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Old 11-16-2014, 08:37 AM   #1
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1968 20' Globetrotter
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Pocket door fix repair replace

Not sure which years have pocket doors, but my 1968 GT has one separating the bath from main cabin.


The dismal oatmeal colored, wood grain plastic skinned pocket door specified by Airstream's Land Yacht trim level disintegrated at some point in 40 yrs time. The poorly imitated wood grain melamine better emulates dripping vomit. Airstream's chosen plastic was a cheap and unthinking match to the beautifully lacquered original ash interior. I'll skip the anguishing detail of its mechanical dysfunction.


I removed and further de-laminated the door, expecting to find a cardboard honeycomb, but was surprised to find floating un-joined 1” x 1” rails and stiles of an unidentifiable wood species. Adhesive spattered on the melamine was expected to hold the framework together with no internal wood frame joinery or mechanical fasteners. At first, I thought about doweling the mystery wood back together and letting in translucent panels but the boss moaned to that idea. The original framework was temporarily screwed together for measure, fitment, and pattern, then re-purposed as garden stakes.


I selected a long time hoarded 110 year ¼ sawn, “old growth” Douglas Fir board from my coveted woods bin, and ripped, doweled, biscuited, lap joined and planed, a new 15 lite frame. The height of the lites increase in the ratio of phi as they descend. I then routed a rabbet in all the lite frames and adhered plasticized waterproof Japanese Shoji paper. I reground the nylon rollers 'til true, tuned up and aligned the roller hardware. This is holding up way better than expected. The boss is pleased.


Next issue... The original header was also faced with the afore mentioned melamine.


The tradition with Japanese Shoji screens is to have an open carving (Ranma) above the door where Euro-centrics would call it a “transom lite”. They are traditionally carved as flora or fauna or architecture or landscape or geometric. Its function is room ventilation. Originally there is no bath fan designed in this trailer. With a Ramna, the bath vapors can vent through to the nearby cabin roof fan vent.


I have never attempted wood carving. I was gifted some clay from the Acoma Pueblo, so I smoothed it out flat about 15mm thick and tried my hand at scratching out a sublime Southwestern fantasy scene with some traditional Japanese Ranma elements of canyon, mountain, road, bridge, forest. My attempt pales in the light of Japanese artisans, but I can live with it, and it seems appropriate considering the material's origin....


I fired the 7x22 inch clay tile to 2000F degrees. It is unglazed, but for a few dabs of silver, red, and black. It floats in a foam bedded wood and aluminum frame fastened above the shoji door.


The most enjoyable benefit, beyond the ventilation and functioning door, is the light. Much of the light from the 5sf. rear window pours into the cabin with the bathroom door closed. Free photons...
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:13 AM   #2
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1964 22' Safari
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I saw a photo of your door when you were discussing your furnace and thought, "that door and transom looks great!" Thanks for filling in the "I wonder how he did that?" Beautiful work. Thanks for the inspiration, I've got pocket doors in our 68 Overlander. I'm about to move her over to the shop and get started, I'll definitely do something similar.

Roy
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:17 AM   #3
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By the way, I love the little Airstream detail.

Roy
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Old 11-16-2014, 10:53 AM   #4
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Well, it may be just "good enough" for you, but I am blown away by your talent and craftmanship! I think it's amazing.

Having no talent and no imagination, I must be content with what the factory gives me. Therefore, I am comdemned to living with the late model stuff that is still in good shape.

Thanks for sharing. That is so beautiful.
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Old 11-16-2014, 04:42 PM   #5
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door

That's a beautiful door by any standards. Great job.
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Old 11-16-2014, 09:19 PM   #6
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nicely done on the door, etc. Airstreams, trailers are like houses. A person can take the exterior and interior to what ever level of design that fits the renovator. The creativity is endless.
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:05 PM   #7
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You, my friend, are a master craftsman! Superb job.
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Old 11-25-2014, 03:23 PM   #8
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Wow, just wow. Beautiful!
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:00 PM   #9
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Very cool & what they said. Wow.
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:00 PM   #10
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I am not familiar with pocket doors in Airstreams, I've never seen one! My 68 is badged as a Land Yacht, but does not have a pocket door, just a folding curtain thing. Not too surprising, since nearly everything in the owners manual says 'not available on Caravel'

Your door and transom are lovely! Great work!
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Old 12-07-2014, 07:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefrobrts View Post
My 68 is badged as a Land Yacht, but does not have a pocket door, just a folding curtain thing.
What is the proper name for the "folding curtain thing?" I've been trying to search for it all day because I want to remove it, and the wall its attached to, in my 75 Overlander.
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:41 AM   #12
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In American English, the popular vernacular would be “ACCORDION DOOR”, but I do not believe that to be the historically appropriate architectural nomenclature. "PLEATED DOOR" is also used.
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Old 12-08-2014, 06:17 PM   #13
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Speaking of the pocket door.... all of my doors, including the pocket are so dirty they move along like molasses. What does everyone use to clean their channels? I don't want WD-40 or graphite to hurt the plastic rails. I have to replace some of the tambour doors, and not sure if/when that will happen at $70 a roll....

Same with the window handles.... will WD-40 hurt anything? or what is the consensus?

TIA

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Old 12-20-2014, 03:07 PM   #14
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Silicone spray is harmless to Nylon, but mask off any surfaces that you may want to paint, as it will inhibit adhesion and cause fish-eyes. Aerospace 303 is a good cleaner/conditioner applicable to many Airstream parts. Clean channels with Q-tips. Smooth rough areas with files and sandpaper.


For hinges, nobs, winders, and the like, WD40 is a good cleaner and penetrant, but should be followed with a lubricant like household/sewing machine oil. most lubricants collect dust.



When unsure of your solvents and lubricants, test in an inconspicuous area. Paint thinner is fairly harmless, but acetone mess you up.
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