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Old 06-05-2012, 11:23 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1971 29' Ambassador
Naples , Florida
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 8
Paint Cabinets and Bins in '71 Ambassador?


We are very new to the world of Airstreams, having just purchased our first, a 29' '71 Ambassador. We are going to be renovating (not restoring) the trailer on a budget and will have many questions. This is our first posting here, looking forward to learning from everyone!

Our first question is in regards to the cabinets and bins, which are a wood grain veneer, plastic and aluminum. They are in decent condition but we are wondering about what it takes to paint the various components: materials, methods, etc.

Thanks for any advice that you can offer.

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Old 10-03-2012, 10:24 PM   #2
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1971 23' Safari
Bowdon , Georgia
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1
I have a 1971 Safari and I joined today looking for the exact same information. Did you have any success with yours? I have given serious thought to priming and painting the wood veneer.

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:11 PM   #3
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1969 29' Ambassador
brooksville , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,270
I would say most of those things could be painted with a good primer and then high end paint of you choice. I would sand everything thing first to give it a better surface to grip on to. Many folks like to stay with the wood look, but it is your Airstream, so it's up to you.

What year and model AS did you get?

We come to the AS world, hope to see you on the road.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:47 PM   #4
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1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
This is a very personal opinion, but I am not convinced that painting any of the wood grain materials on your AS, nor the metal trim and so on is a good idea. I have never seen any that looked good over time. To do a great job is quite difficult and in an RV, being very small, you are always close to the surfaces and can see the imperfections easily.

That said, I do believe in painting the old banana yellow plastic parts such as the end caps and refrigerator vent, and the air conditioner cover with Krylon Fusion paint for plastics in satin white, which comes in a spray can. It can also be used with great success on the white tambour door materials. It gets rid of the old yellowed look and since it fuses with the plastic, never looks like paint, just fresh.

If you have brown plastic cabinet and closet door latches and they have gone to a chalky brown and look yucky, they also can be painted with the Krylon Fusion paint for plastics in brown, and they will look like new.

But I am not convinced that anything else should be painted.

Again, a very personal decision and opinion is offered here.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:51 PM   #5
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Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,403
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The cabinets and wall panels in my trailer were junk the day they were installed. All it took was a few sheets of birch plywood and a few pieces of solid wood and I have all new built-ins. One sheet of laminate and a half can of glue, and there's all new countertops.

If it's at all possible, I'd replace rather than paint.

Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:52 AM   #6
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1969 29' Ambassador
brooksville , Florida
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,270
I love the wood look as well, so I have to agreed furniture grade plywood over the old stuff would look much better. Given you have the skill to do it. You can also top things with aluminum and stainless steel.
Not all those who wonder are lost.
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:26 AM   #7
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1974 Argosy 28
Fresno/Clovis , California
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 695
Not everyone has the skills to do woodwork, nor the time. Paint can be a good alternative, if done with good sealers and quality paint. If it is in good shape, better to leave it original, wiil retain value better.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:57 PM   #8
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1974 27' Overlander
San Francisco , California
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 29
I've just completed painting my tabour doors and all of my cabinets in the rig with varying results.

I first removed the tambour doors and the plastic guides on each side of the doors. I used Krylon Fusion paint, shot multiple light coats and gave it a week to dry. When I reassembled the doors into the cabinets, I was disappointed how scratched up the moving parts became. Specifically the edges of the tambour doors and the insides of the guides got pretty scratched during the installation and when opening the doors once installed.

I ended up masking specific parts in place and reshooting them to get them less scratched looking, but I know they're going to get scratched again. Disappointing given the effort I went through to remove and prep the parts.

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