Checking back in for Dewey Demo Day #2! We got up bright and early on this beautiful Saturday and waited until it was neighborly-acceptable to start pounding on metal again (10am, in case you didn’t know) and worked until the sun went down. Time sure does fly when you’re tearing a trailer apart and solving problems all day long. Today was fun because we finally got everything off the base frame and got a real good look at what’s ahead of us. And because lots of neighbors walked on by and expressed interest in our project. I kept telling them to check back on the weekends, and they all said “I definitely will!”
Our goals this weekend are to tear down the remaining walls, grind off all of the rust, and then treat with a rust-preventative coating. Today we accomplished the walls and starting grinding away at the rust so we’re in a really great position to continue working tomorrow!
Dewey Demo Day Two:
^^it takes a lot of hands to get these windows off!^^
Armed with new drill bits, we drilled out the last couple of rivets in the walls, used the heat gun to pry away the top from the frame, and were ready to pull them off when we realized that we wouldn’t be able to do so without removing the final pieces of the window frames. The walls were lipped in over the window holes and then the frames were installed over those, so that’s what was still holding the walls into the frame. We used the heat gun and crow bar to remove all four window frames only to discover a ton of caulking and old window gaskets (painted blue and red, which makes us think these were definitely original and has me looking for red and blue gaskets through Tractor Supply Co. to bring back some authenticity to this 1950s gem of ours!). Once we got the window frames off, we really had to scrape away at the caulking because we realized there were more rivets hidden underneath. We drilled all of those off and finally pulled the sides off of our Dewey! She naked! We spent a good portion of our day scraping off old, chunky caulking (definitely my least-favorite part).
When the walls were pulled away we could really see the rust that had begun to form on the metal frame. To keep this from happening in the future, we’re going to basically cover all of the metal frame where aluminum hits, in rubber. This will not only prevent future rust and corrosion, but it will help with water-proofing and insulation as well.
^^the rust revealed itself after we tore the walls off. & our shop dog!^^
Luckily for us, Dewey’s frame is super lightweight, so Virgil and I were able to easily lift the entire frame off of the base frame to get a good look at everything. This is when we discovered one small section of our frame where the rust ate completely through, forming three small holes. We’re currently in the process of trying to decide if we call in a welder to replace this piece, or if we can work around it, as it doesn’t seem to affect the safety of the structure at all. If this were a reality show, this would definitely be the “high drama cut to commercial break” part 😉
^^the rusted-through holes^^
And then this is where Virgil taught me how to use an Angle Grinder to grind away all of the rust on metal! It’s a long, tedious process so I figured we could get through it a lot faster if we were both grinding away — he on the base frame, and myself on the frame. So we took a field trip to Harbor Freight (we live so close) and picked up another Angle Grinder for $25! (My first very-own power tool!) Having two grinders will maximize our work output and probably save us a full day and a half. You have to be super careful when angle grinding (cover your legs and arms, wear protective eyewear, and a mask over your mouth and nose) because small bits of rust and dust are flying everywhere. One small slice of metal flew off and stuck into my leg! At first it’s kind of scary and intimidating, but then you just get so used to it that you don’t really feel anything at all. Plus, seeing the metal change from a red/brown back to it’s original silver color is sooooo rewarding. This is definitely the love/hate part of the process.
^^protective gear & the difference between the grinded and not-yet-grinded metal!^^
And well, we spent a lot of hours just angle grinding away on our respective frames…she’s really starting to shine! Our plans for tomorrow are pretty much to continue angle grinding the rust away and to scrape more caulking off of the aluminum pieces. It’s tedious work, but it’s probably the most important part to ensure we have a long-lasting trailer that won’t give us any problems down the line. I’m so grateful to be learning this process … it makes me confident that if any problems were to arise in the future, that I will be able to fix them, or will at least know what I’m talking about if I need someone else to fix it.
^^where we ended for the day!^^
Today was super gratifying. My forearms are sore, I have a couple cuts on my shins, and the hand towels are covered in a layer of grimy dirt. It doesn’t get much better than that 😉 Tomorrow, we continue on!
thanks for stopping by!