Monday, 17 October 2016

Starting the fiberglass repair

Carl and I spent a few evenings devising a strategy for repairing the cracks and fractures in the fiberglass shell of this 1976 Trillium egg.  Following Carl's thorough cleaning of the Ensolite removal of all the interior doors, we settled on this order of events:
1. Remove the front, side and rear windows, the plywood furring strips around the window holes, and the belly band.
2. Peel back the Ensolite from each fractured area.
3. Grind out the compromised fiberglass surrounding each fracture from both inside and out.
4. Jack up the roof on the driver's side, since it had sagged considerably.
5. Re-align the fiberglass around each fracture using wood screws and plywood strips.
6. Apply several layers of new fiberglass -- fabric and chopped strand mesh -- to the interior side of the fractures.
7. Apply a layer of fiberglass fabric to the exterior sides.
8. Apply Bondo body filler to the exterior, and sand.
9. Clean up the windows, and re-install for winter storage.

Our search for fiberglass resin, fabric and mesh took us to a boat building supply shop in Ottawa, Ontario.  We live in Muskoka, a region that is famous for boating and canoeing, and we couldn't find any suppliers of these materials in the quantities that we would need.  We watched several boat repair videos on YouTube, and then got down to the dirty work.
1976 Trillium: Drilling out the rivets holding the belly band.

1976 Trillium: Removing the belly band.

1976 Trillium: Removing the front sun shade.

1976 Trillium: Front window removed, and Carl is still smiling.

1976 Trillium: One section of Ensolite peeled back near the worst section of damaged fiberglass.

1976 Trillium: Fracture along the curve of the upper cupboard.

1976 Trillium: Carl using a knife to separate the Ensolite from the fiberglass roof.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Initial Condition

So let's have a look at this Trillium!
It was absolutely filthy inside, and Carl documented some of the cleanup in his blog.  I will start with the most worrisome part -- the damage to the shell.  This is why the purchase price was so "reasonable".  I'm pretty sure a tree limb fell on the roof, because I can't imagine that a heavy load of snow would make it buckle and fracture on just one side of the trailer.
1976 Trillium: this photo shows enormous cracks in the fiberglass shell above the front window and extending across the roof.

1976 Trillium: This shows damage to the driver's side wall and roof, near the side window.

1976 Trillium: This fracture was likely caused by the interior upper cupboard being forced downward, pushing out the side wall.

1976 Trillium: This is another view of the fracture to the roof and side wall on the driver's side, near the front.

1976 Trillium: More ugliness near the side window!

1976 Trillium: This is the foam backing from the carpet.  It was sopping wet because the roof couldn't keep the weather out.

1976 Trillium: This is the front window with the sun shade / stone guard removed.

1976 Trillium: And this is the rotten plywood strip below the front window, with the window unit removed.  None of the plywood strips will be saved and re-used.
What's next?  Figuring out how to re-align the deformed sections of the fiberglass shell and patch them.

Monday, 10 October 2016

I'm back!

Update: August 2016
It's been a long time since I've added anything to my Boler Blog.  We had a great holiday in PEI in 2015, but this year we only managed to get away for couple of weekends at provincial parks closer to home.  In this picture, we revisited Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park, on Georgian Bay.  It's where we went on our restored Boler's inaugural trip three summers ago.
  Joining us on our trip this summer were our son Carl and his girlfriend.  For a few years now, all four of our children have expressed a desire to have their own Bolers, and Carl has seemed the most enthusiastic about the idea.
And this is where I begin the next phase of my fiberglass trailer adventure.  A few weeks ago (mid-September, 2016) I spotted a Trillium trailer with a hand-made For Sale sign taped to the front window shade.  I couldn't resist!  The seller said that it had suffered some damage.  Here is what it looked like on that day:

The damage consisted primarily of large cracks in the fiberglass body, along the roof on the driver's side.  It was pretty bad, probably caused by a large tree limb falling on it, but I thought it was within my abilities to repair it.  I hadn't done any fiberglass work on my '72 Boler, and had only limited experience working with fiberglass when I repaired a hole in one of my canoes.  The seller and I settled on a fair price, and then I drove home to prepare my Subaru Forester for towing the trailer away.  I was apprehensive about telling Gail that I had just spent money on a second trailer, so I did what any sensible husband would do in similar circumstances -- I said nothing more than "I have to return to town to get something important at the store."
My son Carl helped me haul it home, and during the drive we decided that restoring it would be an excellent father-son project. He recently graduated from university and is a fully-employed chemical engineer.  He owns a new Subaru Crosstrek -- a suitable small car for pulling a lightweight fiberglass trailer.  Last week he completed the vehicle registration papers, and so the trailer is officially his.  As for Gail's reaction, it turned out that she was thrilled.  In her excitement that evening she pulled Carl over to her computer to take him on a cross-Canada tour of Trillium and Boler ads on Kijiji in order to show him just how rare and coveted they are.  (More people post "trailer wanted" ads than post "for sale" ads.)

Carl has begun a blog called "Carl's TrilliumTrailer Resuscitation" to document the work on this Trillium.  I have decided to include our work in my ongoing Boler blog -- not to simply duplicate the content of his blog, but to see if my perspective on the work proves to be any different than his. Here is his web address:   You should definitely follow both!

See you at my next posting,