I just joined this site a few days ago, and given that it is now October, my guess is you have figured out the caulk removal!
I am getting ready to start my own conversion project in the near future
and I have had similar questions that you have raised. I've learned a lot just in the few days that I have been reading the blogs on this site. Great info! Thanks to you and all of the other helpful members!! Do you have any recent pics of the progress on your shorty?