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Old 03-18-2018, 06:05 PM   #161
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1986 34' Limited
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I hear you on wood part sanding and finishing. It seems to take forever. The thin poly will penetrate well, good choice. You are making good progress.

I think you can relate to this photo:

David
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Old 03-19-2018, 12:37 PM   #162
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You are correct David. That looks pretty familiar. Attached is a photo of the last poly for this batch - 4th coat on the shelf and touchup on the cabinet door.

But more important is the "treasure" that is also in the photo. It is that small box shelf attached to the light fixture that was mounted over the head of the goucho/bed in the bedroom. I got this part last week from another 1962 that was being gutted. I never knew my 1962 Safari ever had this box shelf as it was long gone when we got the trailer, but can now see signs that it once had one.

The issue in our trailer was that the lamp was moved up higher on the wall, so that a hanging bunk could be added. This was done by the second owner, the son of the original owners, so that he had enough spots to sleep all his kids. The lamp had to be moved so that it would not interfere with the bunk that would suspend from the ceiling cables on one side and clamp into brackets that were added on the wall on the other side. The jumble of holes this left in the wall, combined with the fact that the wall was varnished some time after the lamp was moved, disguised the fact that there once was a shelf. We are not reinstalling the brackets for the hanging bunk, because we don't need the added sleeping space, don't want to bump into the brackets, and want to return the trailer to as close as possible to it's ATWC condition.

I need to strip the drippy sea foam green paint off of the shelf I got, but it will be great to return this part of the trailer back to original.
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Old 03-19-2018, 06:19 PM   #163
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Hey, that is a good find. Airstream had been putting a "eye glasses" shelf at the head of the bed for years. The 66 Trade Wind (photo) had it, and the 75 Overlander has a bigger one. The 69 Globetrotter does not have such a luxury.
Maybe because the back of the trailer is a gaucho/bed. The 86 Limited rear twins does not either. But it does have a night stand between the beds.

I bet your old 66 Overlander had a shelf too.

David
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Old 04-01-2018, 09:50 PM   #164
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Almost a couple of weeks since my last post. Lost a few work days due to a couple of trips out of town, doing my taxes, etc.

Technically I think I missed my end of March target by one day, but this morning I put the third coat of polyurethane on all 13 drawer fronts and consider them done except for the 4 that will get repainted inside (they were previously painted inside). All other drawer sides inside and out have two coats of poly. The drawers were the last wooden items in my basement to be refinished. The drawer hardware still needs to be cleaned up and reinstalled, though.

I hope we eventually get some warm temps as the highs have consistently been 5 to 15 degrees below normal for all of March, with highs in the 20's to low 40s, lows consistently well below freezing. Hard to move on to the two closets and the kitchen floor cabinet in my garage until it warms up a bit more.

Anyway, I am getting closer to the point of starting to reinstall cabinets into the trailer. That should start within a few days to a couple of weeks . . . hopefully.
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:39 PM   #165
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Wow that's a lot of drawers. My old 66, my 75 and to a large extent my 86 used the plastic bins that Airstream was so proud of. I have to admit the plastic bins do work well, and they are a whole lot cheaper and wood drawers.

Enjoyed your article in the Blue Beret this month. I enjoy learning about the history of Wally Byam's company.

David
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:17 PM   #166
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It has remained well below average temperature wise since my last post. Even got a couple of inches of snow yesterday, but it melted today. Lorrie and I have been working on a couple of things:

1. We've spent a couple of days to find a place to remake our two gaucho cushion sets for the front and bedroom gauchos, since this trailer did not have a permanent bed in the bedroom. Lorrie has made curtains before, but we decided that making the gaucho cushions was not a good way to start to learn upholstery, with the front especially being a very complex curved shape and both having cloth hinges and internal support boards. We are in the final stages of selecting an upholstery fabric (down to our "top 2" choices) and that should get the new cushions "in process" soon.

2. I've moved on to the closets in my garage. I have repaired the veneer on both and stripped them. I will need to rebuild the interior shelf on one and both will get repainted inside and then polyurethaned on the outside after a few days to dry out the wood, which remains damp for days after using the water based stripper and water to wash it off.

3. I picked up a vintage Front Window Guard last month and went to the trailer a few days ago for a test fit and to see how I might mount it. Since the 1962 Safari still has the large drip cap over the front window, mounting is more complicated. My best thought at the moment is to actually mount it to the drip cap on the top with with a piano hinge, or possibly an extruded "hurricane hinge", which is similar in concept to the Hehr window hinges and which would make temporary removal of the window guard easier. In the photo, the window guard, which is very light, is just hanging from the edge of the drip cap.

Has anyone actually mounted a front window guard to the 1962 and prior drip cap? If so, I'd like to hear how that worked out and see photos. Or if you've found a way to mount it to the body in a way that does nor interfere with the drip cap, I'd like to see those photos. Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:32 AM   #167
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Very Nice Progress

Joe, Good Morning!
Lots of progress, looking good, especially with this crazy below normal weather we are getting here in Michigan.
Regarding your gaucho, if you do not have your foam yet, try the Foam Factory over by Utica, MI, just North of M59. Reasonable and cut to fit.
Regarding a Rock Guard, on the Commodore Vanderbilt, I have a clear plegiglass rock guard installed onto the window, which moves when the window moves. I wanted the clear to be able to see through the Commodore Vanderbilt while towing. If your interested in this set-up, PM me.

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Old 04-11-2018, 08:51 PM   #168
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Today was a good day. First, it finally broke 50 degrees!

Second, Lorrie and I ordered the upholstery fabric and new cushions at a place called Foam N' More since they sell foam and make a lot a custom boat cushions for curved hulls, so they seemed like a good choice to make the the gaucho cushions. We went with a a fabric that I would call a coarse weave in a brown palate with aqua accents. This is in contrast to the original fabric that was a stripped pattern in a rusty brown palate. As Lorrie checked a lot of vintage Airstream photos, it seemed like a brownish palate was commonly used in the early 1960's. We held out against the temptation to go with an aqua dominant choice, though we considered it. It just seemed to us that brown was more "period correct" and more neutral and could be accessorized with different colors (including aqua) if our tastes change over time.

Third, I was also able to go comfortably work in the trailer today. I glued up the loose veneer on the front overhead cabinet that could not be removed. It will be warm again tomorrow, so I hope to strip the old finish from it then. I also played with how to mount the front window guard again. After more trial and error, I think it will be best mounted using some sort of bracket above the front drip cap, rather than to the drip cap.

StevieB,
Thanks for the suggestions. I did briefly consider a front window guard that mounted to the window sash. One ATWC trailer did just that with a sheet of aluminum, but many had guard like the vintage one I purchased, so that just seemed more correct. We did buy foam at the Foam Factory several years ago, but decided to check out Foam N' More after someone else recommended them to us.
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Old 04-12-2018, 06:22 PM   #169
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Very nice fabric choice. We too selected a "brown" for the 69 Globetrotter as it seemed to go with the trailer pretty well. And more importantly to us it hides dirt a bit better. We fussed with the foam density and firmness parameters quite a bit before we found something good for sitting and sleeping. I still think it is a bit soft but I only had one vote.

Nice you got a break in the weather. I understand another snowstorm is heading your way.

David
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:53 PM   #170
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I am enjoying our short warm spell. It hit about 70 today and I got the front overhead cabinet stripped in the trailer. What a pain working in a partially finished space on vertical and over my head surfaces. The bottom of the cabinet was the worst, applying and then scraping off the stripper over my head. I had to be careful to to not let the stripper drip on the already finished walls or the painted section of the floor at the front under the cabinet (or on me). But it's done. A few days to let the wood really dry out and then I can go back and apply the polyurethane during the next warm spell. Tomorrow mid-50's and the precipitation starts, then two days with highs in the low 40's with 100% precipitation - probably rain during the day, maybe snow at night. Back to working in my basement and/or in my garage with the heat on I guess.
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Old 04-13-2018, 10:02 PM   #171
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I've been keeping track of your progress, everything is looking great, I like your fabric choice and looking forward to seeing it in person at Salem.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:15 AM   #172
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Not exciting, but a lot of work. I have rebuilt the interior shelf on one closet, reusing the front edge for originality, except for about 5 hidden inches at one end that I had to splice in new wood due to water damage from a plumbing vent leak. I then sanded the interior of both closets and repainted their inner surfaces. Two marathon days worth of work in tight quarters, but now both closets are ready to have their exteriors polyurethaned.

So as far a woodwork is concerned, I am down to the front overhead cabinet and both closets that only need to be polyurethaned, and the kitchen base cabinet that still has to go thru the full process of veneer repair, stripping, and refinishing. The end of wood repair & refinishing is in sight.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:49 PM   #173
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That is a lot of tedious work. I think some Airstream restorers under estimate how many hours it will take to make it new again. Your midnight post time is telling. Lots of overtime hours spent.

I'm sure it is motivating to see the end in sight.

David
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:47 PM   #174
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Hey, posting before midnight today! That said, sometimes when I get going I keep working until well after midnight. Doesn't happen regularly, and I've never gone beyond 4AM, but when I am in the middle of something, especially if I have the garage all heated up, sometimes it just makes sense to keep going . . . and then get a very late start the next day.

I have had several personal commitments the last two days that have limited my trailer time, not to mention low temperatures, rain, snow, and ice. Found the couple of thin spots on the closets that needed to be touched up and while I had the paint can open, I decided to finally repaint the interiors of the front gaucho drawers.

Regarding the amount of time it takes to properly RESTORE a vintage Airstream, I can now say that I believe that it takes much more time than it would take to gut and put in a modern interior, even with the fab time to make the new stuff fit. I can see why the professionals prefer to fit modern interiors rather than restore the original stuff - it would take them much less time and man hours. My hat is off to those that take the time to RESTORE an Airstream - they get even more kudos from me now that I have almost completed one myself.
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:15 PM   #175
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I believe your assessment between "renovate" and "restore" is right on. I think of folks restoring old cars. They fuss and fuss about the smallest of details to get it exactly right. Restore to the way it left the factory. Renovating is easier in my view. Some renovations are quite elaborate and do take lots of time and money.

My good friend restored an old sports car. He had many late nights working in the garage. Cleaning this, on the internet finding the exactly right part, etc.

Your 62 is going to be one very special trailer.

David
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:57 PM   #176
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Early post tonight.

I hope what I am doing counts as a restoration. My trailer will not be "museum quality". I'd like to think it will be "talented amateur". The goal is to make the trailer look like it just came back from the ATWC, so flaws (especially those seen in ATWC photos) will only be patched. Panels will not be replaced. Where I am substituting modern systems, they will be behind the vintage covers so that the "updates" are hidden. We want the trailer safe and usable.

That said, it is still unseasonably cold here in Michigan. Since the last post, I have sanded the two closets and the front roof locker in the trailer (no photos), so all three are ready for polyurethane as soon as it warms up. Today while sanding the roof locker, it hailed for over an hour - luckily pea size and smaller. I also riveted in the window and shower curtain tracks and clecoed in the wall tracks. It feels great to actually reinstall something inside the trailer!
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Old 04-19-2018, 08:07 PM   #177
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I think your restoration is the best way. Modern systems behind the vintage "skins" and body. And yes, you are a talented amature. Me, I'm what they call a "nice guy with tools". It is surprising how quickly I can mess something up.

It is nice to begin the re-assembly process. The interior skins look great. I will start re-assembling the bath in my Overlander when we return from our Airstream adventure out west. As I drive, I think about how I'm going to do this or that.

David
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:56 PM   #178
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A few more long days of unexciting work.

Got three coats of polyurethane on the the two closets and front overhead cabinet. This leaves just one wood item to be refinished - the kitchen base cabinet that will be pulled out of it's hiding place soon and get the full treatment - veneer repair, striping, and poly. Hopefully no surprises.

I also removed the four remaining window sashes and put new glass and glazing strips in them. Three have been reinstalled after making new nylon locating pieces. The 4th (and last of six overall - two were done last fall) gets reinstalled tomorrow.

I also did a few other minor things not worth photos, like reinstalling switch plates and outlet covers.
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Old 04-24-2018, 07:50 PM   #179
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Bit by bit. You sure have a lot of hours in this special vintage trailer. You'll hate to get it dirty.

David
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Old 04-26-2018, 11:24 PM   #180
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Nah. Airstreams are meant to be used. They will get dirty. It is hard to imagine it dirtier than it currently is. After sitting in the storage unit and not moving for several years, the layer of dust and dirt on the shell is unbelievable. The storage unit does not seal well, so LOTS of dirt and other stuff blows in thru the cracks. The inside of the trailer even had a bad coating on dust because of various unsealed window and appliance openings over the years, but from now on I'm trying to keep the trailer sealed to cut down on the dirt and dust that gets inside.

Regarding progress, I have scrubbed and waxed the floor. It's a bit streaky, so I will try to put on a nicer coat tomorrow and then call it done. I got the floor tiles down so late last fall I never had a chance to seal the tiles before it got too cold to do so. This was one of the last things I wanted to do before some cabinets start going back in.

I also got my new steel wheels and tires and had metal valve stems installed so I can run a tire pressure monitoring system. I bought three so the spare matches. The new tires will get installed on the trailer tomorrow. I decided it better to go with new wheels rather than try to get the existing wheels refinished (at least not on my current timeline). I don't think the existing wheels are original since they are not split rims (but the spare was on a split rim), but they did have the "Baby Moon" hub cap clips, which I do not need because this trailer had the optional deluxe full wheel covers when the ATWC started, though it ran without wheel covers for the majority of the caravan.

I also started the time consuming task of stripping paint and varnish from various vinyl trim pieces in the trailer. I got the pieces in the photo done in a couple of hours using hot water, a scraper, and a scotch-bright pad, mostly while floor polish was drying. I didn't want to use chemicals because I suspect they might attack the aged vinyl. These are probably only 25% to 33% of the total number of pieces I have to strip, so this task will take a while to complete.
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