Saturday, November 7, 2009

Aluminum Counter Top Edging

Since the Airstream is in the back yard, I mean winter home, I thought I'd get back into make regular posts about what we have done to get it back into shape and on the road.  I had to take a detour for awhile, since it was Airstream season.

Here is a picture of what the countertops looked like without any trim.  My dh did a wonderful job with doing the laminate on his own for his first try.  It looks fabulous.  We were both afraid of this daunting task, but once we tried, we are now pros at countertops - so watch out world, you just don't know what we'll do next!

Well, this is how they stayed for our few first trips, because we just didn't know how to finish out the edges without breaking the bank.  Many suggested the traditional plastic T-channel edging, but I had a dream of something much better!  I really love the look of the old fermica tables with the aluminum trim.  Did you know they don't manufacture that anymore?

I know, you Airstreamers out there will say that Airstream puts it in the new rigs, but it's not as easy to get as you might think!  I called Airstream, who referred me to Ewald's in Milwaukee - who really wasn't too excited about helping me get some trim!  I don't remember how much it was going to cost (not cheap!) but I couldn't get anything more from Ewald's or the company than a catelog description - no pictures.

I then went into a massive internet search for what I was looking for (Vintage Trailer Supply - could you come up with this stuff to sell at a better price, please?), only to come up with only one place in West Virginia called Bars & Booths that makes vintage-like firmica copies.  After a discussion with the very nice lady at the other end, the price we came up with was around $100 for 12 feet of it!  I would have to buy two 12 foot sections though at $100 each minimum and then the shipping would cost $80 - gulp!!!
That was a very sad day for us, because we felt that we had gone to the ends of the earth to find this (and after a discussion with the lady, she said they had to have a manufacturer create a fabrication of this, so they own the mold and can't get it anywhere else!) and now there was no hope of getting this.  If we had a spare $300 we have a lot more urgent things to fix - like a water pump and heater, that would be much more useful than decorations.

Have I told you about my dreaming before?  (You might have noticed, if you've watched us pull this out of a junk yard!)  I just don't give up very easily!  I wanted this look  and I was going to find a way to do it cheap inexpensively!  So, I told my dh to take me to the hardware store down the street for one last ditch effort and I was going to find something.  I walked up and down the aisles looking at everything to get an inspiration and wouldn't you know - I did.  I had my dh buy me two 8 foot sections of flat aluminum stripping (I'm sure there's a name for it - but it's not in my head).  It cost only $7 each and had no shipping!  I could've walked if I wanted to not pay the gas!

Right away we came home and within 45 minutes I made my dh attach it for me!  All I did was take those Scotch brand round sanding discs on a drill and buffed circles side-by-side down the strips.  My husband cut them to fit, and used round headed nails down the middle to attach it! 
I actually love the results better than my dream because we did this whole project for $14 ourselves!!  In fact, I would consider hiring out to do the same for someone else - just ask!  I hope that you can see the results - you can click on the pictures for a better view up close.  Please let me know what you think!


  1. I suspect your solution works better than the style used on early Airstreams (and Grandma's kitchen counter.) That edging has a lip to cover the top edge of the Formica, if there any irregularities. The problem is that you can't make sharp bends. Every application I've seen has fairly large radiused corners. Otherwise, the edging has to be beveled, which tends to leave sharp edges.

    I'm interested in those round-headed nails. Do they come from an upholstery shop? They look like aluminum escutheon pins. Most of those are made of brass or bronze. Either of those materials would lead to problems with aluminum. If you have problems with them working loose over time, you might want to coat them with adheshive before driving them in.

    Keep up the good work and stay healthy!

    Love y'all! Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary

  2. Greetings~ ~I saw your post over at Susans Met Monday and just had to come by and see. I am also restoring a camper, not an Airstream but I hope you won't hold that against me. It's our first experiance with camping and we want to see how we like it before we invest lots of $$.
    Interesting stuff you've got happening here.
    Oh, your link at Susans Does Not Work. You might want to add another one that does. I did some investigative work to find you. . .persistance! Glad that I did. It's nice to meet you.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~