Yearly Archives: 2010

A Master Craftsman Rolls In Style

Daniel Riedemann is a native of Kansas and fifth generation  carpenter who learned specialty restoration from his father and grandfather. He uses his 1951 restored Spartan as an office and home away from home.  He offeres his advice about green trailer restorations.

Dan runs Nineteenth Century Restorations, a company with a focus on historic preservation, using designs that meet or exceed current energy efficiency standards.  On job sites he salvages reusable materials

and reclaimed lumber.  Dan says he likes to build homes that are as green as possible, but there aren’t a lot of clients who go as green as he would like.  The Spartan was a chance to do it his way.

Historic restoration of an Ohio home by 19th Century Restorations.

Dan takesto the road in his 1951 Spartan when he’s working on projects for the U.S. Corps of Engineers and the National Park Service.  Have a quick look at his trailer in this You Tube clip (no audio): Here are Dan’s thoughts on some current issues Sam is dealing with in his Spartan restoration project: Insulation I used spray foam insulation kits [he will supply the name]. It’s a great product, made out of soybean products, so you aren’t letting toxic fumes out in the atmosphere.  It’s easy to apply.  You should make it about one-inch thick.   In your trailer,  it could be done with about three or four kits (each “kit” costs between $400-600.) I would spray the foam about 1” thick being careful not to completely refill the cavity. After that I went in with foil back bubble wrap, the stuff used to wrap pipe.  Comes in 400 ft. rolls.  [Note:  polycene.  Will correct this.  another guy told me he thinks you can get the lefover bits  of this stuff for free.] I replaced all that old Kimsul, which was fiberglass and basically  useless.  You’ll end up with about an R15. The The outer aluminum skin can really heat up.  But the heat stays in the gap in between. I live in Kansas where summers can be humid and the temperatures can get up into the 100’s.   I’ve got an air conditioner in there but the unit is not fighting the heat. Hot Water Heaters I use an instant hot water heater that runs off of propane. It heats up the pipes that the water is go through, so you only use it when the water is on. They have been using that system in Europe for years.  It is a great technology . It is in my front closet with room left over.  The shower in my Spartan is better than the one I have at home.

Metal bathroom unit on a 1951 Spartan Credit: Jane Keeler.Flickr

…that yucky metal bathroom unit, keep it? Yes.  I kept mine. Belly pan The original pan in mine was in excellent shape.  I just had to replace the spot by the bathroom.  I recommend using the same kind of product. It’s like an MDF fiberglass.  Iwould do it all new and use a marine grade epoxy to fasten it. I haul my Spartan a lot for the job, so I want mine sealed really well and not affect by the heat and water. It’s called a masonite belly pan but it’s not exactly masonite.

Belly pan for a vintage Ultra trailer. Credit: basicofbasics on photobucket

I suggest you call a couple of lumberyards or specialty wood shops and ask for the thinnest MDF material that they have.  ¾”  or 3/8”.   The product is slicker on one side (the side that isn’t as slick goes against the belly.)  I would definitely waterproof the pan.  And I would use foam insulation between the two.  In the center of the trailer you have five inches of insulation and then it narrows up to the sides because of the shape of the curve.  I used plain old yellow fiberglass when I restored my Sparta,  but if I was to do it again I would use spray foam.

Belly pan with liquid chaser. Credit:

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Life is Living 2010 — A Success in the Making « Josh Healey – Hammertime for your Mind

Great post from Josh Healey on Life is Living 2010

So what sustains life in Oakland? In addition to live performances by local legends The Coup, Los Rakas, and The Getback, in addition to the face-painting and the hip-hop petting zoo (no lie), in addition to thousands of people from across the Bay Area diaspora enjoying a beautiful day at the park, here’s some photos I got that highlight some of the answers we find here in The Town.

Life is Living 2010 — A Success in the Making « Josh Healey – Hammertime for your Mind.

Nature and Peace at Geumgang Nature Art Biennale by guest blogger Anke Mellin

Geumgang Nature Art Biennale was first held in 2004 and again in 2006 and 2008. This year it is titled “Nature and Peace.” Yatoo was founded almost 30 years ago in Gongju, in the Chungnam Province, 150 km south-west of Seoul. Yatoo, is the name of the Korean Nature Artists Association which organizes the Geumgang Nature Art Biennale and means “Thrown into the field”. The Korean artists use the term “thrown into field,” because, as Koreans, they feel the responsibility for nature is theirs. Why? Korea is a unique country in many ways. As a technically advanced society, it lives collectively in respect for ancient culture and nature. It requires individuals to responsibly share their experiences abroad, to learn from other cultures how to honor nature because many countries have this problem now. This has resulted in Korea being one of the largest Land Art or Nature Art centers in the world.

Within the exhibition’s title, and the rhetoric of the artworks is a reflection of how people could behave so as not to discourage or disrupt other species, the way they have discouraged swallows. How can one live in harmony with the whole of nature? Art gives us advice in finding answers to this sticky question. Trees, water, light, sound and even wind become a part of the artist‘s installations. They will be standing on site for some time and the site will change its form and structure with help form nature itself. The whole process can be observed in the park and at the Geumgang riverbank throughout the year.

The combined rich and diverse histories of this year’s participants guarantees a high level of quality work. We have 15 artists from 13 different countries: Ghana, Cameroon, India, Poland, USA, Germany, Peru, Philippines, Netherlands, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Hungary, Bulgaria and Japan, and 12 artists from the host country, South Korea. The character of each creator’s piece is shaped by the unique culture, history and geography of his or her country of origin. Each piece is also marked by the artist’s specific relationship to nature. It is not surprising that the installations differ from each other to such an extent.

Nereus Patrick Cheo, Cameroon (above), was inspired by debris washed up onto the beach by the Atlantic to create “The Watch Tower Kiosk.” He used found plastic water, beer and soft-drink bottles to make an open structure which talks about a worldwide problem: A great majority of the world’s population consume water and drinks from these bottles but at least half of these bottles are never recycled. His project entailed the construction of a Kiosk-like shape 5m high and 3 x 4m wide. The kiosk is a dome shaped sculpture beautifully created from used bottles woven together with wire on a base of bamboo, wood and nails. Utilising the bottles as an artistic statement, he has given them a new life.The work offers an opportunity for attention, care and open vistas for reflection on how we interact with our environment.

For Roger Tibon, Philippines (above), the watchwords “nature and peace” are a metaphors for a journey uniquely associated with the boat. This is not surprising considering that the Philippines are comprised of more than seven thousand islands. Many of them are inhabited by people who have never left them, and often travel by boat. The boats are more than just a way of movement and communication for them. The boat, with three figures on it, has been installed hanging under one of the cities bridges enabling many people travel over this traveling symbol. Of course the real contemplation begins when we reach a beautiful riverbank and silently, listening to sound of the water and gaze at the sculpture from a distance.

New Zealand artist, Donald Buglass’ Cell (above), relies on the beauty of physics to hold itself up. Cut sections of tree trunk support each other and demonstrate a link between the constructive tendencies of humans and the environment. “Cell” represents the beauty and balance of nature. It is the cells of plants, nucleus of an atom or, perhaps, the rising sun. At the same time it portrays a fundamental shape for shelter (in this case, one we are excluded from) and the peace and security that this might otherwise offer us. His work also has underlying references to the ancient graves at Yeonmisan.

Karen Macher Nesta (above), Peru, is an artist who believes in specific interaction between mother earth and Her inhabitants. In the ancient beliefs of her country, the land must be respected. Consequently people offer gifts to nature: fruit, animal blood, coca leaves etc., asking Her to be more fertile and calm. Earthquakes are also in her nature, and if it comes to this kind of disaster it means that She is angry. The artist used rabbits as a symbol of fertility because of their fast reproduction capacity. The rabbit figures were made from clay, and were designed to last for a short period of time in order to return to the earth where they came from (some cement has been added to extend this period). Over thirty larger-than-life rabbits are located around main path in the Ecological Park. The rabbits will eventually disappear and be absorbed into the forest floor.

The work of Pawel Chlebek Odebek, Poland, refers to central values such as family, love and care. In “The New Generation” (above) the artist points out the mystery of new life and implies its dependence on our care. The art-work is a pine sapling planted in soil between the two large opposing torsos, male and female. Eventually the project will result in the interaction between the carved form and nature’s power (as the growing tree trunk expands). Time is co-creator of this piece.

For these artists, nature and peace are much more than just words.


Organizer – Korean Nature Artist Association Yatoo (established 1981)

The year of the first Nature Art Biennale – 2004

Term of exhibition – three months, from 16th September until 15th November 2010

2010 Participants:

Korean: Chunchung Kang, Heejoon Kang, Hyunhie Ko, Soonim Kim, Yongik Kim, Haesim Kim, Bongi Park, Seunghoon Byun, Seunggu Ryu, Eungwoo Ri, Chungyeon Cho, Kang Hur

International: Chintan Upadhyay (India), Donald Buglass (New Zealand), Eizo Sakata (Japan/France), Ichi Ikeda (Japan), Karen Macher Nesta (Peru), Karin van der Molen (Netherlands), Nereus Patrick Cheo (Cameroon), Patrick Tagoe-Turkson (Ghana), Pawel Chlebek Odebek (Poland), Roger Tibon (Philippines), Ryszard Litwiniuk (Canada/Poland), Suzy Sureck (USA), Toni Schaller (Germany), Sandor Vass (Hungary)

The full article will be published in the upcoming second issue of WEAD magazine online soon HERE.

Window Replacement

This article is taken from about a restoration on a 1946 Spartan Manor:

One of the first restoration tasks on this trailer was to make it water tight. This meant that all water leaks from the windows had to be stopped. All the windows save the front Plexiglas picture windows were in great shape.

The other windows on the trailer are glass, therefore much more stable. Plexiglas was a fairly new technology for 1946. Plexiglas was used extensively for the first time during WWII for aviation purposes as can be seen here in the nose cone of a B17 bomber. It allowed for much lighter and complex forms.

Spartan Aircraft having had experience with this material readily adapted it to their line of trailer manufacture. It was a well suited match. When I originally found this trailer,  two of the front windows had been poorly replaced . They had been sized poorly and installed with a messy application of caulk. The curved left panel was original with heavy crazing. Most of the seal had severe dry rot and was barely holding the window in place.

Removing the old windows was a fairly easy task. The original windows were held in by a gasket sandwiched between the outer shell and an interior strip of extruded aluminum, which was screwed into the trailer frame.

This photo shows the right front window removed and the aluminum cleaned to accept

1946 Spartan window repalcement

the new window. I used large sheets of heavy paper to create templates for the new windows to be cut from.

The old windows were used as patterns. Some adjustments were required in order to get an optimal fit. 3/16 inch.

Plexiglas was used for replacements at a cost of about $150. This included them being cut to my templates. Instead of using a gasket for the window replacement I opted to use a newer product Dow Corning #795. This is an industrial grade glazing material. This close up shows the new window set in the sealant and shimmed with penny’s. The excess sealant was cleaned off with mineral spirits.

1946 Spartan window replacement Credit:

The new Plexiglas is in place. It is amazing how fresh the new windows make the trailer appear. It is nice to be able to have a clean view from this great picture window and the best part is there are no more water leaks! After almost 3 years the windows seem to be doing great. The plexi is exposed to full sun and has not discolored and the seals are still tight.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

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This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Ripping Out The Floor – And Ceiling

Here are some remarks comes from various discussions groups and web sites about ripping out the floor and ceiling. The first post comes from Frank @

July 6, 2010

It’s fourth of July weekend. Not exactly a weekend I want to go up for a day because of the traffic on the tollway. After sitting home all day on the 4th watching TV I decided to go up on the 5th to do some work instead of repeating a day of TV.

I bought myself a respirator mask that filters out asbestos and furnace filter from Menards to make a air filter from my box fan. Maybe it will filter some of the stink out!

I washed out the inside of the upper kitchen cabinets with pinesol and water. I couldn’t tell if this made a difference since I had the mask on the entire time I was there.So I tested some of the floor by walking on it. It appears the floor under the side windows are the softest. Some spots are actually so soft you can put your foot right through the floor.

After cutting the 3/4 plywood from the floor with my circular saw it reveals the insulation. You can see the holes in the insulation where little critters made tunnels in the past. I will remove the insulation from these areas as well since removing all the floor and insulation is not a feasible option for me.

The belly pan is fairly complete. There is one spot toward the front that has rotted away and that section of pan is now loose and hanging a bit lower. Perfect “doggie door” for animals big and small to make a home. That needs to be repaired ASAP.

I noticed a drop of water hitting the floor and it was too far away from me to be the sweat poring off me. The light fixture in the dining area had a steady drop of water coming from it. This ceiling panel is scheduled to be removed and discarded anyway so no better time then the present to remove it. I cut the power to the light, removed the screws from the underside of the fixture and carefully took it down.

The panel is also held up partially by the decorative room divider which divides the kitchen from the living area. I carefully removed the divider since I want to restore this piece of non painted wood. I removed all the screws from the panel and pulled and tugged and was pelted with mouse pellets until it was down and out the door it went.

The worst part of demolition is the removal of the old insulation. It is falling apart, full of mice droppings and sometimes wet. I am never fully prepared for the job and most of the time have on short sleeves and I am left with itchy arms for days.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Freespace by guest blogger Matthew Slaats

Freespace is an exploration of the relationships built between people and place, may they be urban, suburban or rural. It looks to inhabit the everyday space, the space that once was, and space that is constantly in between. The objective is to develop a network of sites, through partnerships with individuals and communities, to elucidate experiences of ownership, privacy, sustainability, and identity.

This process begins by asking about spaces that have meaning to you – may it be a vibrant moment from your past, a rethinking of a space that is familiar to all, or a curiosity along a walk. The project seeks out these spaces, using the public’s own intimate experiences. You are then able to donate to the site to Freespace through text and images, eventually being posted to a website that situates the location within a larger global network. By creating an archive of the meanings that connect people to place, relationships are built that reveals memory and challenges identity. Once the collection is defined, each site will become a node in a program to reconnect people with in space. Tours, site visits, and narratives will provide ways for engagement and expanded connections.

The concept for Freespace came while sitting at the summer home of the Vanderbilt Family in Hyde Park, NY, now a part of the National Park System. The space defines a relationship with place that most will never see or experience. The question of how this space represents the United States comes to mind? Even more specifically how does it represent my own experience? Where is the National Park site of the every day person? The ranch home or the suburban neighborhood comes to mind. What about spaces of decay? Empty lots are spattered across post-industrial cities. Going further, might we think of something more intimate, more private? Could a park reside in a memory, consist of a favorite chair, or the space between ones fingers?

Freespace asks the public to seek these spaces, defining them from their own perspective. They may be conceptual, textual, or physical; and range in size from micro to macro. The project looks to engage the range of associations that people have with space, building a collection of unique environments that take on further meaning by the fact that they are described, located and catalogued. In the end what will be defined is a breadth of perspective that shows the vitality of peoples relationship with what is around them.

To get involved go HERE and select the link “Getting Involved.”

On October 9/10th Freespace will be a part of the Conflux Festival in NYC.

Matthew Slaats is an artist based in Poughkeepsie, NY

Go to EcoArtSpace

Window replacement

Here is a picture of a kitchen vent from a 51 spartan

From Spartan discussion forum:

My husband and i are currently working on a 1950 Royal Mansion, she came to us gutted of all her period glory save for her stove. However we are still under her spell! We are going to outfit her in as close to original style as possible. We are trying to find somereplacement window latches for the jalousie windows. I have heard they are not a very common style,unfortunately. I have pics of some in my album titled Central Texas Royal Mansion. We need 5 sets. vtc has the arms and clips but not the other pieces. Anyone willing to part with them i’d be much obliged!

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from as part of our CSPA Supports Program.