Tabbing - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-19-2010, 10:28 AM   #1
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Tabbing

Here are some typical pictures of the tabbing that was done to attach the upper cabinets to the trailer. Strips of fiberglass tape were cut wetted out and glassed into place. The front end cabinet and the overhead kitchen unit seem to be well done with glass extending most of the way around the wall area with exception of the corner areas. I wonder if that was to make it easier or to allow a little bit of expansion and contraction?
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Tabbing 010.jpg   Tabbing 018.jpg  

Tabbing 022.jpg  
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:37 AM   #2
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Here's the upper rear cabinet and inside the kitchen unit. Was this work done on a Friday afternoon???
The tabbing is messy with areas not completed properly. The upper cabinet has sections without glass support even though it seems structually sound. The kitchen unit is not fastened along the upper back edge along the wall and the centre divider is supporting the weight of the top.
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Tabbing 023.jpg   Tabbing 031.jpg  

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Old 10-19-2010, 10:48 AM   #3
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These pictures wer taken inside the rear bench seat on the drivers sise. What could be reached with ease seems to be done well but what was hard to reach or out of sight was very skimpy. Where the seat back met the wall had little or no tabbing of any kind and the previous owner had propped up the seat with a piece of 1x3.
Again ...Done on a Friday???
After taking a good look at this I think that it is not necessary to tab all the way around every bit of the wall areas. Applying glass strips on the major joining surfaces will hold your cabinets in place with no future problems. It should not be necessary to do the harder corners as you're not trying to make it waterproof.
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Tabbing 032.jpg   Tabbing 038.jpg  

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Old 10-19-2010, 10:54 AM   #4
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The visual edges of the cabinetry has been finished with some 'U' shaped trim moulding. I have seen a later model 1987 Boler that also used this trim to cover the Belly Band.
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Tabbing 021.jpg   Tabbing 019.jpg  

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Old 10-19-2010, 11:07 AM   #5
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Great info James, and I like the smiley face!!!
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:26 PM   #6
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Hi james, and thanks for the photos! (I had asked about it in a PM as I wanted to see what the factory tabbing looked like.)

To answer your question about the corners, it would not be for expansion and contraction; there isn't really any to speak of with fiberglass, and in any case it's fiberglass to fiberglass.

But.... corners are very hard to get to lay down properly. And probably not necessary anyway. Anyplace there is an air pocket is not really doing anything, and if you can't get the cloth situated properly there will be air pockets.

On the hidden areas: I hear you! On boats that is usually a key to check on boat building quality: What did they do in the supposedly hidden areas? (which are also often the devil to work in)

The one place there was tabbing in my Boler was attaching a "septum" in the rear overhead cabinet. Once I had that cabinet out I could peel that off by hand. No doubt poorly prepped and polyester resin, which doesn't have great secondary bonding strength. On the other hand, it was only a divider/strengthener, and had worked fine while it was in place.

Another note is that in "the old days" fillets were not used. Fiberglass cloth does not like sharp inside corners, and a fillet basically fills in the corner and makes it a sweeping transition. Older fiberglass boats (and some new ones) don't have filleted corners either, but they do help quite a bit.

Backing up a bit here: Since fiberglass can be tabbed, the rivets in my Boler were bugging me. When it was time to renew the caulk in the center holes, well.... I just couldn't bring myself to do it! So, in a fit of "but this is *fiberglass*" I decided to remove all the rivets and tab the cabinetry in.

Of course it would have been a lot easier in the first place, because coming along after the fact I have to first peel back the Ensolite and then remove the adhesive, which is a bit of a pain. Then I can sand/prep and tab. So far I have the closet done, and the kitchen overhead and rear overhead about halfway done. That leaves the kitchen lower cabinet (the benches are screwed to tabbed in ledges from the factory).

I already have about 75% of the exterior holes filled and waiting for gelcoat.... ahhh, that feels better.

I'm looking forward to lying in bed at night, listening to rain pattering on the roof and not thinking about any rivets. As a side bonus, it makes things much stronger (not that that's really needed, and the base fiberglass is relatively weak anyway).

The main thing is.... I just felt like it

Raya

PS: The reason I took the "septum" out of the rear overhead cabinet is that it divided the cabinet into two compartments, but since the doors are towards the sides, the middle was pretty much useless and hard to reach. So I made a second septum, and then put them both in about 18" apart, leaving the center free of septumry. I'm going to cut a hole there for a middle compartment. I think I'll just leave it open but with a bit of a "ledge" at the bottom to hold things in. I'm also thinking I may remove the two (ridiculously heavy) doors and make canvas "doors" instead, but haven't decided for sure.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:39 PM   #7
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What did you fill the rivet holes with?
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Old 10-19-2010, 06:56 PM   #8
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Hi Eddie,

I've used a few techniques, depending on location and final scenario. For example:

On places like the holes that were under the awning track and the door gutter, where something will always be on top of them (I'm planning to put them back with VHB tape), I just countersunk/chamfered the holes and filled them flush with epoxy thickened with colloidial silica and a touch of high-density filler. (I taped the backside.)

Places where it will show, like for example curtain rod bracket holes (whose bright idea was THAT ), I countersunk/chamfered the holes the same, and then filled them partially with the thickened epoxy mix. Once that is totally cured, I'll fill them the rest of the way with gelcoat. I have already mixed up a large batch colored to match, and I will just catalyze a bit at a time, as I want to use it.

In a few places I actually fiberglassed the backside (biaxmat cloth/epoxy resin) where I happened to have access, but I don't think it was really necessary.

It's amazing how many rivets/holes there are, once you really start counting

This early evening I sanded/prepped the trailer around the perimeter of the upper kitchen cabinet, and six sections around the rear upper cabinet (I'm not going around the whole perimeter on that), and I also prepped the cabinet itself.

Next step is to cut out the center access hole in the upper cabinet, then ..... tabbing time. I hate sanding and prepping, but I kind of like working with epoxy. Frosting! It's the same perverse side of me that likes taping sheet rock (but I hate that sanding too).

Raya
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