Boler: advice on cutting a large serving window opening - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-24-2014, 01:05 AM   #1
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
Posts: 4
Boler: advice on cutting a large serving window opening

Hi There,

New owner of 73 13' Boler. Looking to convert it to a coffee/ice cream trailer, and as such I want to make big serving window along the side of trailer where the sink and stove would normally be.

I'm looking for advice on:

-cutting such a large piece of the fiberglass, both on how to cut it and what to cut it with? (I have seen some posts about cutting smaller pieces or making small holes and some about filling holes in, but it doesn't sound like too many people are chopping big holes in their trailers!).
-whether I should consider some kind of supports to keep structural strength intact?
-when cutting this serving window, should I removed the ensolite along the cutting area, or can I cut through the fiberglass and ensolite at the sametime?
-is it a good plan to use the cut out fiberglass piece as the 'window' to be opened and closed for daily serving, or should I consider something else like wood?
-advice on what kind of hinges to use how to mount them?

Thanks for any advice/comments

Here is a photo of the side of the trailer, ideally I would like to get an opening between 6 to 7 feet long, and over three feet tall.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:07 AM   #2
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Name: Dave
Trailer: Casita SD17 2006
California
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Hi Gerry, I have made a few cuts on my SD 17 and used a multi tool....what a clean cut. I would suggest not trying to cut the inner covering with it thou. Have done a lot of fiberglass work on dune buggies but didn't have the multi tool then, dang. I have no clue to what you will have to do to support the roof and sidewalls making that big of an opening. I would think that that big of an opening will really weaken the shell. Possibly glassing in wooden gussets on each side of the window up to maybe 1/4 of the roof may do it. Someone did replace the factory supports in a 5'er kind of like I'm saying but I don't remember who it was. I'm sure someone else here with retro/roof experience will speak up. As far as a service door, mmmm, maybe find something from a scrap yard that could be retro fitted for your use. Fiberglass work isn't that hard, just kind of messy and it looks like your going to be painting the outside anyway. Well there's my pennies worth, good luck and give us some pics of what you end up doing.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:32 AM   #3
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Name: kootenai girl
Trailer: 2004 Casita Liberty 17
British Columbia
Posts: 1,350
Don't if you saw this one, may give you some ideas
The Happier Camper • "BARbra" the Portable Bar. And she's beautiful.
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Old 03-24-2014, 12:30 PM   #4
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
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Thanks Borrego Dave and kootenaigril! I found this: 74 boler hot dog trailer...finished w/pics

I don't want to go quite that far with the opening.
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Old 03-24-2014, 01:05 PM   #5
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Name: Bob
Trailer: 1973 Hunter Compact II
California
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I saw the Happier Camper ice cream stand at the Palm Springs vintage trailer show a couple of weeks ago, very, very neat.

I'd suggest that you have your new window "In Hand" before you start to cut. Even a 1" error in dimensions could be a disaster.

I would also suggest, because you are cutting out so much side support, that you back up your cut with at least 1" x 1" aluminum angle.

As far as cutting, I used to use a saber saw, but now I only use a oscillating multi-tool for cutting fiberglass. Much less mess, easier to guide, more accurate etc.

Good Luck.
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Old 03-24-2014, 02:40 PM   #6
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Name: Francesca Knowles
Trailer: '78 Trillium 4500
Jefferson County, Washington State, U.S.A.
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I put access hatches in all four corners of my Trillium and will offer the following advice:

NUMBER ONE, regardless of the tool:
Each corner must be rounded. Otherwise you're going to get spreading cracks. Best approach is of course the simplest: Drill out each corner first. Doesn't have to be a huge hole, just round. Whatever framing you use will cover the holes.

-I used my smallest Porter Cable circular saw to make the cuts, where possible taping a guide onto the fiberglass, otherwise sighting the line.

-Certainly you'll have to reinforce the cutout to compensate for the loss of structural support. In my case the holes were smaller and the inset frame of the hatches I installed were sufficient for that purpose. In your case, I think you'll need such support both inside and out- perhaps 1' aluminum inside as Bob suggests, riveted or bolted through to L-shaped aluminum framing on the outside.
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Old 07-06-2014, 10:18 PM   #7
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Name: Gerry
Trailer: Boler
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Finally got a window and put it in today
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