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Old 08-26-2015, 03:33 PM   #1
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New Member Airstream Question

First off, just want to say I'm a new member as of like 5 minutes ago so if this thread isn't in the correct spot please move it.

So, a little about myself to give some context for my question. I'm a current Clemson Mechanical Engineering student and have recently started a custom woodworking company. So far I've been making custom benches, tables, countertops and shelves for various homes while I was back in Charlotte, NC, my hometown. School has started back up and I wanted to continue my business, but after 3 weeks of looking, haven't found any suitable warehouse space without spending an arm and a leg for 4x the space I actually need. So I've been looking at finding a trailer to work out of since it will accommodate my nomadic lifestyle a little better. I've been looking at airstreams for a few different reasons (like prewired for electricity and AC, the "character" aspect), but have some questions.

I've found a few older models near me that fall in my price range, but none have a cargo rear door like seen on the eddie bauer or panamerica models. How hard is it to add a door like this or another custom door to an older airstream? It's the only thing keeping me from buying one today over an enclosed trailer with a fold down back ramp.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:08 PM   #2
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Personally I do not think an Airstream would make the best rolling wood shop. Very little storage and the curved shape makes for not very efficient use of available space. I would be looking at some other brand (SOB) toy hauler. Maybe even a fifth wheel toy hauler. Most have tons of exterior storage with room in the back for shop set up and use.
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:36 PM   #3
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I've moved your thread to the "Exterior Restoration" section... there's not a "general exterior" subforum, but the biggest modification you're talking about is to the exterior. It certainly didn't belong under Motorhomes... I left a redirect there that'll last for a week and point to this new location.

I would tend to agree with AWCHIEF, I think you'd be up and running quicker by starting with something like a big utility trailer and adding windows than starting with an Airstream and adding a big honking door, you could easily surface-mount the necessary electrical stuff. You're just looking at this as a shop, right? Not a live/work/travel space?
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Old 08-26-2015, 07:52 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. Yes, this would be just a shop and not a living/working/traveling space. I know that the door is probably very hard to add, but I can get a used enclosed cargo trailer for the same price as a gutted airstream plus I've always been fascinated with airstreams so I had to look into it. The other plus of the airstream was that it was prewired for electricity and AC saving me those expenses. Glad to get your inputs as this helps me narrow things down.
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Old 08-26-2015, 09:55 PM   #5
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Gutted Airstreams that are for sale are generally on the market because someone realized there's a lot of work and expense to go from "gutted Airstream" to "functional traveling Airstream." If I wanted to make a working rolling shop (as opposed to something where the atmosphere of the interior might make more difference than the practical aspects, like a coffee shop or hair salon) I think I'd go the newer-utility-trailer route, with younger axles and more payload and walls that I could hit with a board ejected unexpectedly from a planer and just curse a bit instead of cry.
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Old 08-27-2015, 11:46 AM   #6
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Youtube Airstream car hauler to get some ideas.
There is a really nice 70's Airstream converted to a car hauler on there.
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:18 PM   #7
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"prewired" is gonna be the least of your worries! What exactly do you plan to place in the Airstream?

These trailers were not designed for heavy point loads. If you are primarily looking at bench top tools, you will probably be ok. If your thinking a 10" unisaw (love to see this) or a 24" planer, then you are looking for problems.

Now what I think would be cool is a Airstream with e-track in the floor and all the equipment on mobile bases. You arrive at your location and roll out 90% of your gear under an oversized zipdee or pop up.

Just don't do it next to my campsite!!!!
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Old 08-27-2015, 12:57 PM   #8
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An empty toy hauler would be my vote too. A large subpanel and outlets set up
for your tool loads is an easy addition. Get an Airstream as your office!
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