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Old 12-08-2015, 07:25 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1968 20' Globetrotter
Rumford , Rhode Island
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 24
DIY Vintage Awning Will this work?

I am in the planning stages of making a vintage awning. I get the keder track, seamstick, avoidance of vents and doors.

Will this work?
I am planning on sewing in a panel at the bottom of the awning in 4 sections. The purpose of this would be to insert 4 PVC pipes. When assembled the pipes would be connected by 3 T brackets for one long pipe. I then plan to insert the tent poles in the T brackets. If anyone has done this can they let me know the size of the pipe they used?

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Old 12-09-2015, 08:50 PM   #2

1968 20' Globetrotter
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 653
a different approach

If anyone has done this can they let me know the size of the pipe they used?”

Sorry no one's responding to your query, hopefully you won't be stuck with only this one reply. At least, you'll get a thread bump...

The way I did it may not be your cup of tea.....
Like any good hillbilly, my primary design innovations focus on using up whatever junk I have lying around, and secondarily, purchase the appropriate fabrication material. Making your own stuff can be a matter of economy, or more often, creating a superior product to what is commonly available.

Awnings are more about shade than rain.
Ease of awning deployment(set-up) and break-down time is a design consideration.
Material cost and availability, storage size of components, weight...

Zip-Dee didn't come to life for Airstream until after 1967, so the rope and pole is definitely a more appropriate vintage aesthetic. Rope and pole design hasn't evolved significantly over its history. Not wanting to dampen your discovery and innovation, but I'm thinking your PVC coupling idea may not be an improvement, as PVC couplings are not easily dry seated/fitted. Their joins are a zero clearance, and often an interference fit, so temperature affected tubes and couplings may become troublesome unless reamed to allow more clearance. Maybe the You Tubes can show if it can be done with PVC. Aluminum telescopic paint roller poles are popular supports, or bamboo if you dare...

A good rope and pole awning attaches easily, and avoids the encumbered look of the permanently attached modern mechanism, and the awkwardness of its deployed brackets. One is more often walking alongside the trailer, and the attached triangulated supports cause interference to your pathway.

Three, four, five support poles over ten feet isn't necessary and you'll still have the water collecting sag even with twenty poles inline along the outer edge. You'll also have unnecessary poles and ropes to navigate around. A pole on each corner is enough. There isn't any way to overcome the “between pole sag” other than to tent the awning with a central pole placed as illustrated. The central pole has a tennis ball on its end. The raised center enables the door to open and close without brushing the awning fabric. I punched extra eyelets along the edges in case I really need to tie it down in a storm, but that never happened. Taking the awning down in high wind is superior practice.

For a low cost awning...
Search for “roll-end” sales on Sunbrella fabric. Beware of “Equivalent To”. If you don't use genuine Sunbrella, you'll be making another awning in a few years.
Giant galvanized nails are long enough for sand, and will penetrate clay or asphalt. Crimp on “S” hook ends saved from aged out rubber tie-downs.
1 ½ inch bamboo poles from garden center. Bamboo is a terrific building material. We don't use or know much of it in the USA because it doesn't grow here, and our building codes don't know how to grade it for construction...
Used the wire ends of bungee cord on knotted rope for “ropes”. Make cinches from drilled tubing, (bamboo in my case).

The Chinese ¼ inch hardware store rope is really 5mm, so buy 3/8” or crimp the aluminum rail down a little. The awning rail is fairly ductile, so you can open or close it as needed. The plastic sew-on Keder strip is somewhat inflexible and unnecessary. The plastic strip kinks if folded, and subsequently inhibits its glide through the aluminum rail. Try nylon rope.
The 8” long 3/8”eye-bolts slide into 1/2” PEX that has been bedded into the 5/8” drilled bamboo ends with adhesive. Bamboo poles are fitted with rubber feet.
Not a fringe and stripes guy, but did locate the eyelets so the tarp drapes to create some fascia...

Respecting the K I S S ideology, I spent less than fifty bucks on the entire project, and resulted a very durable and functional awning.

Globe Trotters Rule!

Rough Sketch notes of 8' x 10' tarp, bamboo cinch, stake, eye-bolt, some hillbilly.
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Old 12-09-2015, 09:06 PM   #3
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Great post - very thorough and your awning looks perfect!
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:41 AM   #4
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Aluminium very thorough post with clear instructions and then good photos for visual follow up. Looks nice.

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Old 12-10-2015, 05:26 PM   #5
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1968 20' Globetrotter
Rumford , Rhode Island
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 24
Thanks for the help. I saw your pictures while seaching through the forum. I did try to find end of rolls but the amount that I would need and even the price per yard wasn't that great of a deal. So for the few extra bucks I opted to get the Sunbrella fabric that I wanted.
I got the pvc idea from a YouTube video on house awnings. They used a metal rod. I thought that the pvc would be a good alternative. Over the years, we had one too many tents and tarps just give way with the grommets. I was trying to avoid that. I didn't think about the expansion but I thought a little sanding would solve tight fitting brackets.

This is a winter project. We lost the awning when the tow guys were taking it to the shop for the new axle. Then without asking or thinking they pitched it. We got all the windows fixed and sealed. We got the vents sealed we think. We have been lucky with the weather. 60 degrees and it is December! !! We still have not emptied the whole trailer yet to attack the floor and frame. That will have to wait until the spring when the weather breaks.
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Old 12-11-2015, 12:15 PM   #6
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Check out <> She makes Sunbrella awnings, she's got the real-deal adjustable poles for sale, and her reputation in the vintage trailer world is first rate. Highly recommended.
"Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands... A journey, in fact, appeals to Imagination, to Memory, to Hope,—the three sister Graces of our moral being.’
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Old 12-11-2015, 01:30 PM   #7
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That looks great! Probably easier to set up than our Coleman canopy and more compact
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Old 12-11-2015, 03:54 PM   #8
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Years ago I bought a roll of awning fabric to make a pole awning with, but I've never had the guts to go for it. I think I might give it a shot with these instructions. Some might call it 'hillbilly', but it looks straight up simple and vintage to me!

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Old 12-12-2015, 07:03 AM   #9
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1968 20' Globetrotter
Rumford , Rhode Island
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 24
I sew and learned on a treadle Singer machine. So making it is not that difficult for me. has a bunch of videos about working with Sunbrella.
The BIG trick is to use seamstick tape. They sell it along with a few other places. I think they suggest the 3/8 inch. No pinning, no basting just draw the line with a tracing pencil and fold on the fabric and sew. The biggest nuisance will be the French seam and getting the fabric through the right side of the sewing machine.
Be sure to use a UV rated thread. Cut the Sunbrella or other acrylic fabric with a soldering iron that has an attachment that looks like a exact knife blade. It will seal the fabric. Make sure that the surface that you are cutting on is glass or another material that won't burn.
If you want to get fancy you can add a scallop on the front edge. A low wave scallop with a gradual curve would be the easiest to sew on the trim. Make a pattern using poster board of a few scallops. Center it on the awning and continue overlapping and tracing the pattern until you reach the sides of the awning. Adding the side scallops will be a bit more work. Hey you got the fabric so this will really be a low cost project for you.
We are all learning here. Last night I discovered what a joggle stick or tick stick was. It was like OMG. Now I have an easy way to figure out the rear floor. I have holes that have been enlarged and holes from rot. Now we can figure out exactly where we need to cut the whole panel.
Happy sewing.
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