I'm back. And so is my trailer. Now it's time for a restoration.

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Always best to try and get worst and or hardest jobs out of the way first. But you're making progress... even if it doesn't feel like it.

I've got one more tough day left. I'm at the rear axle now, there's about 4 more x-members, and then the tongue left to do 'right'. I 'stained' the siding yesterday, after I did a test spot. I'll get some pics once the sun's all the way up.
Ok, so here we go!

Progress report: We have 'stain' on the siding now. In the pictures of the trailer when it was new, the walls were a dark chocolate brown. I had sort of thought about going back to that for now, until I can afford to buy new siding. (This is an extremely low-buck restoration. I'm still unemployed since my back injury in 2015). Anyway, the local salvage store had a big shipment of Rustoleum paint come in. It was ten bucks a quart, so I grabbed one. Then they lowered the price to five bucks after it sat there. I guess people figure it's no good since it was salvage. I've used cans of rustoleum after they've been frozen for three winters, and it was fine. So, I spent 50 bucks, figuring I could paint my skidsteer with it or something. That machine has been a game-changer. I bought it when they gave me the slap-in-the-face settlement check for my back injury. I got it cheap, mainly because the paint was terrible looking...

Anyway again, I had a 5 gallon pail of thinner in my dad's garage that had been there for twenty plus years. Found that when I was getting all my stuff out of there last year. Perfect. I mixed one part Rustoleum black satin paint to four parts thinner, and made a 'stain'. Splashed some on the siding, and it soaked in. I looked at it later, and it had just the right look. Not brand new, but not all rotted-looking like the siding was. So, I went to town on it. A one-inch brush made for slow work, but also made it come out pretty OK. At the end of the day, it's still rotted old T-111 siding, but now it looks a LOT better. It has the 'right' look to it, in my opinion anyway.

I also got half the rafters finish-coated with satin black. I need to go steal my dad's step ladder, then I can do the rafters over the smoker and all that. Once that's done, I have some crossmembers under the kitchen, and the tongue to sand and paint. Finally, the trim will get a nice coat of semi-gloss cranberry after I replace a couple of boards... Then the paint work is DONE. Finally! I've got 4 quart cans empty so far, including the 'stain' I made.. Not too bad. $20 in paint. lol. The quart of cranberry trim paint I'm getting today will probably cost more than all the black did.

One note about this trailer... Wow, is it nice to work on something that has never seen salt. It's rusty, but not MAINE rusty. It's all surface rust, that comes off with a wire brush. I've never been under a trailer that's this nice to work on. A year-old trailer here is usually showing major rust if it gets used in winter. This thing is crazy nice under there.

And now, pics.


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I hear you on that, right next door in Nova Scotia. The salt can sure eat up anything metal.

You are doing great , and I also love the way Trim clad or Rustoleum ( I think I heard now all one big happy family ) covers and floats out smooth.

Oh nice! I took a boat ride up/ over there once. The weather wasn't the best, but it was a fun ride, and the slot machines had a great time eating up a lot of our change that night..

Anyway, the paint worked good, even on wood that was nearly rotted. I did do three coats on most spots, I bet four would have made it nearly as black as the frame... I like the 'weathered' look honestly.

And thank you again! Even if the reason for the restoration isn't the best, it's been a fun job so far, besides a few minor parts that haven't really been so much 'fun'.
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Well, it's Monday.

We had the in-laws over for breakfast yesterday, I went back and forth on 'do I make him a huge plate of breakfast and hope he can eat, or do I go small so he doesn't feel obligated to eat it all if his appetite is shot?' Well, he ate a big stacked plate of sausage, bacon, eggs, and homefries. Good enough. They spent most of the morning here, it was the first time they've seen the trailer since it got parked 6 or so years ago... They both smiled pretty wide when they saw it in the driveway... Perfect. We didn't tell him about his 'party', but I'm sure he has an idea...

After they left, I got some more done under the trailer, now there's only a few crossmembers and brackets left under there to get a coat of paint on.

I got the sign out that came with the trailer, gave it a good sanding and a fresh coat of paint that has it looking new again. It's a great design that I wish I could take credit for. Folds up flat when not in use, and doesn't take up much room. Made out of one-ince square tube. I'll work on my logo soon, and make a new sign to hang off it.

We've burned a few non-cooking fires in the smoker, just to get all the nasties burned out before the much-needed deep-cleaning takes place...

Once that's done, I have what may be the hardest part of this entire build ahead of me. When the grease fire took place, this thing went up. And it went up HARD. It burned really, really hot. When it did, it managed to warp the reverse-flow plate. So now, I have a little leak right where the firebox meets the cooking chamber. Luckily, the plate is made from thinner material than the tank, and by the looks of things, I can get a bottle jack in there with some tricky blocking. Hopefully that jack will push the plate back down to flat without affecting the tank... I'll try to get some good pics as I do that, in case anyone else has the same issue with their reverse-flow smokers...

Oh, I got working on my 'smelt' for the top of the smoker to replace the pig emblem last night. It made me realize that when you've drawn a little 2D fish on paper for over half your life, it takes some thought to make the little guy into a three-dimensional thing... I had some old broken aluminum guardrail posts that came in a load of roadside fill, so I chopped a piece off the back of one that was one inch thick, and carved a little fish out with the cordless jigsaw. It's all files and sandpaper from there on out...

He's nowhere near done yet, but he did go on active duty as a fire poker last night. I grabbed a pic leaned on my skidsteer forks for size, he's bigger than he looks in that giant bench vise I have out there. I was going to cut the 'sword' off his tail, but now I think I'll leave it, and carve the name of the trailer into it with some tapering letters.. I have a couple more of those posts, I may make a couple more of these into actual fire pokers, and mount them back there near the firebox somewhere. 'Details'. lol.

And now pics:


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Wow, what a week so far...

The paint and stain is pretty much wrapped up, save for a few trips around the trailer (and under it) to search for paint 'holidays'... I found two spots last night, but didn't have it in me to lay on the ground again, and drag, push, and pull myself under there again.

I got the Backwoods smoker off the back, and on a pallet. It's in pretty rough shape, but I think it can be salvaged. I've got some sheet metal that's about the right gauge to replace the outer 'shell', where most of the rust damage is. I temporarily stuck the Weber kettle in it's place, and honestly, I like the 'open thing' a lot better than with the big boxy smoker sitting there..

Now pics:


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Man that is really coming along nicely! And glad to see the FIL still has a good appetite.

Well, a small update, but a good one.

The final coat of paint just went on. I went with the 'hardened' version of Rustoleum satin black brush-on paint. If you didn't know, Tractor Supply (and other places) sells a little metal can of catalyst, that turns normal old Rustoleum into basically a 2-part heavy equipment paint. The durability, wear, and chip resistance goes WAY up when that catalyst is added. One little 8 oz. can treats a gallon, so I used 2/3 of a 'full' shot glass of catalyst to 2/3 of a quart of paint. Scientific measuring systems in use.

I laid the paint on with a 'decent' throwaway brush, and a nice little mini roller head I had. RIP, roller head. RIP, brush. They say the catalyst improves the gloss, so I painted everything from the roof supports on down with it. We'll see how shiny it ends up. I saw a 'deeper' black, but no extra gloss as it flashed over behind me...

Anyway, I'll get the area around the trailer cleaned up before these thunderstorms arrive, and then take some pictures of the near-finished exterior/ smoker deck area. I still have to do a good deep clean on the kitchen, but the hard part's done there. I also need a trim board, then the front serving window area won't look quite so terrible with that rotted and mismatched board down there..

Til next time.
I got the smoker cleaned out, and got to looking at how to fix the warped reverse flow plate caused by the jet engine grease fire that I had on the first burn.. Not much luck, I posted up a 'help me' thing about it in a separate thread. The previous owner said the chimney 'might be in need of a cleaning'. Nope, it all burned right out, and scared me to death while it did. lol. I closed the vents, and the chimney. It just went crazy for 5 minutes, and when all was said and done, the reverse flow plate had a nifty new 2" tall dome at the firebox end. I had hoped a bottle jack would fix it, it did, right up until the jack was released. Boing. If I had torches, this would be no big deal to heat straighten it. I might need to rent some bottles or something.

Anyway. While I was pulling the racks out, I looked them over better than I ever have. Huh. Stainless. All four racks. Nice. That was an expensive option he didn't tell me about.. I got those pressure washed down to almost clean now. I hate to start all over getting this smoker seasoned, but I figured 7 or so years is a while to sit with bugs and crud building up in there...

I'll attach a pic of my 'super safety' conduit jack extension handle, in case something went boom while I was jacking the plate down a couple inches.


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OK, so it's been a week or so of 'let's catch back up on things around here', plus some trinkets on the trailer. Mostly things that are hard to photograph, or just dumb.

I've been waiting on my woodcutter buddy to get me a truckload of wood. I should have known when he told me about his brand-new girlfriend that the wood may not happen. Lol. I'm sure he'd have come thru in last-minute movie superhero-fashion, but eh, I wanted some insurance here... So, I decided to cut and split all the 'branches' that fell around the yard this past winter. Some were small, others were 12-14" diameter, but all were oak or maple. Perfect. I grabbed two full 20V batteries for the trusty 12" dewalt chainsaw, some bar and chain oil, plus my old beat-up splitting maul that hasn't see the light of day since my back injury in 2015.... Now, the part where this wood isn't nearly dry enough to cook with comes up. Yikes. I have one week and a day til the party. I've had some luck with putting wood out in the sun for a week and making it burn afterwards, but this is probably the most important cook I will ever do in my life.

Enter the warming chamber above the firebox on my big smoker. Yes. It's huge, and can fit two stacks deep of wood on each grate. I filled it with split oak for now, and lit a fire using all the punky garbage that I had in my pile. I ended up with a rounded over full skidsteer bucket, plus three wheelbarrows of 'good' stuff. First batch is cooking in there now. The plan says I'll run all my punky junk thru the firebox, kiln-dry the oak and maple I split, plus some nice solid maple rounds. And that should be enough to do the party plus two or three brisket-length cooks this summer. I've got the cooking chamber at 275-300 off this garbage wood, so it should dry the good stuff in short order.

Either way, besides a good thorough final cleaning of the kitchen, a few pieces of trim that we'll go grab later today, and a quick washdown of anything that's been painted black, I think I'm calling this little restoration 'done'. I may paint the wheels to match the trailer once I get my new tires, but for now, they're fine. We'll haul it down to the spot the party's happening this week and make it happen. I'll take some pics of the set-up once we get it all done. After that, it comes home to my new 'outdoor restaurant' area I'm building as soon as the trailer's out of the way in the yard.

Here's a few pics of the wood-kilning operations, plus a shot or two of the trailer in the sun, 70 degrees and near zero humidity that makes today most likely the nicest day we'll see all summer in Maine!


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First cook since the 'restoration'!! One six or seven pound pork butt, and a package of drumsticks for some Monstah Wings. I needed to do at least one 'practice cook' to clear seven or so years worth of cobwebs. Seeing one lonely pork butt on those racks is pretty comical. I guess if I ever get into the 'my backyard grill is bigger than yours' contest, I have a fighting chance at winning... Although this will be set up in our front yard after this weekend's 'party'.

Unfortunately, it seems like the first dose of chemo is beating my father-in-law down pretty hard right now. He hasn't eaten much this week, and I'm not totally sure that stuffing greasy BBQ down there while he's running on empty is a good idea. For now though, it's still on, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.. It's also supposed to be as hot as it ever gets in Maine after today, so we'll see how this all goes for him.


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