Sunday, August 25, 2013

Joni's Re-Hab, Part Four

Joni is another day closer to completion. Gary put the finishing touches on her removable plexiglass window mounting yesterday, installed the weatherstripping, and tested it for fit. No problems. The window is installed by inserting it into the window frame from the outside, and then securing it inside with a strip of aluminum flat bar and wing nuts. Easy in, easy out. Then it was time to install the air conditioner. It has been test fitted MANY times already, so there was no doubt it would fit. Once the air conditioner was bolted to it's wooden mount, it was thoroughly caulked to prevent any water leakage. To go one step further, an exterior wooden surround was attached to the main part of the mounting. This will stop most of the rain water before it even gets to the part of the air conditioner that was caulked. In addition, the exterior surround dresses up the opening, and hides the unsightly mounting hardware for the air conditioner, and the gaps between the air conditioner and the surrounding window frame. The air conditioner is considerably harder to get in and out than the plexiglass window is, but it is do-able. Joni was vacuumed out to remove all of the construction debris, and Gary was about to put the hinged plywood base for her bed in place, but noticed that two of the three hinges are broken. So now he has another unexpected thing to fix before things can go back together permanently. There's still a couple of little things to do as well, but Joni is 98% completed at this point. She has been one surprise after another, but I guess the same could be said for me when Gary first started my renovation. At least Joni didn't smell like a wet and dirty dog, and was so badly coated with nicotine that it had to be bleached several times. Yep, I was pretty disgusting. When Joni is finally completed, Gary will take her outside and water test her for leaks, and then she will be ready to go home. The time is drawing near.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Joni's Re-Hab, Part Three

My buddy Gary has been pretty busy with other things, but he's still made time to work on Joni. He's getting closer and closer to being done with her. I'm pretty excited about this, because once Joni is done, work finally begins on me. I want to look my best for our upcoming camping trips, and I'm pretty embarrassed to have anyone see me at the moment. My time will be here soon, but it's hard to be patient. Let me explain what's been done to Joni in this series of photos. First, there was nothing reflective inside Joni's taillights to reflect the light and make them nice and bright. Gary found some replacement mirror material at Wal-Mart, cut it to fit inside the taillights, and as you can see, the reflection now is mirror bright. Moving to the front end of Joni, she was missing several parts on her right side to hold up her stone shield. Gary made a pivot and stone shield lock from various parts. He cut the main part of the pivot from a galvanized hurricane anchor he found at Home Depot for eighty-two cents. With a little grinding on it's edges, it pretty much matches the cast aluminum pivot on the other side of Joni's window. It's possible to make pivots for both sides out of one anchor, but Joni only needed one. The support rod for the awning was cut from a piece of 1/2" aluminum c-channel. The locking mechanism was made from several parts, including a lamp nipple, a clevis pin, a spring, and some washers. How he comes up with these ideas I will never know, but Gary is quite good at making things work for jobs they are not originally intended for. Heading inside Joni, you can see that he added window trim to the large rear window, set the nails, and caulked the holes. Joni's owner will paint everything later. The side window was quite a problem. The entire wall has a good amount of water damage. Since Joni's air conditioner will be mounted in that bare frame most of the time, the wall needed some "beefing up" without replacing it. So, Gary used some 1x2 for window trim, and inserted longer screws from outside of the aluminum frame and into the trim. This "sandwiches" the weak plywood wall between the aluminum frame and the solid wood, stabilizing the area and making it good and solid. No problem with this area holding the weight of the air conditioner, even during travel. The last pic is of Joni's vintage Eskimo metal fan. The remaining pieces of the incomplete Humphrey gas light were removed, and a small plywood mount was attached behind the wall of Joni's over-dinette cabinet. The plywood mount contains something called a t-nut fastener. It's basically a threaded nut with "teeth" on it that is pounded into a hole in the plywood mount. It accepts a machine screw from the front side of the cabinet that the fan hangs on. When the fan is removed, the machine screw can also be removed. That leaves nothing unsightly hanging out of the cabinet. The black piece of carpet underneath the base of the fan serves two purposes. It hides the large hole left behind by the old gas light, and it cushions the fan and silences some of the vibration created when the fan is running. Gary doesn't always think of everything, but I would definitely give him an "A" for effort. I hope I've explained all this stuff clearly enough that you can understand what I'm talking about. Living here at the Green Acres Garage has been quite educational for me. I couldn't have told you about any of this stuff when I moved here, but I'm learning more and more all the time. I'll probably have one more report about Joni's re-hab before she leaves us. I'll write more soon, I promise. Have a good one!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Home Of "Gary's Hardware"

I really should have posted this before I posted the update about Joni, since this occurred before, but I got a bit ahead of myself. I guess the extreme heat in the garage isn't only effecting Gary, but it's getting to me as well. Must be an age thing. Oh well. Remember the ultra-cool hardware cabinets that I posted about a couple of weeks ago? Gary had come home with twelve of these beauties, and began clearing a space and moving an electrical outlet where they were going to be located. Gary didn't want them to sit directly on the concrete floor, so a base was built to sit them on. The two long 2x4's seen in the first picture are new, but all the other wood on the base is recycled. The plywood top used to be part of Henry the Hilander's floor. It's not the prettiest plywood on the planet, but it will be covered by the cabinets and not seen. With the base built and put in place, the hardware cabinets were brought over one by one. Gary lag bolted the bottom layer of the cabinets to the base, and bolted each cabinet to another, forming a solid wall. Some of the drawers had to be removed to gain access to places to bolt everything down and together. Once the wall of cabinets were together, the drawers were put back in. The next step is to organize the large amount of hardware that Gary has "in stock", put that hardware in the drawers, buy whatever may be missing from "inventory", and label all the bins and the fronts of the drawers. That probably won't happen until the fall. Getting those cabinets out of the way was the main goal for now. I never paid much attention to hardware before I moved here to the Green Acres Garage, but I can see why Gary likes it. A guy that works on lots of stuff like he does can never have enough hardware, right? I can't wait for everything to be organized. I'll be hearing a lot less cuss words when Gary can finally find what he's looking for. When he's happy, I'm happy, and a happy camper is what it's all about!

Joni's Re-Hab, Part Two

It's been busy around here since I last posted an entry into my blog, but I guess that's nothing new. There's ALWAYS something going on in the Green Acres Garage. Gary's been sweating his butt off in the hot and humid summer days of Florida, but he's slowly making progress on Joni's repairs. He would have had her completed in half the time in cooler temperatures, but these brutally hot days really take a toll on him. We only have eight weeks to go before our first camping trip, so I know he's doing his best to get her done. I am waiting to get some of his attention for myself. Anyway, let me show you some pictures and tell you a little about Joni's latest improvements. After shimming out a rather crooked wall, her left side cargo door and lock was installed. I donated the empty window frame that Joni's air conditioner will fit in. That frame used to be where my fire escape window is now. Somebody got REALLY mad at my previous owner, and they took their hostility out on ME! What did I do? I'm just a poor little travel trailer. Those were the dark days of my existence, and I try not to dwell on them. They beat all the glass out, and destroyed the "innards" of the window. Gary, not one to ever throw anything away, kept the empty frame for a future project, and Joni became that project. The air conditioner will be removable, and a plexiglass panel will fill the empty frame when the air conditioner is not needed. The pictures you see here are "test fit" photos, and not the final product. There's still a lot more to do yet. The biggest improvement this week has been the completion of Joni's rear wall, both inside and out. Gary originally cut a small patch panel to cover the hole where the air conditioner used to be located under Joni's rear window. It didn't look like Gary wanted it, so he cut a wider panel to go all the way across the back under the window. I agree. It does look better. She also got a brand new license plate light and bracket, and got her "Serro Scotty" emblem reattached. With that done, it was time to install her rear window for good. He had test fitted it before, but now it was time to install it for good. Looks nice, doesn't it? The inside of the rear wall was insulated, and then came the installation of the plywood trim panel. Sure looks better than the one Gary removed. It had been hacked up in the past, and had nowhere to be attached to because there were no studs in the rear wall. All of that has been rectified, and Joni now has a good solid rear wall. I'll write again soon, and will give you an update on Joni and whatever else happens here in the life of St. Augustine's one and only "talking" travel trailer. Until then, XOXOXO, Toaster.