Devils Tower

Devils Tower

Sunday, June 17, 2012


This is the one thing that I have been wanting to change since I brought it home.  The "Big Nasty" is the rock guard on the front of the trailer.  It appears to be home made. At some point, someone had to replace the front glass and decided that it was worth the effort to build one.  

Nice work, huh?

The original design is not too bad, however I feel that the original designer and the guy that was infatuated with roof coat tar are not the same guy.  The guy that fabricated the framework did a pretty good job.  The roof seal is another story.
 This bozo was using the roofing sealant for chrome paint.  He painted the rock guard frame and fiberglass insert, the roof caps (that can be polished to a mirror finish), the door jambs, the piano hinges, just about anything you can imagine.
Let's add some happy trees to that rock guard........shall we?
The first thing I wanted to do was to get that nappy, sealant covered fiberglass out of the frame.
Then I spent about 2 hours removing the goo from the frame with lacquer thinner.
Then, I started on something that I have been wanting to do for a year.....polish on the frame.
I originally was going to have a really cool piece of aluminum with a design pressed into it, but I am out of money and time.  I started searching for a suitable substitute.
I stumbled upon this junk dealer in downtown.  He was housed in a 1920's building and there is no way they have any idea what they have in their inventory.  It was like visiting Fred and Lamont.
Hey Pops, here comes that crazy travel trailer guy again...
I did come away from there with a brand new piece of 1/4" fiberglass sheeting for a mere $5.36.  Not bad, huh?
I have had this idea in my head of a rocket ship that would represent the Atomic era.  This trailer was built right at the peak of the space race.  In 1959, those pesky Russians landed an unmanned spacecraft on the moon.  Well, the USA could not be outdone, so we did it in 1962.  The model name on our little space toaster is a Mark II.  That was a common name for rocket weaponry in those days.
How's that for a history lesson?  I always did so good in school, the teacher gave me a special chair and a special hat.  None of the other kids got one.  She must have recognized the high IQ.

I have a hot rod buddy that is a fireman/graphic artist.  His name is Brian Neeley and he owns Inkling Designs, in Bethany, OK.  I called Brian and told him about this idea I had.  It was a crazy idea, but he knows that generally, when I call, it has to do with  crazy ideas.  I am surprised he doesn't block me in his phone. 

 So, I proceed to tell Brian about my 66"x 26" blank canvas, also known as a rock guard.  I could have just painted the rock guard silver and it would have just blended in and you would have never paid much attention to it, but I can't just leave that alone.

I had a picture in my mind that would help tie all of the late 50's- early 60's space race vibe together.  I pictured a cartoon rocket ship with a 50's sort of "Stardust" type of font for the name.

  I had originally thought about free handing it and airbrushing the background, but that was way too labor intensive and I am not that talented.  I called Brian and asked him how hard it was to do vinyl wraps.  He said that he had a friend that was also a screen printer that had a large vinyl machine and it would be a nothing deal.  The hardest part would be the art.  So, I started searching the web for examples of clip art etc. Once the art was found, I sent it all to Brian and over a few weeks, we hashed out what we needed.  Once the design was finalized we sent it to his printer friend.  

Anyway, I decided to add some stiffeners to the back of the fiberglass using countersunk rivets. 
Then I filled the areas around the rivets with a little glazing putty to make sure there were no low spots.
Then I taped the fiberglass edges to the kitchen table.
Then, I removed about an inch of the backing on one end of the vinyl.  Squaring up the vinyl with the fiberglass backing, I stuck it down starting in the middle and working my way out.
Only pull off as much backing as you can handle in one setting.  It takes two people, no way around it.  Have the other person hold up the excess roll and keep it tight.
I used a rolled up dish towel as a squeegee, as per my buddy Brian.  He says a lot of the harsher squeegees will scratch the finish.  This stuff is pretty forgiving, which is a good thing.  I don't suggest this for newlyweds or bipolar couples.  It can get stressful if you let it.
With that finally done, I had to put it back in the frame without scratching it.  I reinstalled the guard on the trailer without a lot of problems.  I still have to make the arms to hold it open, but that is gonna hafta wait until tomorrow.
So, what do you think?  Better?  I think so....

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