Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sticky Situation

OK, if I have learned 3 things today it is this..........

A. I never want to work in a glue factory
B. Vinyl Tile guys rest easy, I will never try and take your job.
C. However long you think it will take to lay tile, double that.

We finally agreed on an Armstrong Commercial VCT tile.  It kinda has an oyster/off white color to it.  We wanted to keep it true to the early 60's vibe we have going.  It kinda has that school house hallway tile feel to it.  I spent a lot of time in the hall, during my  grade school years.  Hard to believe, I know.

We started out by finding the center of the trailer.  Which was a challenge in itself, because it was never square to begin with and it has rounded corners.

We really got excited when we were doing the full tiles, because it seemed like we would be done in a couple of hours........wrong.  All of those cuts eat up a lot of time.

We have never laid vinyl tile in our lives, unless you consider the peel and stick kind laying tile......

We learned a lot.  I learned that I hate laying vinyl tile.  I learned that the adhesive gets on every freaking thing in the shop, including your hair, clothes, and anything you touch.  It was like a bad 70's cartoon.  I felt like I would have an anvil sticking to my hand at any time, only to be tossed over a cliff.

  Here's a little secret for all you tile buckaroos.  Don't try and cut it with a knife unless you have one of these.
Harbor Freight heat gun, don't blow dry your hair with it.
Here's my kung fu ninja fighting knife.
I took this away from 3 ninjas in a dark alley.

If you heat the tile with this heat gun it cuts like "Butta" baby.
It cuts just like Butta..........

These types of cuts test your marriage skills........
I would call out the dimensions, while my lovely assistant would make a drawing on a piece of paper.  I have always heard that men and women's brains operate differently.  I know this for a fact, now.  My wife would look at the tile that needed to be cut, reverse image it in her head, then turn around and draw it on paper as a negative.  Whatever works I guess.

This is where that crazy cut above goes.

Most of the tile is covered anyway by the bed, the dinette, the shower pan etc.  But this makes a great wearing surface for storage boxes etc.  

Crappy picture, but it hides most of the defects caused by shoddy workmanship, no?
Here is a picture of the trailer finally tiled.  I took a quick snap shot to show that I do actually work on the trailer.  Sorry about the quality of the pic, but it was 11 pm and the neighbors were tired of listening to Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on Pandora cranked up to 9.  They'll get over it........a little culture never hurt anyone.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Floor it!

Floor it!!!!!!

Well, today was a record high.  It was 108.  That can't stop us.  We pressed on.  Kinda getting used to it now.  There's a cold front that has moved in and it is only supposed to be 97 tomorrow.
The wife and kids suited up for a day on the Avalair.

We had to do a few repairs while attaching the walls back down to the new floor.  The bottom U channel is made of some thin aluminum and has probably lost a lot of it's strength over the years.  I decided to add some aluminum extrusion to help stiffen up the walls and act as a doubler of sorts.

Your basic hardware store variety aluminum.
This helped stiffen things up a lot and also gave me a place to reattach the skin where the "Hole Fairy" had been active.

We decided to add another 1/2" of plywood over the top of the newly replaced floor, plus in a few high traffic areas that were sort of spongy.  The wood is still in great shape, but since Avalair used 1/2" instead of 5/8" or 3/4", (probably due to weight savings and cost) we just wanted a firmer feel.  So, we added another layer bonded with an adhesive and screws.

  Someone in the future is gonna hate me, but such is life.  By Dec. 21st,  2012 , this thing will be inhabited by Zombies anyway, so who cares.  The floor will be solid for them.
I bet you never thought I could work a pic of zombies in, did you?

The culprit.  Maybe this will keep it from squeaking in the future.  Who knows?
Troweling out the adhesive.
Ah yes.....perfection.

Not the best in the world, but way below average.

Tomorrow we tile...........

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 15 of 100+ degrees and day 2 of the 4th of July Thrash

Today was sort of productive.  I didn't get as far as I had hoped, but the heat makes me wanna go inside and watch Welcome Back Kotter re-runs.

Today is what I call "Crap Day".  It's the day when I finally do the things I have been putting off.  It's easy to tell  when that happens, because  Mr Hanky shows up.

I started putting the floor back together.  That turned into an all day deal. It looks easy enough.

I was able to slide the new floor under the walls.  This is about the only way to get this back under the outer walls.

This is a shot from the inside of the trailer as I slid the floor in.  It took a while, but I finally managed to hold my mouth right and everything went back to it's original place.

I forgot to take any pics of the floor after it was finished, so you will have to close your eyes and imagine it all put back together.  See, that looks good, huh?

Remember the "drunk man shower" and the "pipe that leads to nowhere"?
They both got removed today.  My lovely assistant decided to try and remove the paint from the shower head , soap dish etc. but the chrome came off with it, so we will have to decide what to do now.
Some of Stevie Wonder's best work

After installing the floor, I started trying to address the work of Hacksaw Harry and the Cutting Torch Quartet.

This is the outmost floor joist support in the shower area.  Someone cut out all of the strength of the beam, therefore rendering it useless.  I looked around the shop for some scrap to build a doubler to reinforce this mess.

This is what I ended up building.  It's overkill, but what good redneck trailer couldn't use some 3 inch angle iron?

I went ahead and drilled a hole for my gray water drain.  I would hate to lay on my back and try and holesaw through this 1/4" angle.

I think I may take tomorrow off as a clean day and try and get the yard squared away.  My neighbors are starting to leave hints, like weedeater string in my mailbox and signs that read "Mow your yard".  I'm not sure how to take that.

It's hard living in a gated community.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Happy Fourth of July Thrash

I figured for my 4th of July Celebration, I would don my patriotic work clothes and get started back on the trailer. Excuse the flag, Doctor's orders.

It's hard to get motivated though, it has been over a hundred degrees for 15 days straight.  This usually doesn't happen until the end of July-beginning of August.

  I started sandblasting the rear of the trailer frame in preparation for the new floor.  I guess the heat , mixed with the sand , must be what caused my dog's outlandish behavior.

I noticed this guy circling the yard as well.  He must have an Avalair as well.

After blasting the frame, I coated it with some really nasty stuff.  It's made by KBS coatings.  It's sort of like POR15 if you are familiar with that.  It is an air dry paint that uses the moisture in the air to cure it.

Crappy picture

 It cures as hard as a rock and basically is permanent, so don't get it on your hands.  The people at church will think you work on diesel trucks for a living.

I have the replacement floor cut and painted, to hopefully prevent any damage if it ever gets wet in the future.  Doing away with the leaking hot water tank should eliminate that threat. I am only coating the bottom.  The top will have tile glued to it and I don't want any reason for  the tiles lifting.

In order to fasten this floor back down right, I have to remove the inner wall because the outer walls screw down through the floor.  I hated to do this but, there was no way around it.
Inner skin removed
I did find it interesting that the upper cap was made from fiberglass instead of aluminum, like the rest of the interior.  I guess it is easier  and cheaper to build a form for the glass than it would be to build a giant press die to form the aluminum.

Pic of the fiberglass cap

So meanwhile back at the ranch.......................

Mama Root, the Ebay fiend, has been sniping auctions like nobody's business.  Her most recent project has been a "match safe" to hang on the wall.  I call it a match box holder, but what do I know?
It doesn't match anything we own and basically is ugly.  But fear not little buckaroos, she has a plan.

See, I told you it was ugly.

She wanted something that would match the robin egg blue interior and have a 60's vibe to it.  
So, immediately it was off to Lowe's to see what was available on the spray can aisle.

Whodathunk it?
So, she stripped the old sunflower off with a frenzy, not rarely seen by the human eye.

Within minutes, the match box safe had started a new life, wearing new clothes.
So, how to personalize the safe?  We needed something to give it that 60's postcard vibe we were after.
After a few minutes on Google images and Ebay, she spots the perfect victim.

The perfect non politically correct post card.

The only problem is that the want 20 bucks for a vintage water slide decal and it will probably melt if we clear over it.  What to do?

  Leave to the Sinsei Craft Master.  She has a plan.

Recently, we had to send out graduation invitations and she had found this cool little program on  It allows you to import your graphics and print them on clear shipping labels.
It asks what labels you have (stock number) and imports it accordingly.

These are available up to an 8.5"x11" label.  You can get them in laser and inkjet versions.

Several different sizes.  She wasn't sure which one would fit.
Skilled hands and nerves of steel I tell you.

 The labels are a peel and stick type.  Once you have it placed on the piece you plan on clearing, fog it with a light coat.  Allow to dry for about 30 minutes and allow it to tack up.  This piece ended up taking about 5-6 coats but the end result was good.  We used a semi-gloss clear.

This picture doesn't really give a true reflection of this piece.  The colors are a lot more vibrant in person.
This kinda fits our needs.  We were looking for a truck stop type of souvenir from the 60's and on the cheap.  This definitely fills that bill.