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Old 03-08-2010, 12:40 PM   #1
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How 'original' is still 'original' ?

Sheri and I were discussing the WT and the pending restoration. How much of the interior cabinets can be replaced/rebuilt while still being able to be called 'original'? What about the unseen systems? Water, OK to replace w/PEX?? Thoughts on this?
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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The generally accepted guideline can be found here: Price vs Condition. Specifically check out the "Restored" vs "Renovated" sections. I would hope with this significant trailer you would try to do it right and not gut it...but of course, it's yours to do with what you want.

We took a middle-of-the-road approach with our '56 Safari. When someone looks at it, it "seems original", but functionally behind the scenes it is "modern" with regards to the systems. The soft goods - upholstery & curtains - can be easily changed back to period correct fabrics if a "true" restoration is desired at a later date. Not so with the built-ins & appliances...

But ours is a usable trailer - not a museum piece.

Shari
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:51 PM   #3
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The link InsideOut supplies is a good one.

As with most things, it's the visible portions that matter most, with those mechanical things that are particularly unique to Airstreams of that era being second. I don't think it's realistic to keep the original mechanical components (pumps, tanks, pipes, wiring) if you intend to use the trailer.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:11 PM   #4
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I think it depends on just how you want to use the trailer. If only for show, you might want to keep everything as original as you can. If you plan to use the trailer, you may want to replace appliances, water system, axle etc. with newer stuff.

Remember, with very few exceptions, if the old stuff was all that great, they would most likely still be using it.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:03 PM   #5
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I think we're ok with even redoing the plumbing in copper to keep it original. But how about cabinets with rot at the bottom, or drawers, doors, and shelving that's splintering/rotting? We obviously can't save every square inch of original wood, so the question is, how do we take care of these kinds of issues without destroying the integrity of "original?"

And believe me Shari, we fully intend to "do it right" and keep it original!
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:20 PM   #6
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Vintage Interior

Quote:
Originally Posted by aircooled4 View Post
I think we're ok with even redoing the plumbing in copper to keep it original. But how about cabinets with rot at the bottom, or drawers, doors, and shelving that's splintering/rotting? We obviously can't save every square inch of original wood, so the question is, how do we take care of these kinds of issues without destroying the integrity of "original?"

And believe me Shari, we fully intend to "do it right" and keep it original!
I am have the same rot problems in my 65 w/Honduras Mahogany on a couple of lower edges.
I do build furniture,but the fix on these things is fairly simple with minimal tools.You can reskin with veneer or get some 1/8 or 1/4 veneered ply and replace the pieces(which I plan to do)It really depends on the type of wood in your AS.Honduras
Mahogany is not really available so I will be stain matching with African Mahogany.If you have birch,oak,or maple it will be easier.
The veneers come in rolls and are contact cemented down and refinished.
If you are replacing a bulkhead or panel try to use as a template.Steve
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:28 PM   #7
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We're thinking of cheating and asking the Amish neighbors to help redo the wood finishes for us... those guys are incredible with wood...
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:10 PM   #8
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I think we're ok with even redoing the plumbing in copper to keep it original.
I don't think anybody would blink if you replaced the copper with PEX - it's not a museum piece - it needs to function. We replumbed w/PEX everywhere except where it is exposed in our bathroom...with your harsh winters, I wouldn't risk the chance of another leak springing up with copper after your restoration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aircooled4 View Post
But how about cabinets with rot at the bottom, or drawers, doors, and shelving that's splintering/rotting? We obviously can't save every square inch of original wood, so the question is, how do we take care of these kinds of issues without destroying the integrity of "original?
"There's no problem with replacing damaged or rotten wood cabinets - just replace them in like kind, same configuration - reuse the existing hardware, knobs, pulls, hinges and such.

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And believe me Shari, we fully intend to "do it right" and keep it original!
Glad to hear it...I figured you would by the basis of your questions.

Shari
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bwaysteve View Post
I am have the same rot problems in my 65 w/Honduras Mahogany on a couple of lower edges.
I do build furniture,but the fix on these things is fairly simple with minimal tools.You can reskin with veneer or get some 1/8 or 1/4 veneered ply and replace the pieces(which I plan to do)It really depends on the type of wood in your AS.Honduras
Mahogany is not really available so I will be stain matching with African Mahogany.If you have birch,oak,or maple it will be easier.
The veneers come in rolls and are contact cemented down and refinished.
If you are replacing a bulkhead or panel try to use as a template.Steve
True. Except '50s trailer cabinets are typically not veneered - they are solid birch and 5/16" birch plywood.

Shari
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:44 PM   #10
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True. Except '50s trailer cabinets are typically not veneered - they are solid birch and 5/16" birch plywood.

Shari
So buy solid Birch and ply,cut a template and replace.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:47 PM   #11
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So buy solid Birch and ply,cut a template and replace.
That's exactly what I did...

Shari
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:28 PM   #12
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When people ask the question about "how original" it is usually related to how you want to describe or portray your super cool,great find to others in the future, like at a rally or such. It would be a very rare trailer that is actually 100% original. Things have to be replaced or updated, like some of the old furnaces that are just not safe to use. It becomes a question of degrees of originality, which has no real answer, but has been the cause of many arguments over old cars, boats, motorcycles, etc. If you intend to actually USE it you will find it possible to upgrade and improve upon it in many ways without changing the period feel of it. My thinking is "if I can hide it, I can have it". All depends on the trailer, though. If there is not great historical value in an old Airstream, it doesn't make much sense to go to extremes to keep it period-perfect, either. My '64 Safari is old, but without history to speak of, and my needs wouldn't be served as well as I want if I stay all original. On the other hand, Goransons '63 Safari has been documented to have gone around the world, and into Iran, of all places! That baby should be kept period-perfect as possible, IMO!


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Old 03-25-2014, 10:03 PM   #13
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You are the first person I have seen on here that has a 22' safari. Mine is a 65, it's in great shape I just got it, I also just joined the air forums. What do you think about me taking out the front dinette/bed and turning that area into a sideways queen walk around bed with the head on the hwy side? I know I have to move the water tank and inlet. I don't want to change the originality but I wan to be able to use this trailer conveniently. Thanks for any reply
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:45 PM   #14
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You are the first person I have seen on here that has a 22' safari. Mine is a 65, it's in great shape I just got it, I also just joined the air forums. What do you think about me taking out the front dinette/bed and turning that area into a sideways queen walk around bed with the head on the hwy side? I know I have to move the water tank and inlet. I don't want to change the originality but I wan to be able to use this trailer conveniently. Thanks for any reply
Howdy, I toyed with the idea of replacing the front dinette with a queen bed as I was updating my trailer. Instead I kept the dinette but upgraded the foam mattresses to Airstream inner spring mattresses. But it really is up to you. I would not worry about the future resale value as long as you are happy with your updates and that it makes it more comfortable for your use. Ed
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