Sunday, 30 September 2018

Restoration update for Satuday 15th Sepember

We  spent the day on the airstairs, deciding to make the most of the reasonable weather while we still have it. 

It was mentioned a few blog posts ago that we planned to remove part of a housing which the higher of the 2 screw threads passes through. The point of this was to remove any old grease and replace it with fresh grease, hopefully making the operation of the mechanism easier, but also increasing the extension of the stairs.

The housing itself is held together by a nut and bolt on each side  with a split pin going through each, the latter to keep the nuts in place. In order to take the nuts off, therefore, the 1st task was to remove the split pins using a combination of snips and pliers.  By sheer luck the 1st spanner picked out of the tray was the correct size for the nuts. By using this as well as a mallet, it was possible to get the nuts to turn reasonably easily. It was never the intention to take the casing apart that day, it was more of a feasibility study to see if it was (a) possible, and if so (b) how easy. The nuts were nearly completely unscrewed, just to check there was nothing wrong with the threads on the bolts.  After this, they were re-tightened again, and the tools were put back. 

The main task for the day was to continue the painting, which as usual meant that in some areas it was necessary to rub it down before this could take place. Given how much we had already done in the past, we didn't think there would be that much rust, old paint etc. left. How wrong we were!!. Rubbing down these areas required both steel and brass brushes, a scraper and sand paper. It wasn't always the case of which will work best, but what can we use in the space available. This can be appreciated in the following photos which show the underside of the 2nd and 1st step respectively.  

The photo quality is not the best as the location is so low to the ground you have to take the photos at an angle, and the lighting doesn't help. As you can see the 1st step has deteriorated considerably more, and is probably in the worse condition of any. Pieces of the metal were actually falling off as it was being rubbed down. This work was also carried out on the circular metal beam which had only been partially completed in the past. Other areas were done as well as those already mentioned, creating quite a lot of mess.

As some of this didn't fall directly onto the apron but inside the stairs themselves, this mess had to be removed using the vacuum. The worst area for this was the channels that run each side of the stairs, after the cleaning was finished. 

Next the areas that had been rubbed down that were rusty, such as the brackets inside the aforementioned channels, were painted with an inhibitor, Those areas that weren't rusty or had already been painted with it previously, could then be painted blue. This included parts of the underside of the top side, as well as around the rails the stairs move on and the sides and undersides of the lower steps. The only exception was the underside of the lowest step, as the inhibitor applied had not fully set. 

The best news of the day was that apart from a few last minor areas, we have now finished applying the white paint. Due to a lack of time it wasn't possible to apply as much of the grey paint as we intended, but a coat was applied to the axle framework. and a further coat of black was applied to parts of the exterior framework. 

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