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Old 06-21-2015, 05:51 PM   #1
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1964 22' Safari
1983 31' Airstream310
Denver , Colorado
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Interior skin stripping

Hello and thanks in advance for the help!

I have a 1964 Safari and have it gutted out except for the bathroom which is still in good condition. I want to strip the multiple layers of paint, what looks like some wallpaper type product, and some nasty thick glue stuff that was used to stick carpet on the walls half way up? I was thinking 1. Heavy duty stripper with plastic tools as to not scratch the surface?
2. Go at it with a grinder and wire wheel ending up with a swirled scratch look?
3. Media blasting but it seems expensive and I think in a tight enclosed area it would get hard for someone to see quick?

Any opinions or experiences are appreciated!!!
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Old 06-21-2015, 08:26 PM   #2
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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How big is the trailer and are the skins removed? If they're still in the trailer then all options can get very messy, not to mention the fumes.
If you really want to fix them you could replace them. I've done 2/3 of mine and having the old ones to use as templates makes it fairly quick.
Media blasting will be very harsh on the skins, and probably won't work well on a vinyl covering or wallpaper. Had my banana wraps sand blasted, it was amazing to see how quickly the heat from the media could cause them to warp, 1-2 seconds and you could see it. Discussed it with the sandblaster beforehand so we knew what to expect. They're flexible so getting them back to normal took no time. The surface came out really rough though and had to sand them back smooth.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:26 AM   #3
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1964 22' Safari
1983 31' Airstream310
Denver , Colorado
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Thanks HiJoe! It is 22ft. I didn't think about removing them. I bet that would go pretty quick. Do you think that's just taking it to my local sheet metal guy for a quote? After looking into it more media blasting is not looking like a good way to go plus it would be very expensive.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:49 AM   #4
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1967 26' Overlander
1955 22' Flying Cloud
1964 17' Bambi II
Clear Lake Shores , Texas
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Stripped walls

I used Citrstrip on my 55 Flying Cloud (bathroom only).
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:53 AM   #5
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1964 22' Safari
1983 31' Airstream310
Denver , Colorado
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That looks great! Did you remove them or leave them in place?
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Old 06-23-2015, 07:15 PM   #6
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1974 31' Sovereign
1979 23' Safari
Wayland , New York
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Cody,
If you want to try a small area with citristrip to see how well it works you should give that a try, pick a place that will be inconspicuous later, ie, back of a closet, behind cabinets. Put some drop cloth down and apply a heavy coat of citristrip on a foot square area, let it sit for a while and see how things come off, the vinyl wall paper can make things difficult, but it's been done, doing a whole 22 ft trailer this way will take a long time, lots of elbow grease, and lots of citristrip.
What you want to do with the skin when your done matters to, after stripping it's not going to look nice and shiny like the exterior or new interiors, so you'll probably want to paint I'm guessing though.
I decided to replace all mine because a PO had cut a bunch of holes in the skins, did horrible cover jobs, and the vinyl wall paper had a hard time coming clean, even with pressure washing them and using some serious cleaner/degreaser. Then I was still looking at having to paint it all, so I figured in for a penny in for a pound. But I knew that in the end I'd be able to have nice new clean beautiful interior skins. Although right now they're dark primer grey.
If you really want to look into it here's what I'd do. Seeing that you're in Denver, you should not have a hard time finding a place for the metal, google steel and sheet metal supply companies in Denver and call some. Tell them that you're looking for sheets of 5052-H32 aluminum in .032" thickness. See what size sheets they can get you. My "local" place, 75min drive, was able to get me 4'x10' sheets of the metal for about $55-60 each, there's a oversupply of aluminum nationally now, so it may be on the lower end, but who knows with local variation. A place in NJ by my brothers wanted $110/sheet, I just about laughed out loud at the guy. This way you'll get an idea of cost.
Also ask them if they have a shear that they can shear the pieces for you. If you can use this method you can get really nice clean straight edges for the majority of the pieces. For cuts you'll need to do I've used both hand electric shears I got at harbor freight for $40 and a jig saw with a high tooth count metal blade. I think the jig saw actually works better.
Bunch I wrote below, but look into it and see what you decide, I've got lots more to describe how to do it. If you've got some work space where you can set up a little cutting and painting operation, and you're simply replacing the skins as they were, but with new metal, you'd be surprised at how quickly you could accomplish this. I set up a few saw horses with a sheet of plywood on top for a work table. Then would lean pieces against the side and on top for priming.
Just to give you an idea, on the curved ends you have the 4 corner pieces (lower and middle each side) and the center piece that goes below the window. I cut those in about 4 hours. Hardest part was carrying them 200 feet one way from garage to trailer for fitting and back to trim any that needed to be done. After I have several pieces cut and fitted successfully, I lay them on the table and sand the side that will be inside with 60 grit sandpaper using an orbital sander, takes a few minutes each. Then I'll wipe them down with solvent a few times to get any oil and dirt off them from manufacturing and handling. Then I lay out some cheap plastic drop cloth and lean big pieces against the table, and smaller pieces on top and spray prime them with self etching primer, giving them 3 coats, with 2-3 minutes between coats, by the time you get them all one coat it's time to start on the next coat. Doesn't take long and I'm surprised at how good the coverage I get from the primer is. Then let them dry over night.
Keep in mind that taking the skins off may open up another can of worms, like, while I'm at it maybe I should replace the insulation, or rewire the trailer, or go around sealing everything I can now see. Mine started with this planned so it has been done in conjunction with extensive rewiring, reinsulating, extensive sealing, new bolts, and lots of other things.
If you look at the interior skins you'll see that there are basically 4 levels between the end curved sections and there are 2 levels in the end curves. For the middle portion of the trailer there is a center middle strip; back to the sides you'll see there is a lower, middle, and upper level of skins, based on your length the middle section total length is probably about 11.5 feet long but except for the upper sections in the middle the lower pieces are generally in shorter pieces. With strategic planning you'll be able to get the pieces sheered in about the exact height and length you'll need to start with and minimize waste.
Ok enough for now, I can provide more help if you decide to go this route.
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:57 AM   #7
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1964 22' Safari
1983 31' Airstream310
Denver , Colorado
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I just got back from a vacation and was thrilled to get this response! I'm going to go look at my airstream today and give it some scerious thought. I'll let you know and thank you!
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Old 07-01-2015, 03:03 PM   #8
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I love soygel products for stripping off paints and varnish - it really is made from soybeans and it really works in most cases just let it sit.
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