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The First Coast journey

Mold + Rivets (+ more mold + more rivets)

 Airstream as workstation. January 2017.

Airstream as workstation. January 2017.

Every day there's a new revelation and, inevitably, a compromise.

After the finishing work on the floor supports, I turned my attention to the walls. Cilla's walls are original aluminum with a vinyl coating. They're weird. And they're moldy. Look at all that mold! Reading through online forums, I was tempted to rip all of the siding off, take out the age-old insulation that sits between the inside shell and the outer shell, and start the walls over again. 

But time is of the essence. If there are rats in the walls, they'll be there this summer and I'll smell them. Right now, I'm moving forward.

There are several ways to deal with this moldy vinyl. I had dreams of stripping the walls down to their metal surface. There are videos of people doing this with paint thinner and a whole bunch of nasty stuff. I was discouraged by the many helping hands who visit the Airstream workstation on a regular basis. It was deemed too messy, too intoxicating (i.e. brain-damaging), and too time consuming.

I decided to clean the walls and prime them with BIN. Then they'd be ready for painting. It turns out that with a little citrus solvent and a good scrub brush, Cilla's walls look like new! (Evidenced in the pretty stellar before/after shot to the right)... Removing all of the mold (every last bit) has taken a total of 3 days. 3 solid days of scrubbing. 

 

 Mold be-gone! Citrus solvent does the trick (and lots of water and scrubbing!)

Mold be-gone! Citrus solvent does the trick (and lots of water and scrubbing!)

 Bathed in blue light and squeaky clean. 

Bathed in blue light and squeaky clean. 

Rivets + Window Removal

Cleaning Cilla's walls revealed an incredible amount of tiny little holes in the aluminum. Since we tore out all of the original build-out, that's not surprising. But I really was at a loss for how to cover the hundreds (honestly, maybe even thousands) of tiny holes in the metal. Epoxy resin? Some of that weird metal patching material? Fiberglass?? 

Well, the answer was actually pretty simple. Rivets! The aluminum interior shell is pop-riveted to the frame. Adding more pop-rivets (with the intention to paint the entire thing white) seemed, at first, to be a terrible idea. But then I did it. And they look awesome. It's very strange and spacey - the metal walls with little rivets all over the place. But I love it. 

 Dirt on the face, maneuvering around the beams. I'm getting lonely in the old Airstream but next week is a painting party!

Dirt on the face, maneuvering around the beams. I'm getting lonely in the old Airstream but next week is a painting party!

Removing the windows proved difficult. All of the hardware is rusty and I don't think it's been removed since Cilla was built in 1976. With a lot of determination, and the help of my intrepid father (who is really good at getting out stripped screws) we were able to get the windows off. 

 Clean + tarpless (for the moment), note the make-shift skylight on the ceiling. Not sure what I'll do with that... but it'll be cleaned up.

Clean + tarpless (for the moment), note the make-shift skylight on the ceiling. Not sure what I'll do with that... but it'll be cleaned up.

Cilla is a leaky beast. For the next few months she's covered by a big blue tarp, while I try to figure out how and why all that water is getting in.

The number one leak-perpetrator to address: The window seals. Over the next few months I'll be replacing all the gaskets on the windows and getting them ready for re-installation. And I'll be ordering some new hardware (and fixing up the old junky stuff) so that the windows are able to open and close easily. 

I'm heading off for the weekend, but next week I'll be finishing the rivets, and prepping the Airstream for a painting party! I can't wait to see this beauty with some clean, bright walls. 

- GK

airstreamGalen Koch