I ordered this tool for about $40, and I'm pleased with it, although it isn't perfect. They do make one twice as long, but this is adequate. It's the Peachtree 37" Flexible Curve.
The next thing I need to do in the trailer is create, and fiberglass in place, some central supports. With all of the internal structure removed, there is nothing to keep the sides of the trailer from flexing too much. This flexibility also allows the door frame to have too much play. I'll talk about where I'm putting these and how I'm making them another time, but this post is about creating a template to cut the complex curves of the ceiling and sides.
So, you lay the flat steel band of this tool against the curves and then tighten the knobs to hold it in the shape you need. It was pretty easy to use, even by me alone, but as you can see, the abrupt curve of the ceiling was too tight for it.
Nevertheless, I traced the curve onto cardboard and added the shapes where the curves were too tight. Then I cut it out.
This is the first fitting of the cardboard cutout to the body of the trailer. It needed a little bit of trimming, but it's not bad for the first round. It got me close enough to just do a little more snipping and end up with a template that is pretty good.
I guess I will explain that I'm doing one piece that will span the entire middle of the trailer so there is not a join under the seam of the trailer.
Then I did the other side, which is of course, not exactly the same. Taped the two pieces together, and fitted it in place. I couldn't hold it up and take a picture. It's pretty good. However, it is cardboard, which isn't totally rigid.
I'm thinking I need to cut an actual test piece from some junk plywood before I go messing up a new sheet. The bracing won't be as "deep" as the cardboard, of course. Only the top curve counts right now.
But I consider this forward progress.
Working on this trailer is like a giant complex puzzle... what has to happen next? I spend a fair amount of time just standing in the trailer looking at things and thinking and jotting down notes. I've decided this brace has to happen before I can rehang (and do whatever else with) the door, finish the painting, do much of anything else. I can always do little bits of fiberglass and Bondo work. And there are two large holes the PO cut in the floor for the air conditioner ducts. Easy to cut out... not so easy to patch. But I think I've got a plan.
I also cut out one small brace that had been fiberglassed in (I think to hold some cupboard originally), and replaced one window screw that still wouldn't hold, even in the epoxied frames, with a bolt.
In other news: I wrote in the morning, and worked on a lot of little projects in the afternoon as well as the trailer.
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Index to Fiberglass Trailer Refurbish Posts
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