Screws and Rivets and Cussing, Oh My

I have good news for anyone sleeping in an Airstream bed… or at least a center double bed in a 1978 Argosy. You are safe. Your bed will not collapse, and there is no possible way that funny looking wall light over your head is going to fall on you.

I know this after a combined two-hour effort trying to remove the center gaucho bed and later deciding that the weird light fixture needed to go away right then and there.

The first part of the bed removal went great – pull off the cushions, try to not touch the nasty one that wasn’t reupholstered with the others, play with the slide mechanisms until you figure out that you have to raise the upper slides vertically and wiggle them out of the lower slides. Easy peasy.

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Then I was left with the base, which is basically a lightweight metal frame, a laminate covered front with a thin plywood floor, and three tambour doors. Three or four screws into the wall over the wheel well and it was as wiggly as a loose tooth… and just as attached. After 10 minutes of wiggling (the frame, not me) I found more screws going into the end cap attached to the bathroom wall. Still attached.

After 10 more minutes of wiggling I found the giant metal L brackets holding it to the floor. In my defense, they were mostly hidden by the leftover carpet padding. Then came more cussing, pulling out screws, wiggling, cussing, pulling out screws… you get the picture.

One thing I’ve learned so far is there are really only four things required to tear the innards out of an Airstream… a GOOD screwdriver, a hammer and chisel (or giant rasp in my case) to pop rivets loose, and a healthy vocabulary of profanity. Luckily I’m well equipped with the latter after years on a construction site. If the Jehovah’s Witnesses ever show up while I’m working out there I guarantee they’ll leave and mark the end of the driveway to warn the others.

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So at this point I have the bed completely detached from the wall finally, and I’ve done my victory dance. Unfortunately even though it’s really lightweight it’s just large and awkward enough that I know better than to try to get it out of the camper and into the basement by myself. So just like the refrigerator, it’s detached and waiting on one of two things: Some unsuspecting person to wander through the yard and be lured into helping me with the promise of non-existent cookies, or me to get my druthers up (I think they’re in the trunk of the car) and decide to get them out on my own.

The next day I wandered out to survey my new kingdom and decided that taking the bedroom wall light out couldn’t be so hard, I’d just grab a screwdriver and pull that down while I was standing there.

No.

Airstream did not want that light fixture coming down. They liked it and wanted it to remain a permanent part of history.

After much investigation of the seemingly floating fixture, I finally found two screws in the top and took those out, assuming in my naivety that it would nearly fall off the wall then.

No. It took another 15 minutes to wiggle it off of the GIANT metal bracket it was snugly clinging onto.

After finally wiggling the cover off and snipping the wires with a pair of pruning shears (I got creative) I was down to removing the bracket. Which was riveted to the wall. Seven times.

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That’s right. That less than one pound weighing light fixture was held up with seven rivets. Time for the rasp and the hammer. At this point I was so determined that I forgot to take any pictures… you’ll just have to trust me.

After wedging myself awkwardly between the scooted out bed frame, the hot water heater, and the wheel well, I set about popping the rivets off. There was a lot of grunting and some more cussing, but eventually I managed to free the bracket from its confinement without breaking any of the bulbs or any of my fingers.

Victory is mine.

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Yesterday a lovely friend wandered unknowingly into the yard and ended up leaving with her truck bed full of carpet and window blinds, so now the pile of crap that resided in front of the couch is gone and I can set about figuring out how to fix that subfloor up front without tearing the whole kitchen out.

In other news this week, I ordered a replacement vent fan for the bathroom, some curtain hardware, and new sink drains from Vintage Trailer Supply, which has quickly become my new favorite website. And they sell gift certificates, in case anyone was curious. ;) I’m also on the hunt for a used refrigerator to replace the tiny model that came with this floor plan, I’ve found a few prospects so far but no winners. And I put together my Home Depot list of supplies for the fun parts of this remodel… paint, flooring, faucets, and possibly one really cute rug I couldn’t say no to. I still have quite a bit to do before I get to those parts, but there’s nothing wrong with a little planning. My awesome brother also stopped by to move Dharma from her awkward position at the end of the driveway, so as soon as I fix the cord and get an outlet set up I’ll be ready to plug her in and test the important stuff.

Baby steps.

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Stress Relief and Carpet Removal

Dharma is still too far away from the house for me to plug her up and check her vitals, so for now I’m just doing what I can sans electricity.

The first step in any good renovation is demo, and since I haven’t been able to find a hammer anywhere in this house I started with the easy stuff. I do have some tools coming by the way, this whole remodel won’t be done bare handed… promise.

Task one, yank up that new carpet and check out the subfloor. The plan is to replace the carpet with either laminate flooring or wood-grain vinyl planks. I like the cleaner look of a wood floor throughout, and I think it will make all 192 square feet of awesomeness feel more spacious.

Sorry about the bad pictures by the way… I was a little excited and almost forgot to take them. I’ll do better next time. ;)

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This carpet actually came up pretty easy, since the installers were kind enough not to glue it and only staple around the edges. It was laid in three pieces, and the seams were a pain in the butt… as was the door between the kitchen and bedroom, where somehow they managed to wiggle the carpet underneath 2 whole inches of poorly attached trim, making it incredibly difficult to pry out of there without breaking anything. But I managed to get it with enough grunting and cussing.

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The whole carpet ripping out process ending up being a lot of fun, and kind of made me wish I had something else to tear up… it’s a great stress reliever.

I did have a few surprises though, in the form of two rotten places in the subfloor. One is beside the kitchen sink (no surprise there) and the other straight across beside the refrigerator. The fridge cabinet was already coming out, and I’ve added the sink cabinet to the tear out list now so I can see the full extent of the damage and replace the boards. More on that later.

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With all the carpet gone the next step will be examining the subfloor better and pulling up the rest of those staples… which requires a tool, so moving along.

I still felt the need to remove something, and being without a hammer I set my sights on that palm tree border running around the outside. Actually that’s not true… I was talking on the phone and started picking at a corner of it, and within 30 minutes had the entire thing peeled off. Problem solved!

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I would love to find a replacement Argosy nameplate to go where the old one was, but so far I haven’t had any luck. Maybe one will pop up on Ebay at some point. Until then the plan is to clean this stripe up, caulk it, and repaint it… possibly turquoise.

Next up: Procure tools and start pulling out cabinets and harvest gold carpeted accents! But first, a gratuitous sweaty carpet removal selfie.

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The Dharma Tour: Before

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No good remodel would be complete without before pictures, and luckily this time I remembered to take some before tearing anything up! So here's Dharma, in all her natural beauty except for the new carpet and upholstery the previous owners added… and … [Continue reading]

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Note the lovely palm tree border… it's gotta go.

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Bringing Dharma Home – Part One

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