Saturday, March 31, 2012


I think we've all heard that a few thousand times in our life.  But.....its true.  Likewise, when the nice folks at say you HAVE to get a Kreg Pocket Jig, YOU SHOULD LISTEN!  I was toe-nailing screws in the best I could, and it was taking forever!  Being my stubborn self, I thought I can just get by doing it this way.  Then forever turned into forever-ever.  Kinda like when your trying to eat dinner with your Grandma and some dude comes and keeps talking, and talking, and talking.  :)
So, I thought, hmmmm, maybe I should buy one of the those Kreg thingys everyone said I should buy!

KAZAM!  One quick trip to Home Depot and I've got a cool little kit.  It comes with everything you need in one cool carrying case.   And boy does it make framing go Faaaaaaaaaaaaaast!

It shaved hours off my work just today!  That helped us get a lot done.  The re-framing of the back end is 99% complete.  The street side drip edge/awning rail is off.  And Brandi cleaned up one of the windows and we re-installed it.  Looks GREAT!

All that's left to frame is the very bottom plate.

Window is back in!!!!!!  Finally see some progress!

Outside few of new window.

Here is an example of the wonder of the Kreg Pocket Jig

While we're hard at work, here is what the cats do....

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Bob" is back on track!

I'm glad to announce that I was able to recover from my "Epic Fail"!

Although not easy, I've made some good progress.  I started off getting
frustrated, but then I heard the voice of my inner craftsman say, "You are over thinking it, dumb it down and you can figure it out!"   Wiser words have never been spoken.  (at least by my "inner craftsman")  Dumbing things down has been my speciality, and it really helped......for once in my life.  Although I'm sure my "inner craftsman" isn't Bob Vila, Mike Holmes, or Tom Silva.  Probably more like Pee-wee Herman with purple tool belt.

Anyhow,  I kept trying to think of ways to re-create the framing EXACTLY like it was done originally.  But in the end its basically impossible, so I just had to make a new way to re-frame it.

Also, it helped to completely remove the rear skin.  That way, I had easy access to everything and could easily scribe the curve on to new pieces of lumber.

Here it is back together again.

I also got started on the new framing for around the window. 

The wind is sure blowing outside and I think it blew off all the plastic that Brandi had covered the windows with.  I sure hope it doesn't rain much tonight!!!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Epic Fail

I think that best describes the day we had working on the shasta.  Nothing....I mean NOTHING, was going well! 

Goals for the day:
   1.  Fix rotten framing on entire trailer.
   2.  Remove J-rail from both sides.
   3.  Remove all old butyl tape from both sides.
   4.  Install new butyl tape on both sides.
   5.  Re-install J-rail with new screws on both sides.
   6.  Remove front window.

Actual goals accomplished:
   1.   Removed J-rail from one side.
   2.   Removed old butyl tape.
   3.   Removed front window.

We only got maybe 20% of out goals done.  Not good.
It was like Humpty-Dumpty.  There was NO putting it back together! 
First, I couldn't get the replacement framing to fit, then the roof and side skins wouldn't match up. 

The curves of the trailer make it very hard to replicate.  I tried to soak small strips of plywood in the tub, and then bend them around the framing, but it just wouldn't bend enough.  So after a few hours of beating my head against the wall, I conceded defeat and took an extended break.

Jay came over on later Sunday and we bent some plywood strips around a curved frame I made, so we'll see how that works....

Here I am blissfully unaware of the Chernobyl-like disaster of a day that is fast approaching.

One of myriads of twist style nails that I removed.
The nails just pulled thru the aluminum.  Yet another sign things were heading down hill!

Brandi did an AMAZING job cleaning the old butyl tape of the J-rail!!!
See the before picture of it cover with all the crud.  And the beautiful shiny after picture!  Really the only good thing from the day.

And now realization that my trailer is in pieces, its supposed to rain for the next couple days, and I can't get it back together.
The roof is now separated, never to be aligned properly again.   *sigh*

And lastly, Mom had rough week with loosing her two companions.
Now she only has 1 outside cat, 1 inside cat, several fish in the square aquarium, several fish in the pond, other outside cat (oops forgot about the Tomcat), several chickens (also minus 1 recently, bummer),
and dad. 
Oh how I love to give her a hard time!  :)
But, I know it's hard to loose beloved pets, without a doubt they will be missed by everyone.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day of incredible progress!!!!!

I'm writing you with pain in every part of my body right down to my fingers I'm typing with.  Between the "Day of incredible progress", and P90X (don't ask), my body is rejecting any movement except laying on the couch moving only for the occasional button press on the remote IF absolutely necessary.  But as you can see from the pics we got a LOT done today!!!!

For starters, Brandi removed all but the front window and drip edges above them.  While I focused on repairing the retractable step, removing everything from the inside, and laying down new subfloor.

I also got to run to Menards for some supplies, and put in a big order from for what felt like a hefty chunk of my life savings.  (Just an illustration, a "hefty chunk would actually be $3.48 :)

Here is Brandi hard at work!!!!

It looked like someone had run over something BIG and bent the step badly. So it needed some repair since it was stuck under the trailer and wouldn't slide out.

PLAN A:    I tried to bend it back with a little "persuasion" know more commonly as a Stanley mini-sledge.  But, it wouldn't budge!

PLAN B:    We hooked on 2 ratcheting moving straps and hooked the other end on the steel frame and tightened one at a time until it bent out. 

           NOW IT WORKS, but it's in bad shape, so it may get replaced some day.

Here are the fruits of Brandi's hard work!  

And here is the new floor! 
I haven't screwed it down yet because we ran outta steam.  But that will be done tomorrow.

Brandi covered up all the window openings so it will keep out most of the rain until we can restore and reinstall the windows.

So as you can see we got a LOT done today.  I wanted to peel the roof up and repair the water damage, but it was way too windy.  If the wind would of caught the roof, it would of peel it off like a sardine can!

We even got a little tan, possibly a little sun burnt.  Although, I'm sure Sarah, Vince, and Paxton have us beat!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Giant Puzzle box named "Bob".

Sorry for the delay in updating with my blog.  My progress has been hampered by the cold, wet weather.  For now, it seems we'll have a good solid week of nice temps to try and get a lot of work done!

So far....
I've continued to tear out the insides.  Now, you may think, "MAN is he slooooooow".  But I'm tellin ya, these things are NOT made to come apart!!!!  Its like those toy puzzle boxes that contain something REALLY cool, and you REALLY, REALLY want whats inside it.  If you only you could figure out how to get inside the dumb box!!!!   

That's how it feels to work on a Shasta!  Its just a lot of slow work, trying to figure things out as you go.
One reason that it's taking longer is that I'm trying to keep all the wood paneling in their original shape and size.   That way, when cut new ones, I can use the old for templates and get a perfect fit.  Especially important since they have lots of curves that would be hard to recreate from scratch.
Its hard to believe, but all the wall framing in held together with staples.  And I don't mean like big, HONKIN, staples.  They are TINY, like the ones out of a small hand stapler!  I am surprised that these old campers didn't crumble at highway speeds!

This is a hole to nowhere I found today.  It was stuffed with foam.  I think I decided today that I won't tear up the floor.  It's 80% good, so I'm just going to add a 1/2 layer of plywood and add any needed support on the underside.

Also, the rot from being wet on the backside of the trailer is waaaaay worse than I thought.  When I removed a chunk of wood, the piece behind it was totally rotted out and fell down thru to the ground.  (I hope there aren't any nails!!!!)

I hope to hit it hard this weekend sometime since it sounds like the weather will cooperate!