Until next week, stay healthy! <3 Becca
This week we worked on getting the door to seal properly as part of our process of getting Maude waterproofed. Last week I had scraped off the old seals. Now we had to deal with the adhesive that remained and was REALLY stuck on there.
In the above pictures, you can see all of the material that couldn't just be scraped off. We used acetone and scrub brushes to remove it all. It took 2.5 hours to get the main door, inner door and door frame cleaned. Our arms are TIRED from all of that scrubbing!
But look! It cleaned up so nicely!
Once everything was cleaned up, it didn't take long to apply the new seals.
And here you can see the new seals doing their jobs! It looks like there are two doors, because there are! I think this is my favorite feature of Maude's! She has a main door, but then a door-within-a-door that is a screen! It's super cute! And now, neither of them leak! Yay!
This beautiful little fellow joined us for a bit of our work - so shiny!
Until next week, stay healthy! <3 Becca
I would apologize for all of the stupid puns.... but turns out I'm loving them ;)
This weekend's work wasn't picture heavy, so this post will be a bit of a short one!
As the title suggests, we caulked (almost) all of the rivets in our efforts to get Maude fully waterproofed. We ran out of caulk before we were able to cover every rivet, but we did get all of the seams covered! Also not shown : we used a product that is used to seal cracks in boats to seal some of the known leaks between aluminum panels from the outside. So far so good! We've had some rain this week, and while the windows and door are all still leaking, we seem to have stopped all of the leaks from rivets and seams!
Speaking of the leaking door - We've started the process of getting it to close and seal properly! Here, I was stripping the old (and weirdly smelly! Seriously, somehow they smelled like a dog park in the heat of summer!) door seals. At some point, someone decided to use an epoxy to adhere them, so it took me about an hour to get it all scraped off! We'll figure out how to strip the old epoxy another day ;) While I was busy doing this, Mike removed the old, loose rivets for the door hinges and replaced them. Now, not only are the hinges nice and secure, but the DOOR ACTUALLY LATCHES SHUT!!! We've been using a 2"x6" board wedged against the door to keep it shut - BUT NO LONGER! Maude's gettin' fancy! LOL
So, like I said, this week was light on pictures, but we've made some more progress!
Until next time! <3 Becca
You may remember that back toward the beginning of our Maude Adventures we created a patch for this large vent hole in Maude's backside. We decided that it would be better to wait on installing it until after we had the shell lifted and placed back down. Well, here we are!
Here's the hole we covered up. It's where the old water heater vent was. We're moving the location, so this hole has to go!
First, we drilled holes in the Oregon-shaped patch we made. These holes are what we riveted through to attach the patch to the trailer!
We caulked the heck out of the backside of the patch to ensure that it will be nice and waterproof. Those little black "sticks" coming out of the side are called "Clecos." Once we've drilled holes in the shell and through the patch we can hold it all together using the Clecos. You use a special tool to insert the Cleco through all of the layers, then when you let it go, it springs shut and holds it all nice and tight!
Here, you can see the progression, we spaced out the Clecos to hold the patch, then we placed rivets with a bit of caulking to seal the holes. Then we went around and installed the rivets! Then we removed the Clecos and placed rivets in their locations :)
And here's Maude's patch fully installed! It looks to awesome, you guys! We've been calling it her "tramp stamp" because of the location ;)
We also went around and shaved off all of the Olympic rivet heads so they look all nice and smooth and like the original rivets! Poor Maude is no longer our battle trailer!
Lastly, we've been on a bit of a shopping spree! Above is the new toilet for Maude's bathroom! While still an RV toilet, it looks and feels more like a home toilet! Only the best for my patients! ;) Not shown, most of the electrical work, sinks, faucets, cooktop, fridge, light fixtures and more!
It's been super exciting thinking about the specifics of Maude's interior!
Until next time, <3 Becca
This week was a bit of a hodge podge of tasks that got worked on.
We finished riveting this side of Maude!
In the reflection, you can see our pile of garbage that we ended up taking to the dump on Saturday. We reclaimed our patio! Yay! The only things that are left in the yard are her aluminum inner skins and some odds & ends that we're pretty sure we'll want to put back in. Things like window screens, knobs for the windows, various trim pieces, etc.
This Sunday was my birthday, and it was raining, so instead of working on more riveting in the rain, we went inside!
We started solidifying Maude's floor plan! In the back, where the saw horses are, will be the treatment room. In the middle, the green box with the black tank will be the bathroom. The front green box will be the kitchenette!
Theeeeeeeen we noticed this little gem. LOL! That vent is going to end up right in the middle of a wall! Oops! We'll remove it and patch both the inner and outer skins.
The rest of my birthday was quite lovely with salmon and kale for dinner, chocolate and whisky for dessert and having a virtual campfire with friends!
Stay safe and healthy, Guys! <3 Becca
We ended up not working on Maude on Saturday. After putting in so many hours over the last several weekends, we were needing a little bit of a break ;)
On Sunday, our motivation returned! With Maude's top lowered into place, we've started the long, tedious process of getting her sealed up against the weather!
We started by fixing the wheel wells. We had used the old wheel wells as a template to cut this arch-shape onto the new wheel wells. BUT turns out the new axles make the frame sit a little differently, so they're about an inch off! LOL! Sure is perfect for the way this trailer renovation is going - close, but not quite! ;) Above is the trimmed-but-not-lining-up wheel well.
And here it is all trimmed up! Maude got an at-home haircut, just like the rest of us during this pandemic! We used a jigsaw to trim it out.
Next, we slid this original piece of trim into place between the wheel well and the outer skin. While we were looking for other parts, we found replacements for these - at $50 each! SO glad ours were in decent shape!
Next, we got to rivet it all together! We're using Olympic rivets. They're a rivet that can be put in place when you only have access to one side of the project, but are super strong and LOOK like the original buck rivets that were originally used. Buck rivets take two people who know what they're doing. We have two people... but not the knowledge! ;) What you can barely see here on the right is that when you place an Olympic rivet, it leaves a little nub sticking out. You go around afterwards and trim those off, then you use a special tool to shave down the surface of the rivet so that it looks smooth - like a buck rivet! We're studying up on how to do that part, so right now Maude has a whole ton of little spikes sticking out. I've been calling her "Battle Trailer Maude." And teasing her about how punk she is! Yep, I'm entertaining myself during this pandemic ;)
And here's the wheel well all done! That trim makes a HUGE difference in how she looks! Just a little bit of work after not feeling motivated to work on her the day before went a LONG way to renewing our Maude-Fixing Souls :)
And that was all we got done this week! This is a picture of one of the native strawberry plants we planted in our back yard last year :) It made me super happy that it was so happy!
Stay healthy guys! <3 Becca
We finally got everything prepared to put the shell back down on Maude's frame - so this weekend was a HUGE ONE! Aaaaaaaand of course it poured rain on us! ;)
We started by making sure the frame was level so that (HOPEFULLY!) the shell would go on evenly.
We learned a bit from lifting the shell off how to put the shell down a bit more safely and smoothly. We got taller jacks so that we didn't have to use as much blocking. And same as when we lifted the shell we had a jack stand at each of the four corners to act as fail-safes. We went back and forth from the front to the back of the trailer, inching each end down a notch or two.
Then we started getting close! We had to make sure that every one of those little tabs made it to the correct side of the outer skin!
We used a bunch of wood shims to help guide the tabs and shell into the correct positions. It worked REALLY well!
It took a bit of wiggling (okay, we jumped on the scaffolding on the inside!) to get the whole thing to settle into the correct place, BUT WE DID IT!!!! This was the most exciting day!! It was also one of the more stressful! Having that shell up in the air and wiggling around as we tried to lower it had me taking many deep breaths and uttering many curse words. ;)
We were able to move all of the cinder blocks that we had used to support the frame out of our way! There's so much room to move around Maude now!
I forgot to take pictures of much of the rest of what we did on Sunday. We were trying to get the door to close properly. As Maude sat for decades and the wood floor at the door was all rotten out, it made it so that the bottom of the shell was able to flare, so that the door frame was no longer plumb - the door frame was narrower at the top than at the bottom. We spent a lot of time using the chain and winch to pull the bottom of the door frame closer to each other. Throughout the process we gradually removed more and more of the scaffolding to allow for greater movement in the trailer shell - we were hoping that the shell would ease around the entire circumference of the trailer in order to make the door the proper width. We were able to gain MOST of it! We're probably still out about 1/4". With it that close, we're pretty sure we can make the door work properly by making adjustments to the hinges and to the locking mechanism.
So, as usual, we celebrated our win with a backyard campfire to relax and admire our work!
Our next steps are to put the decorative trim back on Maude, where the shell meets the frame and belly pan. We also need to retrim the wheel wells (somehow we were off by about an inch - c'est la vie!) so that they match the curve of the shell. We also need to fix the stairs - somehow they're not centered underneath the door! LOL! But other than that and polishing, we're about ready to move inside and get her ready for you all!! Next on our to do list is the electrical systems, the plumbing and figuring out the A/C unit! Super exciting stuff!
Until next time, you guys! <3 Becca
We've been anxious to get the aluminum shell set back down onto the frame, so we've been putting in a ton of hours' work to get that piece of the project done! This post will be 4 weekends' worth of work to get us brought up to current :)
Here's where we left off after the last blog post - the subfloor, wheel wells and stairs are all installed. With all of the rain that we were having, we decided we had better protect the new subfloor, so we gave Maude a really ugly skirt ;)
Next step was to install what's called the C-Channel. This is the C-Channel from the rear of the trailer. As you can see, there are 3 surfaces - the surface that gets screwed down to the subfloor, the inner surface that will get riveted to the inner skin, and the outer surface which will have both the underbelly and the outer skin riveted to it.
And here it is, roughly in place!
Some of the C-Channel was horribly corroded, which made it so we couldn't re-use it. We used pieces of the old underbelly to make new sections! Yay for reusing materials and reducing waste! The picture above was of Mike practicing making a small section of C-Channel using our metal brake! It worked extremely well!
C-Channel getting installed!
The last step before being able to set the shell back down onto the frame is to get the underbelly replaced. Airstream trailers have an aluminum underbelly that encloses and protects the steel frame.
Several weeks ago we purchased the new aluminum sheets for the underbelly. The old underbelly was so damaged that we couldn't put it back in place. LUCKILY, it was in good enough shape to be able to use as a rough template for the new aluminum sheets so we had a starting point, and as mentioned above, as material to make replacement C-Channel!
I forgot to get a picture of us using the old underbelly as a template to trace onto the new aluminum, sorry! Just imagine really corroded aluminum with rust marks and tears and holes all throughout ;)
Above is the new aluminum traced and cut to shape!
Mike built a wooden frame to set the aluminum sheets on while we installed it. We used a floor jack to lift the whole thing up into place. Each sheet got screwed to the bottom of the frame and riveted to adjacent sheets. Poor Mike spent WAYYYY too many hours under the trailer ;)
And this is what two whole weekends' of work looked like - clamping the aluminum into place (after MANY adjustments to make sure we had it in the right place!) and riveting it to the C-Channel.
Oh man, getting these curves right was rough!
But even more difficult was getting the angle right along the bottom of the frame! You see, the belly pan slants up at the front and rear of the trailer. There was a LOT of trial and error to get it to look just right!
It took us 20.5 hours over 2 weekends just to get the aluminum belly pan into place. It was a TON of work, many mistakes, LOTS of redos, but I think we did a reasonably good job! Working with that much aluminum came with a fair share of blood sacrifices (our arms and hands ;) ) as well as a NASTY bruise that I got while working on the very last piece of belly pan!
I got hit with a falling steel bar on my wrist, right across my watchband - those bruises are the holes in the strap! The deep bruising isn't visible yet, but I assure you, it's going to be a dooooozy!
All in all, the belly pan has been the hardest part of the project so far. We had to do a LOT of reverse-engineering to get it all figured out. We are super tired both mentally and physically, but we did it! And we're INSANELY excited to move onto the next step which is lowering the shell back down onto the frame!!
Until next time, you guys! <3 Becca
Hey Guys! I'm finally getting a chance to get you caught up on Maude's progress! With all of the COVID19 craziness, I haven't been able to arrange my thoughts about it. Lots of recreational reading happening around here ;)
We had been planning on going camping for the week of Spring Break, but all of the campgrounds got shut down right before we were to leave. Major BUMMER! We had been looking forward to this trip since Christmas time! (Our little family LOVES being out in the dirt and the trees :) ) But we decided to make the best of it and put in a bunch of hours working on Maude!
It has been a WHILE since I've updated you! In the last update, we had painted the new frame to protect it from rusting.
The next step was to get the subflooring attached to the frame.
We bought Marine-Grade plywood to prevent water damage to the subfloor in the future. It's a high-quality plywood made with waterproof glue that holds up a bit better than regular plywood.
Here, we have the original pieces of plywood from the curved ends of the trailer. You can see just how bad the damage was at the front of the trailer. The curve is completely rotted out! Luckily, the front and back have the same curve, and the rear curve was in good enough shape to use as a template!
Note: I told you we were bummed about not getting to go camping! So we set up the tent for the girls to play in. They had threatened to sleep out there as well, but it was too cold every night during spring break! They still had fun hanging out and playing games in there during the day :)
Tracing and cutting the curves!
This shiny spacesuit-looking stuff is Reflectix! It's a thin, light-weight insulation that we glued onto the bottom of each sheet of plywood. I don't want anyone experiencing a freezing-cold floor during the winter!
We had to guess a bit as to the exact location of the plywood on the frame. How far toward the back does it go? We made an educated guess, but we won't really know for sure until we go to lower the shell back down onto the frame! We're crossing fingers SOOOO tightly, hoping that we've got it at least close enough!
Aaaaand that's about as far as we got before we remembered that we still needed to attach some things to the frame before the flooring! LOL! Wheel wells got installed next!
Aaaaand that's how far we got with the flooring when we remembered that we still needed to attach the stairs to the frame! LOL! I want you guys to be able to get INTO the trailer! Have I mentioned we haven't ever worked on a trailer before? We're definitely learning a LOT as we go :)
Step right up!
Yay! We got the subfloor completely installed!
Note: You'll see in the picture with the finished subfloor that the wheel wells aren't installed yet, we did some dry fitting of all of the pieces before attaching anything permanently. I forgot to take ALLL the pictures ;)
We finished most evenings with looking at our handiwork and problem-solving for the next step(s)! A backyard campfire is the perfect setting for such things :)
And that is how we spent our spring break! It was super exciting to take such a huge leap forward! We've been super motivated by this progress that we've been putting in a lot of hours on the weekends since, which I look forward to sharing with you soon!!
Everyone stay healthy! <3 Becca
Maude's frame came home this past weekend! It was a really short 3 weeks for Tim Moore at AHK Fabrication to get her done! I can't say enough good things about working with Tim. He was super patient with all of my questions and helping us to figure out all of the different options that we had to choose from. Thanks so much, Tim!!
Maude has been parked behind our personal camping trailer (Harvey is his name ;) ). In order to get Maude's frame back into place, we had to move Harvey out of the way - making room for me to get a rare from-the-front photo of her!
Mike's backing in Maude's beautiful new frame. He's freakin' good at it :) I suppose this was pretty easy since he's had lots of practice backing Harvey in!
Maude's frame back in place!
We have some painting to do on the frame to keep it safe from moisture. You can see a small bit of rust already forming. We'll wire brush it then paint it. The cross members are all galvanized steel, so we don't need to worry about them!
We have also been spending a bit of time this week researching the water systems for Maude. We'll need fresh water, grey water and black water tanks as well as a toilet and two sinks! We started to feel overwhelmed by the amount of work to be done before we can lower her aluminum shell back into place. We've got to figure out all of the plumbing, electrical and propane systems, which go under the flooring. But no worries, we'll get it all figured out!
Thanks for keeping up with us on Maude's progress!
Until next time <3 Becca
You guys! This has been a super exciting week for me, mentally, with Maude! All of our progress so far has felt like we were going backwards - demolition, removing her inner aluminum skin, removing all of the old insulation and wires and then lifting her shell off the frame so we could remove the rotten flooring. But I'm starting to get progress pictures from Tim of AHK Fabrication!
Her frame being welded!
Her wheels were salvageable, so they were sandblasted and powder-coated white - we'll be able to put the iconic aluminum hubcaps back on her!
Her original bumper was also in good condition! Here it is sand-blasted and attached to the new frame :)
So it's a super short update for you guys today, but I'm sooooo excited to share her progress after a rough winter break working on her ;)
Until next time! <3 Becca