Although the Caravel is not yet done, time is short so I’ve started the other major Airstream project.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Safari’s floor covering is pretty tired. We’ve purchased vinyl planks which will overlay the existing vinyl flooring in the living area and bathroom of the trailer. In the bedroom there’s carpet, which is horribly discolored (after eight years of heavy use) and which we’ve never been fond of anyway. So that’s coming out, and the entire trailer will have a new look once this job is done.
Mike has agreed to help me out, which is a great relief. I have to get the Summer magazine in the hands of the layout crew by Friday, so there’s not much time for home projects. The plan is to start early in the office, knock off in the early afternoon, and thus get in a few hours of work in one or the other Airstream before the sunlight starts to fade. Today I worked on the magazine from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then we got started on the Safari by removing most of the bed frame and the carpeting.
The bedframe came out fairly easily. We had it disassembled and stored in the carport in less than an hour, including folding up the blankets. So then we ripped out the carpet and the carpet pad. That was quick too, even with the need to locate and remove about thirty staples in the floor. (In the course of this demolition we of course uncovered numerous souvenirs of this trailer’s time on the assembly line, mostly in the form of discarded rivet stems and the occasional dollop of sawdust-encrusted caulk on the floor. I regarded these artifacts as almost historic.)
Buoyed by all this success, we moved to the dinette, and had that out in even less time. One of the nice things about working on an Airstream is that just about everything is fastened with a #8 wood screw, even those things that are anchored in the aluminum. So with a screwdriver, you can disassemble pretty readily. It’s even faster with a cordless drill and screw bit handy. And if you strip a screw, it’s easy to replace with a small assortment of different-length #8 spares on hand. I always have a bunch of them in my repair kit.
Of course there are always a few tricks. The forward bench of the dinette, it turns out, was fastened to the bulkhead (wall) that divides the dining area from the front bedroom. To get to all the hidden screws, we had to remove the bedroom’s sliding door (about eight more screws and a bit of sleuthing). Since the furnace is inside that part of the dinette, I now know exactly what will be required to replace it someday. Hopefully not too soon.
The bedframe was similar—most of it came out but we discovered four screws that could only be accessed from inside the front outside compartment, and six staples that I just had to yank out. I hate finding staples, and whenever I do I resolve to replace them with something better.
Eventually it was all out and we were left with a lot of dust, a lot of screws in clear plastic baggies, and plenty to think about while cleaning up with the Shop-Vac. We knocked off at 5 p.m.
The new flooring should be fairly easy to install, once we get started. But as with everything, there are a few more tricky spots. The major problem is where the existing vinyl floor ends in the bedroom. The existing floor is thin, but it’s just thick enough that it will telegraph a slight bump where it ends. We have a few schemes in mind to hide this problem, and will test some solutions in the next day or two.
Another problem is that we are going to have to trim the new floor around quite a few obstacles, since we aren’t removing the rest of the interior furniture. For this problem Mike has produced a 50-year-old tool from his father’s workshop that we think will be just the ticket. I’ll show you that device later.
While all this was happening, the UPS truck came by the final items I need to complete the Caravel. At least, I think they are the final items. It’s dangerous to say that, given that every other project has taken many more trips to the hardware store than expected. I don’t know when I’ll finish the Caravel but I certainly expect to do it this week, perhaps when Mike is busy and unable to help me on the Safari.
In our next session in the Safari, we need to remove one more piece of furniture, and then start prepping the surface for laying down the new material. That’s for another day. We got enough done for one Monday.