Sunday, July 8, 2012

DOORS!!!!

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.

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