First, let me apologize for the rotated photos in my last post. I was trying to upload from my phone...and that obviously didn't work... If you'd like me to reupload those, please let me know and I'll be happy to do it.
So when last we left, the trailer was getting it's first coat of gold paint. After the first go-round of the gold, the trailer looked pretty spiffy, but it was far from finished. This is where I learned about the waterborne paint's unique drying method. The guys handed me a strange looking tool connected to the air hose. It looked like the one shown below (the one that looks like a short-nosed hair dryer). It's called a diffuser. The air hose connects at the bottom and forces air up into the chamber at the top which is nothing more than a somewhat conical shaped tube. The air blows out the narrow end giving it the feel of a "blow dryer."
My job as the apprentice was to use the diffuser and "blow dry" the paint, removing all the water from the waterborne paint - that's how it dries -- it's not a chemical reaction that depends on heat to dry (like rattle can paint), but rather the removal of the moisture in the paint itself. So, following the directions the guys gave me, I went back and forth over the gold paint with the diffuser. As the paint dried, it lost it's shine and took on a fairly nice looking yet dull luster. In one of the photos below, you can see me using the diffuser. The photo of the trailer shows how the paint looked once it was dry.
Again, it was my turn to take the diffuser and go over the trailer. This time it was much harder to determine what was dry and what wasn't. Chris warned me that the third coat of gold would be much harder still, but he said that in the end it would all be worth it! He explained that the final coat would consist of a lighter "fluff" coating of material that would make the metal flake in the paint just "pop" once the clear coat was applied.
I didn't get much by way of pics for the final fluff coat as there was overspray everywhere - which is what was supposed to happen - and I didn't want to risk getting much on my camera.
Once the third layer was applied, I had to use the diffuser one more time. Just like Chris said, it was almost impossible to tell the difference between what was dry and what wasn't. As I dried the paint, I noticed that it almost took on a platinum color.
It looked pretty sweet! The last pic below of the trailer is a little out of order, but it shows what the finish looked like just before Anthony began spraying the clear coat.
While I was using the diffuser to dry the last coat of the color, Anthony and Chris prepped the clear coat - almost a full gallon's worth! That's only half the batch in that mixing bucket.
Once the last gold layer was completely dry, Chris got up on the ladder and laid down a heavy coat of clear on the roof using the third paint gun. Anthony then put down a medium coat on the sides. He said that putting a heavy coat on the top was OK since it was a flat surface and it wouldn't run, but the sides were a different matter. If you put a heavy coat on the sides, the finish would slump and drag the pretty metallic color with it. A medium coat, though, would hold the paint in place and once it was tacky, he'd come back around with a heavier coat and finish it up.
Watching any professional do what they are good at is enjoyable - they truly make their trade/craft into an art - they make it look simple and graceful. Watching Anthony move around the trailer while applying the finish coat was like watching a professional dancer move and sway in time with music, or better still, a skilled martial artist move with a smooth practiced rhythm. Chris and I both mentioned that and at first, Anthony thought we were making fun of him, but it truly was a thing of beauty. He explained that he really never thought about it...he was just moving in such a way to make sure the finish was applied evenly and was following the reflection of the light in the finish.
I had been going crazy taking pics with my phone all day long...and the last two photos below are the last ones I got before my phone battery got too low to take any more. You can see the beautiful gold finish of the trailer under the final coat of clear. Chris was right -- the metallic flake in the gold paint does indeed "pop" -- it's going to look stunning over the top of that dark purple! I can't wait to see it unmasked, but for now, we need to let it sit and cure, so we'll give it the whole weekend (it is Memorial Day weekend) and we'll pick it up on Tuesday to bring it home to continue our work on the inside.
It truly was a pleasure spending the day with two pros like Anthony and Chris. They are great teachers and I learned a lot about paint, painting tools and materials and the incredibly complex process of painting (it's way more involved than shaking a can for 60 seconds and spraying paint!). It definitely gives you a better appreciation for the talent these guys have when you can participate in the process like I did today. When I finally looked at the clock on my phone, I realized we had spent about six hours total in the booth...but it all flew by in a heartbeat!
Now that the Mansion is back home, it’s time to get moving on the interior. First up, the cabinets for the kitchen. So we got out the table saw, the pocket screw jig, some clamps a bit of glue and the evening’s project was on!
In the photos below, you can see the face frame of the kitchen cabinet. The big opening on the top left of the frame is for the microwave (gotta have that microwave popcorn when camping, right?). The hole on the bottom left of the frame is for the PD4045 power center, and the one to the right of that (the smaller, squarish one) is where I plan to install two bus bars (one for positive and one for negative) for the power. In other people’s trailers, the bus bars are usually tucked in the back of the cupboard or underneath one of the bench seats. Rather than putting it somewhere where it was hard to get to or where it took up storage space, I put it someplace where the space was for the most part unusable as storage, and, more importantly, someplace I could see and reach! The vertical opening to the right of that is the actual undercounter cabinet. The big square to the far right end of the frame is just for framing purposes (to be able to attach it to the wall of the trailer and to give us something to attach the sliding baskets to!).
Next up, the cushions. Now I know that seems a bit premature, but this is Myka’s project (for the most part), and she’s lassoed her best friend, Liane, to help her create the cushion covers…and this weekend is the only time the two of them can get together for an extended period of time to get them done. So cushions it is.
The first thing was to get the foam. We initially tried to get it through Amazon, but the vendor we went through never shipped the product (but they gladly refunded the money!), so we found a local shop here in town – Western Upholstery Supply – that had EVERYTHING we needed. When we got there, we told the guy what we were doing and he took us back into the warehouse and pulled out a couple of pieces of foam for us to try out. We opted to go with the 4″ foam for the cushions. But instead of getting smaller 2′ x 8′ pieces, we opted to get one HUGE queen-size piece of foam and cut our cushions from that (besides, it was a bit cheaper!). We also asked him about wrapping the foam with batting materials as we have seen others do. He said that’s what professional upholsterers do and would result in a softer product. So we got some batting material. He explained that the batting is glued onto the foam to keep it from shifting in the cushion cover. I gotta give the guy props on his estimating skills — he nailed how much batting and spray glue we’d need — we had enough to do the job right and very little was left over!
When we got the foam home, we were going to cut it outside on our deck, but the weather wasn’t cooperating — rain showers were rolling in. So, we cleared the dining room table and went to work!
In the pics below, you can see how we laid out the templates we’d made earlier. We only made one template for the backs of the seats since they were the same (but the bottoms were ever-so-slightly different….go figure). Once we got the layout right, we used our trusted Sharpie and traced out the bottom of the back bench seat.
Myka then got out the power tools! Yup. That’s a standard everyday electric carving knife! And it went through that 4″ foam like it was hot butter. One of the pics shows Myka test fitting the cushion in the Mansion! It fits! YEA!!!!
Next up was the bottom on the passenger side. We traced the template and then cut it out. We repeated the procedure for the other bottom cushion and the two backs.
Once all the pieces were cut, we took them all out and did a rough test fit in the trailer. The cushions are a bit big, but we’d rather have a tight fit rather than loose and sloppy cushions that slide around.
Now I must admit — while things look like they are going smoothly, there have been a couple of bumps in the road…a split board here, a bent this or that there… But it all works out in the end. Such was the case with the cushions. One of the things that we didn’t consider was the height of the cushions with relation to the window. Now keep in mind that the benches are a bit taller than the original fiberglass ones — about the width of a 2×2 (the framing of the bench seats, which is made from 2×2’s sits on top of the tab that Scamp used to hold the back of the fiberglass seats (which were only 1/8″ thick). Add to that the 4″ foam vs 3″ foam (which we are guessing would have been “standard” and you end up with back cushions that stand up into the window by about 3″. And we can’t cut them down…then the cushions wouldn’t fit right when made into the bed configuration.
Myka suggested slipping the back cushion down behind the bottom instead of on top of it, but then the bottom cushion hangs out over the edge of the bench. Don’t know if we like that option either. But either way, I think we’re just gonna gonna just let that one slide and go with it for now until we can come up with a better solution.
If that’s the only mistake we make in this project, we’ll consider ourselves lucky and by a lottery ticket.
Now you’re probably asking, “What about along the back of the trailer – under the window?” Well, THAT we do have a solution for – one that doesn’t go into the window space! Since the bed doesn’t require that cushion to make the actual bed, we thought we’d use a thinner piece of foam (not many people will be sitting back there that often) and have it velcro to the wall as a “semi-quasi-permanent” cushion. After all, the bench cushion in the back won’t need to be moved to make the bed (only the backs of the seats will move — from the back to the center between the benches over the top of the table), so a “semi-quasi-permanent solution seemed to be the best. Myka found this 1″ foam sheet 72″ long. We cut it in half lengthwise (as shown in the photos below) to get the height we needed to fit UNDER the window this time! Since 72″ wasn’t quite enough to go all the way across the trailer, we cut the foam into two even pieces and we will make two cushions across the back. Now there will be a slight difference between the 4″ back cushions and the 1″ back cushion that goes around the back of the trailer, but that’s where the cool Haunted Mansion “Rest in Peace” pillows come in! They’ll nestle in just fine right there!
Once the foam was cut, we cut the 1″ batting to wrap over the top, around the front and under the bottom (as per the upholster’s suggestion). He told us that the batting doesn’t need to be on the ends or along the back…it would be wasted material and in the case of the back, would get in the way of the zipper on the cover. (BTW…did I mention how good this guy was at estimating how much material and adhesive we’d need?)
Anyway, in the photos below, we sprayed on the adhesive to the batting and the cushion. And once the two made contact with each other they weren’t coming apart! In the background, you can see the Mansion waiting for it’s new cushions!
Once the cushions were glued, we set them inside the Mansion to dry. Myka will then take them tomorrow where she and Liane have a whole day planned for sewing! Meanwhile, I’ll be working on the rest of the cabinets and plugging the holes (vents, lights, outlets, etc.) on the Mansion.
WOW! My first visit to the forum since I brought my Freedom home and joined the Casita forums. Things haven't changed: this long post above confirms that courageous, talented/skilled people are still revitalizing old eggs with incredible results, to standards that the design engineers did not dream could happen. You have my admiration, and I will follow this saga to its happy conclusion. In a "prior life" I thought I'd completed an inimitable reconstruction and renewal of a Trillium. Compared with your project, my efforts and dreams pale, and my present minuscule projects , a shelf here, there, a plumbing update, a table mod, et al, become insignificant. Good on ya, mate/s.
I'm speechless. Keep the pictures coming. Since we have a older Scamp with the low ceiling height and husband and I are both under 5'7" I was thinking of calling it "Short People" you really have me thinking themes are good.
While I've been working on the trailer itself, Myka has had the task of tackling the cushion covers and the curtains.
So I'll turn this over to her and let her tell you the story of the cushions. Take it away, Myka!
The day Tony and I purchased what was to become our mini-mansion, we paid for it, hooked it to the Doombuggy, and went out for dinner to discuss the possibilities before heading home to take stock of what we actually had. What did we want to do with it? What were the things we really wanted to include? What trips were we looking forward to taking in it? And he began talking about the process a little…what would have to be done first? What was the estimate for having it finished? We don’t have the best track record of finishing projects in this household, so these things were important to discuss. I could just see this little egg sitting in our garage, teasing me unmercifully, with limitless, yet untapped potential, for an unknown and infinite amount of time. But one of the things he mentioned, kind of in passing, was “We’ll have to get new cushions.”
At some point that evening, “We’ll have to get new cushions” became “You’ll have to make new cushions." I let it go at the time…I think I did that little chortle that I do when I either didn’t hear what someone said and I’ve already said, “What?” three times, and now it’s time to react. But again, it was so far down the road, there wasn’t really any reason to worry. Surely it would get figured out.
We went to the fabric store. I found the most perfect fabric. And it would be great and beautiful and fabulous and all of those other superlatives one musters when one is describing a true thing of beauty. And by the by, the time that we were going to need these cushions got closer and closer…and it was time to come to grips with something that was not just a minor problem.
I had no idea how to make cushions. I can make a pillow…if it’s dog shaped and comes in a kit like it did when I was in 8th grade Home Economics (which, by the way, included all of the required pieces of fabric pre-cut), because that’s about the last time I actually made anything of consequence. I made a costume once…but it only consisted of a vest and a cape, and three seams, and even those were crooked. Needless to say, I was in “deep doo-doo.”
I have a sewing machine. It was $60 at Walmart, and every time I tried to use it, the thread kept tangling. The last time I used it, I am pretty sure I smelled smoke. As this unsettling thought started rolling around in my head, I also realized that if this was going to get done, I better figure it out. Fortunately for me, I was heading to a rare dinner date with my best friend…and as I approached the table at the restaurant, instead of a greeting, she said, “Spill it. What’s wrong?” So I told her. And her response was the only thing that allowed me to actually relax enough to enjoy dinner: “I’ve got some experience with cushions. I’m happy to help you.”
Thank God. Someone knows what to do, and better yet, is willing to help me! She gave me a list of things to get (besides the obvious foam and material), and we were on the way.
So…cut to three weeks ago. I arranged to purchase foam and notions through Amazon Marketplace, and quickly received everything…except the foam for the main cushions. Amazon told me it was on the way, the merchant told me it was on the way, and UPS told me, “A shipping label has been printed and is on the way to the carrier.” Unfortunately, the carrier never received it. After several other emails to and from the merchant, it became obvious that the merchant actually never shipped it. Several days later, they refunded the money. That’s great, but here’s the problem…I was going to be going up to her house to make these things in 48 hours and we still had NO FOAM.
We did, however, find an upholstery supply store that happened to be in town. So Tony and I went down there after work, which was a bit of a trick, since they were only open until 4:30 p.m. during the week. We walked in, and were greeted by a grisly little man and, upon being told what we needed, dutifully walked us to the foam and helped us choose the right one (4”, medium density, and if we got it in a bigger sheet it would be cheaper...), and batting and upholstery adhesive to be applied. We then went home, used the templates Tony had made, traced and cut the foam pieces.
After making sure the pieces fit we attached the batting using the upholstery adhesive to each of the pieces.
Finally, it was time to make the cushion covers. I took the thread, cushions and upholstery fabric up to Liane’s house. When I got there, we took the cushions and laid them out so she could see how they were going to go together, and figure out on which sides the “unseen seams” could go. Fortunately, of the six cushions we were tasked with covering, five were rectangular. We started with one and she drew a rough pattern. Using her couch cushion as a rough pattern, she drew a pattern, which has the top, front and bottom of each cushion as one big piece, and the sides are a separate piece. After discussion, we did decide not to install a zipper into each cushion. This was a good thing, as the idea of trying to do a zipper gives me hives.