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Old 01-06-2013, 03:13 PM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
Slidell , Louisiana
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Newbie Kitchen redo

Hi everybody,

We're new to Airstreaming, as we just bought a '72 Sovereign, a lot of which is already torn out. We want to redo the kitchen and have some questions.
1. Can we use mosaic tile on the kitchen wall for a backsplash, or will it break up with travel?
2. What can we build cabinets out of that would look retro and still be lightweight?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:54 PM   #2
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Newbie Kitchen redo

Greetings asmallwood!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!


Quote:
Originally Posted by asmallwood View Post

We're new to Airstreaming, as we just bought a '72 Sovereign, a lot of which is already torn out. We want to redo the kitchen and have some questions.
1. Can we use mosaic tile on the kitchen wall for a backsplash, or will it break up with travel?
I don't think that you would be pleased with the problem of popped tiles, cracked grout, and cracked tiles. You have at least two factors working against you . . . the contraction and expansion of the aluminum as it heats and cools, and the vibrations from traveling down the road. In addition, you are dealing with the longest of the 1970s Airstreams and they are noted for problems with frame droop and rear end separation as well as some with front end separation--you will want to avoid having the coach gain weight as that would just magnify any problems there may be with its chassis. As you remodel your coach, you will want to keep a close eye on both weight and balance to insure the logevity of your remodel. One idea for backsplashes that has been mentioned recently is pressed metal panels. . . . there are many patterns being remanufactured today and the mateial color and finish choices are amazing.

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Originally Posted by asmallwood View Post
2. What can we build cabinets out of that would look retro and still be lightweight?
There are many options, but a primary concern will be the weight of the finished product. Examine any of your remaining cabinets for clues as to methods of light weight construction. Some other possibilities would be aluminum either in mill finish or vinyl-clad ala 1977-1979 Argosy Minuet (these cabinet were all aluminum other than their tambour doors). Typicaly, the structures are either aluminum or 1x2 lumber with a veneered plywood for the exposed surfaces.

Good luck with your remodel!

Kevin
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:13 PM   #3
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Welcome......hope you enjoy the new toy and please send us lots of photos.....we love photos.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:17 PM   #4
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Greetings asmallwood!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstreams!



you are dealing with the longest of the 1970s Airstreams and they are noted for problems with frame droop and rear end separation as well as some with front end separation



Kevin


Man made my heart stop reading that one......there have been threads addressing this problem in the Repairing/Replacing Floor &/or Frame section.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:31 PM   #5
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You could so anything you wanted to a full-time parked AS, but in one that bounces over RR tracks and potholes, rigid and heavy is not a good idea.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:02 PM   #6
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Thanks so much, guys! You confirmed our thoughts. We do not appear to have any frame rust or rear separation, but I've heard that there are people on the forum that are willing to look at airstreams for advice. How do I find them? I'm right outside of New Orleans.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:51 PM   #7
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I don't know about tile in travel trailers. It might work okay. Not for me.

I built new cabinets for my trailer. I used birch.





This link shows part of what I did. Now I have the sleeping room builtins finished and furniture installed.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/blog...mes-shop-1556/

Good luck with the project.

`
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:38 AM   #8
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The birch sure looks good......nice job.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:28 PM   #9
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42 years old

Your 1972 Airstream is 42 years old. Not that old for an Airstream and the 70's model Airstrems are very very popular for refurbishing. I bought my 1976 31' sovereign in 2000 and I continue to remodel and upgrade as I go along. The kitchen project can be one of those fun projects to add updated equipment and functionality to a very important place in your Airstream. I would suggest that before you start on these fun projects check out the "Running Gear -Axles, Brakes, Wheels and Tires" and the "Plumbing - Systems and Fixtures" section of the forum first. Make sure your Airstream is in proper working order from the ground up that all systems are are up to date and working properly. In 42 years even with an Airstream certain things just wear out like axles, brakes, shocks, plumbing water lines, heaters and more. The good news replacement parts are available and with help from the Forum most of this work can be done DIY. Then start on the fun projects.

Oh by the way you can use mosaic tile on the kitchen wall for a < small > backsplash like I installed in my 1976 Sovereign a few years back. But instead of installing the tile on the actual interior skin I used strip of Hardie Board as backing for the tiles and then attached this with screws to the skin. After a lot of miles no cracks in the mortar and it still looks good. Check out my interior remodel pictures attached below.



Good Luck

Don

1976 31' Sovereign -
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Airstream Interior 2010.pdf (3.20 MB, 105 views)
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:00 PM   #10
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We also have a '72 Sovereign, and are starting year 5 of our 5 year refurb project (complete gut and rebuild). You can check out our thread here if interested: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f185...urb-50967.html.

For cabinets and interior walls, we have used basswood for any frames, and red alder for all exposed wood. Either red alder boards or ” veneer core plywood. Both basswood and Red Alder are lightweight, a prime concern for that model early 70’s trailer. Keep in mind the original dry weight was 4200 to 4800 lbs if memory serves, and the GVW was 7200 lbs. Not a lot of capacity for using a lot of heavier wood like maple.

We haven’t quite figured out what to use for a backsplash yet, but I would avoid a bunch of tile. I do like what Don used for a tile backsplash, and it’s gotten some ides forming.

Chris
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:08 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asmallwood View Post
Hi everybody,

We're new to Airstreaming, as we just bought a '72 Sovereign, a lot of which is already torn out. We want to redo the kitchen and have some questions.
1. Can we use mosaic tile on the kitchen wall for a backsplash, or will it break up with travel?
I'm contemplating the same thing as we pull out the old '71 walls and trim and replace it with real birch ply and veneer. I am considering a tile or mosaic backsplash as an accent. The weight of something like that would be negligible. I'd look into setting it into flexible grout or even grouting with caulk which would flex with the trailer.

In our Tradewind, the kitchen counter adds up to only 5 1/2 square feet, which works out to about 30 points for granite floor tile, or about the same for birch butcher block. The axles can carry that, but every pound added for decor is a pound less in payload.

Quote:
Originally Posted by asmallwood View Post
2. What can we build cabinets out of that would look retro and still be lightweight?
By "retro" do you mean taking it back to its year of origin, or going back to a different era?

I'm in the process of pulling my streetside kitchen and desk and closet apart to put the birch in. The original early '70's construction is mostly custom aluminum extrusions with 1/4" thick masonite covered in laminate for the side walls. I'm keeping the original construction for the kitchen and closet. I'm going with a combination of re-used materials and new aluminum molding in my design for the new desk. Hopefully it will all look like it belongs together.

Many people have built new cabinets in their Airstreams using more wood than Airstream originally used. It depends on what your axles and frame can manage (the 70's have less sturdy frames than earlier or modern trailers). It also depends on what your tow vehicle can pull. Wood can be heavy and it adds up. Plan ahead and watch your weight and it should work out.
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