The Only Trailer with a Black Walnut Frame

Cutting the curve for the streetside rear support.

Cutting the curve for the streetside rear support.

In our last post we talked about how we removed all of the rotten wood from the trailer with prybars and prayer.  Replacing the rotten wood would prove to be just as frustrating as everything else we’d had to do with the Shasta!  We were lucky enough to have an uncle with a wood shop nearby – and since he cut the replacement pieces for us using wood he happened to have sitting around, we wound up with some of our replacement frame being made of beautiful black walnut!  At least now we know she’ll hold up for another 40+ years!  (Thanks Uncle Ron!)

The taillight wires need to make a 90 degree turn in this board.

The taillight wires need to make a 90 degree turn in this board.

Actually, replacing most of the wood that we’d removed was relatively easy.  We’d taken careful measurements – twice – probably at least three times – and had the pieces cut for us.  It wound up being over 20 replacement beams, but nobody was going to tell us we weren’t being thorough!  Some of the easiest to replace were around the windows in the front and rear.  We used wood glue and staples, and filled in as many gaps as we could with a spray insulation to guarantee a secure hold.

The difficulty came when we were trying to replace the beams on the streetside rear of the trailer.  Removing the rotten beams had caused the trailer to sag slightly – and so even though we’d had the angles marked, we had an incredibly frustrating, multi-day process trying to get the back pushed and held into the proper shape so the skin would fit when we went to put it back on.

The streetside rear corner with the gleaming new boards in place.

The streetside rear corner rewired with the black walnut in place.

We would have one of us pushing the trailer into place with all our might while the other tried to secure the new wood in just the right spot.  We’d hold it – hold it – hold it – and then, once we thought we could count on the seal, let go – just to have the trailer sag again and the beams shift.  We got so frustrated we had to give up and come back to it the next day – and even though it took nearly a whole weekend just focused on the back corner, we FINALLY got everything level and square.  Again, this is why most people take the trailer apart from the inside, and leave the skin on.  We did manage to almost completely save the thin interior paneling by doing it this way – but unless you are, like us, devoted to salvaging as much of the original interior as you can, we’ll be the first to tell you we’re sure it’s much easier to do it the other way!

New plywood for wheel well corners

The new corners for the wheel wells look just a little better than the originals.

We did manage to finish it – and it was a wonderful feeling to step away from the trailer and, for the first time, have the entire thing free of rotten wood and water damage.  A new roof… new sides beams… now all we had to do was repair the actual holes in the aluminum roof and just… put it all back together.  That’ll be easy, right?

Categories: Repairs | Leave a comment

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