CONVERSION 002 //Stripping out Frank

So one Sepetmber Saturday afternoon, it begins – let’s get Frank naked!

Winter is coming, and the one thing I learnt from building the Studio last year is that building in Winter sucks!

The best laid plans are always made in the prep work, so before we begin any of the fun, it’s time to strip out Frank, clear out 12 years worth of dust, grime and industrial shit and tend to all his ‘boo-boos’ – the dreaded rust patches…

The 4 Stages of Stripping Frank

  1. Drill out all the blind rivets holding the ply lining in place.
  2. Pop the ply off the rivet stumps
  3. Drill out the remaining part of the rivet
  4. File down and paint the raw metals holes

Time permitting, we can get the home-made bulk head out and the phenolic ply flooring unscrewed and lifted. I’m anxious to get the flooring and wheel arch covers off and check the rust damage and I’m curious as the flooring looks screwed down onto the van floor – so maybe there are wooden struts underneath? I’m sure no one’s stupid enough to screw straight through the metal floor… Right?


  • Goggles (for the aluminium swarf coming off the rivets)
  • Shoes  (I hate shoes, but for the aluminium swarf)
  • Face mask (Did I mention the 12 years of dust and grime?)
  • Drill with 5.5 metal bit (Took some testing, but this matches the holes the rivets pass through)
  • File (Drilling out the rivets may also cut into the van metal)
  • Wire brush (Ideally one that fits the drill for rubbing down rust/paint)
  • Cure Rust liquid (For converting surface rust)
  • Metal paint, such as Hammerite (For covering raw metal edges)
  • Screwdriver (Oh come, join the dots!)
  • Crow bar (For when deplomacy doesn’t work)
  • Mole wrench (For getting out stubborn screws)
  • Brushes, so much brushing (For sweeping up ALL the shit)

Super dusty, with a hint of grease, we used brushes, kitchen paper and a hoover to clean the panels and these upper rails.

Will anybody ever see it? Probably not!

A mixture of aluminium swarf, carpet fibres and general shit and all snuggling itself under the sub-floor – that’ll have to come up to!

Drilling out the rivets also drills out the metal of the van, so we’ve filed it, then sealed the edges with a little Hammerite paint.

VOILA! All the panelling off!

Never forget that pesky bit of ply on the sliding door – we did!

Next Task: Rip up the flooring!

By J.Molkenthin

James Molkenthin is an enthusiastic and energetic British Designer, with a background in Graphics, Website and Product Design.

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