Monday, January 19, 2015

Restoring the Click-Clack Couches

After 36 hours between the two of us we have one of the two couches almost done. We just have to attach the dust ruffle and hinge covers, but due to a compressor issue we are down and waiting on parts. The other half of Blue Ribbon is my wife Jessica, she is a amazing seamstress(please click on her link, Black Needle Werks, to see the purses, aprons, and pillow shams, she makes and sells).

This is the couch when we bought the Kenskill, notice how the back is square. Somewhere along the line one of the previous owners recovered the couches and they lost a lot of their character, the back was made square and they lost their dust ruffles. 

After 3 hours, several dead mice, lots of mouse poop and a lot of a bleach/water solution that was more bleach then water, we got to the base layers. What we found was a Federal style heart shaped couch.  We had to throw away the old coconut fiber underlayment, due to the rodent damage.

I took each couch completely apart to remove the burlap that sits between the torsion springs and the innersprings. The mice had burrowed their way though the burlap and left little presents in the weave of the burlap.

New Burlap over the torsion springs, unfortunately I got so involved reattaching the innersprings that I forgot to take pictures of the process.  

But I obviously did reattach them.

New Jute padding on the innersprings.

I wrapped the wood base frame with the same Jute padding to give it some cushion.

I Wrapped the seating surfaces with 1" thick foam, this replaces the old raw cotton batting that the mice loved so much.

Next came 1 1/2" thick Dacron padding to make it appear fluffy and give it some softness. I then wrapped everything with a upholstery grade Tyvek fabric to keep everything together. 

I think a couple of post ago I posted a picture of the fabric we were going to use, but we changed our minds.  We found this black and gold fabric that is very reminiscent of 1950's car upholstery. My wife piped the cushions with the gold fabric we are using for the curtains, I then button tufted the cushions with buttons covered in the same fabric as the piping to keep everything from shifting around.

Dust Ruffle, which was a  original feature back 1961, we changed it and made it flat as the original was actually a ruffle.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Down time at work means work on the KenSkill

I'm in-between work projects right now so that means work on the Kenny. All the windows have been  removed and when it's too cold to work outside I work on rebuilding them with new seals. The skin is being removed one piece at a time and that's when the true scope of work reveals itself. 

Pretty much the entire front wall and cabinets will need to be rebuilt/replaced due to water and rodent infestation, 

Mouse nest and what doesn't show in the picture is the hole the little bastards chewed through the wood. It's ok that piece of plywood is shot.

Rotted framing in-between the front windows, that hole in the bottom goes all the way though to the inside, it's been leaking for awhile.

Do to the construction methods KenSkill used, I'll have to rebuild the cabinets on both the top and bottom of the front windows. The piece running at the angle is the window frame, the wood closest to the camera is the front of the trailer, The flat piece of wood is actually the cabinet and runs from the inside to the outside.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Rot, dead mice, rot and more dead mice.

We have started to disassemble the Kenskill. While the Kenskill's construction is far superior to the Shasta and similar trailers of the time, there is still rot as time took it's toll on it's seams and seals. Water and rodents are the enemies when dealing with vintage trailers, so far we've found four dead mice, a live 4' bull snake, and tons of dead flies.

We Started to pull the skin to fix the rotted framing and found mouse damage and nest(s)!

Rotted skirt boards

The skin was floating at the edges, as all the edge boards were rotted and there was nothing left to hold the skins together.

This was a bit of a surprise, even by 1961 standards, Kenskill used chip board for some of the framing. Not only is it really heavy it's absorbs water, expands and holds moisture. This is whats left of the framing in the rear fin. 

We have also stripped the fabric and batting off the dinette couches, soaked everything in bleach to kill anything the mice left behind.

We always figured that who ever did the covers last time just over pulled the fabric in the middle since there was a odd indentation in the middle of the backs. 

What we found when we stripped off the old covers was a heart shaped back...very cool. As it turns out who ever made the old cover just made squares, must have decided they didn't like the heart shape.

Lots of Bleach, the old horse hair jute might still be replaced, it's in really good shape.

Last but not least, we've found and acquired all the interior flooring, fabric for curtains and sofas, and the Formica for dinette table.

The Black/Brown/Grey/White fabric is for the Sofas.

The Gold fabric is for the Curtains.

The little swatch with the hole is the Formica for the Dinette Table.
the Gold, Black and light Grey chips are our Floor tiles(pattern to remain a surprise!)

A random trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore today I was able to find enough VCT tile in pretty much all the colors we had picked for a bargain price. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Welcome to our new home, new name and new trailer restoration!

Welcome to the new home of Blue Ribbon Trailer Restorations, we have started on our newest restoration, a 1961 Kenskill Model 23.5ft trailer. 

The Trailer just kinda fell in our lap, and it was a buy it or lose it moment. The Trailer was originally special ordered from a dealer in Denver in 1961, the original owner loved this trailer and took excellent care of it, he camped all over in it, even towing it to Mexico at one point with a Station Wagon.

Here are some pictures of it in the '60's

The Kenskill sat on a piece of land in Wiggins Colorado for the past 25 years, when the property was recently sold, the new owners didn't want it and just needed it gone. Having sat on the doorstep of Tornado Alley for 25 years, the trailer has so much hail damage it looks like a golf ball, the other problem is the former inhabitants, mice, lots of mice. When we went to look at the trailer there were mice running around in the trailer. Now we're dealing with the droppings and stench of mouse pee.

Here is the trailer when we found it, note the beautiful surroundings, what you can't see is all the bugs.

The trailer had the original tires on it, even though they were holding air they were dry cracked and sun baked, and a obsolete size 7x14.5. So before it moved for the first time in 25 years I had to repack the bearings and replace the rims and tires.