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Old 12-26-2015, 12:39 PM   #21
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1967 28' Ambassador
1964 19' Globetrotter
1960 24' Tradewind
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Exterior almost done

The exterior is nearing completion. The polish is on the third stage (final stage). I used many products before finding the right one for me. Nuvite was the go to polish IMO. I went with the F9 grade for the initial polishing using a 7” wool polishing pad. I went through 5 pads total for this stage and 4 1lb. cans of F9. I proceeded with a Grade C compound for the second round. This is where I broke down and ordered the BuffPro buffer. Hoping it would cut my time in half and use less product I was deeply disappointed. I spent 500$ on a machine that in my opinion is only good for the final or yearly re-polish stage. This machine cannot take 50+ years of oxidation off easily. The problem is that whenever you increase the surface area of which your working the polish it will take more torque and pressure. The motor on the BuffPro is your typical 7” buffer motor. The motor cannot handle this increased surface area; therefore, you cannot work the machine like you need it to remove oxidation. With a 7” pad tilted on its edge @ a 30-degree angle will give you a focal point of about a silver dollar. Allowing you to focus all of the torque and pressure to that area making it easier to manage. After messing with the machine and different techniques for a few days I went back to using the 7” buffer. I will continue to use the BuffPro machine but only for final stage purposes. The final coat will be done with the Grade S and the cyclone buffer with a microfiber blanket. POLISHING IS NOT FOR THE WEAK HEARTED! Once you start you better finish! Its daunting, dirty, and down-right boring. But…. When you are close to finishing there is nothing like seeing it with a mirror finish. I also purchased two 40# aluminum LP tanks and polished them also.
I sandblasted the tongue of the trailer and coated it with primer and POR-15. I also added a 3000 lbs. electric jack for ease when hitching. Then I reran the umbilical cord with a hyper-flex 7-way trailer hookup which happened to be close to airstream blue! All exterior lighting was also replaced with a L.E.D. equivalency.
I tackled the front quarter-panels that were damaged by debris over its life out on the open road. I pulled all of the major dents with a dent puller and dollied some high spots. I then laid a bed coat of Bondo Hair over the entire panel. Once dried, I then applied regular Bondo to fill the dents and pinholes. Sanded smooth and glazed for final surface. I then used primer and used an enamel spray paint similar to the sliver shade of POR-15.
The windows have all new hardware (cranks, latches, and knobs) and seals. They will also get a 20% mirror tint film added to them. I also popped out the two stationary windows (curbside by door and street side closest to the front) and resealed them because both were leaking.
The access doors for the rear and curb side will be fabricated and installed soon. I will also have pics of how I did the sewage discharge port and the shoreline hookup and city water hookup inside the rear bumper.

More pictures will come in a couple days!
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Old 12-26-2015, 07:18 PM   #22
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1986 34' Limited
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Yep, polishing is boring. I found the Nuvite process the best. As Nuvite says on their website, you can't hurt the aluminum with a wool bonnet and Nuvite polish, even 4 pounds of F9 ! I tried the Jestco buffer and their gray and pink bars and had bad results. It left bad "strike marks" all over the trailer.

They say a polished Airstream in good condition is worth more than one that isn't polished. And the polishing tends to "heal" the aluminum making future corrosion less. You probably noticed how your cleaning rags glide over a polished surface versus dragging over the corroded surface. You made your aluminum skins very smooth indeed.

You're going to have a very special Ambassador when finished.

David
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:03 AM   #23
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1974 25' Tradewind
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Cool We're watching you !!!!!

Just keep it up and watch what happens..........
Thanks so much for the great pictures and description of your work.
We have removed everything down to just the floor and outside skin of our new-to-us 74 25 ft twin. Axles ordered from Colin yesterday (great price and service), and we are learning from this outstanding Airstream forum.
If truth be told there are probably 100 or more folks watching your re-build.
You could run for President since you are doing such a good job!!!!!!!!
Thanks,
The Twinkie and us
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:42 AM   #24
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1967 28' Ambassador
1964 19' Globetrotter
1960 24' Tradewind
Edgewood , Kentucky
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Thank you Twinkie!

I'll be doing another update here at the end of the week. I'm a few items away from starting to staining process. I thought the metal filleted end cap was impressive when finished... wait til you see how the galley kitchen turned out. I think it will steal the show. I'm still waiting on the Formica top to be delivered and the parts to the appliances to return from chroming. I'm glad to see people are as excited about this build as I am.

Little side question here (I should probably already know this)...
I'm located in the upper mid-east states, what is the best rally or function I should debut this monster of a project in? I'm planning on being finished by early spring? Before I part ways with it I would like to give it a "test drive" to go show it
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:37 AM   #25
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1974 25' Tradewind
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RV shows

I'd GOOGLE RV shows....
I know there's one in Lexington, Ky. in the Spring.
.....Cincinnati and places close to you.
Park in the parking lot or a noticeable location as can , set out some chairs and have your info ready to hand out!
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:27 PM   #26
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Greetings the twinkie, welcome to Air Forums where folks who enjoy vintage Airstreams hang out. You have "subscribed" to a good thread as we watch Artisan Air overhaul into a lovely vintage Overlander. I'd love to see it when it's done.

I'm guessing you picked up a 73 Trade Wind judging from your comment it is a 25 footer. I have a 66 Trade Wind twin bed that I have been fiddling with for the last couple years. I enjoy working on these old trailers, except for the polishing part. Mine is not as nice as Artisan's by any means, but it is travel ready and all systems work, and the beds are reasonably comfortable.

Glad to meet ya,

David
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:10 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Artisan Air overhaul into a lovely vintage Overlander.
I've got 2 whole feet more than a overlander. .... but who counting anyways, I appreciate anyone's interest in my build, call it whatever you want. I love these trailers no matter the size.

But just to get everyone on the same page it is an ambassador that I am working on.

Thanks everyone for your inspiring comments, I'll have more to show here real soon!
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:50 PM   #28
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Opps, my bad! I must have had Overlanders on my mind for some reason. The Ambassador is the model Tim Shepard renewed in his book "Restoring a Dream", which is a fun read.

Ambassador

David
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Old 01-06-2016, 07:38 PM   #29
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Love what you have done so far Wow! It is looking real good . I really like your sliding spice rack . You are giving me some great ideas for our Overlander reno . I really like that ikea fixture too . Your Ambassador will turn heads for sure !
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:49 AM   #30
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Thanks for your reply chrisetmike! People like yourself are one of the reasons why I share my builds. I'll tell you the truth, my designer picked that light out and I thought she was crazy. @ first I didn't like it but it definitely grew on me quick. It serves as a more functional option, with the ability to direct the lighting wherever it is needed. Plus it is a LED system which is a must.

The spice rack was a simple and fun project. Few tips; lay both side peices down on top of each other. Create a jig to consecutively create the hole pattern. Straightness is key to making it look good. Then build your 3 sided pullout with the holes predrilled. Once that is finished l, insert the dhow rods into one end and run them wild through the other side. Then on the side that the dowel rods are flush (which you should make the front side) you can brad nail or glue the dowel in place. Do not secure both sides of the dowel rod, leave the backside unpinned or glued. Cut your dowels flush to the back side. By doing this the wood can expand and contract with the differences in climate. If you were to secure both sides the dowels would eventually warp or bend and you would lose the straightness of the rods. The back side will hide the expansion and contraction of these rods. I belt sanded my rods flush on the back side, a few days later some were pertruding and some were recessed, but the front remains intact and the rods are straight! Thanks again for following my build. .... Now back to work. .....
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:55 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
Opps, my bad! I must have had Overlanders on my mind for some reason. The Ambassador is the model Tim Shepard renewed in his book "Restoring a Dream", which is a fun read.

Ambassador

David
I forgive you David. .. simple mistake . I have seen that book sold on vendors websites, I've been curious about it but do not have the time to enjoy a good book. .... two kids under 4. I intend on reading it eventually. Thanks again everyone!
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:56 AM   #32
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Looking good!
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Old 01-11-2016, 12:52 PM   #33
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Long week

Alright…

When it came to adding handles to the dinette area we decided to go with a recessed cup-like handle, special ordered. With the rough description about the handles dimensions online, I did not know what I was about to encounter. When received I was picking a hole saw to use for installation and to my surprise, the handle was too big for a 2 3/4” saw and too small for a 3” saw. I never could find a 2 7/8” saw to even try, may not even make them? So it was either a skillful jigsaw cut and some clever hand routing or let the CNC router do all the work…. That seems better. So I had an excuse to jump onto my new tool and create a cut to accept the handle and I took it a step further and created a pocket for the rim to seat into so the handle is exactly flush with the door. Over a half dozen tries and tweaks, I managed to create a cut that would work. I then simply repeated the process on every door that had this style handle. Overall it may have taken the same amount of time (due to design and trial) but not the same quality and repeat ability. The handles are just snugged into place until staining is finished. The dinette will receive the cap and trim this week before staining.

I bought a Coleman mach 15 ac unit. When picking one I was left with two shroud color options, black or white (both would not suffice). So we of course went custom. Had it primed and painted with a silver metallic flake enamel auto-body paint. Then clear-coated it with several coats to give it depth and durability to the harsh UV rays it will encounter. It will also be installed in the couple weeks to come.
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:05 PM   #34
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Galley Area

I finished the upper cabinets (locker). One minor addition still needed are the props to hold the doors open. These will be added after staining. I installed the inside cabinet lighting, ran individually by each door. There is a push pin in the upper right-hand corner that activates the lights when the door is open. I also added simple dampers on the hinge side for accidental slamming. Once stained, each door will get a knob. I used ½ overlay self-closing hinges to help with keeping the doors closed. I seethed the underside with aluminum and trimmed underneath. The puck lighting is battery operated with 3 AA batteries. It can easily be removed via super magnet and used as a flashlight for easy convenience.

I also finished facing the lower cabinets and adding the doors. They are ready for staining also, then added knobs to finish it off. My Formica counter top was received today and will be installed later this week. Trim bezels for the appliances are still @ the chrome shop… Should be wrapped up shortly.
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:15 PM   #35
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Thumbs up and more

As for the bathroom. We are pleased we went with the style we had picked. I was extremely weary of the WHITE subway tile 1/8” sheeting used for the walls. My designer told me to have faith. She bought a couple quarts of Rustoleum water-based latex silver metallic paint (that a mouthful). When the walls were coated with a few coats I fell in love. Good luck finding anything like this. Our initial approach was to purchase the subway tile sheeting in a grey or silver color. To our disappointment it was only found in dreaded white. We purchased it anyway with intentions to make what we wanted to begin with, silver subway tile! We still have to caulk the corners, build the cabinet, add a mirror, and set the toilet. We left the step up white so you can see the difference. It will eventually be torn up and capped with the flooring installed later. I love how the bathroom was laid out. Claustrophobia does not set in with this design. If you are wondering the shower is adjacent to the bathroom across the hall. We will share when the project is started.

We also received our kitchen faucet fixture. We tried to mimic the chandelier in the front end cap. My designer is in love with it....

One again we appreciate all of the support and recognition given, and please don’t forget to rate this thread in the top right corner of this page! Thanks again for reading!
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:27 PM   #36
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Those are great looking lockers you fabricated. Cabinet making is not my forte, but I see you are very good at it. I was at the RV show looking at new Airstreams. They are now using a nifty over center spring prop that looked very robust, better than my spring lift cylinders I have in the 86.

You are building a magnificent Ambassador.

David
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Old 01-23-2016, 09:54 AM   #37
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Artisan

I just stumbled across this thread. I am simply blown away and in awe of your skills. You are doing a lot of stuff that is outside the box and very creative. My compliments to you. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

I hope to see your Ambassador in person some time.

Dan
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:08 AM   #38
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Soooo much to share!

I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with this thread so bear with me… When I left off last I did not have any of the bathroom cabinet finished, shower was not installed, rear bed was not complete, grill wasn’t finished, dinette or galley cabinets didn’t have any stain or hardware, breaks, bearings, shocks, tires still needed replaced, flooring install, window hardware, furnace, fridge, range, miles of trim and caulk… little daunting looking back at it, yes it is now mostly done. I will break it down one project at a time. Mind you we still have some rough edges and touch up in most of these pictures and by no means are these finish product quality yet...
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:23 AM   #39
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Bathroom

I’ll start with the bathroom (where I left off). We had to build a custom cabinet over the wheel well, also allowing the water & gas piping to go to the water heater cabinet. We cleverly used the space between the main cabinet and the water heater cabinet for a towel rack or magazine holder. While also adding a home your necessities. The flash water tank is hidden behind a slide out panel of the cabinet. There you can change your desired temperature and water flow based on the knob settings. You also have access to disconnect lines, winterize, or remove the shroud for servicing if need be. The CO exhaust is expelled out an exhaust chamber above the heater and baffled with aluminum. It then exits street side of the trailer, through forced ventilation covered by a 4 x 16-inch louvered vent. The fans create a combining 130 CFM of flow and is timer based controlled by a 12V programmable relay timer. I have it signaled to the 3v gas valve solenoid so it latches the relay kicking on the fans as soon as the valve is open. It will stay on while the valve is open. Once the valve shuts, the timer counts down 40 seconds then unlatches the relay. This prevents seepage of CO into the cabin by drawing the fumes completely out of the exhaust chamber for a longer time than it is lit. This also aids oxygen to the burner to prevent extinguishing. This add-on is a must to convert a “outdoor unit” to an indoor space. I can post pictures of this add-on if anyone desires. We topped it off with a Formica top and an aluminum trim. The main cabinet has underneath storage. It is wired with 4 120V receptacles mounted on the side. The sink bowl we went with is a 10” round sterling sink coupled with an exotic bathroom faucet fixture. It mimics the curves of an Airstream well I think. I used rubber p-traps for the drains for easier winterizing and reduced joint fatigue on the PVC fittings from road vibration. Also chrome shutoffs and steel braided sink lines. I went with the forum’s advice on the toilet and bought a Dometic, and I’m glad I did. Things still to finish would be some caulking around the ceiling, adding a mirror, shelf above the toilet, and toothbrush holder.
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Old 04-09-2016, 10:45 AM   #40
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1967 28' Ambassador
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Posts: 209
Galley kitchen

Now we will jump back to the galley area. Last update I left you on was when I had almost everything roughed in until my chroming guy let me down. The original cooktop, oven, and fridge parts came back with an under-par quality grade. Too much pitting. There should have been more prep work before hand with filler metals. I was then forced to re-plot the whole layout. This gave me the opportunity to install all new appliances, since I could not match old with new appliances well enough. I went with the standard 21” Atwood 3 burner range combo. Under the range I had just enough room to install a Suburban 30,00 BTU furnace and built a custom oak diffuser to vent out the face of the cabinets below the range. I chose a Dometic RM2551 2-way fridge to tuck beside the range next to the entry door. It would utilize the existing lower vent and access hatch but I had to create an upper vent with forced induction and a baffle. The louvered vent I used was 14” x 10”. The fans were triggered by a thermistor mounted to the cooling fins of the unit. When the chimney effect Isn’t enough to cool the unit the fans will kick on and aid the cooling process.
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