Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Silicone

I decided to take on the trailer’s rear window after work last night. It’s that silicone encrusted window I photographed last week. Getting it out was fairly easy, since all the operators had separated from the window (nor, for that matter, do they appear to operate) and the screws attaching it were already loosened. I sprayed on a thick layer of gasket remover and started to take on the silicone.


The channel in the windowframe was filled with silicone instead of a proper gasket

The layer of silicone holding the glass into the frame ended up being moderately manageable to remove. It just took several (about 5) passes with a putty knife and two hits with gasket remover and it slowly eased out. To my surprise, I found that one end of the frame had separated and had been held in place with silicone. Distantly, I recall that the previous owner had mentioned when I picked up the trailer that they’d broken the window operators during their big trip in the trailer the previous winter. This window started telling a story of an epic road disaster, leading to frenzied efforts with silicone. I like these folks, but right now, this silicone is irritating me, getting in my hair and pretty much annoying me.

I moved on to cleaning out the segmented aluminum channels filled with silicone.

There is no way to describe the tedium of removing silicone from aluminum. It is slick, something like greased over pork gelatin (and need I write that I don’t eat meat). It resists constraint, even from a sharp edge like a razor. It brought out the fiercest cleaning effort on my part—I found myself exerting the kind of determined scrubbing effort I can only recall my grandmother making in my early childhood. I can’t try to write how many gouges I made in the frame in this effort, although I suppose if the gouges are inside the window frame channel, it won’t really matter, since nobody will ever see them. After two hours of frenzied scouring, dark started to fade in. All that work, and I had only proceeded through one side of the frame—and there were still little traces of silicone in the channel.

Right now, I’m wondering if it really matters if there are random traces of silicone left behind, so long as the channel the gasket mounts to is clear.

All of this has left me musing about cursing. Bear in mind, I come from a family where my 4 year old niece thinks that the word “stupid” is a dirty word. I was fairly naïve myself as a child, getting my mouth literally washed out by soap after uttering a word I had learned from reading a Sherlock Holmes book, “dastardly.” Generally, I find curse words to be occassionally necessary exclamations, though lacking in originality and style. But every once in a while, I find a project like this silicone effort spurs so much frustration that it inspires me to try to invent a truly novel utterance of vulgarity. Consider the whole genre of cowboy vulgarity—half wild exaggerations that use panache to compare bad circumstances to the bluer side of rural life. But I don’t live in a farm and there is little vulgar panache to be found in general office work (cleaning out this window frame is like getting a virus that only lets you see one pathetic ugly porn website). Nope, there’s no {insert wildly creative vulgarity here} creativity or flair there.

By the way, I do plan to get more detailed information on restoring the windows up here soon. I still have some things I'm working out right now...

1 comment:

Ric Seaberg said...

hi guys, just found your site as i was rummaging around the web buying a new makita polisher and such. your site is really fun and informative. i read a bunch of it. we have a 64 tradewind, see some photos at my site, www.ricseaberg.com. thanks for a terrific blog, ric