Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How complicated simple can be


I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would tell you about the trouble with the paint job.

As you know one of my skills as you know is that of being a pretty decent carpenter.  I have remodeled several homes and the thought of taking on a 70 square foot trailer was not that threatening.  When tackling any project, if I was unsure about what to do, I would either ask for suggestions as to how to do something or I'd bring in someone to help me.  The latter was the case with spray painting the outside of the trailer.

The man I hired was a painter but he had never done metal painting like the kind he would be attempting on the Pork Chop.  Did his lack of experience concern me?  Yes, it did.  But I figured, "How bad can it be?"  People, people, people, if you say "How bad can it be," the answer is usually pretty bad and to repair it will cost you time, money or both.
The painter painted the trailer and there were runs all over it.  My beautiful little Pork Chop looked like a Pollock painting gone bad.  I was frustrated.  I had worked hours and hours on sanding and stripping the old paint off, repairing holes and pounding out dents in the old girl as much as I could.  I primed her with metal etching primer and meticulously painted the window frames and aluminum trim pieces.  All those hours, all that work only to have my beautiful little Pork Chop looked like a Pollock painting gone bad.  I was frustrated.

The good news is that in construction almost much anything can be fixed.  Like I said however, it'll just cost you time, money or both and in this case, it was both.  After a couple of days drying time I came back to the shop, sanded out the runs and once again, the skin of the old was smooth and ready to be repainted.  The painter came back a few days later with a different type of spray gun and I ended up with a nice paint job.  A paint job I should have left well enough alone.  But no, not me.  I had a plan, a vision I wanted to create with the Pork Chop and those who know me, know I will do what it takes to create my vision no how obsessive or painstaking the work may be.
The Pork Chop had long ago become far more than a restoration project, it had become an art project.  To complete the idea for exterior paint job, I wanted to add graphics to my little piece of aluminum love.  I envisioned a kind of Frank Lloyd Wright design that would pay homage to the original style paint job and incorporate and impression of the signature Shasta "wings".

The completed paint job
The industrial complex where I worked on the trailer was full of all kinds of artists, craftsmen and businesses and I used many of them in the course of this project.  A talented graphic artist specializing in signs suggested I use vinyl stencils as templates instead of the more geometric design I had in mind.  I thought about it and decided to pick out some stencils that would emulate the Shasta wings better than my original design.  Similar to the painter, the graphics guy had no experience in painting on metal but why would he, that wasn't what he did.  Still, "how bad could it be?"  Does that statement concern you?  It certainly should have concerned me.
Decal removed

Stencil decal applied to trailer

He made the stencils, I cut them out and applied the vinyl sticky paper to the trailer.  After painting on an automotive clear coat to help prevent seepage, I applied the black paint and removed the stencils.  All four sides of the trailer had graphics and they looked cool.  Yep, they looked cool but as we peeled the stencil away from the surface,  the black paint came off with the vinyl.  I was frustrated but as with any other mistake on a construction job, pretty much anything can be fixed.  It just takes? Yep, time, money or both and in this case it was just time, lots and lots of time.  Approximately 50 hours.  Watch the following videos.
video







video



My next attempt at the graphics led me to an automotive airbrush guy.  I told him my story, not only of the graphic catastrophe but also of my plans for traveling.  Being an adventurous person himself, he loved what I was doing and wanted to take on the job.  He looked at the stencil design which I asked  him to emulate but gave him artistic license to embellish as he envisioned.  When I returned a week later and saw the paint job, I liked it but it wasn't what I had in mind.  I couldn't really be angry with the guy because I wasn't very specific.  The design was fun, kind of Gothic looking but not really me.  At this point I was so frustrated with the entire paint fiasco that all I could think to do was to just leave well enough alone and get on with the trip.  I thought I could live with design and I did...for about three weeks.

That my friends brings us to date.  During my stay in Upstate NY I painted over the graphics and now the Pork Chop is back to the state she started with.  She is simple.  She is a black and white piece of trailer history rolling down the road.  No one but you and I know how complicated simple can be.

1 comment:

  1. I think that stencil looks pretty cool, but I guess you have to love it yourself!

    ReplyDelete