Alright, here’s what’s been going on with Belle…..
When we purchased her, I thought that all we needed to do was replace the interior paneling and cabinets…more out of desire rather than need….and rebuild the frame for the back wall….slap on a little paint and go to town decorating. NOPE!!! As we removed all of the paneling and skins, it became apparent that MOST of the framing would have to be replaced. I would say that the framing is about 85% new.
Originally there were 1x2 as studs, but we decided to go with 1x3s to make it a little more structurally sound. We also replaced the staples fastening the studs together with metal plates…..definitely more structurally sound.
Belle now has all new wiring both for trailer lights and electricity inside. I’m glad that Joel tackled that one cause it was the biggest “I don’t know” for me. Belle got naked a couple of times so that we could scrape off the old Butyl tape between the aluminum skins and replace it with new stuff.
If you remember, when we got Belle she had an awful air conditioner hanging out what should have been the rear window. Well, whoever did that to her used a whole tube of silicone caulk to try and stop the leaking. Even I know that silicone is a big no no for travel trailers….that crap does not come off. So I did a little research on how to remove silicone from aluminum and found that it you scrape off most of it with a razor blade you can spray oven cleaner to get the rest off. Well that really didn’t work for the silicone, but it took all of the paint off where I sprayed. So that got me thinking, I just spent about 2 hours trying to sand down a very small area and didn’t get much off so why not use the oven cleaner to get the paint off. That’s right people; I used regular old oven cleaner to strip the whole trailer. All it did was spray the whole thing down, waited 20 minutes and sprayed off the bubbled up paint with the hose. All the paint came off…just like that. It probably would have worked a little better if I had a pressure washer, but the regular sprayer that I had worked fine. I just had to go back with a scrubber in a few spots. Who would have thunk, regular old oven cleaner would be the best paint stripper….and cheap too. Although, I must say, when I ran out of my Easy-Off Fumeless Professional I ran to the grocery store to get a can of their off brand oven cleaner and it didn’t work as well. So if you are going to use the Cristen method of removing paint, go to Lowes or Home Depot and get the Easy-Off Professional…they don’t sell it at Target.
So the whole reason for stripping Belle to the bare aluminum was to get crazy with Bondo. My intentions when purchasing a whole gallon of Bondo were to smooth out any and every ding on her. LOL!!!! What a lofty idea. All I managed to do really well with the Bondo was to cover the holes left by removing the marker/clearance lights from the front and back. Why remove the lights? Well, I had one missing from the front and one missing from the back. I found replacements, but then I thought the shinny new light would make the other 4 old ones look like crap when installed…..and if you scroll down and look at my “Goal” it doesn’t have marker lights. I gotta say, Bondo is really hard to work with because it dries in like 2 seconds, but I did a good job filling those holes. So where does that leave us….new framing, new wiring, new Butyl tape, holes filled with Bondo, stripped down and ready to paint. I have changed my mind on the paint….of course. I decided that I should go with something a little more retro/traditional just in case I don’t like camping and we need to sell Belle. So I decided on Leaprog Green for the bottom and Westhighland White for the top. The green matches my fabulous green oven.
We are down to the wire now and getting to the good part…decorating. I have been going crazy ordering things. We have brand new reproductions of the original “wedding cake” tail lights. I can’t wait to get those on.
I also got an original Shasta magazine rack....Shasta Compacts didn't come with these, but I think its pretty cool so I really wanted one.
I just got an old refrigerator door from a 1960 Shasta…thanks to Dennis. Its brown now, but it will be painted green to match the oven. I’m going to use the refrigerator door as a cabinet door to hide my modern, tiny, refrigerator. I tried really hard to get the matching green refrigerator, but everyone that had one wouldn’t sell just that…and I wasn’t going to buy a whole new Shasta just to get a green refrigerator. I think that I like this one better anyway…its curvy.
I have dishes too. To be honest, I bought these the week after we got Belle. Priorities.
I decided to go very neutral on the interior for everything that isn’t removable…..just in case. The Formica for the countertops and table is VirrVarr White…very retro.
Armstrong commercial linoleum in white for the floor.
All of the cushions will be covered in white vinyl….and the pillows and curtains…easily removable and changeable…will be in pink and green to match the dishes.
I’ve ordered everything that needs to be ordered….new aluminum trim for the countertop and table, new screen for the screen door and new drip caps for over the windows.
We’ve got a lot to do this week. Primer goes on tomorrow. Paint started on Friday and new birch paneling gets cut and fitted. Saturday more painting. Sunday install flooring. Busy Busy.