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Old 08-08-2010, 07:12 PM   #1
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What wood and finish for 62 Tradewind?

Trying to restore some of the damaged cabinetry on my airstream. I am guessing it is some type of mahogony? Also what finish or stain was used on these? Hopefully some picture will help.
Thanks Dan
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:20 PM   #2
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I can assure it is not mahogany. From the photos I would guess it to be ash or more likely oak. If you can see the end grain anywhere oak will have sap pockets that run across the growth rings. Ash doesn't. Sometimes it is difficult to identify wood. Buy a small piece of oak faced plywood, put a coat of varnish on it and see if it matches. A great finish is half poly varnish and half tung oil. Apply it with a rag. It will take quite a few coats.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:36 PM   #3
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Dan...if I was a betting man, I'd say that is oak. I believe in the earlier trailers they were produced with either oak or mahogany. We have mahogany in our "60" Overlander. As was mentioned, get a small piece of 1/4" oak ply and experiment with stains. One thing you could do is take off a door, take it to Lowes/Sherwin Williams/HM and ask them to stain match. My guess is that they used varnish back then. Good luck!

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Old 08-08-2010, 08:45 PM   #4
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For what it's worth my '67 Globe Trotter had ash veneers and face frames. It looks a lot like oak. Age and finish can be deceiving. I took a door to the hardwood dealer and they identified it for me.
Judging from the first picture, where the overhead used to be, the finish is close to the original color.
If you're stripping and refinishing go ahead and do whatever you want. I found when I tried to match the original color and tint I had to mix up a blend of fruitwood, provincial and ebony stains with a couple coats of spar varnish.

Good luck,

Tom.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:13 PM   #5
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The picture looks like fir with amber shellac.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:14 PM   #6
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From your pictures it appears to be ash or oak but most likely it is ash ; either way it will finish up the same. Your best finish match is an oak stain and one or two coats thinned orange shellac followed by the top coats of your choice. Your original finish is probably lacquer.
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Old 08-10-2010, 02:47 PM   #7
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Wow! Did not know Airstream used such a variety in their coaches. It might be best to take a door down to a mill and have it identified. Thanks for everybody's imput. Did they shellac the interior back then?
Thanks Dan
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Old 08-10-2010, 10:30 PM   #8
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Easy way to test if you have shellac is a coton swab with alcohol ; if it dissolves the finish it's shellac.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:08 PM   #9
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And speaking as a Antique restorers son, I like shellac as a finish. Thats what I'm putting in mine.
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:13 PM   #10
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I believe that a 1962 would have oak cabinets finished with Watco Oil. A Land Yacht would have a light finish. An International would have a darker finish.

I would guess that a previous owner has put varnish or shellac on the original finish.
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:37 AM   #11
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Hand-Rubbed finish is best for old wood

I agree with you folks that it looks like oak. I don't like a varnish or poly finish for old wood. My '67 has cherry. I cleaned it up with denatured alcohol and steel wool, and then added my "antique furniture" finish, which is 1/2 turpentine and 1/2 linseed oil.

My parents refinished lots of antique furniture, and this mixture gives a beautiful, natural finish. Traditionally, one would use a higher percentage of turps in your first pass, to clean the area, and gradually add a higher percentage of linseed. Rubbing the wood with your hands, after the application, gives a "hand-rubbed" finish (the warmth of your hands, pushes the oil into the grain of the wood, helping to keep it supple and smooth).

A cloth, dampened with this mixture, is the best way to "wipe-clean" your antique furniture, or oiled Airstream interior.
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:06 AM   #12
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They still make watco? Does it soak in kinda like a tung oil? The finish does not feel like a shellac or varnish. Although I redid a 58 canned ham a few years ago and i used shellac. I want to get as close as possible a match to factory. Thanks again for your help. It is a land yacht package.
Dan
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Old 08-11-2010, 08:25 AM   #13
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My 66 tradewind was finished with birch. Looked much the same as your photos.
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:20 AM   #14
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A few posts back I mentioned mixing varnish with tung oil to finish wood in a trailer. I read pink trailer's post and would like to comment. I think the turpentine and linseed oil (use boiled linseed oil as it has dryers in it - regular linseed oil will forever stay tacky) and think that would be an excellent finish as well. Bear in mind that it will take a long time to fully dry and the turpentine has a really bad smell which lingers for a long time. The finish will be pretty hard and impervious to water and dampness and will probably be very clear and attractive once it dries. I am not really a shellac person as if you spill certain common things on it (such as rum or vodka!) it will dissolve. Also water or dampness will sometimes make it cloudy. If you don't live near the coast you might be OK. It usually dries very hard and makes an excellent undercoat for a varnish type finish and an excellent finish for furniture, but I personally wouldn't use it in a trailer. In damp environments it may not dry well. You can buy the shellac flakes and mix your own to the density you wish. I have been a boatbuilder(yachts) for 50 years and have seen all of the finish fads come and go. Properly finishing wood take a lot of time so you want to make sure the finish will work for you the first time around. Wood can be so pretty. Always try a sample board! Oh yes, the premixes like Watco and Formby's have been changed to meet the environment rules so don't really seem to have the same excellent properties they once had. Try to mix your own and you will be happier I think. Hope I didn't step on anybodys toes!
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