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Old 08-10-2003, 03:48 PM   #1
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'61 Sarfari - plastic or masonite endcap?

Hi,

I am new to Airstream and this list. We just got a 61 Safari and even though it is in good shape we have a lot of work to do.

The interior paint on our 61 Sarfari is cracked & pealing. I checked several spots and found that the interior front endcap was light brown underneath. I was expecting aluminum. Does anyone know what material this might be? Is this unusual or are all 1961 and older Airstreams built with this style? Is there any differance with painting or stripping this materail?
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:49 PM   #2
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hmmmm, how odd! The interior shell should be all aluminum covered with a zolotone (industrial type speckle paint) in a light beige or off white tone, maybe pink or aqua if special order. No masonite on the wall at all. The cabinets originally were plywood in birch or mahogany. Mike
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:55 PM   #3
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Oh, forgot, Welcome to the wonderful world of Airstream. I think we're a cult! Once hooked there is no turning back. The good news is there is some wonderful people here and you're gonna have some great times in your Airstream. Mike
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Old 08-10-2003, 07:47 PM   #4
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Welcome to vintage Airstreaming Rick. I have seen a few early '60s models with a one piece plastic end cap on the interior. That is one of the things I wanted to avoid during my search a few years ago. I know how plastic reacts to the desert heat.

FF
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Old 08-10-2003, 07:50 PM   #5
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hmmm, I stand corrected, ya learn something new here everyday if you just listen. Mike
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Old 08-10-2003, 07:57 PM   #6
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Interior wood.....

Mahogany is unlikely, the grain structure does not fit. Birch was used as a, how shall I say, " back fill" with a laminated wood on the surface. The wood used, you ask? Red Oak.
Yep, that fits the criteria to a tee. I just replaced our frig with a 2550 Dometic and opted to make my own panel for the front instead of buying the "cheapo" panels that don't match the interior wood.
The only one I still have to figure out is the "blonde" wood interior. The grain structure is right but what is the stain?
I'll be posting pick's of the new frig and mod's involved soon.

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Old 08-10-2003, 07:59 PM   #7
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FF

What years were those AS's???

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Old 08-10-2003, 08:03 PM   #8
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I just assumed my cabinets were made out of birch plywood with the oak or walnut veneer. My cabinets are a medium dark wood. I plan on replacing the delaminated panels (the panel on the side of the fridge, and some bottom drawer fronts, also the upper bed cabinets are showing some delamination.) I'm no a cabinet maker, but they look pretty simple to replace the front surfaces with new birch or oak plywood. I'd be interested in what stain you use to duplicate a 40 yr old interior. Mike
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:05 PM   #9
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Here's a '61 Globetrotter from the Vintage Airstream Photo Archives. You can clearly see the gentle curve of the plastic as it contours to the front overhead compartment with doors.

FF
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:08 PM   #10
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Interior Wood Type

In your question of interior wood, mine is clearly mahoganey, Honduran, I believe. The Philipine is a darker color and I used a veneer of that before realizing it was too dark. I plan on redoing it this fall. The area I'm referring to is on the edge of the right side of the booth.

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Old 08-10-2003, 08:13 PM   #11
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Ooops, forgot the photo.
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:21 PM   #12
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beautiful interior ff, I see what you mean on the plastic cap, so smooth. Mine has the riveted panels inside similar to the outside. Heres a pic of the my cabinet wood.
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:27 PM   #13
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Mike,

I used red oak plywood for the front of the frig and solid red oak for the framing. You're right, it is not that hard. The stain I used was Min-wax (red oak). I applied it with a foam brush, let it set for a few minutes and wiped the excess off with paper towels. It was a perfect match (grain and stain).

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Old 08-10-2003, 08:31 PM   #14
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You would do that while I was posting too...

Same as mine Mike, Red Oak.

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Old 08-11-2003, 08:30 PM   #15
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This is actually Rick's wife Mary typing back (surprise, honey)!

Well, I geuss I'll hold off on yanking out the heat gun on this cap! I think it may very well be plastic--it is a nice smooth finish--not exactly an awful consequense. Looks great, though not sure if we should try to take off the paint covering the zolatone there. We're talking about just baring the paint off the cabinets now (it's peeling off, even if we don't strip it).

For the wood talk, I took a drawer Saturday down to our local Woodcraft store. The wood gurus there were pretty darn convinced that it was white oak treated with Danish oil (I don't mean to mix it up with you guys, really!).

Sunday I started to work on cleaning it up. I got moderate results in a low-abrasion panel by rubbing it down with denatured alchohol, then steel wool, then reapplying two coats danish oil. That wasn't so sucessful in the kitchen, where I think I'll have to fully sand it. Also, some of the front panels are chipped. I think the easiest fix there will be to replace them--though since 3/8" plywood is no longer made--will be to take boards of oak, plane it down to 3/8" and dye/oil to match the old finish. I'm still not sure what to do for the one big cabinet under the sink. It's in really tough shape, and probably bigger than a common board width.

It's going to be up to Rick these next few days, as I'm heading off on a business trip. Will be interesting to see what gets done--and to postpone my own chores for a few days!

Mary
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Old 08-11-2003, 09:04 PM   #16
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Hi Mary or is it Rick?
One of the woodworker's supply places here sells 4' x 8' sheets of veneer that I have used right over the old cabinet. Not sure if I ever saw white oak but I'll bet you could find it around. Rough up the old surface with 60 grit and apply right over the top. You'll be amazed how well it comes out.

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Old 08-12-2003, 12:17 AM   #17
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Hi. I'm new to this also and am in the process of stripping the interior paint and zolotone from our '65 Trade Wind. I stripped a portion of the end cap and found it to be fiberglass (the lower half of the front end cap is aluminum). I guess on the '65 they had to use fiberglass to form the front wall cabinet. When I took the front wood trim off the cabinet. I could see the fiberglass, and just started stripping to see how extensive it was. I don't know if this would apply to your '61. Good luck with your project!
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Old 08-12-2003, 05:00 AM   #18
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Re: Interior Wood Type

Quote:
Originally posted by flyfshr
In your question of interior wood, mine is clearly mahoganey, Honduran, I believe. The Philipine is a darker color and I used a veneer of that before realizing it was too dark. I plan on redoing it this fall. The area I'm referring to is on the edge of the right side of the booth.

FF
Our 59 Caravanner appears to also be mahoganey for the main pannels. The finish strips on the ends of the pannels and the drawer fronts are a different shade just like what your pictures show Flyfhr. I'm not good at picking out different types of wood. Do you think the drawer and trim are also the mahoganey? The shade difference is throwing me off on ours. It looks like we have the same drawer pulls as well.

Was your unit a Ohio or California? Our is Ohio

I am also having some issues with pannels delaminating. The fill pannel above the wardrobe has the problem as does the pannel that forms the wall between the bath and bed area. I'm ok with wood work and have the tools to handle making new pannels. Just worried about matching the color.

What I would like to do is replace some of the vinyl (?) finish strips that are in some areas. It's become discolored and shrank. Some places had paint on them from the PO painting over the Zolotone.

We are going to strip that paint. Still undecided if we are going to try to reapply the Zolotone. My wife doesn't care for it a great deal. We may go with bare aluminum and polish. We might go with a automotive paint so that it will be easy to clean. Still up in the air on that. Unfortunatly our unit has enough wear and tear that a restoration to original may not be worth it. The wood work around the reefer is missing and replaced with panneling.

All aluminum in ours for end caps. Same syle shelf as FF. Even the overheads in the galley are aluminum with slide doors on ours. I may try fabricate pannel and doors to replace the shelf for a little more strorage area.

Rick and Mary:
Does your unit have over head cabinets in the front? It may be that the end cap under the cabinet is aluminum with that being used as a fill peice only to form the cabinet. You might be able to remove that section and sand off the paint then reapply a gelocoat and paint. What ever it is I would be very leary of using a stripper or heat on it. I would lean towards that area being a fiberglass type material and not a plastic. Plastic was not a widely used product at that time. Might be wrong and Airstream was known for inovation. A press board of the type of material might also be possible.
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Old 08-12-2003, 06:48 AM   #19
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Toaster - mine is a CA unit made in 9/58. My drawer pulls are not original but I tried to match them as close as possible. The vinyl finish strips that go between the woodwork where it comes in contact with the skin is nearly impossible to remove without taking out the wood. It is stapled into the edge of the wood.

We had plans on stripping the interior down to bare aluminum and polishing it as well. Started on the front end cap and found the factory used different types of aluminum on the inside. Some of it polished up nicely and others did not. The aluminum strips that have compound curves as opposed to the one in the middle with a single curve are different grades. There were scribes in the finish were the inner skin met up with the ribs for riveting marks. I'm not trying to discourage you, just want you to know what you will more than likely find underneath the Zolotone. We ended up painting using a flat exterior paint that will clean up nicely.

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Old 08-12-2003, 06:56 AM   #20
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Here's a pic of the stripped front. We felt the shiney aluminum would be too busy and detract from the overall interior appointments. Kinda looked like a funhouse mirror.

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