TUTORIAL: DIY Shasta Wings

August 14, 2016

 

When I purchased my camper one of the missing components were the original Shasta wings. While it was unfortunate I figured of all the work that needed to be done I could handle obtaining a spare set (scouring Craigslist for people parting out their old campers, eBay, reproducers...). The biggest surprise was not the rarity of finding correctly-sized originals but how pricey the reproductions can be and how few renditions there were on making these (at least with the equipment I already had or the look I wanted). So since I wasn't in the position to drop $300+ on a new set of wings, however drool-worthy they were or accommodating the person was, I got to thinking about the most simple and cost effective way one can build these things.

 

One trip to Home Depot later - and in the time it takes to watch one mediocre Netflix movie - I was able to get a wing built. I'll outline the steps below.

 

 

 

SUPPLIES:

  • Template (http://www.freewebs.com/kc8jwa/ShastaWing2.pdf)

  • 10"x10ft. roll of aluminum sheet metal flashing

  • Kobalt glass cutting wheel

  • Olfa razor

  • Ordinary scissors

  • Metal snip pliers

  • Leftover 1x lumber (both for framing and providing a soft backing for the aluminum as you are scribing)

  • J-rail trim

  • Standard machine screws

 

STEP ONE: The Profile

The wings vary in size according to the camper model and there is a great template out there for the different profiles (found here). I printed the one I needed and used it to size up the sheet metal and length of perimeter trim I'd need.

STEP TWO: The Sheet Metal
I've used aluminum flashing for other projects and thus was aware of how reasonably priced and malleable the stuff is. Cutting was easy using a razor blade and a bend/snap. I also knew that if I was able to find the right tool I would be able to leave the impression of the ribbed pattern used on the reproduction wings. I used a glass cutter and a straight edge, laying the sheet on a wood plank for some give. Some good pressure and a few drags left me with a pretty decent indentation (ribs spaced at 1.5" inch intervals). A pass on my scale at least. I finished cutting the curved nose afterward with a pair of ordinary scissors.

STEP THREE: The Trim

I actually had some J-rail roof gutters stored away so I was able to pull out a piece of that to use as my trim. While it may not be the optimal choice as far as flexibility goes I liked the edge condition it gave and it was readily available à-la-basement. It wrapped neatly over the edge and came pre-drilled. My wings are the 36" profile and each took just under an 8' length. I was skeptical that it would be able to make that tight of a radius though the softness of this stuff makes it easy to bend by hand (ordered from Vintage Trailer Supply here); using the help of a heat gun and a rubber mallet I was able to make the turn (though FYI: I didn't use the heat gun on my second time around and it bent almost as easily). I mitered the corners using a pair of snip pliers.

STEP FOUR: The Frame

Scrap lumber is something I have an excess of lately so I figure that's what my frame would be made of. I used the handy template to cut the profile of the nose/tail ends of the wing and stick framed between. After sandwiching the aluminum sheet between the trim and frame I fastened around the perimeter. All wood is treated with Thompson's Water Seal.

 


While not quite the refined quality of the reproductions you can buy out there, these cost me 1/6 of the price and only took a few hours to make. They are sturdy and achieve the look I wanted. The patterns you could etch into the aluminum sheet are endless and can be easily interchanged. Overall - I'm happy! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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