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Old 08-01-2014, 11:17 AM   #1
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1978 25' Tradewind
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Question Cabinets - modify, replace or what?

OK, I've got a 1978 Trade Wind with the original cabinets. I made the horrible mistake of letting my wife see samvogts interior remodel, here.

So, I'm up against it now - the bad news is that I have no idea which way to go with this. Ikea cabinets would be like most of $3,000. Chap new cabinets are gonna be the worst possible combination of heavy and flimsy. Used cabinets are gonna be a crap-shoot if they fit or not. I know a guy who makes custom cabinets on the side, but he's likely to be pretty pricey as well.

Any learned guidance on which way to go?
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:29 AM   #2
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I don't know anything about interior restoration, but I wanted to suggest that you check at Habitat for Humanity's ReStore if you have one - our local one gets very high-quality cabinets from houses that are being remodeled. You might get a good enough deal to make it worth your while to get creative.
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:16 PM   #3
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Regular household cabinets, whether from Ikea or recovered from remodeled houses, are likely to be too heavy for your Airstream and very difficult to have fit the curved walls we all love.

Samvogt's remodel looks, from the pictures, like the most of the original cabinets are retained and nicely repainted. If the cabinets in your Tradewind are in pretty good shape, I suggest repairing them where needed and painting. Just as samvogt did, you can have new countertops made and have the cabinet maker help with modifications.

Tim
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:11 PM   #4
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As near as I can tell, samvogt has done an awesome job combining the existing cabinets and new cabinets - and painting them white to match.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:57 PM   #5
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drboyd - I am in construction and have quite a lot of experience remodeling kitchens and baths for people. The first question I would ask you is: what condition are you cabinets in? Good, Fair, Poor? And the second question is: what do you want to do? Do your cabinets need a facelift? Can they be used as is, but perhaps painted? Are you simply trying to make them look more modern? Do you have some cabinets that can be used again and others that need to be replaced? You may be able to rebuild the cabinets that need it, thus reusing most of the materials and changing only what needs to be changed. Quite a lot can be done by reusing the existing cabinets but then changing (replacing) the countertops (I do this all the time) - and it's a much more practical way to give your TT a more modern look while retaining most of the original components.
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Old 09-07-2014, 12:58 PM   #6
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The die is cast!

I ordered new cabinets yesterday. They'll be Shaker style in knotty alder with a clear finish - the idea being that it's easier to darken a light finish that to lighten a dark finish, if we so choose down the road.

Alder is supposed to be a very hard wood, so hopefully it can survive life in the Tin Jungle.

The cabinet change-out is certainly going to tax my skill and patience level (plus it's 600 degrees outside right now) so photos will be a while in coming.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:39 PM   #7
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I just bought an '82 Excella and planned to paint the walls and cabinets, but I've found some gross wood grain "contact paper" material on the front of the fridge and end panels of the cabinets. Did someone add this material at a later date, just as I'm planning to redecorate with white paint and stainless steel? or are the cabinets that poorly made and I really need to plan to replace them?
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Old 09-09-2014, 03:15 PM   #8
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Mine had wood grain laminate all over the place, along with some patterned stick paper on some of the walls. I'd guess that wood grain contact paper would have been aftermarket.

Does it match the grain of the other "wood?"
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:08 PM   #9
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Yes and no. It matches, but oddly, the wood beneath it does not.
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:32 PM   #10
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kitchen cabinets

If you are talking about kitchen cabinets i don't think residential premade cabinets would work. Curve of the wall and other things. I redid all of the cabinets in my 1976 Sovereign and basically took about the old ones and build new frames such as shown in the attached pictures.I removed all of the tambour on the lower cabinets and built custom doors and drawers with insides slide drawers. I installed a Corian counter top with an under mount sink and tile back splash. They work and look great. Good luck

Airstream kitchen cabinets.pdf
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:08 PM   #11
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We used red alder to build our cabinetry in our AS. Light weight, and solid. Looks like new cherry grain when varnished but doesn't darken like cherry. We love them. Makes the interior look light and airy, even though it's a narrow body trailer.

Kay
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:50 PM   #12
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Pre-made cabinets is not the way to go.
You'll have to cut 50-60% of them off to make them work.
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:03 PM   #13
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I wouldnt go with any prefab cabinets either. I think you would end up making too many compromises and spend many hours modifying the square boxes to fit a very non-square space. I think most folks that make their own cabinetry use some version of 1/2" plywood since it is a good compromise between strength and weight.

I finished up what I call "phase 2" of my work on a 73 overlander. I made a new cabinet for the sink base but am reworking the storage cabinets on the opposite side since the structure is pretty sound and my biggest gripe was the very 70's vintage dark wood look. So for that side I ended up making some new doors out of 1/2" cherry ply and they weigh about the same as the original aluminum and fiber board doors. The upper cabinets will loose the tambour and get new wood endcaps but will essentially be the same.

Cabinetmaking isn't rocket science, so even with a minimum of tools you can get fairly good results. If you are thinking about modifying cabinets you are into the same level of work. You can check my blog for details, but here are a couple of pix:








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Old 09-09-2014, 07:24 PM   #14
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I will go with what everyone else is saying .. I'm currently in the middle of making new cabinets for my 77 sovereign . There are just too many things that you have to work around . Wheel wells, heat ducts ,furnace, plumbing and the wall curve. Plus you would want to have access to the freshwater tank and valves. I did buy a beech butcher block c-top from Ikea for cheap . I used poplar for the face frame , drawers and doors because I will be painting the cabinets.
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