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Old 01-15-2006, 09:45 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 18
Red face To strip or not to strip. That is the question.

We are restoring a 1955 Sovereign whose birch interior is intact. The finish is still reasonable good, but it is somewhat dull and lifeless. I have seen photos of other Fifties models that have a deep, glossy finish that is beautiful, but I don't know if it's original or refinished. Can someone advise me on this? What are the best products either to restore/renew the existing finish or to stip and refinish the birch?

Thanks to all.


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Old 01-16-2006, 06:25 AM   #2
Rivet Master
1977 31' Sovereign
1963 26' Overlander
1989 34' Excella
Johnsburg , Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,943
Restoring the finish to cabinets

It depends, of course, on how mistreated the cabinets are. Something as simple as a lemon oil furniture polish may do. We used up two bottles in doing three coats on our '63. If you want higher gloss, you might use a Danish oil refinishing product from Formsby. They also have a more agressive Refinishing formula. If you want to seal the surfaces from all moisture and give a high gloss, you might use a water based urethane varnish. If you want to just protect a very wet prone area, a solvent based varnish may be your answer. To keep the unit as pure as possible, limit yourself to the soak in oils. The finished product looks nice.

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Old 01-16-2006, 08:10 AM   #3
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startrekker2001's Avatar
1978 31' Excella 500
Palm Bay , Florida
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 269
Images: 34
You shouldn't have to strip your trailer, it didn't have clearcoat in '55. That's a big plus. If you want to polish your trailer be advised it is a lot of work initially and annually to keep the finish looking good. It is a lifetime commitment... and worth every second spent on it.

Go to for all the information you will ever need. Also Shirley Manning has an outstanding website at They give an in-depth blow by blow on how to polish a trailer.

You can get there by clicking on the above link or on the perfectpolish home page click on Misc info then on Airstream Polishing Project.

I polished my '78 31' Excella. You can see it on my photos on this website. Just click on my username.

Good luck.
Vic Smith
Director Florida State Rally
WBCCI Florida Unit 027 Trustee
WBCCI #6782
31' 78 Airstream Excella 500
2001 Ford Excursion V-10
Reese hitch and dual cam sway control
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