Using the angle grinder is probably my favorite task so far on the airstream. Well, using the cutting torch was fun too. It feels powerful to see the shower of sparks as I grind through metal. The camera doesn't really capture the image well, though. There's far more sparks as the grinder cuts than the picture below seems to show.
Like on the previous side, the wood floor was held on by carriage bolts. The factory bent all of the bolts below the nut so it would be impossible for the nut to back out. I can't be upset because on the other side I used a chemical called lock-tight to do the same thing for the new floor's bolts. But each bolt has to be ground off. No big deal, it's fun work.
It's been raining for two days (of course it is; it's Labor Day.) But, I love rainy days. Every time it rains I try to run out and check for leaks. The rear, with the new floor already installed, is watertight now. This past spring I found all of the leaks <knock on new wood subfloor> on that side. But I didn't know about the front of the trailer because the floor was so rotten I couldn't tell leaks from rot. With all of the rot out today, I found three pools of water on the floor on the inside of the bellypan. From there it was simple to trace the leak up the wall to pinholes by rivets and window frames.
Most of the leaks are/were in places that Airstream knew they would be. The black paint on the images below is a seam-sealer from the factory. Unfortunately, it didn't last 50 years. It might not have lasted 20, given the rot. But who knows. I feel very thankful for the lack of rust - I think the western climate had a huge part of that. Most frames in 60's era Airstreams with floors in the same condition as my old floor have massive holes and degraded frames. The rain was enough to rot the floor, but the dry air kept the steel from rusting through. Well, that's my unscientific guess. This week I will wirebrush the worst spots to get a better look.
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.