Monday, January 30, 2012

January Harvest Monday

Just because I can, here is a rare January Harvest Monday. The hoop house plastic is looking pretty rough and I figured I better pull the rest of the carrots and beets before a cold snap wiped them out. So by flashlight I fought slugs and got a bowl full.

Is Spring Getting Close?

This time last year it was cold, very cold. I still have carrots and beats in the garden and yesterday noticed that about half of the garlic is starting to come up. It's a little early to start tomatoes, but it is time to think about early cold weather crops.
Our garage is cold. Last year I started plants in the kitchen, which is cold too. Yesterday I modified a blanket with Velcro to cover the plant starts in the garage and keep some heat in. Between the seed heating mats and the florescent lights it should be warm enough to get these started. I am planning on a couple plantings of lettuce and spinach.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What the future holds

If I’m going to do something, I do it spectacularly or I don’t do it at all. - Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud

There's a running theme to the Shasta.  John and I are both going super-engineer on this project.  By the time we're finished, it will be the most over-engineered Shasta in the history of Shastas.  As the resident Structural Engineer, I spent some time creating drawing, laying out the framing, and making material take-offs. 

Streetside Elevation

We spent a lot of time looking at photos of other renovations online and we took excellent notes and dimensions during the demolition.  What I took away from everything I've learned so far - these trailer were not actually "designed" by anyone and the structural framing in the original is less than adequate.  Now, I'll admit, that may be the licensed engineer talking.  I usually design things for traffic loads, heavy equipment, or full human occupancy.  A trailer is much different, but I know what I am comfortable with.  The Shasta as originally designed, I am not.

Shasta Layout
 But unlike the things I usually design, this one has a very tight weight limit.  So my challenge was to come up with a framing plan that met the following criteria:
  1. I am comfortable with the finished product.
  2. Can be built by the contractor (John) with assistance from the structural engineer (me) and not cause a divorce.
  3. Weighs less than 300 lb (not including floor framing, insulation, or skin)
Right now, I have aluminum framing in mind.  We found a local supplier that sells stock aluminum shapes by the foot.  My first shot at the layout included diagonal framing members, hollow rectangular tubes for the main members and angles for the lighter members.  The "contractor "asked for a design change to make construction easier. 

I eliminated all diagonal members, not a huge deal.  I also changed the angle members to smaller square tubes.  The bonus to all tube shapes?  We will be able to fasten the plywood interior and the aluminum skin exterior to the tubes easily. I laid everything out, measured, and counted everything needed.  All of that information, of course, went into a spreadsheet.

Right now, the rough numbers I have for weight is 190 lb, which includes 15% extra to account for connection details.  Based on the online pricing, that is about $620 in framing, not including connection details.  I have 100 lb to play with for my weight allotment.  I'd say that's pretty good.  I'm assuming once we start assembling the Shasta, I may decide to make some field changes.  That 100 lbs might come in handy.

The front and back corners are still going to be timber.  I can only imagine the cost of having aluminum custom fabricated to fit those curves.  The floor framing will also be timber, basically the same framing as the original.

I think the rebuild is well-planned out.  Now we need to finish stripping the floor off the frame, de-assemble the frame and strip.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Warning: This Post May Cause Physical Illness

I'm serious, if you are ever thinking of owning a vintage trailer, do not continue reading.
Here is what our little trailer looked like just a few weeks ago.

This weekend was the bulk of the demolition. The back and curb side walls were the most rotted. They came off with little more than a few taps with a hammer.

The kitchen and cabinets were by far the most solid part. Although, solid is pretty relative.

Here is a random shot you don't normally see. This is looking from the closet through the opening for the ice box and out the front door.

An indoor tornado?

Ever wonder how big of a pile a shasta makes on the floor? Here you go.

Demo is almost complete. In the next week we will pull off the floor and start refinishing the frame.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Incredible Shrinking Trailer

At some point in the near future the trailer posts are going to switch from demo to construction. But, not today. Over Christmas break Sam and I have been peeling back layers of this very stinky onion. The aluminum skin has all been removed. After about a million rusty nails, screws, and staples we can see the full extend of the remaining wood. This project is less of a restoration and more of building our take on a 1965 Shasta Compact since the frame and windows will be the only things we are keeping.
 Up front I found some structural wiring.

On the streetside I found a dead weed that had grown a couple feet up into the body. I would expect boats to have less exposure to water than this poor trailer. Notice the leakage on the inside of the skin and this was the "good" side.  
 Gratuitous aluminum shot. The roof with all its roof sealant is off. It had layers of black roofing tar and white aluminum roof sealant. At this point I think the 1/4 inch insulation was providing structural support.

Now that the skin has been removed we have a pretty good picture of all the previous owner's home fixes for water damage. Here are the top three.
3. Expandable foam sprayed around the rear window to seal what appeared to be a rear window leak. After some investigation the leak wasn't from the rear window so the foam just pressed the existing sealant apart, creating a leak. The structure under the rear window was completely gone.
2. Black and white roofing sealant used around the vent in the kitchen. The trailer has been sitting in a dry area for a couple months. Funny, the only wet spot on the trailer was under the water proofing since the white type didn't really bond with the black stuff. The structure under the vent, around the door, and floor under the door was completely rotten.
1. Giant hole on the roof. Luckily it was covered with masking tape and coated with the roof sealant. Water ran in the hole in the roof, down the back wall, and rotted out the back wall.
The take home message for hillbillies looking to fix their trailers, don't use 2 inch drywall screws when the walls are only 1 inch thick and, roofing tar should not be used on things that aren't buildings.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012

Wow, hard to believe that 2011 is finished. Looking back at the pictures, it was a busy year. Sam passed her 16 hour structural engineering licensure test in the spring and I passed my professional engineering test in the fall. We took trips to San Diego, Las Vegas, Golden, San Francisco, and Reno. We did some races, some went better than others. And we worked on more than a few house projects.

January 2011 started out very snowy.

February pretty much stayed the same. 

Sam had two friends diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. In the spring she dyed her hair pink and shaved it off. We also got some Boulevard chocolate ale.

In April the garden started off strong, but it turned out a tough year for the garden.
We started over with the front yard.

By May everything was looking great. Come June and later things didn't look so good. 

We had some monster peas.
The annual tiki party was the first weekend in June. I smoked 5 pork butts on the new green egg. Turns out 50 people can not eat that much and we ate smoked pork for months.

By June the garden got sick, cause or causes are still unknown. The squirrels developed a taste for green tomatoes and we didn't get our first one until October.
We managed a few concerts in July, it was so hot. Even got Mark to come along to one, unbeknownist to him.

July and August were hot. Our running, outdoor time, and the garden interests wained.

In September Sam made a trip to the ER after a crash, which happened only a couple weeks before her big fall race. She attempted unsuccessfully to race that one in Texas. 

In September Tentill Blue played a reunion concert at the Roe Circle Country Club.
In September we also added a 1965 Shasta trailer to the stable. It has project written all over it.

In preparation for Thanksgiving at our house, Sam worked on the new front door. 

And got it completed.

We also managed to turn the furnace room into an official half bathroom.

For Thanksgiving we smoked a turkey on the green egg.

Made it back to Wisconsin for Christmas. Here is Sam practicing with our new tomato gun. 

All in all it was a successful year.

In January we went to San Diego for Sam's company Christmas party and took a couple days to see Palm Springs.

And dinosaurs.

In February we made it to Las Vegas for an old college roommate's wedding.
In June we traveled to San Francisco to see the Dispatch reunion and saw some friends and drank some beer along the way.

In August we spent a weekend in Golden, and consequently also drank some more beers.  

In November Sam and the girls headed to Las Vegas and I headed to Reno for the weekend.

 It definitely was a year where we headed west. Wonder where the next year will take us.