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Old 03-25-2008, 06:30 AM   #1
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Our '61 Toaster Saga is Back!

After encouragement from fellow forums members, I'm going to start up a new thread on our revived efforts to repair our 1961 Safari.

First of all--a bit of a reintroduction. Rick and I live in Northern Virginia, bought a 1961 safari trailer in fall, 2003. We thought we had a pretty good unit, though its country kitch interior wasn't aesthetically pleasing to us. So, I worked to fix up the interior and it looked pretty good.

At our second Cherry Blossom Rally, we met Rich Luhr, who wanted to set up a workshop with Colin Hyde about hidden structural problems. Now, since this rally was taking place within a half hour's drive of our house, we had brought two cars, so Rick could commute to work directly from the rally. Riding behind the unit on the way over, I'd been alarmed by seeing how much the trailer bounced about and was overheard discussing my concerns at one of the happy hour parties.

As a result, we found our trailer the subject of an improntu focus group. The telling of it was summarized in a blog entries here and here. The news was a stunning shock--for about a week. Then it morphed into a mission. We worked hard on the structural side of the trailer throughout that year.

However, as we got into the next fall, other priorities started overwhelming trailer work. We've taken a 2 year hiatus as life just got too busy. Rick had college classes to keep up with. My work responsibilities got insane. Yet, throughout that wait, we always knew we'd try to finish.

We're now back in the swing of things. To be honest, we truly enjoy the project. We've learned to work together and gained new skills. One thing we've discovered is that we really have found a wonderful community that has truly helped us, especially in our home unit, the Washington DC Unit. Our trailer owes its reconstruction to many angels, which we deeply appreciate.

While I'll try to give updates on this thread, I'll keep the gory details to my blog, Tales of the Toaster. All along, I've been blogging on this effort, so anyone can go back and see all of our efforts since the 2005 CBR (including bad poetry and silly photos). Anyhow, I hope to catch up with old and new friends as we move forward.

Best,

Mary
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:52 AM   #2
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Mary, what a wonderful saga so far. I look forward to following the continuing story!

I can commiserate with you on life getting in the way of a restoration! We found we were spreading ourselves too thin on too many projects (Airstream and non-Airstream) too so never seem to finish a project completely.
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:53 AM   #3
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Mary,

I'm glad to hear you and Rick are back in the saddle. Frank has been leaving me tidbits of your saga in an effort to get me back on track in our project. I try to assure him that the only thing that will get us back on track is the cooperation of mother nature.

We're looking forward to meeting the Toaster and it's occupants... 16 days to CBR!
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:57 AM   #4
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I think we should nominate Frank as Czar of Motivation at this rally (or should we call him Czar of Pestering?)! I even got weekly emails from him asking what I was accomplishing when I was away on a two month long work trip to Richmond! I'll hand it to him--it's tough to shirk off when I know he's ready to give guff at any lapse.

On the other hand, seeing his work is inspiring. He's an amazing craftsman and very sincere in his enthusiasm for vintage trailers. I don't know what's up as of late with his toidy efforts on Anna, but I know he's going to impress (that aluminum cladding he's put up on the endcap is so cool, it's sick).

You are right, we are a little more favorably disposed here climate wise for the time being, but just wait until summer comes!
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Old 03-25-2008, 09:36 AM   #5
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nice blog! I picked up my '69 Safari at Restless Wheels (getting a checkup the PO arranged) and towed it back 1100 miles to its one-time home of New Orleans last november. look forward to reading more of your adventures!
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Old 03-25-2008, 10:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflyinva
I think we should nominate Frank as Czar of Motivation at this rally
As long as he can wear an eye patch, I think he is willing to serve in any capacity...

I don't mind Frank's pestering, cause I just give right back to him by not getting anything done. LOL!

My posthumous mentor (Frank Lloyd Wright) has taught me to work out my design before I put pencil to paper. He was known to "shake a design out of his sleeve" in the few hours before his client arrived. Even though my trailer is sitting idle the wheels are still turning.
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Old 03-25-2008, 03:58 PM   #7
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Thanks Yukionna and Fotoshop...

I can't believe you came all the way up to Restless Wheels to get a trailer (it seems all the good ones I hear about are south of here)! BTW--Rick and I are going on a rebuilding effort down in New Orleans in late April.

Yuki, good luck with your new vintage acquisition, too.

I didn't know about Frank's hankering for eyepatches! Ha, his reputation is exploding here and he hasn't even noticed to comment (cue up the bathroom jokes)! So, I suppose that's Captain Motivation to us mere landlubbin' fans of landyachts?
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Old 03-25-2008, 04:02 PM   #8
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Hey Welcome back, good to see you on again. I have you still in my Links section on my Website and check from time to time!
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:12 PM   #9
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Mary do you actually have time to post? I thought you were working on your project?
Steve you know you should be working too, but, then again, you have been getting ready all winter long...

Just joking, what a compliment... I am honored to know that I was finally a positive influence on someone. I have been accused many time of being a bad influence and it is nice to sit on the other side of the fence for once.

Now get back to work, both of you!
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Old 03-25-2008, 08:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflyinva
Thanks Yukionna and Fotoshop...

I can't believe you came all the way up to Restless Wheels to get a trailer (it seems all the good ones I hear about are south of here)! BTW--Rick and I are going on a rebuilding effort down in New Orleans in late April.
I bought it from a guy who is from around Manassas but used to live down here for a few years. RWheels did the checkup/roadworthy bit, nice folks. And THANK YOU for joining the volunteer effort down here! Sadly, there was a triple shooting in my normally quiet neighborhood last night (a so-called and illegal "skate park" had been set up in a nearby warehouse). If we can get our police and judiciary fixed as well as our housing stock maybe this city can get back to some level of 'normalcy'...whatever that is ;-)

ALSO: if you're here the first weekend of May (second weekend of Jazzfest) you MUST come to our Bush Hogs Annual Reunion gig at the Legendary Saturn Bar, which has been cleaned up and reopened and is a truly unique watering hole! Bring friends and come up and introduce yourself. I'm the one who looks like Paul McCartney (hahahahaaaaa):

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Old 03-26-2008, 06:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 62overlander
Mary do you actually have time to post? I thought you were working on your project?
Steve you know you should be working too, but, then again, you have been getting ready all winter long...

Just joking, what a compliment... I am honored to know that I was finally a positive influence on someone. I have been accused many time of being a bad influence and it is nice to sit on the other side of the fence for once.

Now get back to work, both of you!
I wished you lived closer to me! I could use a "kick in the butt" every once in awhile on my projects!
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Old 03-26-2008, 06:21 AM   #12
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Ok, ok, Captain, I'll be back at work tonight, though not with Rick, who has a late meeting at work. I'm thinking on working on the panel to cover the big hole, which you can see on Sunday's blog entry here (scroll down for photo). However, I really don't like the rivet holes that are there--they are irregular and uneven. I'm thinking of setting different holes and covering the old ones from the inside with caulking. Any thoughts on this?

Fabricating this has some special considerations, since the edges will likely be visible. My past experiences cutting aluminum with tin snips was unfortunate looking--jagged, uneven edges. I picked up an electric shear at Harbor Freight, so I think I'll test that out (I've been told it cuts quite smoothly), but I'm not sure if it will generate straight edge cuts. Also...has anyone used any of this extrusion? I am thinking it might give a nice finished edge, even if I can't.

Balgrn--so nice to hear from you again! What's up with your projects? Do you still have the full collection in your yard?

Rick (aka Fotoshop aka Not Paul Mccartney)--I'm afraid we're out before May. However, we'd love to catch up...I'll pm you with our details shortly.
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:33 PM   #13
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Good to see you back, we have always enjoyed your posts.

Yes, I still ahve a few, 4. I now have a couple of Overlanders, 73 and 74. Our Trade Wind has gone to a new Home. The Peanut, 77 20' Motorhome is still with us and the 72 parts rig, which is just about outa removable parts.

Keeping busy with the latest rig, 74 27' rear bed.

Looks like you guys are keeping busy as well!
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yukionna
I wished you lived closer to me! I could use a "kick in the butt" every once in awhile on my projects!
Frank lives a lot closer to you than he does to me... but he still manages to "kick my butt" frequently. Just send him an email listing all the reasons you can't or won't and he'll straighten you out.
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:36 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by byamcaravanner
Frank lives a lot closer to you than he does to me... but he still manages to "kick my butt" frequently. Just send him an email listing all the reasons you can't or won't and he'll straighten you out.
Good one! Well I plan to start documenting my progress soon so perhaps I will share that with him so he can "kick my butt" virtually!
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Old 03-26-2008, 02:38 PM   #16
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Yukionna, I may be closer to Frank, but distance isn't a factor for Captain Motivation (though more and more, I'm wondering if he's really Captain Bligh). Remember--he has two guys in upstate NY feverishly sacking their water closets, as well as working up on both me and Byamcaravanner --who lives in Wisconsin!
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Old 03-27-2008, 04:49 AM   #17
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Mary, have used the harbor freight tool? I recommend you take them back and buy a better set. I recommend Milwaukee, it gives a better edge and cuts a straight line, unlike the HF set. I regret this tool purchase, and it is something you will use a lot, so buy a good set. Get a smooth edge is easy... Click image for larger version

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ID:	57051 I just clamp a belt sander down and sand it smooth. There is a burr that remains, it comes right off with a few strokes of file.

Yukionna, I look forward to meeting you soon. I believe you are going to the VAC rally, are you also going to be at CBR? I would imagine I do not need to crack the whip on Mrs America 1970, but if you insist.
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Old 03-27-2008, 06:49 AM   #18
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...
Yukionna, I look forward to meeting you soon. I believe you are going to the VAC rally, are you also going to be at CBR? ...
Same here...I have heard nothing but good reports about your "inspirational" qualities!

We will be at the VAC rally but will miss CBR this year.

With regards to the "boot", I really don't need it. I keep my self lined up with work with endless lists. What I really need is time!
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:12 AM   #19
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Too late!

Unfortunately, Frank, I did my cutting last night. Luckily, I didn't have any problems, save for a little bend I put in one corner (I think it will come out when I actually rivet it down). I'm going to hit it on the sander as you say, but I'll need finer grit paper. Oh well, another trip to Home Depot.

Once life is sane again (post CBR), let's get together. I'd love to see the Milwaulkee shears in action. I've had this Harborfreight shears for ages (iirc, it was an impulse buy when it was on sale)--we just haven't used it before. However, I don't know that I could return it anyhow. That said, both Rick and I are always game to see what's better!

I'm still very torn about rivet placement on this panel. If I completely disregard the old holes, I'll probably come out with something a lot nicer looking--but then I risk overlapping some of the existing holes. Does that matter?

I also don't know how I'll get the bottom of the panel to curve where it overlaps the belly pan. I was thinking of maybe forming it over a rolling pin. Rick thinks that if I rivet first on the bottom, I should be able to form it as we shape it upwards.

Mary
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Old 03-27-2008, 09:27 AM   #20
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I made the Harbor Freight mistake... I regret I bought them.... I find if the nibbler is well lubricated (and myself too) I can cut a straighter line than without lubrication. The old holes will be no problem , for they are 1/8 now (copper colored cleco) and the olympics will be 5/32 (black cleco) so there is some material to drill.
Bending the aluminum is easy... if you mess up try again. That aluminum grows on bauxite trees, get in there and don't be afraid.
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