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Old 08-23-2005, 12:19 AM   #1
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Cedars's Avatar
1983 31' Excella
Waterloo , Iowa
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 355
Sticker shock, and 'while we're at it'

Okay, I'm almost over the sticker shock of redoing an interior! I admit I got out cheap on the floor, which is half laid now.... $1.75 a square foot for cork tile.
Then, came the shocks of not only the cost per yard for good upholstery fabric, but the sheer amount needed to do something as simple as the sofa. Sigh.
Okay. I managed to resign myself to that. I even survived the floor guy walking out and disappearing, and learning the joys of contact cement. Contact cement was THE reason I hired a guy to do it. Scared the holy heck out of me, working with the unforgiving cement.... just kew I'd screw it up royal. turns out I knew more than the guy I hired. And he was NOT cheap. I could write several chapters now on cork flooring and contact cement.
But today I got another one of those infernal shocks..... man.... !!!
Since we have the new floor almost completed, and we're working our way through the 'as long as we're doing it, might as well do this....' list . I've reached the drapery part. The part that knows enough to be afraid, but I guess not afraid enough. Take the screws out of the rails.... the screws that keep the drapes from sliding completey off the rails. Get the drapes down, including those behind those oak valences. Leave the kitchen set for Bruce to take off later after scraping up both hands pretty good. (Or bad... depends on point of view, and whose hands are involved) Take off for the dry cleaners just a few blocks away. Walk in clutching the ten panels I ant done. Fill out all the paperwork and realize I have no idea how old these things are. They could be five years old, or tenty two years old! The lining of most is great, firm, tight, and white. They are old enough that many of the tapes (here's another flash... it is woven tape, not elastic the way I thought, that holds the clips) anyway, many of the tapes have badly deteriorated.... to the point I am short fifty clips! Oh joy, how much are they each? Sigh. Then they push a piece of aper across the counter. In essence, it is a waiver! Since they can't tell in advance if the drapes will fall apart with even the gentle-est of agitation, if that happens it's not their fault and I can't hold them responsible. They were not too happy when I annotated the document to say in that event, I would not have to pay any fees. told them if they wanted to play CYA, I got to too! Then we counted the pleats, and multiplied...... when the price was announced.... well, my arms were gathering the panels to leave before my brain started working. Let's just say I have better ways to spend $94.16!!! We're going to find out how well a five dollar bucket of OxyClean does......
Do the body blows of rehabbing ever stop? Will I ever be able to breath normally again in the near presence of my Airstream? Will I even be able to walk, rather than reel, as yet another price is quoted? I did really well when the quote came in for the A/C last summer. Yup, hardly blinked. Oh, there was a nervous twitch for a bit, but it stopped. But I have got to tell you, some of this little stuff has me to the point my hands shake so bad I can't write a check. At least that's what i tell 'em when I walk out. if I'm able to talk at all!
I keep looking in the mirror to see if there is a Sucker tattoo on my forehead!

Elizabeth in Iowa
The carpeting is gone! The carpeting is gone! Long live the cork floor!
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Old 08-23-2005, 01:36 AM   #2
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1974 27' Overlander
Puyallup , Washington
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 124
I put mine in the washer...

I put my curtains in the washer with a bunch of bleach, hoping they would deteriorate, or at least lose some of their pinkness! No such luck... they came out in perfect condition! I am planning on replacing with some non-pleated style (like the new CCDs), but sadly had to re-install the old ones for a camping trip. Next time I remove them, hopefully it will be for good! (Anyone want some mauve curtains for an Overlander?!)
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Old 08-23-2005, 07:55 AM   #3
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2004 25' Safari
. , Illinois
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 10,477
You know, although I haven't re-done an Airstream, I did redo a '64 Glasspar Sportsman runabout (boat).

As one person pointed out, it's a labor (and cost) of love.

I'll only add that as we get older, the toys (and their upkeep, repair, etc) cost more.... to think I spent .97 on Matchbox cars with hitches to pull Matchbox campers (which also cost .97) the real thing is over the 20k mark (each) as an adult.

Gone are the days where for $40, you could buy a big wheel, and when the front wheel wore out, shove a crow bar in the steering wheel and tow it with another $40 Big Wheel.
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Old 08-23-2005, 08:05 AM   #4
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Rehabing anything, old houses, cars or trailers is usually way more expensive than your first estimates. When you factor in your time ( which a lot of people don't),it can be much more expensive than just buying new. After eight years of rehabing "historic" houses around the Inner Harbor of downtown Baltimore and working on several of my own as well as building a Series Land Rover from scratch,I'm pretty well cured. I think if a lot of people realized just how much work and money are going to finally go into some of these Airstream restorations they may reconsider.Granted there is pride of accomplishment and ownership of a really nice completed project but these days I choose my projects very carefully. Looking back over 38 years of building,I can honestly say that when it comes to taking on some of these projects, ignorance truly is bliss. In for a penny, in for a pound.
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Old 08-23-2005, 11:25 AM   #5
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1971 23' Safari
Joshua Tree , California
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 259
It's always 90% finished, and 90% more left to do. Also, it always costs twice what you estimated.

We balance what needs fixed most importantly, versus what we can afford to do. We need the AC fixed, the lav sink, and the toilet (the blade no longer closes)

We 'quick fixed' the lav sink, so it holds water and won't disintegrate, but it for now looks like Frankensink - we'll sand and smooth some other day.

We are hunting for an AC guy that will find the leak in our Armstrong AC, and fix it for keeps. A new AC unit is out of reach right now. We have a lead on a good repairman...

Don't know how to fix the commode. I will probably start posting one of these days for an answer, but in the meantime, we put a ziploc bag full of water over the hole to seal it, and we just use the campground facilities.

When cold weather arrives, the AC issue and the commode issue will probably flip-flop in importance.
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Old 08-23-2005, 01:02 PM   #6
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,801
To Pleat or not to Pleat... that is the question.

Originally Posted by somefun
I put my curtains in the washer with a bunch of bleach, hoping they would deteriorate, or at least lose some of their pinkness! No such luck... they came out in perfect condition! I am planning on replacing with some non-pleated style (like the new CCDs), but sadly had to re-install the old ones for a camping trip. Next time I remove them, hopefully it will be for good! (Anyone want some mauve curtains for an Overlander?!)
I have the CCD and I think the non pleated draperies from the factory look kinda cheap. They definitely STRETCHED the fabric to the max to fit it in the windows tightly. I'd have made them a little less tightly fitted. I didn't like the four panels in the front wrap around window so I took them down and sewed them together into two long panels.... simple yes? NO! I wanted them to look neat, so I took out the side seams, sewed the drape side, sewed the lining side, redid about 4 inches of the top and bottom seams, then tried to reposition the hooks which didn't line up exactly right.... Why DO I start these projects? Anyway the end result looks satisfactory and opens and closes easier than the 4 panels, so it's all good.

If you make non-pleated curtains it's kinda like making an A-line skirt for the wrap around windows - the bottom is wider than the top and their is a definite flair outward. If you want to make pleats - for the straight windows it's pretty easy, but depending on how widely spaced the pleats are you need to double or even triple the width of the window for your fabric. The curved windows actually would require that the pleats be wider at the bottom than at the top (a really "advanced sewing" project). You definitely have to set every pleat by hand if you expect them to look good.

I have a cheap trick when I'm planning to do "advanced sewing." Buy unbleached muslin and make a "test" copy of the item I aspire to sew. If it doesn't fit right or doesn't hang right I can do a slash and burn correction, then disassemble and use the muslin as my final pattern.

As for your mauve curtains, DYE them. You could'nt go lighter but you could easily achieve a medium brown or blue. Or fire engine red, and burgundy should definitely be doable Oh yes, and test dye a swatch in an area that will be very VERY inconspicious (open up a hem on the side or do a spot on the back that would be above the rod). Color combos can be unpredictable - you could go for blue and get day-glo magenta (reddish purple) or that shade of greenish-yellow-brown that I call "baby-poop". When dying (or bleaching) synthetic fabrics take on dye much differently than natural ones, and most A/S curtains I've seen are synthetic. The bad news is that dyes fade from natural fabrics but cling to synthetics... as you found out.

Carry On and Good Luck.

Tin Lizzie
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Old 08-23-2005, 11:08 PM   #7
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1983 31' Excella
Waterloo , Iowa
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 355

Let the drapes soak overnight in a hefty solution of OxyClean. That stuff is amazing! My drapes looked great this morning when I took them out of solution... except for a little bit of one panel tht hadn't been covered well enough. Sprinkled a little OC powder on it, and let it sit. And you know something really, really great? I had three panels with water stains on the fronts of them, plus several more that had light water stains on the lining. And this evening, I have no water stains, no where! The cleaners had told me water stains never come out! Yahoo! These did!
And while I was waiting for contact cement to tack up this afternoon, I poked around a little and found forty eight channel clips I had stashed..... half of them had the sew on tabs attached! One less errand to run look for them! Yipee!
got more floor glued down, mainly bedroom and bath... gonna get this sucker done!
Tomorrow the walls.... the plan is to wash them down with TSP, then two coats of Future Acrylic Finish. Also doing all windows, and all screens.
Friday the unit goes to RV Revive, and we'll try to seal the leak AGAIN!!! Darn! It could be leaking anywhere but it ends up on the curb side, just in front of the door. Behind the fabric panel. The panel was hugely ucky when removed.... it has obviously been damp to wet, many many times over its lifetime..... one more thing taken care of.
And you'll never guess what my husband suggest to use for trim around the bade of the floor? As soon as he said it, I said, But of course! A trip to Lowe's to purchase some to try out.... the color was right even off the shelf. We liked the look when we tried it. So being concerned about it porosity... we are now waiting for it to dry after dipping half of it into polyurethane and using a hand to force it as deep as we could into the material..... Guessed yet? Half inch manila rope! Matches the floor pretty well, will be protected by the poly, and adds a nice bit of texture!
I'm starting to chant, almost like a mantra..... It WILL all come together! It WILL all come together!

Elizabeth in Iowa
The carpeting is gone! The carpeting is gone! Long live the cork floor!
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Old 08-23-2005, 11:37 PM   #8
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Sounded scary in the beginning, but now we know the rest of the story. Good for you Elizabeth. Cheers !!!!!
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Old 08-24-2005, 09:10 AM   #9
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1993 34' Excella
1962 16' Bambi
New Haven , Connecticut
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Are you taking pictures of the project? I would welcome seeing the cork/hemp rope combination. i need to put a new floor in my '78 excella 500 this winter. i can't decide which way to go - carpet, linoleum, pergo, cork, bamboo, etc.

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