August 2011 - Shasta Renowvation


I continued putting up the birch wall paneling this month. I finished the paneling on both walls. It's hard to see but I've put up new welting along the wall/ceiling seam.

I took the time to tack the side skins back on. This to check the location of the windows and door. The one thing I don't want to do is have to change the outer aluminum skins.

This trial fit was as good as I expected it to be. The dinette windows lined up well. However, I opened up the framing for these some. I moved the framing back 1/2" from the edge of the aluminum skin. This should give enough room for the edge seals on the aluminum and also a sealant directly between the glass and aluminum skin. These windows are cool but a weak point for sealing the trailer. for water leaks. The door, kitchen and rear side windows lined up exactly. I was happy about this. The rear storage doors were both off 1/4" vertically. The skin opening is 1/4" lower than the opening in the framing. This may be due to the change in floor thickness, or just an alignment error on my part. I can't raise the floor at this point so I'll just adjust to fit. I'll likely trim the upper edge of the skin and the edging around the doors should cover the 1/4" below. I've checked the framing opening a couple of times and it should be right for the storage door size. So the framing around all the wall opening checked out.

I then routed the paneling to the framing openings. For the dinette windows I planed some 3/4" boards to 0.40" and tacked these to the framing. Thus, for the dinette windows, the routing of the paneling was 0.40" inside the framing. I put "truss head philips screws" where the walls are exposed and flat head screws behind cabinets and molding. Shasta used 1" x 1/8" plywood strip as molding over the seams. This seems cheap to me so I plan to plane some solid birch for this molding. That's down the line a ways though.

We finished the walls before putting any of the cabinets back. Thus, we did the walls and front ceiling before the full ceiling was in. We stained with two applications of a 10:1 mix of "Golden Oak" and "Cherry" Watco Danish Oil, then three coats of polyurethane. We used sandpaper and tack-cloth between each. We saw this stain mix on a couple of websites but don't know who first figured it out (if anyone knows I'd like to find the source). It works very well and matches the original. We finished two loose 4x8 sheets and some larger scraps of birch. This is close to what's needed to finish the trailer, probably need one more sheet of 4x8 to finish the rear wall. It's easier to finish the plywood when flat so it would likely be easier to finish the panels, then install them. This would take a lot of space to lay them out, or take a long time though.

We did purchase new appliances for the trailer. From our local RV dealer we obtained a refrigerator (Norcold 300 2 way), a new range (17" Wedgewood Vision 3 Burner) and a furnace (Suburban NT-16SE 16,000 BTU). The Shasta came with an icebox which was like a small cooler. We've used coolers for a long time and wanted a refrigerator. For the range, we had the original Modernaire range checked out, then hooked it up to propane and tried it. The burners worked fine but the oven had no temperature control. My wife is a great cook and we certainly wanted her to have a good oven, thus the new range. The 1955 Shasta 1500 did not have a heater. We like to camp away from organized camps, mostly Forest Service and BLM. Thus no electrical hook-ups. To extend our travels from summer tenting to 3 or 4 season camping in Shasta we wanted a furnace. The Suburban needs 12V for the fan, so we'll need a 12V system. Hate to run a generator much, but could charge the 12V battery system using a small generator during the day. The electrical system is yet to be designed, Shasta came with one 120V plug in and two glass fuses. This will be upgraded. We also purchased a Fan-tastic Vent for the ceiling.

Next is to modify the cabinets for the new applicances. I need to re-install the cabinets before closing in the roof and back end.

Not bad progress for August considering we took two weeks for a train trip. We traveled to Grand Forks, ND on Amtrak (with a sleeper) then rented a car and drove to Kenora and Lake of the Woods, Ontario Canada. It was a great break.