Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Because of the flooding inside the Ambassador before we purchased it, the heater had been rusted out. The entire bottom of the heater that was located under the oven was gone to rust when we took it out. There really was no help, for it, so it went directly to the trash. This was not top on our priority list for fixing last year, as we really didn't know what we would do to replace it. At the WBBCI flea market in Madison, WI last summer, Mr. Airstream was determined to find a heater. After a few discussions with others in the Wisconsin unit, he had his heart set on a catalytic heater. He found one while I was setting up my booth at the flea market and tried to get his hands on it, but was beat by another eager Airstreamer to get one.
Mourning his loss, he continued on his search for another one, with no luck. Meanwhile, another Wisconsin unit member, who knew Mr. Airstream's plight, found one for $30 and snatched it up for us! We were astounded and elated that he took the chance that Mr. Airstream hadn't found one! Of course, Mr. Airstream, has been carrying this thing around with us since then, trying to find the perfect spot for the most covetted Catalytic Heater in Wisconsin (or possibly the world!).I wanted to give you a glimpse of the installation underneath the refrigerator. He used gas grade flexible gas line. The extra is for a reason, to be seen in a minute.
Now you know the structure that we used to hold up the refrigerator. It was similar to what Airstream originally used, but much sturdier now.
Ta! Da! The perfect little spot - except one little thing! With the heater attatched and running in this location, it was pointed directly at our bed! Not a problem for me, but Mr. Airstream likes it cool at night. There is also the entire rest of the 28' of the Airstream to heat, too.If you hadn't already guessed, we attatched the heater to hinges so that we could swing it around and face it towards the back of the Airstream as needed (most of the time!). A reason for this location, besides the oven space was that the gas was run in this location for the refrigerator, so it made sense.
Let us know what you think. We are expecting to use this on our trip to the mountains in May, so we'll update you then too! We do expect to use a small ceramic heater back in the bathroom for extra heat. I'm trying to convince Mr. Airstream that we need another one of these in the bathroom....We'll see!
Let us know what you think of our hot topic today!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The original bed plan in the Ambassador was two twin beds in the middle and a somewhat small double pull out goucho (couch) in the front. We had several issues with this set-up, the main one being that we have too many people in our family for four beds. (I'll be showing you soon what we did to the goucho to make it comfortable for the two of us to be in the same bed at the same time.) I think most people who order these Airstreams with the twins in the middle don't actually sleep together. After 15 years of marriage, I find that I enjoy sleeping with my husband, and after spending a few years in our Clipper, where we couldn't stand sharing a tiny bed in hot weather, our goal for this "new" Airstream was that everyone would have a bed of our own.
We tend to be purists with the Airstreams. We talk about all the changes we might make, but find that we are very loyal to the way it was originally - to a fault! So with that being said, if I sound like I am trying to justify these changes, I am trying to just convince myself that it's not sin to change it!All that being said, we went first with what we knew, and that was our 1953 Clipper bunk bed. Mr. Right copied the base of the bunk in the Clipper in structure and built two of them. We planned to use the space above the twins, where the cupboards were beyond repair from water damage (yes that was a justification). We wanted them to fold up, since it would take up extra room at the ceiling level to have the beds in the down position.
Here was our next plan, a way to make the beds stable when kids are in them without putting too many holes in the camper. After much discussion about the ability of the ceiling structure being able to hold up the bunk (I know, many of the bunks that were originally in the Airstreams were hung from Elephant Hooks from the ceiling.). Another trip to the hardware produced and great find of Angle Aluminum. This we bolted to the walls and closets that are on each side of the beds.
The passenger's side did not have a big enough wall to hold the bed in place when someone was in the bed like the driver's side did, so when a child would climb into the bed, it would tip out of place. We didn't want to attach the other side to the aluminum wall or put in hinges so we could flip the bed up. (Mr. Right cringes at putting holes in the aluminum, something about all the holes he's had to fill with rivets already.)
To fix this unstability, we used aluminum pipe on each side to act as legs between the upper and lower bed. A plumbing filange was used to hold them in place. When the beds are up, we just put the pipe in the upper bunk to store them.
Now to the storage of the bunk while moving down the road and during the day. We figured that a hook and eye would hold it in place, but found after our first trip that the motion and weight of the bunk was too great for this simple fix. Instead of this, we drilled a hole in the wall under the bed and inserted a thicker bolt with a cotter pin to hold it in place. (Yes, another trip to the hardware store.) This pin is taken out and put in a drawer (where little mechanics can't find it) when the bunk is in use.Here's another picture of the bed in the up position. The bunk hangs about 2 inches into the window, but we felt that it was worth the extra sleeping space!
Please let us know what you think of our beds!
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Sunday, April 18, 2010
This was hard to show in a picture, but there is a real flame going in the water heater, and better yet, nowhere else! Everytime we used the water heater, it worked fine, except there were flames coming out of other places than the pilot. We were having black stains up the outside of the Airstream. After much searching, we could not come up with a new regulator for it, which Mr. Right was positive was the problem. A search on the internet, came up with the idea to take the entire thing apart, clean it, and reassemble it to fix the problem.
That's exactly what Mr. Right did, he took the water heater components apart, cleaned them and reassmebled them and Voila! It works just fine with no extra flames! The best thing, it was a free fix! That's something that doesn't occur very often!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
For those of you that are married, you might relate to this dilemma - Mr. Right (or Mrs. Right) can get something to work, but you never can! You know, how the car makes that noise and he never hears it, so therefore, you must be crazy and need to deal with the problem! This has been the case for our door handle on the Ambassador since we took it out of the junyard! Don't get me wrong, Mr. Right did "work" on it and tune it up, but for some reason, he has the magic touch and can open and shut the door with ease, and more importantly, knows the trick to lock it. When it works so easily for him, and myself and the kids keep slamming the door (why do slamming doors never bother children but drive parents crazy?) and it won't stay shut, it gets frustrating for all involved. I can't tell you how many times we got yelled at for not closing, slamming, or not locking the door!
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Here is a before picture of the door side of the beds. The fabric on the beds and the walls seem to be original along with the mattresses. This was the junkyard dogs house, so bother were thrown out right away as they smelled and looked horrible.The other twin bunk on the driver's side was just as grosse. The board you see in the the foreground is the tv tray - a much advertised inovation of the time in 1963!This was the procedure that we had for all the stripping and staining. I would put the stripper on several of the pieces at once and then go back over them and scrape them. I would used steel wool to touch up any smaller places or hard to remove paint. Believe me, it was very rewarding to see all that grey looking paint come off the cabinets!
After a washdown with paint thinner and a day of rest, I stained all the pieces with Red Mahogony stain. We knew this was a sort of risk in the "Vintage Airstream World." But we liked the look of the dark wood the best!We started getting the frames in for the cupboards and beds without the walls (they weren't finished yet, but we were excited to get things done.) It still seemed pretty big without all the furniture in, so we were really excited at this point!Here the drawers are back in with the frames. As you can see, we haven't veneered the drawer fronts that were ruined yet. That was the very last thing that we did, as the veneer was a pretty penny and hard to find.Finally, the doorside bed, with the uphostry of the couch on the back of the wall is in. I found these great blankets at a rummage sale for $2 for both! My friends that as were with me thought I was crazy with the bright color, but I knew it matched my couch perfectly! Stay tuned for the bunk beds that we installed over the top of these beds! Hope you enjoy!
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