Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Eyebrow

The "eyebrow" is a curved awning piece over the door on Airstream trailers.  
It is a curved compound shape.

It has been said that when one looks at the shape of an Airstream” the eye is first drawn to the "eyebrow" over the door.”  Frank Yensan of  Frank’s Trailer Works Blog shared his experience,  knowledge and craftsmanship to rebuild his Airstream eyebrow.  Studying his work bolstered my confidence to replace the eyebrow on “SeeMore.”  The task was laborious and required patience.  It also took about eight hours to complete.


On close inspection "SeeMore's" eyebrow was bent, creased and split.


Here is another example of an eyebrow on a 1962 Airstream trailer.


And another example on a 1952 Airstream trailer.

Looking at these examples closely helped me to decide to build the replacement for "SeeMore."
It would also be built a little more stout and slightly wider.

Eyebrows look good and are functional in that they help keep water from rolling off the roof into an open doorway.


I removed the old eyebrow by drilling out the rivets.


The previous owner installed large "pop" rivets to hold the piece in place.
The center mandrels was missing leaving holes in center of each rivet alowing water to enter the coach.



Once the piece was removed the area needed to be cleaned. 




Once clean another problem was able to be addressed.
Several buck rivets holding the door frame together were missing.
They will need to be replaced.


Once free the eyebrow could be flattened out and used for a pattern.


To facilitate the shape needed I found a steel band from a buggy wheel.
It is strong for shaping the aluminum and is of about the right circumference.


I clamped, shimmed and tapped the metal into the desired shape.
Two bends were required on the compound curved shaped piece.
The shape also had to fit the curve of the trailer roof line. 



The first bend was straight forward and was made using the buggy wheel for a form.
This bend would be the one facing outward and is about 1./2 inch wide.


The second bend was much more difficult.  It faces the trailer and needed lots of manipulation.


I was not so successful at first.  
I toiled and made three before claiming "success!"


When completed a test fit was necessary.  
I used sheet metal screws to fit and attach the eyebrow to the trailer.


The fit was good. 
I re-drilled the holes to a bigger size and permanently attached the "eyebrow" using buck rivets.


Now the door frame and eyebrow were solidly in place.


At the end of the day I was very happy!