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Old 11-14-2010, 09:08 PM   #261
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oohhh! Steve, nice work on the beds.. those are original? Man they look good! Nice work on the water inlet too... did you make the alumanum ring that fits around the inlet? Nice detail work with those rivets.. looks like art.
marc
Hey Marc! Yes, original wood on the bed--I love the grain on that piece. The inlet was just a little too small to cover the hole in the panel, but I think I like the look with the rivets anyway.

Feel like I've really slowed down lately, but it's probably the time it takes putting finish on the woodwork--three coats mostly and only one a day and my shop is the trailer. Little bit at a time.

-steve
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:48 PM   #262
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A Stitch and Glue Black Tank

I'm using stitch and glue to fabricate the black tank which will sit above the subfloor in the rear curbside bath. It should be a good technique for the tank, especially as it's easy to shape it to fit the Airstream curve. Materials will be a 1/4" plywood core, epoxy, filler and fiberglass cloth. The tank will extend through the bathroom bulkhead and under the bed so the little cleanout sprayer fitting can be hidden.

Yesterday I got the plywood pieces cut out and glued the first layer of 1/8" Baltic birch into a rabbet cut into the 1/4" plywood. The birch will let me make the curve on the sides of the tank. Today the bottom and sides were wired together to hold them in place temporarily for the epoxy.

We've got light snow and cold here for the next few days, so I may not get too far with this until it warms up a bit. The trailer heater warms it up just fine, but I can't keep it on unless we're there, so it really gets cold soaked. It has to be warm for Pam, so we went to the trailer, turned on the heat, and then ran errands for awhile to let it get warm. Pam is quite frail now and isn’t walking well, so it’s getting much harder to get out with her. Worth it, though, as she thought those snow flakes falling today were pretty cool.

cheers,
steve
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:59 PM   #263
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Looking GOOD. I just missed meeting you at Lynden. You were pulling out just as I started over your way. I have been enjoying your posts on the trailer and admiring your work. Roger
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Old 11-19-2010, 09:59 PM   #264
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Looking GOOD. I just missed meeting you at Lynden. You were pulling out just as I started over your way. I have been enjoying your posts on the trailer and admiring your work. Roger
Thanks, Roger. Sorry we missed at Lynden, sure hope I can make a few more rallies next year. We might even have plumbing!

steve
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:31 PM   #265
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It is Cold in Western Washington This Week

After seeing the trailer this morning I may need to update the avatar with a new picture.

It's been a cold couple of days and is expected to get colder before it gets warmer again by Thanksgiving. I kept my epoxy on the boat last night for warmth and it was a very cold trailer this morning until the heater caught up.

I got the inside of the black tank fiberglassed with cloth and epoxy. It will be strong enough tomorrow to pull out all of the wire ties that held the plywood together. Next I'll work on the top and add some extra support to the plywood to make sure the top of the tank is plenty strong for the generously sized person who will be sitting on it.

-steve
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:51 AM   #266
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I am out here in School land but I am still reading your updates. I like the idea of a Winter avatar!
Smiles,
Pink
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Old 11-22-2010, 04:50 PM   #267
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Winter Avatars rule! Excellent progress too.
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Old 11-22-2010, 05:19 PM   #268
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Thanks Pink. Remind me to change it back when warm returns.

Truck, I really should never ever complain about our Washington type of cold. You really know what cold is.

cheers,
steve
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:01 PM   #269
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Continuing with the Black Tank

Cold weather has been slowing progress down quite a bit. Most days I have Pam with me, so we do the ten minute drive to the trailer to turn the heat on and then do something else for an hour or so to let it heat up. I like to get her off the boat for awhile most days, but she is now in a wheelchair mostly and everything takes much more time. It's a pretty big production getting her on and off the boat. I am getting more respite care, more time off and hospice is now part of Pam's care as well.

After glassing the inside, I turned the tank over, filled the holes used in wiring it together, and rounded the edges with a belt sander. Today I glassed the outside with 3 plies of cloth overall and a couple more where the drain fitting will go. When the third layer was wetted out, I put a two inch strip of dacron peel ply on the edge. Peel ply saves a lot of work. It’ll pull off when cured, leaving a nice surface that won’t need sanding to prepare for the layup to fasten the top of the tank. Tomorrow I’ll trim the edges and maybe get started on the top and the drain fitting.

I ordered a few laminate samples for the galley counter top and everyone who has seen them has picked this one. I think I have too. Water heater and toilet have now arrived as well.

cheers,
steve
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Old 12-01-2010, 11:04 PM   #270
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Looks great Steve! Just wondering, so how many layers total on the inside and outside? I was wondering why the outside needed 3, as most (all) of the liquid is inside the tank, right? Can you post a pic when you joing the top on of what the top edges look like? The peel ply makes a bondible surface for the top then? How much does the cloth and stuff cost? It sure looks cheaper than buying a tank... and how many folks can say they have a self made black tank!

Can this be done with styrofoam or cardboard, or does the substrate have to be stronger? Is the fiberglass more of a water tight seal than a strengthener? I vaguely remember talking to Don (Norcal Bambi) about doing something similar with his trailer but I can't remember what substrate he wanted to use.

Huge mental support going out to you for your care for Pam. I know it must not be easy...

Best!
Marc
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:20 AM   #271
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Thanks for the support on Pam, Marc. Not a good time for us, but hospice has been great and my little support network here in the marina has been the very best.

The core on the tanks doesn't really matter. I remember Don's posts on this too. Suppose cardboard would work, but I'd be concerned about flex. I'd originally planned foam for the sides, but I had so much Baltic birch scraps around that it made sense to use that for the curve.

Just a guess on my part for number of plies. I'm less concerned with water (or other ) tightness than with structure. Don't want the top to flex and I'll be putting a little more structure on the inside around the toilet mount.

Cost wise, epoxy is the biggest expense. I'll probably use around a half gallon for a cost of $75 or so. The cloth I'm using is $6.75 a yard, I've got ten yards, and won't use all of that. So, cost will likely be a little more than $150 which is similar to the cost of the stock ABS tanks I'm using for fresh and gray. But, of course, it's hard to find a stock tank with the curve and custom tanks are much much more expensive.

Best thing is that it puts off having to install the rest of the plumbing a little longer. I'm a better tank maker than plumber.

-steve
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:32 PM   #272
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A Fautasi is a Samoan Racing Canoe

but it's also the name of some pretty cool LED lights made by Bebi Electronics.

When Pam and I were cruising in our sailboat, we stopped for a couple of years in American Samoa starting in 1998 to work and reload our cruising dollars. While there we became friends with Michael and Kendra who were getting their boat ready to go. Michael gave me a handful of white LEDís and resistors and I soldered them together inside a 35 mm film can with a 12 volt lead. That became our cockpit light for the next six years with lots of light and hardly any power draw.

In 2004, Michael and Kendra started Bebi Electronics as an LED lighting company in Fiji. They provide needed jobs in the local community and offer some pretty cool lights. Most of their products are for the marine market, but several fit right in on an Airstream.

Iím using two Fautasi lights mounted below the overhead lockers and lighting the galley. The name is from the Samoan racing canoes that are powered by lots of people power. Theyíre 18 LED, warm white, handmade, and mounted in a native hardwood from Fiji. They bring back memories for me since they do look like a fautasi. These two lights are controlled through a small toggle switch on the light on the right. My galley now has plenty of light.

Iím now done installing lights, except for one reading light by the bed where Iím still unsure of position. Everything is LED. Since the days are very short and Iím sometimes working after dark, I now know that Iíll have plenty of light, everywhere in the trailer.

I've had respite care watching Pam for the last two days, so I've had quite a bit of trailer working time. Work is ongoing on the black tank. And, the water heater is now installed as well, despite the frightening task of cutting a large hole in the side of Island Girl. I'll get some pics up of that install soon.

cheers,
steve
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Old 12-06-2010, 11:43 PM   #273
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Nice lights Steve! I was wondering how you got the lights all around the wood mounting... until I realized I was looking at a reflection of the lights! Duh!
Looking good!

So about to embark on the plumbing I see.... copper or PEX?
Marc
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:48 AM   #274
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It's hard to take pics on the shiny background! Same thing in Toastie's thread, hard to follow what's real and what's reflections.

Plumbing will be PEX, probably crimped fittings. I can still put it off for awhile as the bathroom bulkheads still need to be made and installed, and the rear interior panels have yet to be done. I can delay for months!

-steve
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:30 PM   #275
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Steve

Thanks for the link to the Bebi LED lights. I may need to get one for my galley area.

Like everything else plumbing with pex is pretty easy once you have done it a bit. You need a pex tubing cutter ($5) and a simple crimping tool available for $25 at Lowes or HD. It is used with a 10" set of vice grips and will crimp 3/8, 1/2 and 3/4. The key to making it doable is to build as much of the plumbing assembies outside the trailer as possible to make it easier to crimp the joints. I will send you some photos of re-plumbing my TW when you get ready.

Dan
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:22 PM   #276
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Thanks Dan. I've been reading all the threads on PEX and it sure sounds like a good system. Planning has to be the key with it and I really do have to draw out the system on paper and get specific about it. Very simple system on this trailer, too, so it should go pretty well.

-steve
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:43 PM   #277
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Finishing the Black Tank

I donít know how many hours the tank has taken, not a lot. But itís been one of those jobs that takes small parts of many days: a layup that takes just a few minutes, an overnight cure, and another layup and cure.

I inset the drain fitting and laid up several plies of cloth over it. Hate it when I do these things: put the tank in place and thought about where to put the drain, took everything into consideration except the fact that Airstream made these trailers with frames, and of course, dead centered the frame rail with the drain. Easy fix, Iíve admitted the screwup, and no longer have to explain the patch youíll see in some of the pictures.

Fittings got installed in the top along with a couple of thin wooden stiffeners glassed in. Next, 1x2ís were bonded and glassed in to form a mounting flange for the tank top.

I used a marine sealant to mount the cleanout fitting. The nozzle will sit under the bed and connect to the fitting I installed on the outside in an earlier post.

The tank top was bonded to the bottom with thickened epoxy and attached with some temporary screws. Finally, today I removed those screws, trued and rounded the outside edge slightly and finished the job with a two ply layup just over the seam. Peel ply comes off tomorrow after cure and the tank is done.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:36 PM   #278
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Nice work Steve. You clearly know what your doing with the fiberglass work. Hope you have managed to stay dry the last few days. This has been one crazy rain storm.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:47 PM   #279
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Thanks, Norm.

I think you guys got it worse than we did up here to the north. Nooksack flooded a bit, but most everything drained away pretty quickly. Pretty muddy around the trailer, though, and I don't think it was that way last year.

Trailer is much more fun in the rain than the boat. Pamda Bear has tiny portholes and it's like a dungeon down here in the winter, but Island Girl has those 9 big windows with the nice sound of rain on the aluminum.

How did you end up making out on your black tank?

cheers,
steve
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Old 12-30-2010, 05:16 PM   #280
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The Bathroom Begins

The trailer originally had no holding tanks. Not many changes in the space except for the addition of the holding tank, but I really want it to function well as a wet bath. After considering a fiberglass shower pan, I've decided to reuse the original, just making it shorter to fit the new space.

New bulkheads are rough cut, the tank is in place, and the shower pan is smaller. Iíll be using white FRP panels on the inside of the bulkheads and the aluminum will be painted white. 5/8ís ply will sit on top of the tank and 1/2Ē King Starboard will form the visible surface. Iíve seen Starboard, but have never used it. It works like wood, cuts easily, and can be fastened with screws. It should give me a nice waterproof surface that will be easy to keep clean.

The Perko marine scupper drain (used to drain the cockpit on a boat) is the shower drain fitting. It has a simple check valve in it, just a floating rubber ball. Itíll use marine sanitation hose to form a P trap before running forward to the gray tank. Iíve also dished out the subfloor surface around the drain to encourage the shower pan to drain.

Last post of the year and nearly two years into the project. Hard to believe itís been that long, but thereís clearly light at the end of the tunnel now. Lots of progress in the last year from an empty shell with no interior skins to where it is now. I'm so glad I started it. Life with Alzheimers on a small sailboat in the winter would be much harder without it.

cheers,
steve
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