Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 02-26-2011, 12:31 PM   #1
worksology's Avatar
2007 27' International CCD FB
Manhattan , Kansas
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 89
Aluminum desk top

Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to be replacing one of the twin beds in our 27' International with a custom built desk. Right now I'm leaning towards an aluminum top, probably a nice plywood with a sheet of aluminum glued to the top.

Ideally this sheet of aluminum would match the finish and gloss of the rest of the interior skin. I also like that the Airstream skin is coated with something that resists fingerprints, and that's certainly a requirement for the desk.

Anyone have suggestions for sources or types of aluminum for this purpose? It'll need to measure somewhere around 25"x67". Can I buy something directly from Jackson Center that'll match perfectly, or are there other good sources? Open to alternative ideas, too, like Octolam or Chemetal if they come with recommendations.

worksology is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 12:42 PM   #2
Birdie Momma
NJtoNC's Avatar
1957 26' Overlander
1956 22' Flying Cloud
Vintage Kin Owner
Rutherford Co. , North Carolina
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 901
this is where i bought from: Aircraft supplies aluminum sheet 2024T3 4130 steel tubing Airparts inc - Aircraft construction supplies

based on input from forum.

however, you might consider a countertop from ikea - its aluminum looking formica over particleboard - much cheaper (something like $70 i think).

'57 Overlander | '56 Flying Cloud | '51 Spartanette
NJtoNC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 12:49 PM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,601
Josh how about something like this. It's HIPS ( high impact poly styrene). looks like brushed aluminium but won't scratch like real aluminium will.
Brushed Alumium Laminate
wasagachris is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 01:09 PM   #4
Crazy Montanan in Texas
MrBeast's Avatar
Currently Looking...
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 167
I would strongly sugjest you go with stainless steel instead, you will frequently be rubbing your wrists on the aluminum counter edge, and prolonged exposure to aluminum can make you sick.

This is why stainless is prefered for making cookware and countertops.
"When the people fear the government, there is Tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is Liberty." - Thomas Jefferson
MrBeast is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 01:11 PM   #5
worksology's Avatar
2007 27' International CCD FB
Manhattan , Kansas
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 89
I actually started at IKEA, but their metal countertops are not quite long enough (only goes up to 60"). I'd lean towards one of their laminated countertops, but I haven't gotten much longevity out of IKEA wood finishes historically (esp when not using coasters for cups). Still open to that as a cheap alternative.

AirParts is in our neck of the woods, so I've looked at them too. I just don't know which of their handful of aluminum sheeting is most appropriate or how I'd go about finishing them to resist fingerprints. I'll probably give them a call early next week and see what they'd recommend.

Wasagachris, that may be exactly what I need. It looks like that's used mostly in vertical/wall installations, so I'm curious whether it's intended to hold up to the abuse of a desk/countertop? Since they list "durability" as a benefit over aluminum, I'm assuming that's not really an issue.

Thanks for both of your suggestions. I'll dig a little further.
worksology is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 01:24 PM   #6
Rivet Master
2011 25' FB Flying Cloud
Anywhere & , Everywhere
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,089
Whatever you end up using hope you will post some pics when you get finished. I'm thinking about a 25FB Flying Cloud with twins and doing exactly the same thing.
Al - K4GLU is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 02:07 PM   #7
Rivet Master
InsideOut's Avatar

1956 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 11,740
Images: 97
Formica makes a "DecoMetal" in brushed comes in sheets up to 4'x10'. It's made for this sort of thing...and the brushed texture will better match the texture on your trailer than the 2024 from Airparts which is a good match for the mirrored-finish of vintage aluminum, but would easily scratch in a worksurface application.

Vintage Airstream Club - Past President 2007/2008
WBCCI #1824 - DenCO Unit Past President (2005)
AIR #30 - Join Date: 2-25-2002

RMVAC | WBCCI DenCO Unit | Sisters on the Fly | Tin Can Tourists
BIRDY - our 1956 Safari | 1964 Serro Scotty
InsideOut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 02:18 PM   #8
4 Rivet Member
fltlevel510's Avatar
2004 30' Classic Slideout
Between Here , And There
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 325
Formica DecoMetal


Take a look at the formica aluminum surface material. Comes in polished, brushed and other finishes. You can also purchase the matching edgebanding for what ever surface you choose. Best of all any local cabinet maker can can whip these out in a flash. DecoMetal® by Formica Group -- The Collection -- Formica Limited

If you still want to go with aluminum I get mine at a local sheet metal shop by the pound. They have many different surfaces and thickness to choose from.

Best of luck with the project. Photos of your work are always appreciated.
fltlevel510 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 03:38 PM   #9
3 Rivet Member
star kitty's Avatar
1967 20' Globetrotter
denver , Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 147
I made a 33" x 34" dinette table with 3/4" plywood and an aluminum top. Used contact cement for the adhesive. I wanted the look of both metal and wood so I left the plywood edging exposed. I really like it up against the aluminum interior skin, but I didn't realize that exposure to your skin can make you sick! Found the aluminum at a local salvage store. It was inexpensive and they cut it to my size. Good luck.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	DSC02419.jpg
Views:	200
Size:	201.3 KB
ID:	123141  
star kitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 04:30 PM   #10
steel/aluminum fabricator
2004 22' International CCD
Penticton , British Columbia
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 132
I would suggest getting an aluminum looking laminate for several reasons. The airsteam aluminum is laquer coated. Straight untreated aluminum looks great but scratches very easily and will oxidize pretty fast about a year. If you rub Al with you hand ,your hand will turn black from the Al. You can cut Al with any wood blade which is nice but it will dent pretty easily.
Laminate is the way to go trust me. I work with aluminum every day and even though it is great to work with it needs very special attention in its untreated state.
I should add that aluminum will oxidize very fast but can be rebuffed with a 3m scouring pad to look like new (brushed stainless look). But will again oxidize.
I would go laminate for health and maintenance reasons.
zedex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 05:01 PM   #11
Rivet Master
BradS's Avatar
2006 22' International CCD
1957 26' Overlander
Plymouth , Minnesota
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 516
Images: 14
I second the vote for laminate. Most laminates are bullet proof. You can drop stuff on them , stand on them, slide things across them, neglect them and mistreat them and they still look great. Now try that with aluminum and the results will be devastating.

Laminates look great and last a long time, and they are made to be used as counter and table tops
My 57 Overlander thread ( Holly is her name)

"Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale"
(Hans Christian Andersen)

WBCCI 10289
AIR 11240
BradS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 06:41 PM   #12
2 Rivet Member
upstateart's Avatar
Vintage Kin Owner
1994 34' Excella
newark , New York
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 35
Metal desktop project

Hi, The husband took one of our twins out of the Tradewind and made a desk set up.... The bunkbed fits above for sleeping purposes. Came out very nice....
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3810.JPG
Views:	186
Size:	45.1 KB
ID:	123164   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3820.JPG
Views:	185
Size:	39.7 KB
ID:	123165  

Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3822.JPG
Views:	164
Size:	37.3 KB
ID:	123166   Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3808.JPG
Views:	184
Size:	38.3 KB
ID:	123167  

upstateart is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 08:27 PM   #13
Site Team
reinergirl's Avatar

1963 26' Overlander
Hollis , New Hampshire
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 2,619
Images: 15
Have you looked at wilsonart laminates? Unfortunately none of the "metal look" laminate is rated for horizontal surfaces and needs specialized tools to trim (thats true for all the major brand names I looked at). There are a few laminates from Wilsonart that are kinda cool. Try Luna Shadow pattern / color of Wilsonart HD High Definition Laminate - 1853.

If cost is an issue I had really good luck painting a wooden desk for my son with a hammered metal spay paint. WAY more durable that I thought and very cool looking.
reinergirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2011, 11:10 PM   #14
4 Rivet Member
elfirebob's Avatar
2007 25' International CCD FB
1970 23' Safari
1956 16' Bubble
Jamul , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 254
Images: 159
Great idea with the aluminum tables and bunk beds...thanks.

Stream Safe,
Bob U-
San Diego, CA.
The " TinDen "
2007 25' International FB
1970 Safari 23' Land Yacht
1956 Bubble 16' California Whale Tail
Charter Member 4 Corners Unit
(View all of elfirebob's images)
elfirebob 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
Is there anything wrong with this polishing? poezlaw Cleaning, Stripping & Polishing 18 02-06-2012 03:35 PM
Coated Aluminum glh101282 Clearcoat, Exterior Paint & Trim 6 02-24-2011 10:38 PM
Aluminum Water Hose Al - K4GLU Fresh Water Systems 14 02-05-2011 05:47 AM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:50 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

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