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Making a Connie Kit

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There are some days that we feel like we are building a 1959 Shasta Airflyte kit and not so much restoring a camper. Because we have no shop/garage space and are doing a full frame off restore, we really feel like we need to get a lot of pieces in place before we start putting them together. So we have all the pieces for the floor, getting the cabinets refinished, the upholstery is getting made, we will go buy the 1/8 inch birch ply and framing lumber soon. A full kit!
Today I received a button making kit. We are having the dinette seats upholstered in gray fabric and gold yellow ultra-leather. I am going to attempt to sew the goucho cushions myself in the same gray fabric and then there will be these lovely 2 inch buttons made of the same ultra-leather along the back cushion.

This is really fun. Now I want to put 2 inch buttons on everything. I have never sewn cushions like these before. I am really looking forward to the completed project.

VCT Tile Prep

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We went back and forth about flooring for a long time. For quite a while, we were convinced that we would do Marmoleum. I loved the idea of a seamless floor. But I did not love the colors that would have matched our interior of yellows and grays. The price tag is also a wopper. We were quoted $785 for the Marmoleum and adhesive. Ouch. 
So, after a lot of discussion on Vintage Trailer Talk and advice from Larry (Mobiltec), we decided to go with VCT tile.
But the decisions didn't stop there: pattern? colors?
Kirk had his heart set on basketweave pretty early on after seeing a photo of a vintage camper with a basketweave floor. Ok, that was easy. 
The colors took us some time to figure out. We discovered that even if a color is on the Armstrong site, it is not necessarily still available in stores. Some of the colors look true on line, some were way off. I am glad we bought samples before committing. In the end we got a white that has lovely flecks of yellow and gray, a gray that matches…

Connie's Cabinets

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The cabinets in a 1959 Shasta Airflyte are fabulous in the way mid century modern styling was fabulous. The edges are curved. There are scallops on the wall to wall shelf in the back that holds the canvas bunks. The cut outs for the wall to wall front cabinet are a swirly exercise in over the top beauty. We are saving everything we can. If there is a little discolored wood on the corners or edges from past water damage, so be it. We love the character. We don't want this trailer to look brand new, we want her to look loved. 
The only cabinet that was not at all salvageable was the floor to ceiling closet. The pin hole in the roof just created too much soft and rotted (could go through it with a pencil) wood. We are completely rebuilding that cabinet from birch and poplar.
So, let's take a tour of Connie's cabinets pre-disassembly in our 1959 Shasta Airflyte and see where we are today...


Discovery and Disassembly

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When we first bought Connie in October 2018, we knew there was some water damage. A ceiling panel had been placed over the vent area, but we could see the water damage peeking out. The first front and back wrap panels were overplayed with classic 70s fake wood paneling, nobody uses that stuff except to hide misdeeds. Most of the wood edges had some discoloration. But we naively thought, a few panels and we will be right as rain. Then we learned about lifting the skins and the thunderstorm hit. 



Since winter was approaching we stuck our heads in the snow and decided to enjoy our time camping with our trailer. A frame off restore in a snow bank did not sound appealing, or even possible. We loved every minute camping in Connie. I know a lot of people say they never use the stove, but in a colder climate, there is nothing like a fresh batch of blueberry muffins out of the oven with snow on the ground outside.
Summer of 2019 was a busy time, our son was getting married and moving across the …

Taking Stock

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When we first found Connie, we were just so grateful to be dry and able to make a cup of coffee without being blown into Lake Michigan.
We knew there was leaking around the roof vent so we gooped the heck out of the vent and put up a fresh panel from the inside. All things we were to learn you don't do with a canned ham. 

Luckily, we discovered Mobiltec on YouTube and the Vintage Trailer Talk forum. We joined Mobiltec's online class via Patreon.(We knew we would have a LOT of questions.)
While we were learning just what a big undertaking it would be to restore Connie to a fit state, we were also falling in love with her. Every trip confirmed we can't wait for a life on the road. What a better way to learn about trailers that to restore Connie completely. 
So we decided to take stock, focus on all the great components that could be salvaged and restored, and tackle a full frame off restore. We don't have a large work area, a garage, or a covered space. We don't have exp…

Finding Connie Shasta

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Well, that last post was in 2013 and a lot has changed. Our son is married and is pursuing his dream of being a luthier. We still plan on buying an Airstream and traveling full time. 
But in 2018, on a tent camping trip around Lake Michigan, we found ourselves soggy and cold and searching Craigslist for a camper. We sent five emails to ads for vintage campers. Three had sold within an hour. One person never bothered to respond. One person responded that we could come take a look.

We paid too much. We knew too little. We wouldn't change a thing.
We enjoyed some camping trips, and learned a lot about canned ham construction online.

We also made some discoveries

And once we learned that canned ham trailers are built from the inside out (you need to take off all the metal to replace any inside panels), the game was on. We are all in and are going to take on a frame off restore. With our 8 foot wide driveway. And limited storage space. If we can do this, so can you. Look forward to seeing y…

Airstream Dream

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Have you ever had a dream that was so important to you, so real in your mind, that you were hesitant to move forward because of an unconscious fear that reality might not live up to your expectations? Yeah, me too, but since it was subconscious I didn't know that until yesterday.

As our boy has become a pre-man over the last several years, the topic of "What Happens When Our Boy Flies the Coop" has come up more and more often. The converstations were quickly discarded as the two of us realized that Kirk's retirement dream looked a little like this:

And mine was more like this:
No, no...I don't plan to develop a moose fetish. But I as much as I like travel at the end of the day I enjoy having a place to hang my hat. So while I was thinking cabin in the woods, Kirk was thinking car on the road.

There was also the issue of location. First off, we have one great kiddo. And as much as I don't want to be showing up on his doorstep every morning for coffee (okay I d…