Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Birch Interior

Finished birch interior

We wanted a lighter, warmer interior for our trailer. We also wanted to keep the vintage Airstream feel that came from the lightweight aluminum frame construction used in the early 1970s. If I had to give a name to the design style, I might call it Retro Futuristic, looking back and forward at the same time.

The work taught us about all of the interior systems in the trailer, since we ended up removing and/or replacing nearly everything on the inside. If you are facing similar work, I hope this blog gives you the information you need to help in your decisions or your work. I hope it serves to encourage. I am not a woodworker, but I have learned how to handle wood. I am not a wood finisher, but I have learned to handle finishes to a level that works for us. I find that I enjoy the engineering sorts of challenges (see the Versatile Desk post in this blog), but that wasn't strictly necessary for this interior. If I can do it, you can do it.

There are only a few essential tools. I couldn't have done it without the jigsaw, the cordless power drill, the palm sander and the pop riveting tool. Hand tools such as hammers, screwdrivers, adjustable wrenches and a rubber mallet come in handy. It helps to have an accurate table saw. I had access to one nearby and sawed things in batches. This took extra planning, but I had no other choice. My hand isn't steady enough to do the long, straight cuts with a jigsaw and I'm not strong enough to wield a circular saw with safety and accuracy. Read more for pictures and details.