Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The proper way to care for your Harbor Freight tools.

I have come to realize the harbor freight tools are wildly popular with the weekend warrior and ammatuer airstream restorer. I mean, where else can you buy a MIG welder for under $100? Where could you ever dream of buying a stand up sandblasting cabinet for $149 on sale this month? Well the answer to all your dreams is harbor freight. They have hooked up with the Chinese to bring you the cheapest tools on the planet. The Chinese are willing to work for next to nothing, some even bring their children to the factories so you, the American consumer can pay next to nothing for their finely crafted tools. The greatest buy around has to be the complete polishing kit that includes a variable speed 7" compounder with a velcro head and many pads and bonnets to go with it. It usually sells for $ 29.97, but last month it was on sale for $14.97. No bullshit folks, less than $15.00. A bargain I just could not pass up. Well with all these inexpensive tools I felt many might not know the right way to handle and care for their new purchase. I wanted to help the inexperienced ones out there and show them how to care  for their tools. Hope this helps all of you out there.... 

You will need some sale circulars. Wow, $19.99 for a reciprocating saw, I spent $179 on mine, what a fool I am. I find the quality of the harbor freight circulars to be superior to all others. The full color ads really bring out the zing in the tool. The blue looks so complimentary to the orange handle. Now loosely crumple them up and create a nice soft bed for your tool. You would not want to damage it in any way.

Now once you have placed your compounder or any harbor freight tool in a nice bed of circulars, it is time to add the fuel. I find that there is no need to using high test. Such a bargain tool would never require such an  expensive fuel. Buy what ever is cheapest, Hell , it is all the same, right? Be generous now....

Be safe and use safety matches, and strike away from you....

And now your tool has been reduced to it's real value. I sure hope this sets you on the right path to a long relationship with harbor freight tools.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

and the polishing goes on.

I bought Anna a gift today. It is very important to shower your mistress with gifts. This is her new salt and pepper shaker for the galley.

This is the first cut of polish as many of you know. The surfaces I am dealing with now are around the door and on the roof. I have managed to make a little progress this week, but it has been unbelievably slow. That 4" x 38" strip directly to the right of the door took close to 3 hours. The skin under the door eyebrow was so corroided that I had to drill the eyebrow  off so I could deal with more agressively.

I did some wet sanding to get the 3/32nds of an inch of oxide off the area. I am lead to the conclusion that Anna spent some of her life near salt water. I just cannot understand how so much oxide could have built up under there. This photo might not show it, but that is very thick, almost three times the texture of zolatone.
So after the usual 320, 400, 600, 1000 wet sanding, then F7 nuvite I was left with this...

Can you say live with it?
Here is the curb side. It looks very good from a distance. A 10 at 20 as my friend Steve from high school calls it. I am not even bothering with the panel under the salon window, it will be replaced this winter when I restore the front half of the trailer. In order to do it right the interior panels need to be removed and we have lots of camping on the horizon. I am just not to worried about it now.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

blog,blog, blog, blog, blog.....

Polish, polish, polish....

Wooo whooooo....

After... before is below.

I am seeing it all different now....

I have been blessed with some very positive comments to both this blog and through the AirForums. The polishing had gotten to me and I sort of started to stumble. I wonder if anyone has ever thrown in the towel and sold their trailer on Ebay half way through polishing. Anna now is compounded on both end caps, the roof, and the whole street side. The lower front curb side panel has been done since this photo was taken. Compounding has been very slow because it rains every other day. One of the emails I received was from the owner of a fairly famous trailer. Looks like I found one Argosy to park next to at the next rally. I really look forward to the CrawFish Festival Rally. We will be having a blast without any kids... hey, their Grandparents love the opportunity to spoil the living shit out of them. My parents take Ava to Mc Donalds every time, I swear, just to spite me, now they can do the same with Halle.

So This morning I went out and tried a new approach mentally and figuratively. I am an avid listener of The Vintage Airstream Podcast. I love the show, not because I have been on, but because I learn something new every time I listen. Yesterday, while working, I listened to episodes 19 and 20. Those two shows focus on polishing. I listened and took it all in. Then I listened again and really took it in, inhaled it real deeply, held it in. Today I went back at it with a new attitude. Today I went back to the Shirley Method. I love that lemony smell of Nuvite F7. I love the smell of Nuvite in the morning, it smells like victory. I inhaled the smell of Nuvite deeply and held it in. Stay tuned for more to come....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sorry, again

Folks, Sorry for that last out burst. I do not know what came over me. I sat with the bar of soap in my mouth for an hour. I have been thinking about my dissatisfaction with polishing and feel I need to clarify my point. Before I started Anna looked elegant to me. I could see a few dents, a few scratches here and there, but no big deal. She is 47 years old, she deserves to show some age. However, now the polishing has just highlighted all of those dents and scratches. Scratches upon scratches and dents have breed more dents. I see all the flaws. I see deep pits of oxidation on top of or under the scratches from some idiots use of steel wool. I see the stretch marks from the shaping of the end caps. I see where branches have reached out to pinch her and grope her as she drove by. I see BB dents from some kids red rider. I am not happy with what I see.
When I was 19, I pursued a girl long and hard, courted her, dinned her, the whole bit. After a few weeks it progressed to a level if intimacy. When she actually took off her clothes I found that she had stuffed her bra and that hair dye was a big part of her life. I felt that the woman I had pursued, was not the woman I had fell for. I saw her in different light so to speak. This is what I am going through now. With exception of the roof, every panel has some sort of major flaw, some huge scratch or dent. I have seen worse skin on trailer at rallies. Those owners seem alright with what they have, I need to do the same. I just need to except the fact that she will never be the shiniest trailer at the ball. Hopefully I never get parked next to the a guy like Rob Baker, Abe Lincoln, or Doug Rowbottom whose trailer are like mirrors. Can one request to be parked between two Argosy? Maybe one that has some peeling paint.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

not much to say, sorry.

So after 10 hours of polishing the front end cap, this is where I am. That is just the oxidation removed. No real high polish, no edges cut in with the small wheel, just the oxidation removed. 100 hours to polish a trailer my ass.

Can you say "live with it"? 5 passes with F9, followed by 5 passes of F7, followed by 10 passes with Diamond Brite.... I really FUCKING hate polishing. NO SERIOUSLY, I FUCKING HATE POLISHING!!!!!

Yes, I am in a bad mood, sorry. Hippies are not always happy.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Details for Marcus

I have been asked many times for more detailed pictures of the new bathroom and twins. The most flagrant requester has been Utee94 AKA Marcus Moyer in Austin Texas. He has been waiting long enough so today I semi put things back in order so I could snap off a few shots. Please understand that these photos were taken with a flash. It has been raining for days and it is very overcast here. The flash tends to wash out the color. I also want folks to understand that the entire bathroom needs to be cleaned with MEK to get the vulkum film off of the aluminum. I have not yet gotten to this final cleaning of the walls.
Use your imagination to join the three photos together that follow...

This is the tub and shower. I moved the diverter to the wardrobe so that I could get the shower head higher on the wall.

This my new sink and Alkemi solid surface counter. Alkemi is a solid surface material that has aluminum shaving in it. I though it an appropriate material for an aluminum clad bathroom.

The throne... original tank, original stool, original seat. All have been refurbished and work perfectly. Ironically, this was the only throne in the throw down that worked.

And now the twins...

Fantastic Fan... works fantastic. Thats Canada there at the top, top of the world like in real life.

Overhead cabinets with new veneer and refurbished hook locks.

New drawer made from Baltic Birch. These are half the weight of the originals.

Not sure what the wall protector thing is called, but it sure looks better in fiddle back maple.

an ants view of the twins...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Anna Adornment, time alotment

My wife has been feeling that I have been spending a bit too much time with my mistress. I think maybe she is right. I have not been keeping track of hours or materials and it has all caught up with me. I am now limiting myself to one hour per day. I estimate I have 25 hours to finish the first cut of polishing and 15 hours of tiny details that never get done unless you force them to get done. We go to a rally in 24 days, so I better find a bit of time here and there....

Our house was built in many stages starting in 1790. The original house is stone and can be seen on the far right of this photo, behind this balloon framed house that was moved here in 1870. There is very little insulation in the walls and there is zero sheathing. I guess you could call the tar paper behind the cement siding, sometimes referred to as asbestos siding, you could maybe, call that a vapor barrier. Well, my main project is now to remove all of that material that is on the house. Hopefully I won't be replacing any sills again. I had to when I added an addition in the past. Any way, instead of working on Anna all the time, I will be working on Lilly's Rest. No blog, just sweat equity. I will be insulating, sheathing, putting on a vapor barrier, and siding with a cement siding to match the addition. So I apologize, but the blog might get a little slow. I will try to post once a week as to what happened in the past seven hours. I will also post some bathroom and bedroom details as those one hour projects get done.

This is the yet to be polished end cap. I wanted to use it as a before for the next post. I will be polishing this area next.

I installed my five pole one inch hole flag pole holder. Rob Baker has a machinist near him make these. They are super strong due to being fabricated of such thick aluminum stock. I think they are a bargain for what he charges. There is a three pole one inch hole flag pole holder for those who do not want to shoulder the extra cost of such a quality holder, to each his own when choosing which is bolder, the three hole one inch hole flag pole holder or the five hole one inch hole flag pole holder. I feel older. Too much Doctor Suess. Anyway look up Rob (http://sweetsovereign.blogspot.com/ ) and he can get you one shipped out.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

for my buddy Steve...

Steve Aka Byamcaravanner asked about my plumbing. He wanted to see more so here you go my friend.

This is under the street side twin. There is my 30 gallon fresh water tank next to the wheel well. The black ABS is the drain lines from the kitchen sink. The blue line along the wall is my city water feed. Notice the check valve inline. At the bottom you can just make out the gravity feed line. It is green and white stripped. All the rest is the manifolds for the cold and hot water. The pump and accumillator cannot be seen in the photo, but they are between the tank and front wall. The cold water heater is right behind the wheel well. It is a 6 gallon Atwood that I light with a match from the outside.
Hope this little tour was a help to you Steve. Now go put in an hour of work....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

when it rains I wire...

Well today it rained. I could not polish and I was heart broken, let me tell you. So as to not waste any time, I went back to doing inside stuff.

In the curb side wardrobe I have located all the electrical components. This is where the fuse box is so it seemed like a logical location. I installed my group 27 AGM marine battery first. Then came the intellipower converter. I installed a terminal block/ fuse box combination and out of that I ran a line to the nearest fixture. To my surprise the fantastic fan sprang to life. All the 12 volt lights also came on. I do not know how long it has been, but Anna has 12 volt again.

I proceeded to run some #10 wire over to the area under the twin bed. I put another fuse/ terminal block in here too.I connected up the pump and it turned right on. There needs to be a switch in the line so that the pump does not turn on when the tank is empty, but another successful project done. I will now be able to add lighting or anything 12 volt in the future by having a terminal block located here. By running power over here I now have water from both city feed and I can pump it out of the tank anytime anywhere. The only thing left is to mount the wires so they cannot move and put a switch in to control the pump... Tomorrow, back to polishing.