Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dead of Winter

For the first time in a few years, Sonoma County is actually having a real Winter. In between the cold snaps & the downpours, I've still been able to work on my trailer.
I have mentioned many times how much I enjoy doing the woodwork aspects of the restoration. And the more I do, the more confident I become. My work might not be of the highest quality, but I am pleased with the results so far. Without good "bones", even the most beautiful of trailers would just fall apart.
Since the corners had already been rebuilt, the hardest part of the framing job was behind me. Now to reinforce & replace the cross members. Here again, I took 1 section at a time. I removed any boards that were weak or showed signs of dry rot. I was finally able to use that table saw I bought a year ago! I ripped new 1 x 2 pine to add strength to the roof areas. Near the roof vent, the aluminum was sagging noticeably. Some new lumber, a dozen Simpson ties & the top skin leveled right out.
The interior birch paneling in the front & rear lower areas was either completely missing or severely damaged. I had learned on the RR, the easiest way to replace those panels was to do it before the new framing was completed. I went to my local high-end lumber yard, Mount Storm, & purchased some sheets of 1/8" birch. I also picked up a 1/2" sheet to use later when I will reface some of the cabinets.
I started at the front - the curvature of the trailer would be easier to duplicate than the rear. I measured & cut the panel to size with my jigsaw. I attached the panel to the lower edge of the window framing. Then I started adding the new cross framing. With each new cross member, I would gently curve the paneling into place. I went inside & used tiny 1" panelboard nails to attach the paneling to the framing. I was relieved to see how easy this task was. Then on to the back. The rear of the Chiclet has a much more severe teardrop shape. I just hoped that the paneling wouldn't snap like a dry cracker. I repeated the same process that I had done on the front. It worked like a charm. Whew!!!
I did a bit more framing reinforcement. More lumber & more Simpson ties. I have probably added several hundred pounds to the weight of the trailer - no worries tho. The Chevy can handle it!
With all of the exterior woodwork completed, I can now more on to some of the more intimidating aspects of the restoration - the electrical & propane systems. I'll need to wait until I have a day when I feeling super confident ... or super brave : )

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