Moving from Boler 13 to 17 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-22-2008, 12:41 PM   #1
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Trailer: 73 Boler 13 ft
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Well, after just one season in a Boler 1300, we have already bought a 1700. I could see us getting cranky on a long trip if we didn't have room to sleep comfortably. And the middle of the night bathroom is the 2nd big reason for the change. But I like the old smaller one more. This one has so much storage, can't imagine what we need to bring along to fill all those spaces.
And for environmental reasons, I hate to pull all that extra weight. Didn't realize it was going to be so much plywood, instead of fibreglass on the interior. I realize it is still so much smaller than most rigs on the highway, but was proud that we were doing our part to keep fuel consumption down.
I'd like to see what people have done to modify the 1700, and possibly make them even lighter. Am I right in thinking there are a lot more 13 ft Bolers out there than 17? I'm sure once we make it ours, I'll love it! Thanks.
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Old 04-23-2008, 11:11 AM   #2
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Well, some have added a bathroom to a 13' but that isn't going to help your space issues any. As far as lightening up the 17' there are a number of things you can do depending on how aggressive you want to get. Don't be fooled into thinking that the plywood cabinets are significantly heavy, most of the structure is made from 2" wide strips of 1/2" ply that are glued and stapled together it is then clad in 1/8" paneling. However, you can lighten them up even more as I have been doing. Progress on my Boler 1700 Depending on your layout and you mention not imagining how you could fill all of the cabinets, you might consider removing some of the cabinets altogether. This will reduce weight and make the interior feel all that much more spacious.
I also shaved about 60 lbs off when I changed my axle from the old 4" drop to the straight in addition to gaining 4" of ground clearance. Depending on your needs you can take only one propane tank which will save even more weight. We like our oven but if you switched to a three burner stove top only you save about 50 lbs.

Have fun, Rob
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:00 PM   #3
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Well, some have added a bathroom to a 13' but that isn't going to help your space issues any. As far as lightening up the 17' there are a number of things you can do depending on how aggressive you want to get. Don't be fooled into thinking that the plywood cabinets are significantly heavy, most of the structure is made from 2" wide strips of 1/2" ply that are glued and stapled together it is then clad in 1/8" paneling. However, you can lighten them up even more as I have been doing. Progress on my Boler 1700 Depending on your layout and you mention not imagining how you could fill all of the cabinets, you might consider removing some of the cabinets altogether. This will reduce weight and make the interior feel all that much more spacious.
I am absolutely amazed at what you are doing, Rob!! I agree with you about the dark brown panelled cabinets in the 1700. And the dark brown plastic trim on the edges. Can you tell me more about the aluminum "flashing and channelling" you are using. What is it's original purpose, and therefore where will I find it in Home Depot? Does it come in different depths? Thanks, and looking forward to following your photos. Peggy
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:15 PM   #4
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Yes, you will find it at Lowes, Home Depot as well as many other smaller chains like TruValue Hardware. The Flashing is your basic aluminum flashing available in from 6" - 20" widths. It will be located with the gutters and roofing at the HD. The channel and angle comes in 6 or 8 foot lengths and depending on the supplier will be anodized (with a satin grey finish) or mill (just shiny raw aluminum). Both come in 1/16" and 1/8" thickness. The angle comes in 1/4" to 3" equal leg widths and the channel comes in widths to accommodate 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4 and 1" panels. Because no one place around me had enough of everything I ended up with a mix of anodized and mill. I decided to use the anodized in the out of sight places and I went over the mill finish with 220 grit sandpaper to give it a brushed look. A coat of spray clear lacquer to seal it and keep the raw aluminum from rubbing grey marks. On my cabinets I used 1 1/2" x 1/16" angle for the horizontals and 1" x 1/16" angle for the verticals, 1/2" channel for the door frames.

If you know how much aluminum you need there are a number of online places that you can order up to 16 foot lengths and it is delivered via freight truck. The cost savings is pretty good. Since I was impatient I have been doing it piecemeal. You could also see if there is a metal yard around your area that can supply it to you which will also likely be cheaper.

If you go this route, start small. The cabinet over the sink is a nice standalone piece to begin with. I have been using my old cabinets as patterns for measurements and roof curve shapes. As with the 13 footers the sink and upper cabinets in combination are a roof support unit so make sure that you support the roof if you are going to use the unit while the upper cabinet is out. The other thing I mentioned in my other thread is the insulation tore off when I pulled the cabinets off. You'll need to have a plan as to what you will do should that be the case for you.

As an alternative, though you won't be reducing weight, you could just pull off the paneling and corner trims and put new lighter paneling up and then just change the doors for a fresh new look. Or try a faux paint finish on the paneling and replace the doors. I also considered at one point pulling the door moldings off and painting them with metallic silver. Then spray mount aluminum flashing to the door face and put the plastic moldings back on. But then I am an over achiever and that would have been just to easy.

Rob
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Old 04-23-2008, 10:01 PM   #5
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Yes, you will find it at Lowes, Home Depot as well as many other smaller chains like TruValue Hardware. The Flashing is your basic aluminum flashing available in from 6" - 20" widths. It will be located with the gutters and roofing at the HD.

As an alternative, though you won't be reducing weight, you could just pull off the paneling and corner trims and put new lighter paneling up and then just change the doors for a fresh new look. Or try a faux paint finish on the paneling and replace the doors. I also considered at one point pulling the door moldings off and painting them with metallic silver. Then spray mount aluminum flashing to the door face and put the plastic moldings back on. But then I am an over achiever and that would have been just to easy.

Rob
Wow, I can't wait to get to "the city" to have a look for this stuff! I had also envisioned doing cabinet doors, with a punched tin effect, as seen in an antique pie safe, light fixtures from the maritimes etc. I wonder if anyone has tried that. It is made with patterns of perforations punched into sheet tin, or copper. Would aerate the cabinet contents as well. Thanks for your help. More to dream on....
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:01 AM   #6
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I had also envisioned doing cabinet doors, with a punched tin effect, as seen in an antique pie safe, light fixtures from the maritimes etc. I wonder if anyone has tried that. It is made with patterns of perforations punched into sheet tin, or copper. Would aerate the cabinet contents as well. Thanks for your help.
You need to find all the modifications done by peterh. Here's one showing the bathroom door. The man does beautiful work!
Cool new bathroom door & mirror
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Old 04-26-2008, 12:54 PM   #7
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I like your cabinet construction method. Strong, functional, lightweight and nice looking too.

One question I have is: What method did you find best for fastening the channel pieces to each other and to the plywood?
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:16 PM   #8
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I like your cabinet construction method. Strong, functional, lightweight and nice looking too.

One question I have is: What method did you find best for fastening the channel pieces to each other and to the plywood?

All of the angle pieces are lap joined by 2 - 3/16 aluminum pop rivets. Welding the aluminum would have been the neatest but I don't have the equipment and this method goes pretty fast once all of the pieces are cut to size. I put a metal cutting wheel on my chop saw and then hit the edges with a grinder to clean them up. You can do it all with a hacksaw and a file but it will take longer. To join the plywood to the frame I am using #8 1/2" stainless screws. On the upper cabinet end it is solid 1/2" Birch ply on the lower I built up the 1/4" ply sheet with 3" wide strips of 1/4" birch ply to make the 1/2" thickness around the edges. The "floor" panel of the upper is through riveted with 1/8" x 1/2" aluminum rivets and aluminum washers to prevent pull-through.

As I went along there are a few places where I had to drill out a small recess for a rivet head in order for the plywood to lay flush to the aluminum. I just dry fit the piece and press it hard into the rivet making a light dent. I then use a 1/2" high speed bit to make a shallow hole usually just until the full face of the bit starts to cut. This gives me enough play to account for any shifting of the drill point. Also using the lap joint method for the aluminum angle created a couple of places where the was a gap between the plywood and the angle from an angle piece running in a different direction. I just used scraps of the aluminum to make large square washers to fill the gaps.

Rob
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