Thursday, February 16, 2012
An Awning for Your Vintage Trailer
Many vintage trailers, like this one, were designed to accommodate what's known as a pole-and-rope awning made of fabric. It attaches to the trailer by means of what's called an awning rail; this is usually a narrow strip of metal with a channel in it to hold the awning's edge.
In order to go through the awning rail channel, that edge will need some kind of tubular-shaped welting affixed to the fabric. You feed the welting through the channel, by hand.
Besides providing much-needed shade, such an awning also adds an attractive finishing touch to your little home on wheels.
But, because few of the original awnings still exist, you will either have buy one from a vendor who makes them, or make one (unless you get lucky with your vintage-item shopping and find a preserved old awning lurking somewhere.)
The striped awning above is a new one that I purchased on eBay, from Marti's Awnings in California. Marti's work is very popular with vintage trailer enthusiasts, and she does custom work as well as the occasional eBay offering. She carries a wide array of Sunbrella fabric, plus telescoping awning poles.
The trailer above is shown with a homemade awning that was fairly inexpensive to make. The main fabric is heavy-duty painter's canvas. A quilt-type design was created on the top side from large samples of upholstery fabric, applied with fabric adhesive. The entire surface was then treated with Camp Dry, a spray-on waterproofing product.
The welting that slides through the awning rail was made from a long section of surgical tubing, inserted through a narrow seam stitched at one end of the awning. The grommets that hold the poles were from a sailmaking supply company. (The company also sells ready-made welting, various outdoor fabrics, and other supplies for making your own awning.)
If your trailer doesn't have an awning rail, it's possible to have one added. Vintage Trailer Supply is one place that carries awning rail for this purpose. (They sell awnings, too.)