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Old 03-30-2007, 09:57 PM   #1
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Stripping the stain

The PO stained the galley wood a med. brown. Left the sleeping area blonde. Anyone know the wood used in '58 (plywood panels, solid railings)? Also, can I hope that there is a way to pull out the cabs, strip, sand, refinish, to get them back to stock?

The blonde wood (ash?, birch?) looks like it had a white pickling wash on it, under the clear coat.
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Old 03-31-2007, 01:22 AM   #2
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Let me start by asserting that I don't remember 1958. But not for the same reason that some of you don't remember 1968. Haha.

I don't know the answer to two of your questions, but the cabinets should all fit through the door if they are original. If they are custom built/built in place, then all bets are off.
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:04 AM   #3
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If they sanded the cabinets before they stained them dark, it is unlikely you will be able to use the wood bleach evenly enough to get them back blonde. If it is simply a colored varnish over the originally varnished cabinets, you may be able to use a paint stripper and just get off the two coats of varnish and be able to start fresh.
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Old 03-31-2007, 08:21 AM   #4
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Dwightdi, good point. Part of the reason that it looks so bad is that the PO slopped the "stain" over the plastic reverse cove moulding which leads me to believe the bad job was done in place. That also points to the possibility that they forewent the job of sanding.
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Old 03-31-2007, 08:34 AM   #5
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I went round and round trying to figure out how to duplicate the original finish in my '59. The original was a semi-opaque orange lacquer that pretty much obscured the grain.

I used Formby's Refinisher to remove all the lacquer, then a light stain, then polyurethane. Turns out the wood was mahogany.

Below is the original panel color (far left) and some of my abandoned attempts to duplicate it on a birch panel.
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Old 03-31-2007, 08:40 AM   #6
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Interesting to see that AS used mahogany ply in 59 and yet in my 58 it is most definitely not. Did AS use whatever was cheapest at the moment? Did they have their own cabinetry shop, or did they job out the fabrication to a variety of outsiders?
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Old 03-31-2007, 09:10 AM   #7
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It could also be a California vs Ohio thing.

I was suprised when I got under the original lacquer and found mahogany, cause it sure didn't look like mahogany on the surface.
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Old 04-01-2007, 09:55 AM   #8
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I took off the skinny "coat closet" door next to the fridge, stripped it, sanded it. Looks good, but there is still some color in the pores of the grain (is that the xylem or the phloem). I'm taking it to the paint store to get some advice.
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Old 04-01-2007, 11:44 AM   #9
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Off the point but realted:
I have some new old stock Bruce wood flooring I would like to use for about 49 sq f of flooring. It is the common shade of oak. Can I put a quick finish over it to darken/ change the color to better compliment the darker factory faux walnut in the rest of the coach? And still allow the grain to show? I asked a floor dude and he said I would have to sand off all the finish and re stain and finish. I don't want to go through all that work.
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Old 06-16-2007, 09:59 AM   #10
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You might try the method I used to refinish some tables and cabnets.

Quote:
I have some new old stock Bruce wood flooring I would like to use for about 49 sq f of flooring. It is the common shade of oak. Can I put a quick finish over it to darken/ change the color to better compliment the darker factory faux walnut in the rest of the coach? And still allow the grain to show? I asked a floor dude and he said I would have to sand off all the finish and re stain and finish. I don't want to go through all that work.
This will take some time and elbow grease; mix up some minwax penetrating resin with the color of you choice - comes in several colors. Lightly sand the wood with 320 sandpaper. Ware latex gloves unless you want to have hands of the same color. Use 3 0 steelwool dipped into the minwax and using circular motion rub it onto the flooring. The resin will soften the surface of the finish and allow it to penetrate. Be sure to test for color on scrap before you attack the whole project. Because it is a penetrating resin it tends to be water resistant and probably as durable as the original finish. This same approach works will with cabnet refinishing as well and it retains most of the orginal petina of the wood. Best of Luck, Ernie
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Old 06-18-2007, 10:54 AM   #11
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Wood finishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I went round and round trying to figure out how to duplicate the original finish in my '59. The original was a semi-opaque orange lacquer that pretty much obscured the grain.

I used Formby's Refinisher to remove all the lacquer, then a light stain, then polyurethane. Turns out the wood was mahogany.

Below is the original panel color (far left) and some of my abandoned attempts to duplicate it on a birch panel.
It's possible the original "orange" finish on your woodwork was shellac, or "french polished" as it was also known as. Amber shellac can give wood an orange tint. (I dunno about 50's models, but do know a little about wood finishes) In the 60's, Airstream used Watco danish oil which will impart somewhat of an amber hue to wood as well. I doubt if laquer was used, at least originally. To test if the finish is shellac, you just need a solvent and rag. Shellac solvent is denatured alcohol, but a strong whiskey, vodka, (etc- anything with good proof) will work for testing. Also, Formby's refinisher is mostly denatured alcohol. Wipe a non visible area with the solvent. Shellac will dissolve easily. Oil finishes do not. The difference being that shellac is a surface finish (removes easily, just like laquer, poly, etc when the right solvent is used) whereas oil finishes are penetrating finishes that do not remove easily, if at all, without sanding and it's best just to renew them with a fresh coat. I think you'd be better off getting some mahogany ply and going from there. Matching dissimiliar woods isn't easy at all. Using penetrating stains is almost futile, even using surface stains (toners) is difficult. But, starting with similiar woods, the chances of a good match with the finish are way better. Call a local cabinet shop supplier for some mahogany. Today's mahogany is likely not going to be the same exact specie as the original mahogany, but it'll be close. During the 50's much mahogany came from Honduras. Today, most mahogany comes from Africa and is commonly called "Sapele". The two species are pretty similiar though. Expect to pay $50-60 a sheet for 1/4" ply. If finished with a similiar concoction of what you used on the originals, in time it'll likely match closely. Good luck! --dave
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