Wednesday, April 30, 2008

mezzmore eyed....

I just keep working my way around Anna, one square foot at a time...1 1/2 bottles of Diamond Brite used up,one jar of Nuvite F7, a dozen wool bonnets, and one burnt up polisher to do 50% of the trailer.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I do not know if I mentioned this before, but I really hate polishing with a passion. I am working my way around the trailer doing this thing referred to as "the first cut". I think the first cut is the first time polishing the trailer all around once. The second cut will probably be when I go back and it do again with the cyclo polisher. There are a lot of swirls that catch the light just right creating trippy pattern. I have done about 45% now in this first cut.

I am removing the various items such as the tail lights and license plate bracket. Wire brushing the metal parts, priming them and then painting them. A big fat bead of vulkum and new stainless screws.

Have I mentioned how much I hate polishing? Now I am way past the point of no return

Saturday, April 26, 2008

you can't teach a redneck, ya gotta learn him....

I do not mean to disparage anyone. I made the statement in my last posting that Diamond Brite, the product used by Rob Baker and Mark the AirstreamGuy was junk. Well Rob was not too happy with that and wanted to set the record straight. It was his belief that I was spinning the polisher too fast and that the Nuvite was not as good as his beloved Diamond Brite Tool Box Polish. He claimed that he had to learn me...

From out of nowhere, Rob pulls up with Sophia in tow. Now that is a much nicer trailer than Tommy Silva brings to the jobs he visits. Just like on Ask This Old House, a professional was dropping in to lend a hand and help a lost viewer, or listener as is my case.

A small dab of the Diamond brite on a wool pad. He then rubbed it without the tool running to cover a square foot area. He then made even passes back and forth

As slow as you can go with the tool... even passes as slow as you can go until the shine is there. 3 minutes per square foot. The Nuvite took much longer to achieve that.

So in about 2 hours, Rob had the whole trailer looking like this. No, this after about 20 hours now of work. I have done nothing on the curb side and the roof is finished right down the middle. The Diamond Brite has defininetly made the job a lot faster. Once again... Rob, you were right. Thank you for learning me.

This is the panel under the salon windows. I suspect this was a repair patch because of the color of the aluminum is much more blue than the rest of the panels. It might be due to the fact that it has oxidized much more deeply than any other area. It also has a corner that over laps the panel above it. It should be the other way around. This panel is much thicker than the other skin panels and the belly pan is an overlaping panel too. When I attempted to shine it, it would not. and it has deep sanding marks in it. Next winter when the interior skins come out up front, I will replace this with new 2024 T3. There is no hope in trying to rescue this one.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

the beginning of total stupidity

The weather here has been beyond spectacular. Low of 50 high of 80, lots of sun. This weather speaks of polishing. I did not and do not want a polished trailer however I had to. The reason I have to polish is due to skin changes I have made and half ass attemps at polishing by previous owners. I found that there are many ways to skin a cat, and I tried three distinctive ways to skin my cat named Anna. I have heard that one needs to find what works for you, and I have now spent about 15 hour figuring out what is the right system for me.

Here is Diamond Brite. This is the polish used by Rob Baker and Mark the AirstreamGuy. I unfortunately do not think it works well. I feel it only treats the surface and does not polish up to the luster needed. Sorry, my opinion though careful testing.

This is the best polishing system in my opinion. It is a rouge stick and a cotton wheel. The rouge sticks polish extremmly fast and give a super high shine. The problem with this system is it only covers a small area. I doubled up two pads on a long shaft, but the area covered is too small to cover the whole trailer. I use this around the windows and at the panel seams.

Here is what I found works best for me... I know, the expensive, slow method, but it works well. I used F7 Nuvite. I found working an area about 4 square foot at a time to be the the most comfortable.

This is my Harbor Freight polisher. I bought it before I realized what junk the tools from them are. I do not recommend anyone buy one of these. A little more money is well spent. The arbor vibrates so much that the my carpel tunnel issues are flaring up big time. I am using a wool pad on for the first step.

I apply a small amount of polish to the pad. I just use my finger to smear a blob the size of a lima bean and go at it. I start slowly so that the entire area is covered by a thin smear of F7. After that it is a matter of removing the polish through even passes from right to left and top to bottom. The shine just magically appears. I use mineral spirits to remove the residue of polish and oxidation. The black stuff is oxidation. I have gone through a mountain of rags already removing the stuff. After the final polish, I wipe it all down with acetone. Acetone gets aluminum very clean and leaves it shiny.

after the first compounding...

after the the second compounding...

After a third compounding... Like a mirror or fun house mirror at least.

Friday, April 18, 2008

the mega clean up

It only took 10 hours to get the shop back in order. Two whole fist full of drill bits, various boxes of fasteners, and a mountain of hand tools all had to be put back into their proper places. The aluminum shavings and saw dust were a huge pile when it all got swept to the center of the room.

I threw all the old cabinets and woodwork out of the shop and onto the ground. Here is the pile it created.... The transfer station I take my trash to sends it to a local incinerator that converts it into electricity. Kind of nice to know that Anna was used to light some one's house.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

the shine behind

One of the results of making contact with my fence was that a marker light was ripped off. I began the replacement by doing all four at the same time. I removed the old rusty screws and was very careful to discard them. The new screws will be stainless so that they will not rust. I will save the lenses just incase and save the bulbs for when the new ones blow out.

There was a great deal of putty and some deep corrosion where the old marker light had been. That brown on the outside of the marker light shadow, was a real bitch and required some serious elbow grease.

I doubled two cotton buffing wheels together on an extra long spindle and went at it with black rouge. I buffed for about 5 minutes and wiped it all down with mineral spirits. Next I used brown rouge and wiped it down, followed by the green rouge. The surface now looks like a mirror. I would say that it took about a half hour per light to prep the surface for replacement. Tomorrow I will install the new marker lights.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

where the hell to begin?

I was two days later than I had wanted, but we finally made it to the Cherry Blossom Friday morning.

I had a slight mishap on the way out of the yard. As I turned widely, the fence reached out and grabbed onto the curb side corner. I did not know it happened until I went to double check my running lights. This crease is due to me and I will know it forever. Sure hope Anna forgives me.

The dump valve was bent as a result. A result of the bent handle was that the blue boy became a black boy and I had a nice tote full to empty into my house "clean out".

The main reason to get to the rally was,of course, the bathroom throw down challenge. Here is Sophia, Rob Baker's trailer. He and Zoe had it looking so perfect that I instantly conceded to him. Even though he had no running water and no way of making hot water or holding the black waste in the trailer, I felt his bathroom won. Wait a minute, I had hot water...I had a flushing toilet... he didn't win, he had a nice looking one though. Rob trailer looks very nice and he has done a first class job, cutting no corners or sparing any detail. Colin, well Colin didn't even try. He took the Cobbler son has no shoes cope out. Colin does have a very cool all original trail, I will have to give him credit for that.

I have often said that the $4000 I bought Anna for was worth it, just for the friends I have made, but that would not even cover a deposit on the value of some of my new Airstream friends. This is Steve Klohn. Steve is better known as Byamcaravanner on Airforums, the VAP and his fabulous blog. Steve came all the way from Wisconsin in a borrowed Caravel to be at the CBR and to witness the bathroom show down in person. Our families had a blast together and I look forward to camping with Steve for many years in the future. Steve has been a huge source of support to me during this phase of my project. He has acted as a sounding board to my ideas and has help think things through with me many times. I am very fortunate to have met him and hope to repay the favor some day.

This is Stuart. Stuart has the distinction of being the coolest kid in our unit. Here he is with is a 20 gram remote control airplane that he built. Even after many visits to The Golden Tap, Stuart can fly this thing around perfectly and land it without a wipe out.

Rob Baker gave us a great neon light show on Saturday night. We did a live taping of The VAP from the main tent and the entire rally showed up. Talk about a great time.

Saturday night was a colorful night. Listen to VAP episode 68 and you will understand why.

My youngest had a blast. She never stopped smiling the whole weekend. My older daughter was hard to find. ByamCaravanner's daughter and her became fast friends and they were off somewhere out of sight except to get soda and snacks and to give their Fathers some serious eye rolls that tweens are so good at.

The last night we were blessed with a spectacular sunset. The weather, even though there was some rain never put a damper on the event.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

I am crushed.... beat down... wiped out.

For the past five months I have been working diligently at renovating Anna. I have made steady forward progress, but the past three weeks have been over the top. I have been getting up at 4 am so that I could work two hours before going to work. After work, I have been going at it until late into dark time. The best part of this schedual has been that it repeats it's self easily and on Saturday and Sunday I do not get distracted by paying work. I have been working this hard so that we would be able to attend the Cherry Blossum Rally hosted the WDCU. Today (two days later than planned) we leave in this....

The thing that probably was the hardest on me was the plumbing. After countless trips to the orange or blue box to get another or other or something else, here is the results...

I will tell you this, PEX sucks. Next time, next trailer it will be old school copper. I could have done this job for one tenth the cost and I am pretty sure that I would not have had all the leaks that I did. Live and learn....

Saturday, April 5, 2008

light at the end of the tunnel or on the circuit box?

Not much time for anything except a quick post....

This might look like any ordinary curcuit box, but if you look closely to the left corner you will see the red light glowing which shows that power is flowing.... four months and the lights came on like they use to

I have been busy overhauling the cabinets. I am using two types of maple. This is Ambrosia maple. It is called that because it shows all the characteristics of maple. It is highly figured and on one board there is curly, quilted, birds eye, ghost, wormy, and burl all going on together.

This is the second type of maple. This is fiddle back or tiger maple.

This is the curb side twin bed front. It has four inset drawer fronts.

Here is the street side twin front with laquer on it. There is no drawers here, the water tank and water heater are behind it.

I promise to post more tomorrow...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

no time for many words..

I started papering the walls in the twins area. I have always loved looking at maps and dreaming about far off places. I decided that vintage maps would make a great wallpaper. I bought a bunch on ebay and began sticking them to the walls using contact adhesive.

I used this type of contact cement called Bond Rite. It comes in this gas tank, and has a spray gun attached to the hose. I borrowed this from the guy I am working for.

Here the rivets are all being replaced with new shiny ones. The clecos are used as the rivets are drilled.

street side....

curb side...

I wrapped the outlet covers too.

This is the blank that will become the new bathroom vanity top.

This is the material close up. It is solid surface material like Corian. That is aluminum shavings you see....