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Old 08-18-2004, 04:25 PM   #1
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Help Identify Interior panels

These are the most beautiful interior panels I have ever seen! I saw these at, I think, vintage vacations. Does anyone have any idea what they are made from? Is it finished in a high gloss poly you think?
I can see it now - this interior with the exterior painted a deep red. AHHHHHHHHHH...!
Shall we all take a minute to dream.
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Old 08-18-2004, 05:31 PM   #2
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1/8" ply

Quote:
Originally Posted by happier
These are the most beautiful interior panels I have ever seen! I saw these at, I think, vintage vacations. Does anyone have any idea what they are made from? Is it finished in a high gloss poly you think?
I can see it now - this interior with the exterior painted a deep red. AHHHHHHHHHH...!
Shall we all take a minute to dream.

According to the latest edition of "Airstream Life," the talented Mr. Dorsey uses 1/8" birch plywood.
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Old 08-18-2004, 06:10 PM   #3
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I posted this before, but it has a similar interior. You'd never guess from looking at the outside. http://www.airforums.com/forum...8&postcount=12
Be sure to click on the interior picture to get the full effect.
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Old 08-18-2004, 07:29 PM   #4
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Maybe lacquer or shelac?

If I were to hazard a guess (and it would appear that I am doing just that) I would think the finish might be several coats of lacquer. The main reason I think that is because a cabinet maker friend of mine once told me that he prefers lacquer because it drys so fast. He can spray on a thin coat and by the time he is done at one end of a set of cabinets he can start sparying the second coat. It is, therefore, possible to get many coats applied in a relatively short time. My own experiences with poly urethanes, etc. lead me to agree with him.

Another possibility might be shellac. I once did a bookcase that I wanted to blend in with the wood work in a 60 year old house. The old wood trim was mahagony that had a bit of a yellow tinge. I found that orange shellac was perfect for matching the old finish (it is available in a clear vesion too). I think the original finish was shellac too by the way. Shellac also drys very quickly. I was brushing mine on rather than spraying but even so it was dry enough for a second coat in about 10 minutes or so. It took me longer to get a single coat burshed on that it took for the first part to dry. It also produced a nice high gloss surface after enough coats with some lite sanding in between. In my case I actually had to stain my mahagony a bit to get the base color closer to that of the original mahogony before I started applying the shellac. A little side note: shellac can be disolved with amonia. You clean up your tools with amonia and you can remove old shellac for re-coating with amonia. My wife discovered by accident that our kitchen cabinets were finished with shellac when she used some amonia to clean them. OOps!

Malcolm
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Old 08-18-2004, 08:24 PM   #5
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1/8 birch plywood

Does anyone know how the birch plywood would be attached to the inside of an airstream. Would it be attached the same as the original panels? Does it give the same strenght as original? Could you apply it directly over the original panels? My mine is ablaze with questions. Thanks.
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Old 08-18-2004, 09:41 PM   #6
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Don't replace the aluminum with the plywood...

There has been quite a lot said in these forums about the inner aluminum skins being an essential part of the structural design of your AS. It is not recommened that you replace the aluminum panels with plywood. On the other hand it would seem that a lot of people have overlayed their aluminum skins with various things. Some have used a thin layer of aluminum to achieve the new CCD style for example.

If you want the wood look I would suggest a couple of possible approaches:

The 1/8" plywood would be a lot easier to use than 1/4" which I think someone in the forums mentioned using. Not only would it be a lot more flexible it would also be only half the weight which would be important. If I were going for 1/8" plywood I think I would use either rivits or maybe small flat-head screws along with some panel adhesive to hold it in place. I would then cover the screws/rivits (and the plywood joints) with some narrow wood trim - something like screen door molding which is about 3/8" by 5/8" or so. From what I saw in my AS when I took the inner skins off the rivit heads holding the skin on do not stick out all that much. I would try just running right over them and let the panel adhesive sort of bride the gap between the back of the wood and the surface of the aluminum. Alternatively you could perhaps use some foam or cork underlay of about 1/8" thickness between the aluminum and the wood.

Another more expensive option is to use what is called a pliable veneer. Check out the following website for more information and click on "Products" then "Pliable Veneers":

http://www.boulterplywood.com/

Pliable veneers generally have a thin single layer of wood with a flexible backing glued to them. The idea is that you laminate them to some other surface. I think they can be cut to size with scissors. How much more expensive? The website above quotes $56 per 4'x8' sheet of white ash (the cheapest type avaiable). I saw 1/8" birch plywood locally for something like $11 per 4'x8' sheet. There are lots of very exotic choices available in the pliable veneers.

The above website as well as the following offer aircraft grade plywood that is thinner than 1/8". I was suprised to discover that you can buy 3 ply plywood as thin as 1/64". A 5'x5' sheet of 1/16" 3 ply aircraft birch plywood is listed there for $79.

Now for the really cool but possibly even more expensive option - check out the following website:

http://www.oakwoodveneer.com/products.html

These folks supply several types of veneer products. Some of these veneers have melamine, resin and paper layers. Prices for these products are per the square foot. I estimated that the inner skin of my 31' AS has maybe as much as 600 square feet of area. There would be some reduction for windows but there would be some increases for cabinet surfaces, etc. The so-called bubble free veneer in white birch is listed at $1.99 per square foot in 10+ 4x8 sheets. Actually that does not sound too bad at that. That would be about $64 per sheet. If I had to cover 600 square feet that would be about $1200 worth of material. The 1/8" plywood would be about $209 (for 19 sheets).

The bottom line - I might have to give the wood options a closer look myself.

I hope all this stuff helps.

Malcolm
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Old 08-18-2004, 10:13 PM   #7
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Smile birch plywood inner panels

Malconium

Thanks for all your information. I'll look at the sites you have mentioned and make my decision. It's great having such knowledgeable members like you!
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Old 08-19-2004, 10:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malconium
A little side note: shellac can be disolved with amonia. You clean up your tools with amonia and you can remove old shellac for re-coating with amonia. My wife discovered by accident that our kitchen cabinets were finished with shellac when she used some amonia to clean them. OOps!
Malcolm
The solvent for shellac is alcohol, not ammonia. That is why it dries so fast.

Shellac will spot if water is allowed to collect so it is usually waxed as a final top coat when used on fine furniture.

I doubt the kitchen cabinets were shellac. Ammonia will strip a lot of finishes, including old lacquer - which seems the more likely culprit. Of course, it may strip shellac as well; I've never tried that.

Mark
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Old 08-19-2004, 10:10 AM   #9
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Do not underestimate the skills involved in creating a wood interior in an Airstream. The work picture in the examples above took highly skilled craftsmen and considerable patience. But even they might have blanched at the thought of doing an Airstream which has not mere curves, but compound curves!

This is what makes wood boats so expensive.

Mark
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Old 08-19-2004, 01:32 PM   #10
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interior panels

I couldn't go to sleep late last night just thinking about the difficulty I would have installing the wood panel walls in my Overlander. I mentally went over ever curve and compound angle. It gave a me a better appreciation of the fine craftsmen who masterfully created the interior of the previous picture I posted. Not to say that I wouldn't enjoy the challenge, I just need to fully evaluate the project before attempting it. I'm sure most of the work is in the preparation. I would still like to remove all the interor panels and start form scratch. But what to use as a base? It has to be lightweight, flexable and allow a veneer to be glued to it. This is about as far as I got in my thinking before I fell aleep.
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Old 08-19-2004, 02:24 PM   #11
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The aluminum is a good base...

Happier,

I don't think there is anything wrong with using the existing aluminum as the base. In fact you should not use anything else unless you are 100% convinced it has the same structural properties as does the existing aluminum. There is no particularly good reason I can think of for removing the alumunim just so you can install something else as a base. Am I missing something here? You should be able to glue to the aluminum as well as to pretty much anything else. I would think that it is just a question of what glue to use.

As far as the compound curves go they are limited pretty much to the end cap areas. My thought is that you might need to just divide the end cap area up into triangular slices like the outside of the older trailers. You would have to do some experimentation to find out how narrow the slices would have to be for your overlay wood of choice to work.

Malcolm
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