Thursday, October 14, 2010

More cleaning/polishing

I'd say, "One of the worst things about this aluminum stuff is...", but it is all awful so how could I possibly choose. Right near the top of the list would be removing the caulk from the drip caps, or from any other part of the trailer, there just happens to be a surplus of it on the drip caps.The drip caps, or eyebrows as some call them, go above the windows and keep rain from dripping down the side of the trailer directly on to the windows. Some previous owner had a love affair with silicone caulk. It's everywhere. Did you know that silicone caulk was created to withstand a nuclear holocaust?...or maybe it just seems that way. I did some research and tried an environmentally friendly product called Motsenbacker's Lift Off. It did absolutely nothing. Then I tried, acetone, paint thinner, lacquer thinner, and paint stripper. I also tried balancing on my left foot, blindfolded, while hula hooping, and reciting the alphabet backwards (one person on the Internet said this was the cure for everything, hey it was worth a try) and still nothing. Not even a little bit of it was removed.

Desperate times call for desperate measures so I got out the absolutely not environmentally friendly, nor skin friendly, nor lung friendly adhesive remover. The first attempt with this was to brush a little on and let it sit a minute and see if the caulk would come off. Just the tiniest bit did come off (thank you baby Jesus, maybe I'm onto something). So I employed the Tim Taylor methodology. I created a soaking vessel out of a piece of flashing. I had to dam it up at both ends so the stuff wouldn't leak out onto the floor and I used my hot glue gun for that, then I put the drip cap in and poured the adhesive remover in the vessel to cover the caulk. Here is a photo of my creation.

I wanted to let it soak in there for an hour or so and went off to take a shower and get ready for work. I didn't want to get my work clothes all icky so decided to check out the progress in my robe. I went into the garage in my robe and slipper and donned  my super heavy duty rubber glove (quite a sight I'm sure) and when I leaned over the tie on my robe must have dipped into the remover and brushed up against my newly shaven leg...did I mention that the adhesive remover is not skin friendly. I won't repeat what words came spewing forth as I ran into the house to wash this off, and while I ran the robe tie brushed up against the other leg...more words I won't repeat were heard. The good news is that the soaking worked pretty well. I decided to soak another one and leave it all day and it worked even better.

Here are the drip caps. Top: Right off the trailer. Middle: The caulk has been removed, it has been bathed in an acid wash, and has been straightened. Bottom: Cleaned and ready to be polished. Quite a difference!
Here is another window that has been cleaned and is ready to be put back together.
 And this is the interior window trim. One before cleaning and one after. 
Despite my chemical burns, I am getting a little done each day on this daunting task. At this pace I may be done by Memorial Day.

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