It’s hard for me to get anything done now, I want to just set in here and admire my work.  Now, waiting on the aluminum countertop edging to arrive so I can get that on, and I need some aluminum strap to make the little railings for all the upper shelves.  I can also hook up the plumbing and test that, no that the counters are in.  My wife Kim is making the curtains and seat cushions, we’re edging closer to my having to polish this thing!

Dramatic progress on the Spartan Manor. The interior is all varnished, it looks great. Frustrated by difficulty I had rolling and brushing the final costs of polyurethane, I tried spraying it. Much better, although it acts like un-catalyzed enamel, easy to hang a curtain. I soon got the knack of it again.
I made the bathroom door from a short wardrobe door and upper cabinet door from the salvaged 49 Royal Mansion my friend Mike at New Holland brewing gave me. I’ve used 6 of them in this build, they look heat.
Hopefully this burst of ambition will continue, I’d like to have it done for the Gilmore Red Barns show the first weekend in -August. It could happen!

IMG_9477

IMG_9480

IMG_9473

IMG_9435Finally, I got varnish on the interior of the Spartan!  Two coats on the forward 1/3rd, and one coat everywhere else.  The cabinet doors, drawers, and all the other little parts also have two coats.  I got two coats on the part of the interior, shown above, because I put the second coat on while the first coat was still a bit “tacky”.  You can see the break at the piece of trim over the counter top.  Everything beyond that is just one coat, and is visibly duller than the forward panels.  Now, sand everything with 220, then another two coats, and I can start putting this thing back together.

We’re ordering the foam for the cushions, and Marmoleum for the countertops this week, once the varnish is done Kim will make the cushions (we have the material for them and the curtains) and I can finish up the hundreds of unfinished chores yet to be done, and hopefully it’ll be so we can use it this summer.

Following are more photos of the interior, the first are of the paneling just stained, a mix of Golden Pecan Minwax oil stain, and a bit of yellow paint, and then with varnish on.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel!

13590232_10210469572358229_2430764203697305908_n

IMG_9437

IMG_9439

 

13406898_10210295667970728_1085429236255216184_n

I’ve got to be better at updating this page!  My excuse is that since there was no way I was going to get it done for the TCT Spring Rally three weeks ago, that I might as well relax.  And, my grandson came over, and we went camping twice, and the lawn needed to be mowed, and, and, ad infinitum.   Anyway, after a month long hiatus on getting much done on the trailer, today I finally got stain on the cabinet doors and kitchen drawers.

I used Minwax oil stain, Golden Pecan to try to get close to the original finish on the wardrobe doors I salvaged from another old Spartan.  It’s very close, the wildly different grain pattern and colors of the various sheets of 3/4″, 1/4″ and 1/8″ all seems to blend together pretty well once stained.  I touched a couple places on those original doors where I sanded through the varnish to bare wood, the stain is an identical match color wise on those panels.  A little more brown on some of the other new panels, but it’ll look pretty uniform once the poly is laid down.

13423830_10210295670130782_5732773268147114612_n13417522_10210295667530717_3312347055759742893_nWe’ve had two wonderful weekends camping with the Tin Can Tourist this spring.  Last weekend in Muskegon MI at Hoffmaster State park on Lake Michigan, and the third weekend in May in Milford at Camp Dearborn.  We’ve been using the little Tini-Home canned ham trailer, it’s cozy and comfortable, but I’m anxious to get the Spartan done so we can stretch out a bit.

IMG_5280

 

IMG_9098

Todays project was to rebuild and lengthen the Spartan trailers tongue and install the power jack.  Why I haven’t used these on every other trailer we’ve done is a mystery, this thing is the bomb!   Instead of cutting the tongue off and making an entire new one, I simply “sistered” a length of 2×5 mild steel tubing onto the existing tongue, lengthened it about two inches, didn’t have to change the angle or alter it in any way.  I’m happy with the result, it’s long enough to use the Reese load level hitch bars, and the power lift is really, really nice.

IMG_9095I assembled and welded the new legs onto the new coupler before I welded anything on the trailer tongue, which was a bit of foresight I usually don’t have.  The bottom has strips of 7 gauge steel strips welded to the new legs, which I welded (from above) to the inside of the original channel.  The top is welded solidly, as well as the ends.  I’m proud of the stick-welded job, it looks good, and the ancient coupler/jack is headed for the scrap pile.

IMG_9091I temporarily wired up the thermostat/control for the roof mounted A/C-heat pump, and like everything else, it fired right up and works AMAZINGLY well.  The A/C is ice cold, the heat works, and it’s all controlled by the wall mounted ‘stat.  Pretty high tech for me!

12670494_10209728838480345_1409778006787131956_nI had gotten the fridge vent stack installed as well, and wired up the 12V feed to it, and started it.  It cools down as it should, and while I had no doubt it would, it’s nice to verify it works after all that effort, and trading a really nice vintage camper I bought last winter for it!  The water heater is also vented, the cap is on the roof covering both vent stacks, all that remains to be done is to plumb the 3/8″ soft copper line to them both, and the kitchen stove.

I’m getting close.

On the ’34 Roadster front, some progress too.  I put together the body cradle I’d made for the ’36’s body, and got the ’34 body safely setting on it instead precariously perched on jack stands and a jenga-like stack of 4×4’s.  The rear end is mocked up, and I decided the flimsy looking hairpin radius rods that came with the project weren’t going to cut it.  Instead, I started making a set of really beefy, and traditional looking, hairpin rods from a seat of ’36 front wishbones I had.  I like how they look, and once I get the spring clamps I ordered from Mac’s Antique Auto, I can mount the rear axle and set the chassis on it’s wheels.  Big step!

Stay tuned, summer is coming, I want to get the Spartan done in time for our July 4th stay at Gun Lake, so I’ve got a lot to do!

IMG_8821.JPGIt seems like a long time since I worked on the trailer, in reality, it’s only been a couple weeks.  I’ve decided that the goal of making Camp Dearborn and the Tin Can Tourist Spring Rally isn’t going to happen, so I’ve slowed down a bit, but I’ve still gotten quite a bit done.

IMG_8799The new axle is under the trailer, and the Dodge 17″ 8 lug wheels and Michelon 24575R17 10 ply rated tires are on.  The trailer now looks like ours, it looks good and feels good having that chore done.  In addition, both waste tanks are under the trailer and the plumbing is 90% complete, so there are three things (almost) checked off the list.  Most of the trim is done inside, I have to steam and bend a couple pieces of quarter round, and cut the hole in the roof for the fridge and hot water heater vent, finally get the interior varnished, and a thousand other little jobs that I haven’t even thought of yet.

IMG_8800I’ve taken advantage of the lack of a rush on the trailer, to finally start organizing and working on the ’34 Ford roadster project I bought last fall after selling the ’48 Pontiac convertible.  I lifted the body off the frame, and made a (sort of) frame table/jig using two Stanley Work-Mates and some steel rectangular tubing.  I have the frame leveled, squared, tacked together, the engine mounts are in, and the front axle is hanging from the crossmember.  I’ve started welding the center section in,  and will get the  ’40 Ford rear crossmember flattened and in tomorrow.  At least, that’s the plan…

13012796_10209866797369231_8824139983393210346_nIMG_8885

So, that’s what’s happening here at Cool McCool’s Garage, progress on two fronts!

 

 

A Facebook friend in California just relayed that he’d found a cool old bread loaf style trailer near his home.  Prewar, intact, fairly priced, but a total rebuild.  He was torn, because he has a very cool, very rare trailer now, and this other one would be a  nice compliment to their current one, and his vintage tow car.

He passed.

I should take a lesson from that.  While I’m making good progress on the ’47 Spartan, it’s down to the fussy finishing and detail work that I’m not fond of, not patient enough for, and takes more time than I want to spend.  It’s also clear I’m in no way going to meet my (self imposed) deadline of having the trailer done by the third week of may for the Tin Can Tourist Spring Rally in Milford to debut. I could have it usable, but not finished, and I don’t think it’s worth taking it uncompleted, not polished or finished to the level we want.  It’s disappointing, but not we have two others to use, and lots of events coming up this summer where we can “debut” in style.

I have the plumbing done, the fridge is in and the vent system roughed in.  Had to order more Olympic rivets before I can cut the vent hole in the roof and move the original stove vent blister to that space, so that’s a bit of a hold up.

The plumbing is done,  mostly.  The grey water tank has to be hung and the sink drains run to it.  My good friend Mike Greene of Sierra Custom Interiors gave me a bunch of PEX tubing drops, crimp rings, miscellaneous fittings and the crimping tool, I’m indebted to him for that.  It went well,  it’s always good to add another thing to my skill set.

The trim work is also 90% complete.  I steam bent the curved pieces with a home-built steamer set up, my first attempt at bending wood.  It went pretty well, and I have a few little pieces yet to go that can’t be done till some other things get done, like the fridge cabinet.

We have the interior fabrics, thanks to another friend who’s an upholsterer and let us buy the fabric on her account for half what it’d have otherwise cost.  The foam we have to order, but she’s helping us out with that too.  Kim will make the covers and curtains.  It should be very dramatic, we’re excited about our choices, no peeking until we’re done!

All this is good, and I have to admit I did feel relief whenI decided the other day not to try to have it ready for May.  It was like a weight had been lifted.  Not that I’m not working on it, but the pressure is now off.  I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by that project, and seeing my long neglected Thunderbird, the half-completed ’63 Riviera I started last year, and the “new” ’34 roadster setting in pieces, all of them covered with a thick, soft layer of wood dust, was a bit overwhelming.

These three cars are cars I’ve loved since I was a kid, and always wanted.  The fact that none of them are completed and drivable doesn’t really matter, because I love having a project, but three at once, along with normal maintenance on our other cars, not to mention household chores, lawn care, and so on, takes tool on my “free” time.  Part of my rationale for having all these projects is to provide activity for my upcoming retirement, so the fact that they’re not finished shouldn’t be a stress factor.  It seems a long way off, but I know that 4 years from now I’ll look back and wonder where the time went.

And what I was worried about.