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Old 03-06-2008, 07:29 AM   #1
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1973 Argosy 26
Norristown , Pennsylvania
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Do another restoration?

Hi Folks;
Here I am coming out of prison called Argosy, after two solid months of imprisonment 16 hour per day seven days a week. Would I do it again? Only if I was retired and had nothing else to do, otherwise never again. I have never been involved with a project which would kill my body while I was truly enjoying doing it.

What has contributed to spending so many hours is my perfectionists complex passed onto me by my Father Michael. If something was not done perfect, it was not done, and it had to be done over and over until it was perfect. I still remember a pair of ash wood snow skis I was building for myself at the age of seven. I was planing on having them done in couple of days which lasted over four months. Every day my dad's micrometer has shown uneven taper which needed to be corrected in order to obtain proper pre-load along entire length of the ski. So, I live with it till this day playing dad to myself.

As of last December my 26' Argosy was a bare shell sitting atop of Stainless steel frame and aluminum clad plywood floor with top half finish painted outside. January 2nd we shut down the business and brought the Arg into the shop in hopes to finish it in two months. Well, here I have another pair of skis. My perfectionist complex has got its way with me again.

Last night because of the piling business workload, Arg had to be pulled out of the shop unfinished. New interior is in and just about finished. As soon as I get the blue tank back from being cleaned, the plumbing will be done after hooking it to water delivery line. The belly wrap is installed and painted. I decided to cut 4' X 10' aluminum sheets to precisely 100" in length in order to go across the bottom of the trailer. The panels were joined with aluminum two sided joint trim which allowed the two panels to be inserted into the trim and connected. The LPG manifold is 3/8" SS pipe with SS tee's and elbows as well as the lead In's into the interior which are rubber grommeted through the belly pan and the floor. Bathroom is finished with restored with acrylic coating on the tub. Bed frames are new made of welded/riveted aluminum angle. All cabinetry is finished including the new Formica counter tops. All of the appliances are new but my wife insisted on saving one item as the original. It happened to be the pea green double kitchen sink which is in absolutely in perfect condition. Wrap around sofa frame is also aluminum. Curtain rods are made of stiff 1/4" aluminum rod with ends bent at 90 degree and a Pull Dot fastener retained by 1/8 SS rivet to the end of the curtain rod. The second half of the fastener pair is riveted to the wall. Pull Dot fastener are oriented so that they can only be removed by tilting the rod upward to unsnap it from the wall. Clean, uncomplicated and easy to remove for washing. Floor has only a 1/4" cork underlayment thus far, but it will be finished with 12" x12" cork 1/4" glue down tiles. Search will begin for dense foam material for sofa cushions which we will sew our selfs on our HD Commercial Singer. My wife Kay already started on the curtains. I will start a detailed story on the project including pic's titled Project Argosy.

My main reason for this post was to shed a light on what led to taking on such project and what sustained it to date. When I purchased the trailer in September 2006 I did not know nor did I planned on building a new frame. As it turned out, it was cheaper on the long run to replace it than repair it, taking under consideration the longevity of the repair. I did plan on totally gutting the interior and had no intentions to keep it original retro look. My plans were to modify to suit our taste.

While nothing is easy as it appears, such was the case with my Argosy. If I were to do another project as such, I would never consider doing it unless for one I was retired with nothing else to do. Second being, if I for one minute I had a doubt that my wife was worth such enormous effort, I most likely could not endure in this project with such determination as I have. It is nice to have goals and dreams but the drive came from love for my wife, more so than from my stubbornness and determination to finish the job. As it stands, I have invested over 28K in cost of materials and over 1200 labor hours. I should have purchased new one, but it would not have been even close to what I have done. There would be no me and my wife in it. We worked very hard, we had to figure out things the way we wanted them to have. In time for summer camping, we will slowly complete it bit by bit after business hours and it will be paid for by having a satisfaction of accomplishing something without any help. My reward is watching a wonderful smile taking over my wife's face each time she walks into the trailer. This is the best reward I could have hoped for. It perhaps will be difficult for some to understand why it is so, but this reward is for me to feel and understand. Total restoration are not for weak in determination or a individual without a reason which can sustain enduring task. If I include my cost of labor, I have a 150K trailer which on the market may bring 30K but it will go on the market only shortly before my dying day because till then I will be enjoying it. Thank you "Boatdoc"
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:49 AM   #2
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1976 31' Sovereign
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My husband and I have put a lot of our "unretired" selves into a great Argosy also. It's a lucky break that neither of us was counting on perfection. I, for one, would like to see lots of pictures of what you have done and how it turned out. It must be beautiful. By the way, we now have 2 trailers and it's twice the fun.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:14 AM   #3
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Thanks for articulation your thoughts Boatdoc!
Of course, now we ALL can't wait to see the baby pictures

Hope our paths cross sometime down the road.

Michael
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:45 AM   #4
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1993 30' Excella
1969 18' Caravel
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Boatdoc

Excellent update and description! I have been following the odyssey of your restoration for some time now, and I have been very impressed with your craftsmanship and fine attention to detail.

I know all of us here are eagerly awaiting pictures of your beautiful Argosy. I'm sure the interior will be every bit as impressive as the great paint job and the aluminum frame that you made.

By the way, do you have a source for the bellypan "aluminum two sided joint trim"? I am facing a similar situation with my Caravel.
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Old 03-06-2008, 08:54 AM   #5
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I can't say I'm quite the perfectionist that Boatdoc is but I am pretty anal about things most of the time.
I know what you mean about taking a lot of time and I'm not even doing a complete restoration - I would call it a partial restoration with the intent on using it. I have made improvment to almost every facet of the trailer that I have touched. I just want to put it in usable condition that is reliable and reflects that this is a trailer that I am proud to own.
I am sure that I will do another but I have this trailer that I can use while I make repairs to another. I would someday like to get an Overlander with a center bath and twin beds in the back.
My trailer has taken a lot of my time but I have found out that every so many weeks I need a little time off to do something else. Then after a few days I'm ready to hit it hard again.
Boatdoc, your going to have one heck of a trailer when your done - many will be envious of you.
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:31 PM   #6
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Hi Bob: I got the extrussion from "Extrude-a-trim" tel. 1 888 557 0883. Base is 1.250" wide. Top closure retainer is.380" will accept up to 0.080" thick material and comes in 12' length which you will have to have it cut to 6' pieces in order to ship. I have two 6' pieces leftover. .080 is the smallest available and when you bend it along the outriggers it closes down to about.050" due to bend. I have used .032 aluminum 4' X 10' sheets for the belly pan. If you need more info send me a PM. Thanks "Boatdoc"
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Old 03-06-2008, 12:53 PM   #7
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Thank you BOATDOC

I get the yen to completely customize mine, but I try to limit it to 1 day projects... wow are those conflicting goals!

If I ever DO decide to do a serious project, I'd order one of the new toy hauler's (with the heavier frame and rear exit in addition to the door) but with just the shell, wiring and plumbing installed. I'd build an interior I'd never do the frame, water heater, furnace, wiring and plumbing you've done.

BTW, on the perfectionism, that could have reached obsessive-compulsive behavior status. Medication can be a huge help. It won't turn you into a slob but might allow you to add the words "good enough" to your vocabulary.

Sending you some good kamping karma!

Paula
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Old 03-06-2008, 01:02 PM   #8
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1968 17' Caravel
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I don't have the perfectionist gene, I got the 'good enough' gene! But I know what you mean about how buying new just wouldn't have been the same. My Caravel is one of a kind, all mine! I know how much work I've put into it. There are nicer Caravels out there, sure, and mine would never win a trophy at a show, but it's warm and cozy, and we've had many great adventures in it and I've worked many hours getting it as good as it is, and we're very happy with it. Happy enough I didn't have the heart to sell it when the opportunity came up. Nothing makes something yours quite like working on it with your own two hands!
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Old 03-07-2008, 07:48 AM   #9
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1993 30' Excella
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Boatdoc

Thanks for your reply and explanation concerning the sourcing of the alum joint trim. Your description of its installation is very helpful as well - much appreciated!

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