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Old 01-09-2006, 12:45 PM   #1
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Thoughts on painting oak cabinets & walls

I am going to be redoing the interior of my trailer and am contemplating painting the oak. Has anyone else tried this and if so how did it turn out? I have searched for pics but can't seem to find any.?.Also, how about the walls? Will paint stick to the finish?

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Old 01-09-2006, 12:57 PM   #2
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If you plan on EVER selling your trailer, don't do it! Most buyers want the original wood finish (& Zolotone) unadulturated, especially with the vintage trailers.

Just my 2-cents...but it's supported here: Price vs Condition


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Old 01-09-2006, 01:01 PM   #3
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I would not do it

Oak is too nice a wood to cover with paint. Sand it, stain it if you like, seal it and enjoy it. Nothing looks beter then finished wood. That's my opinion only.


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Old 01-09-2006, 02:57 PM   #4
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Wood is Good!

While I like the newer coaches, I prefer the older natural wood, finished and coated. You don't have to finish it a dark color, you can give it a more modern "feel" by staining with a lighter color. It will also give the trailer a more open, airy atmosphere, rather than the "suburban apartment" feeling you will get by painting.
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:21 PM   #5
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What year and model is your trailer? I have oak in mine, too. I can't imagine painting it!
Not knowing enough to be afraid... (I know more than I did, but I did it anyway!)


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Old 01-09-2006, 04:37 PM   #6
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Sand and then clear coat the Oak. Don't restain it at all for a lighter look. If it's real Oak and not the paper veneer you don't want to paint it.
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Old 01-09-2006, 04:51 PM   #7
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Been there, had to undo that

My first motorhome ('83 310) had been owned by an "agricultural engineer" who painted the oak cabinets. Looked terrible, was a lot of trouble to strip and refinish.

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Old 01-09-2006, 04:54 PM   #8
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hello potatoes.......

wood is good!

better naked too!

click on pics for bigger version.

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Old 01-09-2006, 05:25 PM   #9
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Looks like whether you choose to stain it or not, the overwhelming opinion is not to paint the oak.
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Old 01-09-2006, 05:51 PM   #10
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Put away the paint and get out the stain. Painting the wood makes it look so sterile. The look of the natural wood is so soothing I can't imagine painting it. We took off over four layers of paint on our wood cabinets. Worth every minute of the mess.

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Old 01-09-2006, 07:57 PM   #11
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We still don't know the age of your unit.
Best rule of thumb for doing old houses or old Airstreams:
Do nothing that can't be undone to restore to original!
Having said that, it's your unit, do as you like. But, if any time in the future you are looking to sell.... be aware that much you do will not add to value, but detract and lower instead!!!
Anything you do, do the highest standards.... if you paint, NO BRUSH MARKS!! If you do the floor, say install tile.... no gaps between tiles allowed!
If all you're wanting is to freshen and lighten, consider putting a wallpaper insert on each door. Use a strippable type for ease of undoing I might be tempted to use the kind that imitates a tin ceiling, and paint them before installing.
Your unit, your call.
Meanwhile, ENJOY!!!!

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Old 01-09-2006, 08:09 PM   #12
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It's a 1993 34'. As soon as I posted I realized I meant stain not paint. I appreciate the comments and the pictures from everyone. My wife and I are just not crazy about the current stain color. It is the normal oak color that you normally see and we were looking for something more exciting. By the way, when we bought the unit in May we planned on replacing the upholstery and floor coverings but found rot in a few places so most all of the cabinets and such are out already except for the kitchen. I still need to fix the floor, but I am trying to get a plan in my head about the finishing of the unit. I think I'll go to Sherwin-Williams and look at stain colors soon.
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:10 PM   #13
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I'll never forget what Henry Ford said to his wife when he returned home one night after being gone on a business trip and found his wife had painted white the beautiful imported walnut panelled walls in the large family room of their Dearborn, MI home.

"What do you think, Henry?" she asked.

And after thinking for a minute, he replied, "Peace, at any price."

But if MY DEAR WIFE ever painted the woodwork in our home or trailer while I was away....well, don't ask!

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Old 01-09-2006, 09:20 PM   #14
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ebay listing says it all

Check out eBay listing 4601617872.

(1963 Vintage 1963 22ft AIRSTREAM SAFARI sold for $13,100)

Imagine what the price would be if it wasn't original.

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Old 01-09-2006, 09:43 PM   #15
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If the wood is stained, removing the existing stain is more or less impossible. You have to sand the wood down beyond the depth of stain penetration.

More likely it just has a spray finish coat - lacquer or something similar. You will have to sand or strip this coat down to bare wood.

In addition to regular stains, you may want to consider the "pickled" stains. This is really more of a paint, but it does not obscure the wood grain, and is the only way to achieve a lighter tone.

Remember that a regular stain cannot make the wood any lighter in tone, only darker.

My inclination would be to strip off the finish, sand smooth, and apply a new finish coat - I use a 50-50 mix of Watco Danish Oil and Polyurethane (oil based, of course). Darkens the wood slightly, but is very tough and can be applied with rags for a mistake-proof finish.

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Old 01-10-2006, 09:37 AM   #16
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No doubt on this one...

never paint your wood, especially in an Airstream. I wish mine had real wood.
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Old 01-11-2006, 08:57 AM   #17
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j54mark---Tell us more about the 50/50 blend of Watco Danish Oil and Polyurathane (oil based). Sounds like it might be very useful for other projects such as funiture finishing and interior house trim, ect.

More info please------Thanks Bob
1988 Classic 290 motorhome
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:56 AM   #18
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I hate the Oak cabinets in our Excella, Steve thinks they are just fine. What are we doing is trying our best to match the current oak in our Trailer. As for the walls with it's wierd paste board gold vines on white background, It's being painted as is some of the really bad factory installed "fake oak panels" We are trying to go light tan. Although we found some off whites that are dead on matches to the headliners. We did paint the bedroom green and liked it, although with this overhaul remodel it's going tan also. We've talked about a new trailer and I love the light toned wood in the Safari's and it isn't to bad in the Classics either. Good Luck! it's a lot of work.

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Waddell, AZ
1999 19' Bambi (SOLD)
1997 30' Excella (SOLD)
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