If beer can't help your your DIY project, it's not worth doing. In two different ways, my Airstream's watertightness comes thanks to Guinness.
First, I had to scrap my plans for a skylight up front. I called every glass manufacturer in Billings and described my project. Every last one turned me down after they heard the install. After the first few rejections, I started to realize my idea might not be so sound. I still called every glass maker Google found in Billings. Sometimes it's best to listen when no one else thinks my ideas are good.
Plan B has been to install the new-vintage lexan vent cover called an "astradome". (Ugh! Expensive plastic!) In order to do this I had to cannibalize the vent operators (the knobby things on the right) from the original vent in the back. New operators cost nearly the same as a state-of-the-art, rain-sensing, thermostatically-controlled Fantastic Fan.
So, yeah, I bought a second Fantastic Fan for the back and used the vintage parts for the front.
The old parts, though, had one problem. One operator had a tendency to spin rather than lift. A strip of a Guinness can, folded on itself and riveted into place, made the whole thing work.
Next, I had two major holes from old appliance vents. Each vent was surrounded by a couple dozen rivet holes. These holes have been a source of anxiety for me because I could never figure out what to do with them. Eventually I'll need to put in a fridge vent, but the modern cover only needs four rivets, not over 20. The second hole was from an old (and dangerous) water heater and was totally useless.
I bought a sheet of aircraft-grade alclad aluminum (alclad means that the aluminum alloy has pure aluminum coating the exterior - which makes it polishable) just like the original stuff. For most of the day, I had this vomity feeling as I cut a BIGGER hole in the skin of the Airstream. A Guinness can helped me practice cutting aluminum. The first cut on the Airstream was the worst!
I must have measured a dozen times in different ways. In the end, I planned on having extra overlap on the inside top of the patch (which you can see in the last pic above) so that I knew I would not have too little overlap. I'm not quite finished riveting, but I've done several happy-dances. The entire patch went exactly according to plan. When does that EVER HAPPEN?!?!
I'm not an Airstream Jedi, yet. Airstream Jedi would have sounded presumptuous, like I know what I'm doing. That couldn't be further from the truth. Padawan is a title I can hope to live up to.
Knots Per Hour
My friend Mike is building an airplane. Check it out.