct work on the inside, and then removed the furnace from the outside. The furnace is worse than junk, it is dangerous, as read on the Airforums, so it will be headed to the junk yard.

Hopefully we are all dug out tomorrow, and I can go work on May in the afternoon. I will be there on Sunday for sure. The Vikings do not play until Monday night, so Sunday is free for me. Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Kitchen is out

It was another nice partly sunny Saturday morning drive out in the country to go to work on May. Outdoor it was 11 degrees. The indoor work temperature was just under 50 and climbing when I arrived. I could hear the roar of the wood stove, so I checked on it and added a few logs, and started right to work. I have to say I love the smell of a wood fire, the act of tending to it, so this heat source is an added benefit of working at this location.

I wanted to tackle the kitchen today, so I started on the sink. I easily disconnected the waste lines and determined right there and then to reuse them, as they are fine shape (they'll need new gaskets). The main traps are not plastic, but of a metal that I do not recognize, but they appear to have much life left in them. After loosening the clips under the sink, the cast sink popped right out. I will reuse it again, set in a stainless steel counter next time. I then disconnected the hot/cold faucet, and a second separate cold water faucet. I hope to rebuild and reuse them the faucets again, as I like their retro look. Here are before and after pictures of May's kitchen.

Before picture shot last year outside with Kitchen intact:
Picture shot today after the Kitchen de-install:
Underneath the counter I found the last four digits of May's serial number, written at the California factory in 1964 by one of the workers. This was so they could match the counter top with the right trailer being built.I feel pretty good with today's progress, and so I will look forward to working again next Saturday. I believe I will be tackling the bathroom and closets, and I need to get me some Cobalt drill bits. Until then....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

65 Degrees Indoors

The first day of indoor Airstream work was a success. The wood burning stove was going full force when I arrived, as promised, the landlord had started it earlier this morning. It was toasty inside, and I quickly got work in shirt sleeves. First up was to remove the oven/range.
The removal went much faster than I anticipated, and I had it out in short order

Note the oven is out. You can see that I also have the roof vents fully open at the same time, which is a first. The interior got so warm from the wood stove and the work lights that I was using that it was cooler to open the vents. 45 years old and the manual vent mechanisms still work great. By the way today's outdoor temperature was in the 20's, so I am glad is was "too warm" inside!

I found this fine mess under the rear street side cabinet under a false floor. It looks like both mice and squirrels have stayed inside this Airstream before.

I did a far amount of other work today including hauling out a full 30 gallon bag of garbage, measuring and cataloging the interior, removing hooks, removing kitchen doors, opening up the overhead cabinets that were glued shut with mirror mastic, and the list goes on. Next week I am ready to remove the sink and faucets. Until then!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

May is on the move!

Picked up May at Hart RV yesterday. It was a beautiful day for the 240 mile road trip. Stopped on the way up at the Airstream Park to make sure all was well, and to pick up my set of four large wheel chocks. The Park was devoid of people and trailers, but on such a nice warm (45 degree) sunny fall day, it seemed like it should be open and in full swing.

May will need a new shorter drop hitch, as the new axle has raised the trailer by at least 2 inches. You can see in the picture that she is not sitting horizontally even. Today she will go in her new winter indoor home, and the work can begin again. I think today I will be spending time measuring and taking pictures, and get well prepared for the work to begin next weekend. Until then!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

FOUND! Winter Shop to work on May!

Just a quick excited post to announce that I just came to terms on a heated shop to work on May this winter! It is 19 miles from my house, out in farm country. I will have the better part of a 40x40 shop from next weekend until April 1st. I will go get her next Friday or Saturday, and back her into her new winter home. Ultimately a plain old newspaper ad is how I found this option. In fact, I had two phone calls from two different parties with 40x40 shops within a few minutes of each other. So for less than $20 and 2 weeks worth of ads, I was finally successful. Soon I am back to work!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Labor Day Weekend Naked Butt!

Yes, I said it, Naked Butt! But first I digress.

Now that the leaves have completely fallen off the trees (exception as always, the oaks), our summer weekly and weekend road (mostly Airstream) travels have also finally come to a satisfying but timely completion. In a way I am glad to be off the road (literal), as it seems I (we) have been on the road forever. At least I have a couple Airstream stories to tell! As the winter and fall breezes are upon us, and time begins to slow down to a Fall and then even slower Winter pace, I will have more time to tell those stories (albeit late). Now on to that Naked Butt.

On Monday September 7th of the Labor Day weekend, I surveyed what I had accomplished on the '64 this first summer of '09, and felt mixed emotions on how far (or not far) the work had come. I learned how to polish, got some actual polishing completed, and put new wheels and tires under May for her to stand and drive on. I made numerous future plans, and began the search for a winter home to work on May through the cold and snowy months. Indoor work space of course, with allowance for power and heat, and that search continues. Ok, really now, on to that Naked Butt!

Being able to work on May only summer weekends that I was free and the weather cooperated, turns out to be not that much time (duh). But what is also now done is the deinstallation of the original rear lights, both running, turn and license plate. I installed temporary stop/turn lights after the picture below (thank you for your help on those temporary lights Jim!). I have wiring issues to resolve before the new and permanent replacement lights will work. This finding of wiring issues should not have come as a surprise to me, and to which some hours where devoted to resolving. Mark it down as just another one of those restoration tasks that was not planned. I spent all that time trying to get the the lighting (wiring) figured out, thought I had it resolved, did not have it resolved, challenged with LED grounding, resolved that, still not working correctly, ahhhhh!! But now you can see what May's Naked Butt looked like as of Labor Day Monday, September 7th, 2009:

I look forward to resolving the wiring, completing the rear polishing, and installing those brand new lights. By the way, look what else is in the rear, under the window, and right above the rear utlities door.

This AAA Emblem appears (and feels) to be stamped right into the aluminum! I will have to do some research on it, and will also look forward to getting a rear view of it when I strip the interior including the interior skin.

Until my next time, peace!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

4 Weeks is too long

4 Weeks is too long to not get any work in on the '64, but that's what just happened. I just hit that time in summer where I had no weekend time to Polish. I had other projects and one trip with the '90; The Vintage Races at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. On top of it all I am very busy at work, and this affords me zero extra time this summer. Anyway, I finally did get back on the project this weekend.

I am working on the rear end cap above the rear window. I took off the remaining two rear lights, and used Acetone to rub off the thick black water proofing that was added by a PO. As described in a previous post, the lights are also not period correct, and will be replaced with tear drop style lights. You can see the black gunk above the rear lights in the previous post on July 7th of this month. It took me at least one hour per light just to get the black tar stuff scraped and rubbed off. I also used plastic paint scapers to try and pry hunks of the stuff. Once I got all the black removed on Saturday, then it was on to Sunday (today). Today I polished steps 1 & 2 the the grey and red abrasive bars (more information on polishing steps under June 24, 2009 post).

I shot this one picture just before I could completely finish polishing as time was running out and a small rain shower came by. After this shot, I covered the holes from the old lights removal with aluminum tape from Vintage Trailer Supply. Well, I am off again for two weeks. Until then, keep the Aluminum side shiney!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Wheels and Tires Win! Well, almost.....

I was glad to spend at least one hour polishing this weekend. I am so limited in the time I can spend on it each Saturday/Sunday. I have other work I have to get done at the Park, I am outside and not under cover so weather/sun effects when I can polish, and I will not kill our mostly evening/night weekend social time. Heck, it is still the weekend after all! I work enough during the week, although we know Airstream "work" is not really "work". I am not using all of this as an excuse, as the time I get to spend polishing is during our glorious outdoor summer months. On Sunday I worked on the rear crown (end cap), and uninstalled one marker light. I removed the really hard and poorly installed black caulk/gunk from the top of the marker light with the help of Acetone. The old square marker lights will be replaced with teardrop marker lights that I believe '64 trailers could and/or would have had original from the factory. My current hypothosis is that a PO installed the end cap marker lights in the early 70's, as the old side markers from the factory are tear drops. Regardless, I like the looks of the tear drops better on a Vintage. Oh, and the above picture is after one pass of the grey compound (step #1), a light rain storm, with silver tape from http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/.

So now to those #$%^ tires! 2 plus hours later I have the new tires and aluminum wheels installed. They look great now, but what a job getting them installed! The low riding Airstream with the small wheel wheel cut out area makes for one hell of a struggle getting new wheels and tires installed. The old wheels and tires came off without a hitch. The weight allowed each one to easily drop with gravity's help at a 45 degree angle away from the axle. Getting the new wheels and tires in was another story. My 81 year old neighbor actually came up with the best idea watching my struggles "why don't you take the air out of the tires?" It was a great idea, lessoned my struggles, but not entirely so. I fought the good fight, and finally won the battle, but those wheel wells did not give up very easily. In the end they are installed, and they do look good. Now I can go back to polishing and replacing exterior lights.

And here is the new long view. The exterior really looks great in this morning light right after a small rainstorm. Trust me, the interior is really pretty rough, and the smell of old mice p&p is rally hard to describe (yuk). But the exterior looks good, and even better with the new wheels and tires, and soon even better yet with a full polish!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Step 2.5 steps of 4 forward......

2.5 steps of 4 steps is really not exactly the whole truth. Truth be known any one step could be considered more than one step. We’re talking serious polishing here! Take for instance the first step. I used the gray abrasive and the closely sown 8” hard buff; both from Jestco. In order to take out the most of the linear scratches, I then use the grey abrasive with the 8” soft buff. So the abrasive is what I consider “a” step. In this case the gray abrasive compound is step #1.

Step #2 is with the red jeweler’s compound. I also use an 8” soft buff; although not the same buff that I use on step #1 part deux with the gray. Do not mix your abrasives, and clean between each step. I am using cotton cloth rags and a spray bottle of mineral spirits. Watch for hidden abrasive around the rivet heads. Trust me, you feel like crap when you newly scratch you’re just polished section with an abrasive from the last step. Wipe the entire surface not once, but twice. Use a new rag and new sections of the rag as you move through the cleaning. I am finding that the surface cleaning is key as you pick up much of the oxidized (black) residue in “total black rag when done” fashion. I also rock the polisher back and forth and you visibly see the scratches from step #1 begin to disappear. I am finding that step#2 is one longer step, and rather than the very fast single passes of step#1a and #1b.

Step #2.5 is actually part one of part three. I am using the duel cyclo with Nuvite F7. It looks like in order to cut through the remaining blemishes and scratches; I will need to run the cyclo over the whole works twice. For now I am doing it once. Thus, Step 2.5 of 4. Nuvite “S” is the plan for the last step. I hope to do steps 2.5 or 4 through the entirety of May, and when I am ready for the final touches, and then I will go back with one more step# 3 “F7” pass, and then finish with step #4 with“S”.

By the way, the picture is step #2. Can you see where I have already been with the red jeweler’s rouge over the rougher step #1?? Look at where the buff currently is and keep looking towards the left all the way to the frame on the back window. The bottom panel was completed last week. The bottom of the top panel is the focus. I finished steps 2.5 on the top panel in about 4 hours of work. Much faster than the learning I was doing on the bottom panel. I just wished I could tackle this more than the 4 hours per weekend that I am getting (if I am lucky).

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Polishing 101

I ended Saturday disappointed with how well the second phase of the polishing method (Jestco) was going, but I end Sunday much happier with today's results. The horizontal cloudy haze at the very bottom left of the shined panel is what I was fighting on Saturday on the whole panel. I have now found that in the second step with the polisher and red (jewelers rouge) if I move the soft buff back and forth, is starts to pull out the last of the major haze. So I now believe I am ready for step #3 & #4 on this panel, using the cyclo with Nuvite F7, and then Nuvite "S". The results for now using just the polisher and Jestco Grey then Red Rouge looks pretty darned good.

When you stand 4 feet away, you start to see the fine linear scratches that the F7 should take out. When you stand as far back as picture #2 (click to enlarge), the comparison between the polished (back left) panel and the rest of the Safari is clearly visible from this greater distance. And just think, this trailer had a what I will call a "rough polish" two years ago by the PO. Since it was only polished using a rotary polisher, you can clearly see the swirl marks in the other panets. Having said that, May's exterior is already in better shape than some 1964 era trailers that have never been touched. May is going to be one good looker when she is done. At this rate, that will be a while. I am only working on it weekends, and then no more than about 3 hours per day. I have other things to do of course, polishing gets tiring, and then I have to work when the sun is not shining on the back section I started on. I would say that I have 9-10 hours into it so far. It has been an education so far, and now that I am getting familiar with the tools and technique, I fully anticipate that it will go faster.

This last photo for today shows not only the "almost mirror shine" from the first two Jestco steps, but also the fact that I am replacing all of the exterior lights. I received my package of 5 red and 5 amber teardrop lights from http://www.vintagetrailersupply.com/ this week. I cannot say enough good things about the great customer service I've received working with them. The brand new bright red light covers against the tree reflection ends my weekend on a positive note. I look forward to continuing next weekend!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And then there was progress….

Finally after what seems like months (OK, it was months) work on May has begun! It might not seem like polishing should be the first step, and in most cases it is not, but in my case it makes sense (to me at least). It has a lot to do with it being great weather for exterior work, and the fact that I want to shell to look it’s best, before touching the interior. Actually it will be more than just polishing. I will also be replacing the lights, which sounds easy, except all but two lights will need to be modified. More on that at another time.

I am reminded by my last post that I have not recapped the 4 Corners Unit Restoration Rally that we attended in Albuquerque a few weeks ago. Let me just say for now that it was 100% worth the trip. The one item of focus for today’s blog update is that the Rally changed how I was going to polish. “Levon” on the Airforums covered his seminar on polishing by showing us the “Jetsco” method. Basically you use “Buff’s” with compound or “Jewelers Rouge”. Since you use the edge of the buffs, and thus they turn up and down rather than swirl, these first steps do not create swirl marks (they do produce smaller up and down marks not noticed from a very few feet away). I will follow up he two steps of grey and red compound with two cyclos of “F7” and “S” from Nuvite.

You can tell by the picture where I have and where I have not started to shine. This is only after the first pass or two of Grey Compound. I have not touched around the light. The “haze” in the untouched parts is what I am removing. The reflection is not bad for such an early phase. I will be back at the polishing with a vengeance next weekend. I have to run for now, more soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Winter is over! It just takes longer in Minnesota.

It is soon time to pull May from her winter storage location! I believe the farm road where she is stored has not yet dried to the point of being passable. I still found small pockets of snow in the woods this weekend, trying to hide from the 50’s temps. With the weather reports this week, that should change (dry out), and I will pull May out next weekend! The picture that I am posting here was actually taken last fall (you can tell cause there is green grass, and right now, all grass here is brown and just starting to green up). This will be the new summer home for May. It is located at the Minnesota Airstream Park. The truck is sitting about where May will be parked. I wouldn’t call that a lake in the distance (past the golf course), but it is bigger than a pond. Last spring two loons called it home, so it is a clean body of water. I should have taken a picture of the lot yesterday, but suffice to say all the leaves from this picture last October are cleaned up now. Once I move May to the lot, I need to first and foremost ensure that I have working running lights (brakes, turn signals, the necessities). Once I have lights, I will hall her up to Hart RV in Long Prairie for a new axel, brakes, wheels and tires. Then it is back to the Park, where all the polishing supplies that I just ordered from Vintage Trailer will be deployed to clean up and shine the exterior. The floor and interior will get tackled this fall/winter (at least that is the plan, but Vintage trailers need more time and money than one should assume, so stay tuned!) My posts should pick up now, including a recap of the Vintage Restoration Rally held by the Four Corners Unit of the WBCC. The rally is two weeks away in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We (wife and I) are flying down there for the long weekend, and are very much looking forward to it!