1963 Kenskill

Aug 20,2015

Brought home a new project today, a ’63 Kenskill 12ft trailer.  It seems like a sturdy trailer and tows great.  Sabrina is the proud owner and has a soft spot for all Kenskills.

Here are some pic’s before work started.




The owner before Sabrina had put in bunk beds, carpeting and had reinforced some of the walls with 1/4″ plywood.

Aug 24, 2015

The first step is to remove the bunk beds and carpet…


and then the kitchen cabinets.


Aug 25, 2015

Removing the interior sheeting starting at the door and moving to the rear.  You can see here that the factory had stapled a thin sheet of insulation to the frame and nailed the sheeting over that.  No insulation between the framing members.  Every nail is pulled before each sheet can be removed.


As you can see there is water damage to the frame, especially in the back corner where there is some rot. Also you can see light between the wall and the floor which is rotten in the corners.

Aug 26,2015

Today the skin was removed at the back and around to the front left corner where there is more rotted framing.  The electrical service was also removed.

Aug 31, 2015

Today I unwrapped the trailer after a rainy weekend.

First thing to do is remove the remaining sheeting at the front of the trailer.

Next I took out the front & rear windows, taillights, license plate and wood behind the bumper.


Then removed the corner trim from the street side which was attached with about 100 screws gooped with sealant also part of the curb side trim.  That’s when I noticed the dent in the roof panel.  That will have to be straightened out before it goes back on.

Last thing today was to take out the vent.

Sept 1, 2015

I added some interior bracing at the back today in preparation for removing the rear sheet metal.  I will add bracing at the front as I remove more sheet.

Removed corner trim on the curb side and sealant from street side.  Removed nails and staples that hold the rear sheet metal on and removed the lower rear sheet metal.

Sept 2, 2015

Today was spent pulling out nails that hold the rear, roof and front sheet metal on.  A lot of them were 1-2 inches apart and rusted.  Tomorrow all that aluminum sheet will be taken off. I also braced the front of the trailer.

Sept 3, 2015

After removing a few more nails my buddy and I slid the roof sheet metal off in one piece.

Now I finally have the air conditioning working…..especially when towing.

After removing the remaining windows and storage door we took out the front door and got a start on taking the curb side siding off.

Sept 4, 2015

Removed the remainder of the siding and added some additional bracing to the walls.

Sept 8, 2015

Now that the siding is off I moved the braces to the outside of the wall.  With so much wood rotten it is a tedious and critical process to preserve the exact outer dimensions of the walls because the siding has to go back on and fit perfectly.  Before I took the walls off I added plywood to preserve the outline where the wood was crumbling away.

Here are the walls in my shop.

We are left with a flat trailer.  Next the decking will come off and I will be able to inspect the wooden parts of the frame.

Sept 9, 2015

Today the decking came off and with it came some of the rotten wood framing.



Sept 10, 2015

Shopped for materials for the wooden parts of the frame and the decking.

Sept 11, 2015

Cut pressure treated wood frame materials.

Sept 12, 2015

Today I picked up the POR15 paint for the trailer frame and picked up deck paint for the plywood deck on the trailer.  Also my helper and I turned the trailer frame over and wire brushed the under side and painted it with the POR15. This is a new POR15 product (to me) that is specifically for undercoating and isn’t affected by UV light so doesn’t require a topcoat.  I’ll let it cure for a day then turn the trailer right side up and do the same with the top side.  This will make the frame last for many more years.

Sept 14, 2015

Turned the trailer right side up and moved it under cover, wire brushed the top side, painted with POR15 and picked up materials for the walls.

Sept 15, 2015

Cut all the pieces for the wood frame and fit them to the trailer.  This begins the reconstruction phase.

Sept 16, 2015

Today I cut the decking and fit it to the trailer.

After fitting the deck to the trailer I took it back off and into the shop where I painted the top, bottom and all edges with deck paint to preserve it.

Sept 17, 2015

I fastened the fenders to the deck from the bottom side as it was originally then mounted the assembly to the trailer frame with bolts and nails and moved it back under cover.

Sept 18, 2015

Today I started cutting the wall framing and formed most of the curved pieces at the top corners and front and back of the walls.

Sept 19, 2015

Building the curb side wall today.  I laid down the original wall with all it’s bracing and built the new wall directly on top of it.  This way I’m sure everything will fit.

Sept 20, 2015

Building the street side wall today.  I made the wall using the same method as the curb side wall.

Sept 28, 2015

Today I unscrewed the new wall from the old one, stapled the back side joints.

Sept 29, 2015

For the last few days I made forms and laid up two bent lamination’s that fit the front and back corner curves.  These help hold the ceiling plywood.

Sept 30, 2015

I finished up some framing and fitted the interior plywood to the street side wall.

Oct 1, 2015

Trimmed the street side wall with router and made the last two bent lamination’s.

Oct 2, 2015

Stapled the back side of the curb side wall, fitted interior plywood and trimmed with router.

Oct 15, 2015

Today I rough cut the ceiling paneling, sanded then applied a pre-stain conditioner to the walls and ceiling paneling and then stained them.  Below is the curb side wall after staining.

The picture below shows how the new panel matches the color of the doors that the customer wanted.


Oct 20, 2015

Taking care of some last prep before I mount the walls to the trailer, like cutting out for the access door etc.  Mounted the street side and curb side walls, bracing them to a board clamped to the center of the floor.  Everything is fitting well.  Also installed the welting to the curb side wall and my helper is removing the old sealant from the sheet metal.


Oct 21, 2015

Installed welting on the street side wall.  Started fitting the back and ceiling plywood.

Oct 22, 2015

Continued fitting the ceiling, adding cross supports above the plywood.

Oct 23, 2015

Constructed framing for curved back and test fitted back and ceiling sheet metal.

Oct 28, 2015

Continued framing the back and also the roof so now could remove the temporary interior supports.  Cut out for the back window and added mounting supports for the tail lights,  license plate and light.

I’ve been keeping the trailer in one of my garage bays to keep it out of the weather.  It’s a little more cramped but at least I’m out of the weather.


Oct 29, 2015

Short day today.  Added framing for the skylight and cut the opening.  Began working on the electrical.

Jan 4, 2016

Did some more electrical rough in on the street side, picked up insulation & electrical components, installed the 12 volt wiring harness with a plug in for the tow vehicle, fastened down the plywood deck in the middle preparing for flooring install then picked up tools and vacuumed.

Insulated the curb side of the trailer.


Jan 8, 2016

Insulated street side wall & sealed insulation edges of both walls with expanding foam, installed additional framing for electrical panel and installed the panel, a box for incoming power and 2 duplex outlets.  Also installed a ground wire to the frame.

Jan 27-Feb 5, 2016

Installed closet & lower kitchen cabinet, made drawers and installed them with the drawer glides, cut out openings in counter top deck for the sink, faucet and stove top and mounted it.  Also stained and applied final coats of finish on doors and drawer fronts.

Feb 11, 2016

Installed the hinges and drawer pulls and mounted the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and the closet door.  Next I will install the interior skin on the front of the trailer.

Feb 12, 2016

Installed the front skin, framing structure and cutout for the front window.

Feb 17, 2016

Made and finished the upper cabinet then installed it in the trailer.




10 Responses

  • Darcy // // Reply

    Amazing work!
    Where are you located?
    I would hire you..

  • Miro Gutierrez // // Reply

    I’m trying to restore an Aristocrat Low Liner from the early 70’s. I have no experience and this is super helpful. Thanks!

    • Brian Dennis // // Reply

      You’re welcome!

  • Lenord Aune // // Reply

    I have bought the same trailer recently and would like to see the rest of this restoration if possible. I was also curious as to what type of wood was used for all of the interior work?

    • Brian Dennis // // Reply

      Hi Lenord,
      I used birch plywood with a custom stain for the interior woodwork. The owner is awaiting more funds to continue the project so it may be a while before it’s finished.


  • David Somerville // // Reply

    Very impressive work Brian. A little more extensive than the work that needs to be done to fix dry rot on my trailer.

    • Brian Dennis // // Reply

      Thanks David. Let me know if I can help with advice or whatever.


  • Kevin // // Reply

    I’m considering purchasing a “fixer-upper” Alaskan Camper. In your opinion, is it a project that:
    A. Is worth doing?
    B. Is it something you could help with?
    C. Makes ANY financial sense at all?
    I realize that you’ve not seen the camper, so the whole value thing may be a shot in the dark…but I’m assuming the worst of an Alaskan that I can purchase for less than 2K.
    I love what I’ve seen of your work, and we’re practically neighbors! I’d sincerely appreciate any advice you’d care to give. Thanks for your time.

  • Matt // // Reply

    Hey beautiful build! I’m wondering, what kind of fasteners you use in the wall sections?

  • Mike Krause // // Reply

    Have you finished the kenskill? I have the same trailer but can’t seem to find any pics about it. I would like to see what the interior looked like originally. Can you help me? Also the few I have seen are all different in some sort of way. Why is there nothing in these? Mike Krause

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