VCT Magazine Issue #43
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Inside of this Issue:
- WIN a vintage trailer and tow vehicle!
- Copper Airstream Art
- Golden Caravan 1961 Airstream
- Centennial Celebration - Tin Can Tourists
- Field Guide to Vintage Trailers
- Gold 1965 Avion
- VCT Boot Camp 2019
- Summer Stops on the Jersey Shore
- Polishing Vintage Trailers
- Working With Steel and Aluminum
- Metals Many Different Properties
- Exterior Siding - Re-Use or Replace?
- Metal Framing is a Good Place to Start
- Stainless Steel Drinkware
- USA Rally Calendar
We have repaired and refurbished dozens of vintage trailers. We are not unfamiliar with replacing rotten wood, riveting damaged exterior panels or upgrading plumbing and electrical systems. Restoring or rebuilding a trailer “from the ground-up” is a different animal. Don’t be fooled by the pretty pictures on the Internet. It is dirty, often challenging and frustrating, but very satisfying work.
If you plan to do more than just redecorate a used trailer, what we learned while doing the restoration of our Golden Caravan Airstream will make your project go more smoothly. You can read more about our trailer and its history on page 8, but consider the following before you tackle your next big project:
Be Honest - What is the actual scope of the project? I am a visionary dreamer; I can see how the trailer will look finished before I hook it to my truck for the first time. Our 1961 Airstream project was thought to be a moderate sized project at first glance. I planned to repair some rotten wood, refinish the cabinetry and re-do the upholstery. If I would have had a second opinion by a realist, I may have had a better idea of the true scope of the project. We ended up totally gutting the interior and rebuilding and replacing everything to look as it would have in the 1960s.
Ability or Budget - You will need a lot of one or both. A trailer has the same components as your home, condensed into less than 200 square feet. Some working knowledge of plumbing, electrical, wood and metal work, or the budget to pay a professional will keep your project moving. Fortunately, you have friends, You Tube and the Vintage Camper Trailers’ Boot Camp (www.vctbootcamp) to help you when you meet challenges-and you will meet challenges.
Have a Plan - Using a story board to focus your design elements will help you focus as you pick out paint colors, wood finishes and soft goods. You will be making decision on everything from the level of gloss on the wood to coordinating window coverings with your upholstery choices. You may have a theme, style or period that you are trying to create. Keeping your eye on the goal will help you make those incremental choices along the way.
Source Your Parts - Once it is go-time, get going. Accumulate your parts and materials as you find them. Nothing holds up a project like not having the materials you need, when you need them. We knew which appliances we were going to use months before we needed them. Because of storage space, budget and second guessing my decisions, I didn’t order them until I “needed” them. Unexpected availability issues and shipping times held up our progress on the cabinetry as we needed to fit the new appliances into the refurbished galley before being able to complete the cabinets. Specialized interior paint that had to be ordered from the Midwest, cost more to ship by air in the winter in order to keep it from freezing.
Be Intentional - If you are like me, deadlines will help you focus. Touch your project daily or as often as possible to keep it moving forward. A stalled project is hard to restart. Doing even a little bit daily will reap more results than waiting until you have an entire weekend to dedicate to your end goal. Good luck!
By Paul Lacitinola