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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Garden Survivors

I did a lot on the trailer project today, but don't quite have the next piece done. I'll wait until it's finished to share.

Instead, here are a few survivors from the attempted flower bed this year. The coleus are too widely spaced, but I really couldn't buy any more. However, they are looking colorful. There are now 3 fewer of them than in this picture. But they do make me smile when I walk by. And the rose I hate is blooming. Less than usual, also thanks to the deer!

coleus in a flower bed

Here is one of the blue hosta. It has been in wire prison since the deer missed it on their first forage of the garden. The wire does seem to keep them off, but it's not so pretty to look through to enjoy the plants. At least I can remove it for pictures. I don't know what variety this is. It was a freebie from Ester.

small blue hosta

This is one of my favorites. I bought one, but the deer finished it off. Then Ester gave me one, and I split it so there are two chances that I might get to keep it. This is a hosta variety called 'August Moon.' Yes, it's very yellow-green. That's not just a trick of the light. It's so bright and pretty- it's as good as a colorful flower and the color lasts all season if you can keep the leaves from being eaten. Both of these are also under wire.

August Moon hosta

I worked very slowly again. I think on a cooler day I could have done everything I accomplished in maybe 3 hours instead of all day. But I guess I need to take what I can get. I'm still trying to get outside earlier, but my brain does not appreciate it. I had a headache until noon today- usually the result of trying to wake up too fast. And there has been heavy dew the past couple of mornings, and that doesn't lend itself to doing some jobs when your workshop is totally outside. And, the golden biting flies arrived in time for lunch again.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow night. I have a book event that I have to leave for at 3 pm. So I brought in most of the tools today (I've been leaving everything out on a table and covering it with a tarp since the probability of rain has been down around 5% for the last 10 days). I'll just try to finish this one piece of the trailer project in the morning and then clean up and make sure I'm ready to get my head into book sales.

See A Little More Garden

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

My Trailer Redo - Day 104, Temporary Door Fixes

I spent the day primarily trying to temporarily jury rig a couple of issues with the door that can't be properly fixed until the door is re-hung. And I'm not tackling THAT in the next two weeks.

I have no picture for the first one. I thought I took one, but I guess not. I'll try to explain. Because the door is crooked, the latch in the door does not catch on the fiberglass door edge which serves as the striker plate when things are correct. To compensate for this I had taped a cut-out piece of a tin can along the edge to make it a little wider. With the edge gasket slipped over it, this worked OK. It allowed me to latch and lock the trailer. If someone broke in, they wouldn't have had to work very hard, but the key word there is "broke." They couldn't have simply opened the door. Important to the insurance company.

Anyway, with the rest of what I'm going to show you today, that was not adequate, because there was too much pressure on that thin piece of taped metal. So I sloppily fiberglassed it to the edge of the door to make it more rigid. Ugly. Functional. You probably don't need a picture.

Then I got serious about building a temporary gasket for the door. Yesterday, I accidentally discovered that the butyl putty tape sticks really well to the pool noodle foam. Need I say more? Pool noodles are a buck at the dollar store! The butyl tape is more expensive, but I only used a little bit by csplitting it lengthwise, and the results are well worth it.

So, I shut the trailer door, cut strips of pool noodle and stuffed them in the cracks. That's not blue sky you are seeing along the top edge of the door. It's pool noodle. Just happens to be the same color.

makeshift gasket in a trailer door

The I hosed the door down. See, I fudged a little when I said all the leaks were fixed. I wouldn't call the door-water issue an actual leak. It's that fitting problem that I've known about since day 1. But in truth, when it rains, the water simply runs in a river down the inside of the door. When the door is closed. Not so great. Maybe not so bad if it all continued to just run to the outside, but it doesn't. See Water Woes.

By experimenting, I found that most of the upright edges of the door don't need a lot of thickness of "gasket." Aha! I have the solution to that, with this product that I bought thinking I wanted it for the windows, but it didn't work for those.

foam window sealing tape

The edges of the door were a mess because of previous owners also trying to stop the leaks, with multiple layers of gunk.

gummed up fiberglass trailer door edge

Imagine my surprise when I learned that this scraped off quite easily. I got one strip of the foam on when I discovered that not only was it getting very hot very early in the day, but the work-killer was that apparently my Bingo card of the week included a square for little-biting-flies-with-golden-wings-and-razor-blades-mouth-parts.

fiberglass trailer door temporary gasket with foam strip

No. I'm not under that much pressure. I ate and went shopping. More on that later.

Later, early evening, it cooled a tiny bit and the flies found someone else to torment. I stuck my cheapo gaskets on, closed the door and watered it down again. Vast improvement! The only place that leaked was that gap at the bottom.

fiberglass trailer door with pool noodle gaskets

There is still that huge gap at the bottom of the door. Maybe I'll just cut a piece of the pool noodle that fits there, and if it rains, we'll jam it in the crack.

sprung fiberglass trailer door

There are actual gaskets made for these doors, but the gap needs to be much more uniform in width. This should work for now.

Mission accomplished, I think!

The shopping. Well, I had to do some ordinary errands, and finished with groceries. In between, I started buying some odds and ends I need to do the bunks correctly, and some things for the wiring inside the trailer. I can finish part of the right side without needing to do wiring, but not the left. It's not clear how far I'll get with all this, but I need some pieces of the puzzle to continue. Of course, I couldn't get one thing I wanted. Went to 4 stores, came home and ordered it. It's supposed to arrive in a week. That will work. Let's hope it's fast. And it's absolutely a given that I don't have everything I need. For one thing, I didn't buy the new wire for the trailer lights. That all has to be redone, but I need to measure how much, and research what gauge (what's in there isn't all the same- just toggled together, of course).

And that is all the news for today. Too hot, too humid.

See Index to Trailer Refurbish

Monday, July 6, 2020

My Trailer Redo - Days 95-103, Keeping Water Out

I may have licked the leaks!

You might recall that I sat in the trailer one night this spring in a torrential storm and watched
1. water pour in beside the rear window.
2. It was also still seeping in under the large hole where the air conditioner was.
3. The roof vent was leaking, which had never, ever happened before.

Let's talk about #2 first.

Every day, I've been putting another piece of fiberglass on the inside of the trailer to try to stop that seepy leak. On Thursday, I turned the hose on the area on the outside, and WHOA! big leak. What the heck? So I dried it all off, fooled around with pressing a wet sponge on smaller areas to try to isolate the leak, looking things over, and much to my chagrin, discovered something I knew, but had forgotten about. When I removed that big honkin' air conditioner frame, I had cut through the trailer skin below that little bump, where you can't easily see it. Ouch. Well, that explains the leak, you think?

cut in wall of fiberglass trailer

So, I slapped on some more fiberglass over that cut. I may not be able to make the exterior look perfect in that area, but that was unlikely anyway, given the big cutout. I'm almost ready to Bondo that, and then we'll know how smooth I can get it. I guarantee you it will look better than that big yellow square that's there now!

fiberglass repair wall of fiberglass trailer

Hose time- No leak!!!!

#1- so numbered because it's the most serious. Now we move on to the back window. Well, sort of. Let's detour to #3. Every time I turned the hose on, I was also spraying the roof to get some water up there and find the vent leak. No leak.

The back window is an issue. For one thing, it doesn't fit the cutout in the frame very tightly. Also, the front and back windows are much bigger, so there is more possibility for torque to loose the seals. I loosened the screws and was about to take it out, but it really was in there quite firmly. I decided to see what I could do from the inside. Two of the framing pieces around the window cutout really needed to be replaced anyway. I had tried to fix the lower one with Git-Rot, but it honestly wasn't sufficient. In the same post linked about the Git-Rot, I also replaced one of the framing pieces on a side window. I had used Liquid Nails Heavy Duty to glue it to the fiberglass, but I was definitely not happy with those results.

I pulled off the top and bottom framing pieces, and used my oscillating saw to clean up the old messy adhesive. Picture is before the cleanup.

framing around a fiberglass trailer window

So I asked Gary what adhesive he would recommend- the product also had to be able to fill uneven places as well. And that's how I found out about the auto adhesive I showed you yesterday.

Back up a second. After I took the two boards off that needed to be replaced, I packed the excess space all around the window with more butyl.

trailer window frame packed with butyl putty

This helped, but there was still a significant leak on the top edge. Well, I took a fat bead of that auto adhesive and smeared it all along the top of the window on the inside, bonding it to the fiberglass. It means that if that window has to come out in the future I may have troubles. But if I don't stop the leaking I've got worse troubles.

Let that dry, packed the butyl that is on the outside more firmly and tried some gentle water with the hose. No leak! Waited a while and tried some heavier pressured water with the hose. No leak! Waited a while and let the sprinkler rain on the back of the trailer for a half hour. No leak! Not even any dampness. Is it possible that I've conquered this thing?

Used more of that adhesive to glue the new window framing back in place. I had to get a little creative with the clamping, but I rigged something up.

clamping a glued piece of wood

So my ace in the hole is that if leaks develop on down the road (literally), I'll remove the bead of butyl on the outside edge of the window frame and use more of that windshield adhesive. I don't think I can get it to look very good, but at least it can be painted over.

Tried again to make the vent leak. Nothing. Maybe the wind of that storm was lifting the vent cover just enough to force some water in that way. I have a little of the auto adhesive left, and it doesn't keep. Maybe tomorrow I'll run the last of it around the vent anyway.

So... my reward is that I put down the floor ventilation pad. It was not as difficult to get it smooth as I thought it would be. Best thing I did was take off my sneakers. Sock feet did not catch on the rubbery finish.

rug pad on trailer floor

And then put the vinyl back in. Still looks great! I have to make a couple of holes for wires (they are under where the lumps show), and think about any other issues with it, but I may be ready to start making forward progress.

vinyl on trailer floor

There is no other news. It was hot and humid again, and I only worked on the trailer. But I feel like I really accomplished something.

See Drain Holes
See Index to Fiberglass Trailer Refurbish

Sunday, July 5, 2020

My Trailer Redo - Days 95-102 - Letting Water Out

Project 2 on my list of 3 is perhaps done. That was to create a way for excess water to get out of the trailer.

I can not take credit for this idea. People who own and try to keep old fiberglass trailers running and functioning have several ways they band together. A man from Iowa, Gary, is in two of the online groups I also belong to. This is his solution to the fact that water will get into the trailer from time to time.

I thought I had mentioned, but can't seem to find it, that after I put in my wonderful vinyl floor, I had to take it all back out because water got underneath it and it got moldy. It was a very discouraging day when I discovered that. So that all had to be cleaned. I wasn't willing to put it back in and have that happen all over again for the trip last fall, not to mention that I would have to put holes in it that weren't going to be the permanent holes. So we used the trailer last year with the old filthy, stinky carpet put back down on the floor.

Time to put holes in the floor! (Yeah, I know... I had recently patched all the holes in the floor.)

First, I had to decide where to put the new holes. Since the inside of the trailer is basically a fiberglass sealed bathtub (there is a fiberglass skin over the 3/4 plywood floor), I leveled the trailer up, sloshed in an inch of water and then swept most of it out until I determined 5 low spots where water pooled. I dried the trailer out and marked those spots. Thought about drilling the holes.

Not so fast! Had to think about whether any of my choices were going to be located beneath bunk walls, or above frame pieces underneath the trailer. Yikes. And nothing is simple. Spent ???, something short of forever, looking for my hole saw set that hasn't been seen in 30 years. Nada. So I had to give in and buy one. (Aside- If there is one thing on my forever wish list, it's an actual place where my tools could be kept and organized. Think I'll ever get that before I die?)

Next public service announcement. If you want to drill holes in anything significant, like 3/4 inch plywood, skip the cheaper hole saw with interchangeable blades, and just get the better saws the first time.

hole saw with hole begun

Anyway. As you can see by the circles marked on the floor, I had to adjust the placing of this hole a bit. Then you drill the larger outer hole, just enough to countersink the edge of the drain cover. And what am I using for a drain cover? At Gary's suggestion, I bought a package of 2.5" soffit drains. They seem perfect. They will let water out and keep mice, etc. out from underneath. Then you drill the 2.25" hole all the way through.

drain hole in a trailer floor

Again, I am using Gary's recommendation for how to hold the drains in place. This is the product I could get locally. It's an automotive adhesive for windshields. Product #8690 is pretty much the same thing, but half the price. Of course, I would have had to order that, and there isn't time to wait for that to arrive. This stuff will really stick! But I now have utmost respect for anyone who can use it and not make a mess.

automotive windshield adhesive

Well, these won't show anyway. They'll be under the flooring. I'll show you the neatest one. I coated the sides of the holes with the adhesive to waterproof them, and then put a bead around the edge and glued the covers in.

floor drain in a trailer

I did think up the next part of this solution myself, but as Gary and I were discussing things, it turns out he did the same thing but with a heavier product. I'm putting a ventilated mat under the vinyl. This is a rug mat, and I'm hopeful it will keep the vinyl lifted just enough that any water can travel to the drains. We'll see, right?

rug matting

I cut it to match the vinyl. I'm not quite ready to put it down on the trailer floor yet. I still have that third project to finish- which is to stop the known leaks. I'm working on them! There are several other things I'd like to get done before Sunny goes on this year's trip, but stopping the leaks has to be accomplished.

rug matting cut to size

Today was very productive. It was just as hot, but the humidity wasn't as bad, and I got outside and got a lot done before it got blazing hot. No yard work done, but I did do a load of laundry.

See Project 1 - Finishing the Structural Walls
See Index to Trailer Refurbish

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Yellow Crab Spider

I still did not manage to complete either project 1 or 2 on the trailer as listed a couple of days ago. So have a lovely yellow spider.

This is a crab spider, possibly in the genus Xysticus. It's probably a female, since it was just under a half inch long if you include the legs. Males are smaller. An unusual thing about crab spiders is that they do not spin webs. They hunt on the ground or in trees. They lie in wait and ambush various smaller critters that happen by. Coloration apparently varies. Bugguide was not willing to ID beyond the genus, and Wikipedia says you have to microscopically examine them to determine species.

yellow crab spider

But it's good looking. I have no idea why it decided to visit one of my wall surfaces. Thankfully, not at one of the still-sticky stages.

yellow crab spider

I am moving more and more slowly with each passing day as the temperature rises. In the afternoon the air was so hot that it hurts to breathe when I'm outside.

Nevertheless, I made enough progress that I think I can show you something on the trailer tomorrow. I tried to think ahead and do a couple of things that don't depend on finishing the part I'm working on right now. I believe I have really fixed one of the water leaks, and identified the mystery one that I found yesterday. I popped 10 autumn olive out of the yard. I trimmed a tree in front and watered the flower beds. This sounds like a lot, but it was done in very small spurts with a lot of sitting and cold drinks in between. It's 92 in the house, but feels sort of OK with the fan on me.

See True Blue Gumby II
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