Fiberglass Work Questions - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-01-2011, 10:14 PM   #1
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Name: Tom
Trailer: 1978 Scamp
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Fiberglass Work Questions

Following is a fiberglass site that I found and some newbie questions regarding fiberglass work.

Here is the site I found that helps explain fiberglass cloth, fiberglass mat, resin and how to use them. Fiberglass Information, and How much resin do I need? This may have been posted on here before and I just haven’t found it on this site. If anyone else knows of a good fiberglass information site or can direct me to information on this site about fiberglass work (how to information) or a good book to get I would appreciate it. I have never done any fiberglass work and feel a little intimidated by it.

I’m thinking about replacing the floor in my Scamp and here are a few question that have popped into my head so far:

What weight fiberglass cloth or mat is used to join the floor to the shell?

According to “Fiberglassite”, they instruct “Do not use pressure treated wood when fiberglassing!” but I haven’t found the reason why. I presume it’s because there might be water in the pressure treated wood and that might effect how the resin bonds to the wood. Or they’re concerned water would be trapped under the fiberglass if the wood was sandwiched between two layers of fiberglass and this would cause problems in the near future. Does anyone know the answer to this?

Would this (“Do not use pressure treated wood when fiberglassing”) apply to marine grade plywood too?

Do you think there would be an issue if only the edges of the treated, or marine grade plywood were glassed?

Does anyone know of a place near the Kansas City area where I can buy the fiberglass supplies I need? If not Kansas City where do most people get their fiberglass supplies?

That’s all the questions I have at this moment, but rest assured there will be more coming.

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:20 PM   #2
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Pressure treated wood... the "green" stuff has been found to be a major carcinogin. You must (or should) wear a respirator even when cutting the stuff. Some people were using it to build children's play structures, and that's turned out to be a no-no. There's better stuff to use, I wouldn't want to use it in my trailer... YMMV
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:38 PM   #3
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Yeah, pressure treated lumber use to have arsenic in it, which kept the bugs out of the wood, but in 2003 or 2004 there was a change in the industry and the chemical makeup used to treat the lumber. The arsenic treated lumber can still be bought but I think you have to have a contractor’s license to buy it and the lumber can’t be used for residential buildings. It can only be used for barns and outbuildings. The wood at the home supply stores now is not made with the arsenic chemical cocktail. I think it has copper in it now to keep the bugs from eating the wood.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:29 AM   #4
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Another reason not to use pressure treated lumber when glassing over it is that polyester reasin don't stay attached to it over a long period of time. It will delaminate with age. I have never seen Marine Grade plywood that was pressure treated. Also Marine Grade means that all the inperfections in the layers of wood have been removed and a piece scarffed in to the spot. It is the best grade of plywood as you don't get the holes in the laminate like, you see on regular plywood edges. If you feel the need to seal the edges of the plywood, thin your resin and coat it before you glass it into your floor. Good luck with your project
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:25 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by captsteve2002 View Post
Another reason not to use pressure treated lumber when glassing over it is that polyester reasin don't stay attached to it over a long period of time. It will delaminate with age. I have never seen Marine Grade plywood that was pressure treated. Also Marine Grade means that all the inperfections in the layers of wood have been removed and a piece scarffed in to the spot. It is the best grade of plywood as you don't get the holes in the laminate like, you see on regular plywood edges. If you feel the need to seal the edges of the plywood, thin your resin and coat it before you glass it into your floor. Good luck with your project
Thanks for this information it was helpful. I just figured marine grade plywood was better grade of pressure treated plywood. Now I see this isn't so.

Do you happen to know what weight of fiberglass cloth is used to join the floor and the shell of the camper together?
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Old 08-02-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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Tom
I use 2" or 3" seam tape to join the floor to the shell. I have found West System makes an epoxy filler in a calking tube. In the future I will use this to fill the gaps between the wood floor and the shell before glassing the top edge of the wood to the shell. For the floor I use 5/8" plywood and coat the bottom and edges with resin. I use a multi tool to cut out the wood floor and top fiberglass attaching seam. I have found a 4/4.5" grinder with a twisted wire brush is the best abrasive for preping the fiberglass shell. I clean up the bottom fiberglass ledge and use this as a guide for reattaching the new floor. Also when attaching the floor to the frame around the dropped floor area I use P&L adhesive calking between the wood and frame. The big box stores sell wood to metal self tapping counter sunk head screws for attaching the wood to the frame. I also try to lift the shell slightly before glassing in the front and rear floor areas.
Hope this info. helps.
Eddie
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by captsteve2002 View Post
Another reason not to use pressure treated lumber when glassing over it is that polyester reasin don't stay attached to it over a long period of time. It will delaminate with age.
Second that! the treatment process leaves a residue that prevents the wood from absorbing moisture, and also pretty much any other glue or resin.

One other note. A lot of folks are going to epoxies verses polyester resin based composites. Epoxy will ad-hear very well to polyester, but not vise versa. So, if you use an epoxy as sealer or a filler base, you must also use an epoxy for your laminations over it. West Systems have some awesome products for patching and filling that are epoxy based. They also have fantastic technical support to go with it!
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