Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Really any color I want?!!

I have been a little obsessed lately with paint.  Now that the doors are "almost" done (still need to hang it) I am turning my attention to the most obvious undone aspect of my restoration....exterior paint.  There are many options here...most of which have their own sub options.
  1. The first decision was DIY or send it out or a combination.
    • Send it Out
      • Maaco $500-800 depending on the amount of prep required.
      • Higher End Resto/Paint shop $2-3K or more
    • Combination
      • Do the prep myself-- send it out/hire
      • Hire the prep out -- paint it myself
      • Either of these probably comes out to costing around the price of Maaco
    • DIY-- great resources and discussions at these forums Rolled On   or the Vintage Shasta Trailer Forum(VSTF)
      • Rattle Cans--believe it, some very nice paint jobs have been done with rattle cans, this link is to a video by a VSTF member
      • $50 paint job--  with Rustoleum or equivalent Alkyd Enamel  
      • $150-400 paint job -- same options but with more expensive paint such as marine urethanes (Interlux) or expensive automotive paints. 
  1. Color-- 
    • With tractor paint, rattle cans, and some others you are stuck with pre-mixed colors or combining pre mixed colors to create a custom color.
    • Custom colors--bring in your chip and the computer does a color match.
After much research, I've decided to go full DIY using Ace Rust Stop custom tinted in Benjamin Moore Mexicali Turquoise.  

The color is a bit lighter but in the same range as the aqua color in my awning.  I'll be going with the classic bare metal Z stripe the width of the wide frog tape.  And I am toying with the idea of a smaller z pin stripe in lime green above and below the Z. just for fun.  

Maybe something like this......but not quite so bright!

But First:  Lots of Prep work
1. Clean-- removing all the last bits of silicone (DSR 5 best remover out there and worth every penny) around the J Rail, and removing and reattaching the top rail.
2.  Seal the seams and rails with Trempro 635 urethane paintable sealant
3.  Sand until all loose paint is removed.
4.  Repair bigger obvious dings and dents (don't go overboard)
5.  Sand again
6.  Mask all windows and other things that won't get painted, remove eyebrows
7.  Prime unpainted area with self etching primer

Then I get to paint it shiny!
Probably 3-4 coats with wet sanding in between each coat with finer and finer grits (600, 800, 1000)
Buffing with turtle wax or some other car polish.
The mix recommended in rolled on forums for rustoleum is 4 parts paint, 3 parts medium automotive reducer, 1 part mineral spirits, and 0.5 parts hardener. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Been working on some more of the final touches in preparation for painting.  The door and screen door on my old trailer were really a mess, but I'd been putting off doing anything about them out of some weird psychological blockage that if I took off the door and couldn't fix it I wouldn't be able to camp again.  So I had suffered with an exterior door which only closed with a gentle nudge at one corner and a screen door that took so much fighting to open and close that it had been nearly torn apart.  So when our July 4th camping trip fell through (not happy about that) I decided to put the time to good use and tackle the doors.


Long story short so far it's been pretty straight forward.  Taking apart the doors was easy.  I used the old ones as templates and got to work.  The aluminum trim was shot so I took them down to the local sheet metal shop to get new ones fabricated.  They will be ready sometime next week. I built out the frame and added a new birch interior skin, and will add pink foam insulation.  I forgot to put water seal on the framing but will add it before closing things up and will add some butyl flashing on the lower third of the door to protect it from water damage.  I sprung for a new interior lock set from Vintage Trailer Supply; the old one was just too junky.

I am thrilled with how the screen door has turned out.  I picked up birch 1x2s, flat screen molding, and some fiberglass screening for the project. I also used some 1/4 " birch ply from the dinette cabinets for the sliding door panel. Using the old door as a template I built the frame using dowels and gorilla glue. I made a couple of changes --  the center panel is wider so that the door handle will work better.  I also decided to add 3 vertical rails to protect the screen from dogs and kids and to add some interest to the door.  The screen is fastened with 1/4" staples and covered with screen mold.  For the slider I used screen mold to create a lip for the sliding panel, and leaves a nice 1/4" reveal on the outside part of the door that I like.

Both the screen door and the new birch panel for the main door were finished with zinsser amber shellac, the finish I've used throughout the restoration.  Previously, during early spring I'd used just straight shellac and found it a bit thick for building up color.  So upon the advice of one of the Vintage Shasta Trailer Forum folks, I tried thinning with 50% denatured alcohol.  Unlike the rest of the country that is sweltering right now, I applied this with temps in the low 70's in the shade and found that working with a old t-shirt as an applicator that is was perfect.  I was quickly able to apply about 10 coats of shellac with very even coloration.  I did a light sanding then with 150 grit and an orbital sander to get the surface flat.  I then used the french polish method to give it a nice hard finish and good shine.

July 28th Update.  The doors are done!!!  Had to do a bit of adjusting and finagling to get everythign to fit but I can now open and close the door and screen door.  Cargo doors are also done.  I'll post pics tomorrow.