Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 12-15-2006, 08:44 PM   #1
New Member
Lenoir City , Tennessee
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 1
Angry interior demolition and cabinet removal

Hello, I'm starting a complete interior demolition. This includes removing cabinets, beds, bath, closests and everything else in between. I'm noticing that the closets and and frames are secured to the floor with rusted flat head screws. What makes matters worse is that the screws are completely rusted and are impossible to unscrew even by hand. This puts me in a delima because I cannot remove the furniture (e.g., the bed frame) without taking my sawzall and cutting it loose. Does anyone have a suggestion on how I might demo the interior in a gentler fashion. I wish to keep as much of the original cabinetry for refinish or to use as templates. Thanks!

beaker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2006, 08:59 PM   #2
Rivet Master
SmokelessJoe's Avatar
1976 Argosy 24
now being enjoyed by Heath and Mary in , Vermont
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,423
why not use a chisel to gently cut through the rusted screws?


SmokelessJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2006, 09:02 PM   #3
Rivet Master
ALANSD's Avatar

1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 8,510
can you grab them with vise grips? Maybe soak over night with PB Blaster first.
1966 overlander..sold
AIR #005
Please visit our blogs and web pages:
ALANSD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2006, 09:03 PM   #4
Rivet Master
guy99's Avatar
1984 31' Airstream310
Dunsmuir , California
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,336
Images: 16
Welcome to the Forums. You might want to tell us the model and year of your trailer in case someone has specific experience with your issue.

Have you tried an impact driver or hammer drill on those screws?

Are the screws straight slot or phillips? If phillips, I have had some luck with a screw extractor tool designed for this purpose.

Do you have room to grind down the heads of the screws, remove the frames, and then take the screws out with vice grips (this is what I had to do with a deck we demo'd this summer.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion - The Dalai Lama

1984 310 Limited Motorhome
Courtesy Parking (W/S/E/Wi-Fi) on I-5 in Northern California, 70 miles from Oregon border
guy99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2006, 09:03 PM   #5
Rivet Master
SmokelessJoe's Avatar
1976 Argosy 24
now being enjoyed by Heath and Mary in , Vermont
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,423
or drill them out?
SmokelessJoe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2006, 11:36 PM   #6
Rivet Master
Fyrzowt's Avatar
2000 25' Safari
West of Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 6,697
Images: 8
Try the above suggestions regarding chisels, gringing head off, vice-grips, etc. It has been my experience that a left handed drill bit works about the best if you have to drill them out. Extractors work many times, but are less effective IMO.
First center punch the bolt, then drill a pilot hole using a bit 1 or 2 sizes smaller than the left handed bit. Then use the left-hand drill bit to remove bolt, applying firm pressure. The bit should grab the bolt, removing it. The heat from the drilling proccess seems to work to loosen them prior to extraction. Some penetrating oil applied a few minutes prior won't hurt either. If the bolt won't come out with the first attempt, use the next larger bit and repeat. For this reason you don't want to start out with the largest bit that fits the bolt.
Left hand bits are available from Snap-on Tools, and, I'm sure from other vendors.
Fyrzowt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 06:06 AM   #7
Rivet Monster
wahoonc's Avatar

1975 31' Sovereign
1980 31' Excella II
Sprung Leak , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 7,174
Images: 40
I also use a Dremel tool with a cutting disc in it, it allows you to get right on top of the screw and gives you better control. FWIW most of mine were installed with Phillips head screws, so a shot of Kroil and a hand held impact driver did the trick on most of them.

__________________ many little time...
Why are we in this basket...and where are we going
wahoonc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 06:10 AM   #8
Silver Mist
LI Pets's Avatar
1977 31' Sovereign
Riverhead , New York
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 3,008
Images: 28
I cut mine with a zip wheel it is 4" cutting wheel, same idea as the Dremel but faster.
'77 Sovereign Intl 31' CB
WBCCI R2 Rep VAC 11411 Metro NY VP

LI Pets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 08:06 AM   #9
Rivet Master
Sugarfoot's Avatar
1960 24' Tradewind
1956 30' Sovereign of the Road
1963 16' Bambi
Southeastern Area , Tennessee
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 2,115
Hi beaker, and fellow Tennessean. Just curious, what year and size Airstream are you working on? Sounds like you've got a major project going there.
Traveling With Elvis
life with a 1956 Sovereign of the Road

• • • Aluminocentricity • • •
Sugarfoot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2007, 07:21 AM   #10
4 Rivet Member
jpeterman's Avatar
1972 27' Overlander
Graham , North Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 274
Images: 19
Left handed drill bits

I have had good results with left handed drill bits. They seem to heat the screw and it will screw itself out befor you finish drilling.
Good luck
jpeterman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2007, 08:19 AM   #11
2 Rivet Member
1965 26' Overlander
gravel switch , Kentucky
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 37
am working on a 65 overlander and had similar problems. bedframes were secured with slotted screws which were all rusted to varing degrees. used a very long screwdriver to which i clamped a vise grim on the shaft. padded the top of the screwdriver and used my shoulder to apply down pressure and was able to loosen some of them that way. some just twisted off. on all the others, i used a hammer driven impact screwdriver. once the heads of the screws cleared the top of the frame i just applied a vise grip and removed them. for the ones which twisted off, once the frames were removed i was able to remove the screw shafts with a vise grip as well. managed to remove all of my frames intact to reuse later. regards, dave
65overlander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2007, 06:06 PM   #12
New Member
1977 31' Excella 500
Ashland , Virginia
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2
I am in the same process of tearing a 1977 AS down. I think you have a number of good ideas. I found that using an air harmer, the thing you take tires off with, with the right screw head had some luck. If that did not work, I just drilled them out, but will try the easy out tool. I had used it on a Jeep and I had forgotten at how well they work.

good luck, I know I will need ome...
Terapin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2007, 06:34 PM   #13
3 Rivet Member
Jacob D.'s Avatar
1964 26' Overlander
Alameda , California
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 161
I separated some of my cabinets from the floor with a pry bar, where a few screws were impossible to remove.

Oh wait, you wanted a gentle approach!

Actually it did very little damage to either the floor or the cabinets in most cases, if you go gently.

Jacob D. is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Sliding Cabinet Hardware LKappenman Cabinets, Counter Tops & Furnishings 5 10-20-2002 04:53 PM
Cabinet door latches 53flyingcloud Cabinets, Counter Tops & Furnishings 3 07-08-2002 03:28 PM
Door and cabinet knobs jcanavera 2001 Safari 0 07-07-2002 10:19 PM
Cabinet Catches Danno Cabinets, Counter Tops & Furnishings 1 06-18-2002 09:12 AM
Cabinet roll up doors niftypkg Cabinets, Counter Tops & Furnishings 2 05-10-2002 07:22 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:00 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.