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Old 09-09-2003, 10:27 AM   #1
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Feedback needed for real wood cabinets

I'm thinking about replacing my current interior cabinets with real wood instead of keeping the plywood with the peeling contact-paper-like veneer. I like the look of real solid wood as opposed to other solutions I have seen using plywood with a real wood veneer.

Can anyone give me feedback on:

1) Pros and cons of real solid wood vs. plywood with real wood veneer

2) Suggestions for types of real wood that can stand up to the rigors of the trailer.

3) Has anyone built real wood cabinets? Can you post a photo or two?

Thanks!
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Old 09-09-2003, 10:44 AM   #2
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Plywood with real wood veneer has been used for a LONG time. that's how our 59 is.

Here is the BIG reason.......WEIGHT.

Here is another reason....it's more stable and less suseptable to warp and dimentional changes as it heat/humidity cycles.
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Old 09-09-2003, 11:02 AM   #3
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Along with weight and stability add dollars. I can see spending a lot of money on cabinetry if it is made out of solid wood.

HD and Lowes sell maple, birch and oak faced plywood. If you are after something other than that there are plywood outfits that have all kinds of wood, laminates, etc., for the surface. Lighter, faster to work and a whole lot stronger than a bunch of glue joints.

John
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Old 09-09-2003, 11:16 AM   #4
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Here is the BIG reason.......WEIGHT.

One of the main reasons.........COST!
Sure, you'll gain some weight by using real wood, but think how much nicer it will make your trailer.
Stability wise, plywood removes the need to worry about this, but if you use well-seasoned wood and finish it properly, you shouldn't have too many problems.
Here are some pictures from http://www.airstream-trailers.com
This guy has used red oak for the cabinets.
I am thinking of replacing the cabinets in my 1974 31ft Sovereign with real wood, but it won't be red oak. Maybe QS white oak or black walnut as I have a ton of this out in the woodshop!
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Old 09-09-2003, 11:16 AM   #5
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Or you can laminate your own with any veneer you can find. 1/2" & 1/4" plywoods are very readily available however our cabinets in our '64 are made from 3/8".

When building our new dinette, I found 3/8" beech plywood after some searching. I then laminated oak veneers and stained them to match our existing cabinets.

We are very happy with the results...

Shari
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Old 09-09-2003, 11:35 AM   #6
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Be careful of weight

Nancy,
One thing you need to consider in potential material choices is weight. The cabinet material used in the Bambi/Safari lineup is significantly lighter than solid or plywood (it is an engineered, airfilled wood composite product). The use of solid hardwoods in the Classic is the major reason it is heavier than a comparable Safari model. The Bambi's NCC (net cargo capacity which is the max gross minus the min unloaded weight) is 900#. You subtract from that the weight of full water tanks, and full propane tanks). Assuming full fresh/hot water tanks, full black and full gray (70 gallons total) @ 8.3#/gallon = 581#s + 60#s of propane, which leaves you just under 300#s for food, and all the other stuff you put into the Bambi. The axle used on the Bambi is the heaviest installed on any A/S but it is rated at 4300# (with 500#s carried by the hitch, and at the gross weight of 4500#s, the axle is close to its rating). I can easily see solid hardwood cabinets adding 100-200 #s, so that is why I would be concerned. I might also add that A/S did NOT correct the UVW (unloaded vehicle weight) to reflect the added goodies of our Safari upgrade, so the NCC is actually less than 900# in our case. The Corian alone weights well over 100# and the added awnings, spare tire, larger AC, add at least another 100, so the way I figure it, our loaded Bambis are pretty close to the limit without us adding all the normal stuff that we carry when traveling.

I have thought some about potential options for the cabinets. My thinking as to replacement materials were leaning more to a the modern laminates along the lines of the CCD (but not the ebony used in the CCD). Granted, there is no way a laminate construction is going to match the warmth of real solid wood, but it will over time be more durable, easy to keep and much lighter in weight if properly done. Just some thoughts...
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Old 09-09-2003, 11:38 AM   #7
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Here's a website of veneers. As you can see by their gallery, veneers don't have to look cheap if they are properly applied and finished. We were just discussing on another thread how veneers could be used to make the beautiful bent wood cabinets seen in the newer trailers and restorations.

Oakwood Veneer


Maxwell's looking good inside, Shari
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Old 09-09-2003, 11:55 AM   #8
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Exactly what I was thinking

Stephanie,
The material on the website you just posted is exactly what I was thinking about. Now you really have me thinking...
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Old 09-09-2003, 12:00 PM   #9
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Can veneer be put over exhisting cabinets?

Mine is a 66 and I think they are real wood. They soak up lemon oil like it's going out of style! They are just so dark. Would like a nice maple or something.

Nice interior Shari - someday, mine will be done - next year probably October!! oh well.....

Stellablu
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Old 09-09-2003, 12:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Stefrobrts
Here's a website of veneers. As you can see by their gallery, veneers don't have to look cheap if they are properly applied and finished. We were just discussing on another thread how veneers could be used to make the beautiful bent wood cabinets seen in the newer trailers and restorations.

Oakwood Veneer


Maxwell's looking good inside, Shari
Ohh I agree. You look in a vintage unit that the cabinets are in good shape. They look and feel like they are 1/2inch solid wood or ply. All the edges are beveled so it looks solid. The reality is it's wood framed with 1/4 inch wood veneer ply over the framing. My whole galley with without drawers, sink and stover weighs maybe 40lb WITH the countertop. If that had been built like a home cabinet it would have been well over 100lb.

If your looking at just a couple places to add some thick wood like in Maxwells overhead then yes, you could get away with it If your talking about replacing all the cabinets with 1/2 or 3/4 thick hard wood....Your going to add a LOT of weight to the coach.

Light weight does not have to look "cheap" but it does require a lot of planing and it is much more labor intensive to do.
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Old 09-09-2003, 12:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by stellablu
Can veneer be put over exhisting cabinets?

Mine is a 66 and I think they are real wood. They soak up lemon oil like it's going out of style! They are just so dark. Would like a nice maple or something.

Nice interior Shari - someday, mine will be done - next year probably October!! oh well.....

Stellablu
Well they are real wood. They are just a LOT thinner then you would expect. The outer finish pannels are only 1/4 inch thick. The finish wood surface is 3/32's of that thickness. The rest is a fill of cheaper wood to form the plywood.



I have my galley out. I can get some good pictures tonight so everybody can understand how these cabinets are built.
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Old 09-09-2003, 12:13 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by 59toaster

If your looking at just a couple places to add some thick wood like in Maxwells overhead then yes, you could get away with it If your talking about replacing all the cabinets with 1/2 or 3/4 thick hard wood....Your going to add a LOT of weight to the coach.

Light weight does not have to look "cheap" but it does require a lot of planing and it is much more labor intensive to do.
My cabinets are 1/4" plywood, and they also soak up the oil, but I think they hadn't been oiled in a long time. My only complaint is the places over the years where they have gotten chipped along the edges. I'm thinking of replacing them with new and bevelling the edges to prevent that happening again.

Shari, is that upper cabinet plywood, or solid wood? It looks very good.

My biggest surprise after reviewing this thread is that Yukionna, who started it, has a 2002 AS! The veneer is peeling already? Gosh, everyday I'm happier I bought vintage!
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Old 09-09-2003, 12:23 PM   #13
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Originally posted by Stefrobrts


My cabinets are 1/4" plywood, and they also soak up the oil, but I think they hadn't been oiled in a long time. My only complaint is the places over the years where they have gotten chipped along the edges. I'm thinking of replacing them with new and bevelling the edges to prevent that happening again.

Shari, is that upper cabinet plywood, or solid wood? It looks very good.

My biggest surprise after reviewing this thread is that Yukionna, who started it, has a 2002 AS! The veneer is peeling already? Gosh, everyday I'm happier I bought vintage!
I'm at the same place. Now that I have the galley out it looks a lot more beat up then it did when it was in the coach. The end towards the goucho has to have the whole pannel replaced.
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Old 09-09-2003, 12:23 PM   #14
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Steph,

If I may speak for Shari.

The front cabinet shell is molded into the fiberglass interior shell. The cabinet face is solid wood. It was like that in the 65 Safari, but mine was a mahagony color. I had to remove it to repair where it had come apart. The frame was solid wood, it had doweled joints and the dowels had broken in a couple of places.
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