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1977 Atlas Van Lines Restoration Report by Phil Lampman

OCT 28, 2010

My, what a day.... Rightly so, I suppose, given that after 10 months of
work we finally installed the largest piece in the restoration of the Blue
Blaster. Not only the largest (29' plus or minus 4") but perhaps the most
critical component of the entire project. The on-again, off-again right side
air trap. And it was very stressful and occasionally frustrating. I had to
take most of the pics on the run since Don had us all scrambling this
afternoon. In fact, you may note in a few of these pictures, our leader
pacing back and forth like an expectant father while the rest of us worked
like Roman galley slaves to make sure everything came out perfectly before
the Hysol "kicked".

I think at first, given that we'd taken so much care making sure the air
trap fit was absolutely perfect over the last couple of weeks, you can
imagine the surprise when we discovered that once mounted on the hull, with
the Hysol applied, the fit was not even close to what we had anticipated.
Well, except to say the "pointy end" was pointing in the proper direction.
Don figured it out quickly, but the Hysol "clock" was ticking away and so we
tightened fasteners, loosened fasteners, measure and remeasured, wiped up
the adhesive squeezing out from between the frame flanges and loosened more
fasteners and retightened others... All while Don paced back and forth
urging us on like the coach he truly is. Or, now that I think about it,
maybe he was the drummer that kept us galley slaves in cadence while we were
rowing..

Nevertheless, the stress was showing and Don would run to one end of the
boat and call out something having to do with removing the excess Hysol
oozing from the frames and from off the floor and then telling Rich or Gail
to start riveting the air-trap to the frames, which only caused more Hysol
to squeeze out of every nook and cranny, and which then started the whole
process over again. Poor John and Randy were running from one end of the
boat to the other trying to keep up with the cleaning while Rich, in between
them continued to do more riveting, thus causing more seepage and then Randy
and John would reverse directions as if they were correcting each others'
work.

Then we discovered (well Don did) that we had, in some places, used the
incorrect length fasteners and the fitting and tightening process caused the
air trap to distort and pull away from the frames above. This led to more
loosening and replacement of bolts and a sort of ad-hoc selection of
washers, and then "tuning" the retightening sequence to allow the air trap
to pull more closely into the frames along their entire length, which then
created further Hysol oozing and Don pacing back and forth and John and
Randy running back and forth with towels soaked in Acetone, denatured
alcohol and - probably - some of Parke's coffee from earlier in the morning.

Then Don made Rich and Gail remove some of the rivets to relax (a word that
escaped me until just now, for some odd reason) some of the areas along the
air trap and then we retightened and resized the fasteners (most of which
were attached to our gloves and clothes since we were all covered with Hysol
from leaning against the air trap) to try and get it back into the correct
position and hold it there while Rich replaced the rivets he and Gail had
just removed, which caused more oozing and forced John and Randy back into
action with their chemically saturated towels to clean up the excess Hysol
which, by this time was approaching the viscosity and tenactiy of the Lucky
Tiger Butch Wax I used to use to hold my hair in place when I was in junior
high school. Which, as I may hove told you, was the last place in which I
had operated power tools... But that's another story.

So there you have it. When I left, Don was still pacing back and forth and
John and Randy were still running about with their cleaning materials, by
this time with a strange far-away look in their eyes like I haven't seen
since some of the parties I used to attend back around 1968 when I was
considering moving back to my home country... Bu that's another story as
well.

I'm a little apprehensive about returning to the shop tomorrow. I fear I
might find Randy and John stuck to the air trap while trying to remove more
oozing Hysol just when it abandoned its final claim to semi-fluid form.

I sure hope Don didn't have a "gig' tonight.

You really needed to be there Steve. It was something to watch - only Don
wouldn't allow me to do so...

Still, I'm pleased to be a part of this wonderful restoration.

Oh, I may have misunderstood what I saw as we embarked on the project this
morning, but I'm sure I saw Don look skyward and mutter something like,
"Bill, please don't let me screw this up". He didn't and he won't.

Phil

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