How to strip paint off a Airstream Argosy

I must admit, never did I think the words; “she’s an amazing stripper” would ever utter out of my mouth when describing Ariane. Yet that is simply the truth! Oh sure, I can strip with the best of them. But let’s face it: I rush it. I tend to go fast and just want it off far too quickly. She, on the other hand, focuses on the details.

I’m speaking of stripping the paint off of our Argosy, of course. What did you think I was talking about?

Stripping the paint off outside in 97 degree heat in the Georgia sun, well, isn’t fun. In fact, I would describe it as…not at all in any way enjoyable! Our Argosy is pointed North South, so the sides of her are East, West. Which means if we want the shade, we are either working on the East side at 6:00 AM or working on the West side after 6:00 PM.

Stripping the Argosy has taught me a few things that I must share. One, I suck at stripping. Two, Ariane, is virtually a machine. She actually said at one time; “Not interested in taking a break right now, I’m in a zone”. Though I actually said at one time: “Let me die so the Vultures can take me”. It was a blistering 98 degrees out on the Farm. While every living animal on the farm was seeking shade (and for our spoiled dogs, air conditioning), there was Ariane, stripping 40 years of paint off our Lucy. At one point she looked like Leonardo Da Vinci with her pallet of paint artistically looking for every nook and cranny of to highlight. In reality it was just a gunk full of scrapped paint on cardboard. But when you are hallucinating because of heat exhaustion, I would like to think of her that way.

In the end, we have Lucy almost all stripped and bare. Our hands tired, blistered, and swollen. Ariane’s hands took most of the blow, looking aged and peeling from the abrasive material. For me however it was just my ego that took most of the blow as I watched in admiration.

TIP: If you have to work in the blistering sun of hell. Listen to Disco Music. Believe me, listening to KC and the Sunshine Band and “Shake, shake, shake”, offers a mild relief from heatstroke. And at the end of the day when you tell your girlfriend. “You are an amazing stripper”, it becomes worth it.

We stripped the Argosy fairly easy with a product called Citristrip using a sponge. The trick is to apply it very thick and NOT use a brush as the directions indicate. Apply a very liberal layer and let it sit for about 10 minutes. However, do this in the shade. If the sun is directly on it, it may be much harder to strip the paint which we did using a plastic putty knife. This process is not hard at all to do and Citristrip is promoted as “no harmful chemicals”. Citristrip is a gell so it doesn’t just poor out. The reason we used a sponge was due to the amount of thickness that needs to be applied to the Argosy. You can buy these by the gallon although you may have to order the gallon online. The smaller version can be found at any hardware store like Home Depot, Lowes, or even Walmart.

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