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WINGS:  1958-1984

This wing section is quite long, (actually, very long) so skip over it if you're one of the lucky ones that already have a set!  I really enjoy building/plan ideas, as you can tell by the length of information here.  This is my attempt to gather enough information together to aid Shasta owners in building their own set of wings.  Goal accomplished thanks to Ruth and Andrew!

Disclaimer:  The information here is only as good as was available to me at the time.  The information was mainly reached by asking folks what was on their Shastas, including model/year.  None of this is written in stone.   Use it as a reference tool only!

New:  If you are looking for someone that supplies wing materials, check out Ron on Ebay.  Seller:  dunaganron.    You can also email him at:  rdunagan2912 at his gmail account. 

From Ron:  "These are made from expanded PVC, impervious to weather and a great base to make your wing. You can either add aluminum or paint" 

Also see:

Our trailer is missing it's wings and they are expensive to buy used.   They are also hard to find information about.  One question:  Did my Shasta have wings?   Look for tell-tale signs where the wings would have been on yours.  We found pop rivets that would have lined up for the wings.   

A bit of wings history:  About 1958 Shasta began placing wings on some models, such as the 16' Airflyte.  These first wings were a mix of both wood and aluminum.  They were also made with a smooth surface. 

These wings were on the Shastas from about 1958 to approximately 1960.  They were made from wood, and covered on the outside and edges with aluminum.   Models that would have had wings at this time are the Airflyte and Model 19.  The seller's measurements:  42" long x 9" wide and 1" thick, with the tail piece being 2" thick.  The seller also stated that the edge trim had been replaced and the original trim is no longer made.  As you can see in the pics, they had a "step" built in to fit over the gutter on the trailer:


By the very early 60s they were all aluminum.  (minus the wood)  Wings started becoming smaller in later years until Shasta stopped production of wings altogether. 

1962 Wings:    60s:       Early 70s:

The Late Wings:  The wings of the late 70s and early 80s looked like the picture below and were made of plastic.  Most models, still had wings in 1984.  They seem to have been discontinued about 1985.  The original size of this era were 6.75' high, 26 " long by 5/8" thick.  If looking to replace these, which are rare to find, "tweak" the pattern below for size or go with the smallest size of 7" x 27" (pretty close). Perhaps try reproducing a like set in wood, or get creative and cut them from some other material.

    1975 Wings:   

 1979 Wings, a bit faded but good upclose shot:


Earlier wings came in the following three sizes.  Practically all Shasta models, with the exception of a motor home, had wings during these years: 

Small - 7" x 27" and 6" x 25"   

Medium - 8" x 36" x 1 5/16" 

Large - 9" x 42"

All wings of this era were silver (bare) aluminum.  If you are wondering what size your Shasta had, here is a list I have put together from other Shasta owners:

1958 Airflyte - 9" x 42" (Smooth aluminum)

1959 19' Shasta - 9" x 42" (Smooth aluminum)

1961 Airflyte - 9" x 42" (Horizontal creases only)

1962 Compact - 8" x 36" (Horizontal creases only)

1962 16' Astroflyte - 9" x 42"

1963 16’ Airflyte 9" x 42" x 1 1/4"

1963 Compact - 8" x 36" (Horizontal creases only)

1963 1500 - 8" x 36"

1964 16SCS - 7" x 27" x 1 3/8"

1966 Compact - 8" x 36"

1967 Starflyte – 6" x 25" (diamond cross-hatch)

1968 Compact - 6" x 25"

1969 Lowflyte – 6" x 25"

1969 1400 - 7" x 27" (diamond cross-hatch, smooth trim, three grooves)

1969 Shasta Compact - 7" x 27"

1969 1500 - 7" x 27" x 1 3/4 (diamond cross-hatch, smooth aluminum trim with three grooves) 


Bob spent quite some time on his own trying to figure out how to make wings without a pattern... and I was really surprised that I couldn't find a pattern to make them anywhere on the web.   I've seen plans for entire trailer building, yet could find nothing for building something as simple as a wing.  Wild!  

So... I contacted my friend Andrew, who is wonderful with drawing plans on a computer and he has come up with the following pdf plan file.  Someone was also kind enough to measure a vintage set of wings to make sure the measurements are exact.  This wing pattern is for all wings sizes:    Wings

Here are Andrew's comments and thoughts on how to use these files:

I've had a look at this and the nose of the wing isn't an ellipse.  From all the pics (and I've collected a small album of Shasta Wings!) It is a more complicated nose shape - a radius at the front, another radius where it meets the top and bottom, and a gentle curve in between.  The gentle curve is good as it makes it easier to bend the aluminum trim around the front and get it to fit tightly.
The first page gives the overall shape of the wing, while the second gives the shape of just the nose.  Being a pdf you should be able to print the drawing out at 100% scale (check the print option for 'Page Scaling' is set to 'None'), place it on your piece of aluminum and cut out to the line.  The nose (at least as I've drawn it) is symmetrical top and bottom, so print the pdf twice and it'll work on both sides.
It seems to me that the way to get a good result is to select the aluminum trim first, then make the wing the right thickness to fit neatly inside the trim.
You should be able to pass on the pdfs and other people can print off their own templates.

Most of the wing is just straight lines, so you can easily draw that out with pencil and ruler - the only complex bit is the nose and that fits on a single 8.5" x 11" page.  Print the page and lay it over the front of you bit of wood/loomium/whatever and cut it out. 

Wings apparently fell out of "vogue" in the past since so many have been removed and lost.  Now everyone wants them.  Original wings are somewhat scarce and often run on Ebay for over $200 .....  we really needed an alternative.


Here is someone's creative attempt at a "custom" aluminum wing:


Aluminum Wings:

Most original wings were made from aluminum during the 60's and early 70's.  For a close reproduction and if you would like to try making some from aluminum, Andrew has shared the following thoughts on making aluminum covered wings of your own:

Quote:  My logic for making replica wings is that the aluminum channel trim around the edge is the critical part, that will be hardest to source, and everything else should be made to fit that. The ideal channel (to match the original) would be about 1" wide by 1/4" deep.

Building the wings as light as it appears Shasta did would make them difficult to build, so I suggest making them solid. The core should be made from two or more layers of ply stuck together, so that its thickness can be adjusted to make the core and the two aluminum skins a tight fit inside the channel.

(Ruth used a inner core of styrofoam to give the wing bulk and stability.  This makes for a very light wing!)

When the core and skins have been stuck together, the channel trim will be wrapped around them. I wouldn't bet on getting this right the first time and I reckon it might take three or four lengths of trim to get the technique sussed (er, sorry, that means 'worked out').

The channel needs to have both sides notched in two places, so that it will bend around the sharp back corners. The channel needs to be as shallow as possible (the 1/4" dimension above) so that it can be bent around the front of the wing without distorting. Sounds like annealing techniques discussed in a previous thread will be needed too, to get the trim to bend smoothly. There is a joint in the channel in the middle of the bottom.

The theoretical position and shape of the notches is shown in this diagram but they might need to be adjusted after the prototype has been made.   Download plan for these wings here:  AluminumWings

Annealing Aluminum:  If you want to try making a set of aluminum wings, you may find the following information helpful from Tom:

Before, attaching the aluminum angle to the curved portions, I needed to soften the metal. This process is called annealing. I began the process by applying soot to the aluminum with a candle.  Next, I clamped the angle in a vice and heated the aluminum to just below its melting point. As the aluminum heats, the soot burns off. When the aluminum reaches the annealing temperature you will begin to see some orange in the flame as shown in this photo. If you keep heating the aluminum beyond this point, you will melt it. Heating 5 to 6 inches at a time and applying the heat to the inside of the angle worked best for me.
After annealing, the aluminum easily bent to the curve. Some kinking of the aluminum is inevitable. The kinks are easily removed by gently hammering them out.

The pics here give you a good up-close look at original wing design:  They also give one a good look at the "diamond-cross hatch" designed aluminum, found on the later ( late 60's - early 70s) wings.  Though I'm of the mind that the early straight lined pattern is "good enough" for all era Shastas, if you want to spend the extra money, you possibly might want to check with   or All-rite:

Update 7/17/06    

Ruth's aluminum wing project

Ruth has made a wonderful set of aluminum wings for her Compact.  She "tweaked" the wing pattern to bring it to a "small" size of 7" x 27".  (Andrew has now supplied us with a new pattern for all sizes, so no more "tweaking" needed)  It is a nice fit for her Compact.  Thanks to Ruth for sharing her aluminum wing project with other Shasta owners.  It's a great project with materials that you should be able to find locally.  At the bottom of this tutorial, you will find Ruth's pictorial aid for the project!

From Ruth:
Here's my wingmaking steps in a nutshell.  I sawed out a wooden wing
using the pattern  you so graciously extracted from Andrew.  I used a
clear pine 1x8 from HD and my tablesaw and bandsaw.  Then I drilled
holes in the wing so I could cut away a bunch of excess wood from the
middle of the wing -- to save weight.  I used a jigsaw for that. 

The aluminum is thin gutter flashing from HD.  It costs about $9 for a
big roll of it and it comes in various widths including 7-inches.  I
used the 10-inch size because I wasn't sure of my wing width.  You can
cut this stuff with a regular scissors and a utility knife.  I put
pieces of the aluminum on my workbench over a thick pad of newspapers,
taped the sheets down, taped my metal yardstick onto the sheets
(because if the yardstick moves it will screw up your crease and spoil
the piece).  I used a blunt pointy end of my meat thermometer (but a
metal knitting needle would work too) and made my deep creases in the
metal one inch apart. 
The "grooves" point inward.  Then I used my wing to trace the pattern on the
creased metal and I used regular scissors to cut it out.  In the
process of figuring all this out I wrecked a lot of metal but what the
hey, it's cheap and there's plenty of it. I stapled the metal onto my wooden wing forms.  That was the easy part. 

Now comes the tricky bit, the molding.

After checking all over seattle and realizing that nobody had the right
molding and also nobody knows what the hell I'm trying to do, I decided
to make my own molding out of the same metal.  I used the same
technique and my last cut was made with a utility knife instead of my
pointy thing.  I bent along this cut a couple of times and the metal
popped apart nice and clean.  I made my C-channel molding with 1/4 inch
sides and a middle that was just a teensy bit wider than my wing (what
I called a "fat" 3/4 inch).  I bent the molding into a c-shape with my
thumbs and sometimes I pressed it against the corner of my workbench to
act as a kind of brake.  It eventually bent right along the creased

Anywhere the molding had to make a sharp crease, like at the pointy
corners, I cut the bent  metal side with my utility knife.  I realized
that there is no way you are going to get that flat molding around that
curve without a bunch of creases so I decided to control where the
creases are.  To do that I cut the 1/4 sides every 3/4 of an inch
around that curve with a pair of manicure scissors we have.  I marked
the spots with a Sharpie and I was careful to make the cuts in the same
place on both sides of the molding so that the bends will be square to
the wing.

I stapled the molding at the start because I needed it to stay put but
I wanted to be able to pull the staple later.  This was easy.

Then I nailed down the molding every four inches or so with these
twisty-nails for aluminum molding that I found at the lumberyard.  They
have nice round heads and look pretty good.

I made a mistake and cut my second side the wrong shape (doh!) but I
used the extra panel to cut little wing-ettes for the back side where
it shows.  I stapled those to the back and then stapled plain metal
over the rest of the back so the open wing areas wouldn't become nests
for spiders and wasps.  Anywhere a little bit of sharp metal stuck out
I clipped it off with my nail scissors.  

The only thing left to do is to push some kind of clear caulk into my
molding seams and put those babies up!  I will send you a pic of lil
Sparky with her new wings.

Sorry this is so long but it's kind of a process to explain  this. Still there was nothing particularly hard about each step along the way
and I know it will be easy for you.  The C-molding is gnarly and
cantankerous to work with but you can staple down the ends and slip the
molding over the edges with a thin flat screwdriver and then nail it
into submission. 

Ruth's project pictures for detailed instructions:

Mikes Wings:

Mike's father put together a very nice set of wings using Ruth's above techiques.  He used the same aluminum sheeting found for roofs at your local home repair store and notched the aluminum edge to make the bend.  A good looking set of aluminum wings and at a very affordable price:



Update, 2007Recently Ruth made us a second set of aluminum wings as a gift, which we have installed on our Shasta.  They look great and we are thrilled with them.  Ruth is one of the most generous and talented people that I have had the pleasure of getting to know.  She has spent countless time, energy (and money!) trying to come up with sources and wing techniques for the Shasta Community.  With this set, she used annealing techniques, some styrofoam inside for lightness and better all around technique.  As always, she is sharing with us what she has learned:

"Once I made my first set of aluminum wings, I began to wonder if it would be possible to make a set of wings that really looked good instead
of just a stop-gap.  The first problem was the outside molding.  I searched the net for awhile and finally found this molding that looked almost exactly like the molding around the original wings circa 1962-66 or so.

Here's the website I found the molding (CRL Satin Anodized Aluminum Door Jamb Extrusion) at:
You need to order the molding from a local source (C.R. Laurence is a wholesaler who sells to the glass and construction trade only). 

I picked up the phone book and ordered my molding from a place near me called Distinctive Glass in Lynnwood, WA.  The guy I spoke to is Brian Norman.  They can be reached at;  his number is 425-775-1161 (Pacific Coast Time)

Brian let me know that the molding would come to me in two 12-foot lengths and cost $78 shipped.  Yow!  That's a chunk of money.  Still, it's a lot less than $200 or more for wings from Ebay - "if" I can make them look good.

(Another possible source of edging might be:  Perhaps this countertop edging might be piable enough.  If you have tried this and it works well, please email me with your results.)

After a week or so, my molding arrived in a very long cardboard tube.  I could hardly carry it into my workshop.  Now the next project was:  how to fashion these pieces of molding into frames for my wings?  I started with the motherlode of information on Shasta wings, which is Beverly's wing site.  Here I found instructions for making wings from Andrew, a brilliant member of the Teardrop community.  Andrew has a genius for creating accurate, precise drawings of projects for teardrop trailers, vintage trailers and anything else he takes a fancy to.  Here's Andrew's instructions for aluminum wings:  ALUMWINGS

Since I have a set of homemade wings on my trailer, I decided to make a set of wings for Bev since she has given so much to the Shasta community..... time for her to get something back, I figured.  Bev told me she wanted a pair of wings, 8" x 36" which would have been the original size for her canned-ham style Compact.

I knew I would have to anneal ("heat up") the aluminum molding so I could bend it.  I also knew I would have to make a form to help the molding bend evenly.  I used Andrew's instructions to make a bending form for the nose of my wings.  Here's the bending form -- it is in two parts.  One part is the shape of the wing nose, and the other part is to capture the molding and force it around the form.  I used my bandsaw and some scrap plywood and made the bending form so that the nose shape was the width inside the molding and the second part (a C-shape) was the width of the outside of the molding.  I would use a rubber mallet to form the molding but that would need to wait until it was annealed.   The below pic shows the way the wooden slotted thingy captures the molding to help prevent it from kinking up as it bends.  The form goes inside the molding and the slotted thing goes outside.  Once I got it bent by hand pretty good, I refined the shape with the mold and my rubber mallet (I used a rubber one to try to prevent big hammer dings as I worked on the molding).  I have heard that working and bending the molding will reharden it but you can always anneal it again and keep working until you're happy with the shape.  I just gave it one go-round though.


Time to anneal my molding.  The long 12-foot lengths meant I could screw one effort up if I needed to and still have enough molding left to finish my job.  I studied annealing for a while by reading a lot of interesting posts on the main teardrop website (man, those teardrop guys are fearless and they'll try anything and everything to make their rigs better!  It's a great place to gather information.)
I used a propane torch, just a tank of propane like we all use to make coffee with in camp, with a torch attachment.  I measured my molding (using Andrew's measurements), lit the torch, and started to heat the molding.  I soon learned that all you needed to do was to make the molding glow red and that the red color would "chase" along the molding for the correct distance.  I didn't need to anneal all the molding -- just the part I needed to bend for the nose.  Here's a pic:


The annealed section can be seen, if you look very carefully along the length of molding, as kind of a softened and slightly darker area.  (above).  Once it's annealed I let it cool down naturally (not by quenching it with water or anything.)  Then I kind of made a preliminary bend by hand.  I was surprised by how easy it was to bend and how malleable it became after it was annealed.

It's very possible to bend the annealed area by hand, push it around the nose of your mold bending guide, and slip it into the other part of the guide to force the molding around the the guide.  Try to avoid creating big kinks because those are hard to get out again.  One tip I can offer is that the molding comes in a big 12-foot long length.  I was able to cut two feet from the end of one of my pieces and do an initial test of annealing to be sure I had the idea before I went ahead and wrecked my whole piece.  All I had to do was get it glowing red-hot and chase the red color down the molding with the torch until my whole little section that I wanted to soften got the heat treatment.  I let it cool and I was amazed at how easy and soft it became to bend.  I noticed that one little spot of about an inch must have become overheated because it stayed slightly darker than the rest...I decided not to worry about it because this will be a replacement wing to be placed on an older trailer with its own cosmetic challenges (hey don't we all have a couple of those after all these years?)  I tried not to have a goal of  perfection in other words.  So I started my bend, gradually by hand.  Then once I got kind of a start on  the nose shape I bent it around the form and refined the shape by using that little slotted wooden thing I made (the one that goes on the outside of the molding) and my rubber hammer to finish the nose shape as best I could.  Here is step one, just a preliminary bend. 
Once I had the molding bent for the nose ( and I must say I could have done a more perfect job because there were a few flat spots and funny places in my bending job) it was time to finish the frame.


I used Andrew's measurements to finish my frame and I made a little tab at the corner that would fold down and hold the frame together with just one pop rivet.  One trick I learned was to make the long straight sections actually with a slight concave curve to them so that they would be forced into a straight line instead of making a bulging, convex line once the molding was fit around the "innards" of the wing.  I sawed my little tab and the angles of the back of the frame with a jeweler's saw. 

   The wing's innards are made of styrofoam insulating board, the same kind many of us use to insulate our trailers underneath the outside aluminum cladding.  My molding needed styrofoam of slightly less than 1-1/4-inches wide, which meant I had to combine two pieces of styrofoam, glue them together with carpenter's glue (or some nice sticky caulking or whatever you have around).  Then the styrofoam insides were too thick so I had to stomp around on them with my shoes and compress them so they'd fit inside the molding.  I put the styrofoam pieces on a piece of plywood and just stood around and walked on them to compress them down to size.  I had to tweak the styrofoam to make it fit correctly inside my frame -- by cutting a little here and there with an xacto knife. 

I had made aluminum sides for the wings using the same technique I used for my first set of wings -- thin aluminum flashing (very affordable too!), inscribed with a blunt knitting needle (or meat thermometer)  and a ruler. 


I found out at a vintage trailer rally that my homemade wing sides were facing the wrong way.  Old vintage wings had the lines facing in, not out.  Here's a vintage wing of about 1962 or so, showing the correct way:  Hey,. I guess the old ones weren't all that perfect either.  At any rate, I made sure to make the lines of my new wings face the correct way this time.

 I knew the wings would be screwed to the trailer so I added a little support inside the wing in the form of some extra aluminum for strength in the areas that would be screwed in.

Getting the whole wing assembly together to stuff it into the wing molding was no easy task.  I used a lot of masking tape to tape the wings together, plus a lot of swear words (I am embarrassed to say) as every time I stuffed one part of the wing into the molding, another part would pop out.  Finally after a lot of effort, sweat, and bad words, I got the thing together, stuffed into the frame, and I bent the little tab at the end over to secure the wing.  I kept it taped up for a couple of days to make sure nothing would pop out again.

I drilled a hole in the tab, bent it over, and secured it with a pop rivet


Whew, what a job.  Finally I got the wing finished.  Here are Bev's wings before I shipped them to her:


        And here they are on her trailer:  


A different edging option?  THE "DOUBLE EDGE" IDEA:

The molding, or "edge trim" for the wings has proven to be the most difficult to source and work with due to the curved front of the wings.  In an attempt to give folks the most source options, this may also prove to be viable.  I've seen the below technique utilized before and perhaps by using "two" narrower edge moldings, it would prove to be "easier" to work the curve.  (I'm not fond of the material used for the fronts and back.... just us these pics as a visual for the edging)  Ruth's annealing techique could also be applied here if needed.   Is this a viable option?  We'll know once someone tries it. 



Perhaps the "top edge molding" here would work.  Most of these teardrop suppliers have very soft aluminum :    

Interstate Metals: 


I do not have any experience with this technique, but it looks very promising!

Ruth and I both feel Ruth's method of affordable gutter flashing for the front and backs would look best, along with her technique of "scoring" the horizontal lines.  Then perhaps try the "doubled up" technique seen above for the edges.  This could prove to be a easy and affordable project that looks great too.  This might be a nice edging alternative if one can find the edging material readily available and at a affordable price.

If anyone finds this to be a good technique, or find other sources for the molding trims, please contact me with any information to add here for folks.    

 Wings from wood:

Some folks may choose the simpler option of wings from wood.  These wings can be made to look very good, especially if you get a bit creative by scoring lines within the wing with a rotor, etc. 

The following is from Jeff, from his experiences at building his own wings.  Very concise instruction and good advice on how to keep these wings looking good for years:

What I did was to get 1"x10" x 8' poplar without any knots and cut out my wings...I have the outside of one old aluminum wing that I used for a pattern. Then I sanded it with a finish sander. Next, I spray painted it with outdoor spar urethane, gave it enough coats to where they were completely covered. This is really good stuff, won't deteriorate for many years, and seals the wood. Then I coated that with grey primer. After that dried, I used pinstriping tape to outline the wings and make 7 or eight evenly spaced horizontal lines across the length of the wings...about an inch apart. I sprayed krylon bright silver over the entire wings, and then pulled the pinstriping tape off and finished with a coat of krylon acrylic clear top coat. I drilled the holes, and got some 1/4 or 3/8 aluminum spacers at the hardware store, filled the holes with silicone to seal out any moisture and screwed them on. After wiping off the excess silicone, I top coated the stainless steel screws with the clearcoat. What I am left with is a nice set of silver wings with grey outlines. Total cost...about 30.00 for a set. Tools used...a jigsaw, finish sander (though you can sand by hand) ruler and pencil to mark off where to apply the pinstriping tape, and a drill for the holes. Silicone can be bought in small squeeze tubes so you don't have to buy a caulking gun if you don't already have one. 
I think they look better than original, and while they may not last as long, I have had a set on my compact for 5 years, uncovered and exposed to all types of weather and they still look great. About a month ago, I clearcoated them again and put a thin layer of silicone on the top edge as an added safeguard against snow and ice.  Thanks Jeff!

Our attempt:

I wanted to make sure and personally utilize the wing pattern.  Bob and I have made a set of very simple wooden wings, by using the pattern above and it worked great.  The instructions worked to the letter, and we simply painted them with aluminum colored paint.  The weight wasn't bad on them either.  Pretty light, only a couple of pounds each.  They are 3/4" thick.


Here is a picture of our painted wings, preparing to bolt them to the trailer.  Jeff's idea above in preparing the wood for paint is a good tip.  We found after just a years time, without any special attention to preparing the wings for weather, (paint alone) they didn't weather well. You'll likely find yourself removing them to re-apply paint, not something you want to do often.  "Weather-proof" the wings well, and try getting creative by scoring the 1" lines within the design with a rotor, or using Jeff's idea of "pinstriping" the lines and edges.  This will make these wings look much more true to original or "real".  It is actually hard to see the difference between the wood and aluminum wings unless you get right on top of them.  They look good.  This is a great alternative for an affordable/easy set of wings.  If you make a set of realistic creative wooden wings, please send me a picture to add here and how you did it.

Most original wings were about 1 3/8" thick.  To attach wings to trailer, try about 2.5" stainless steel screws with about 5/8" long and 1/2" wide rubber spacers.  These measurements should work if your wings are are in the ball park of 1" thick.  Over 1 3/8"  thick wing, the 3" screw might be best.  (I would try the 2.5" first and see if they feel secure)  You will need to put the small rubber spacers between the wing and trailer since the wing needs to sit over the gutter rail.  Just makes sure the screws aren't too long to punch through the inside of the trailer!   See below for visuals of original wings and spacers:


If you already have holes in your trailer that you need to line up on your new wings, here's what we did.  Trace the outside of the wing on paper.  Then hold the paper up to the holes in the trailer, line up the wing paper pattern and score the holes onto the paper.  Then put the paper trace back on top of the wing and score where the holes are onto the wooden wings.  Then drill your holes into the wing for the screws.

Many thanks to Ruth and Andrew who made these projects finally possible.  I really hope this site and different ideas/options helps if you're wanting to try a crack at making your own wings! 

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