What Type of Board to Use? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-31-2009, 08:49 AM   #1
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Were going to replace the Particle Board Cubby Hole Covers on our 1980 13' Burro. Can we get a recommendation as to what to use.

3/4" MDF Board of 3/4" Plywood. I also need to make a new table.

Any suggestions.

Thank you in advance.

Dave and Tess
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Old 07-31-2009, 10:03 AM   #2
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If the choice is MDF or plywood definitely go with plywood. MDF is heavy and doesn't hold screws in the edges well. It does accept paint very well though.
Plywood is lighter and holds screws better just be sure to pre-drill a hole before driving in a screw. Most plywood paints well on the faces but not so great on the edges. Because of this I would use Baltic Birch plywood in 1/2" thickness. There are no voids in the veneers that make up the thickness so the edges are good, just sand with 150 grit paper and clear finish or paint.
Baltic Birch is available in 3/4" as well. Both thickness, at least in Canada, come in a 5' x 5' sheet.

For the table I would stay away from particle board and go with 3/4" plywood covered with plastic laminate (Formica, Wilsonart, Nevamar etc.) The color/pattern choices are endless and it's very durable. For horizontal work surfaces it is available with an extra hard coating or layer to minimize scatches. If possible, apply laminate to the underside as well to balance the panel and prevent warping.

Cheers

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Old 07-31-2009, 11:06 AM   #3
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I agree with Paul. I make furniture as a hobby and made all of the cabinets in our house. I prefer the plywood. If you have the tools and skill, you can put on a finished edge using 1/4 X 1/2 strips. Plywood will stain as well and you can get many different woods. I usually finish with a Danish oil.

This approach will work for the table top as well using 1/4 X 3/4" strips. Consider chamfering the top edge (45 degree cut) or rounding it to soften the edge (requires a router). If you use laminate on the top, add the edge after the laminate sets and the edges are smooth. It should be very attractive.

BTW, you could use laminate on the doors with a wood edge. That would add the artistic look that Donna suggested.

Dave
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:39 PM   #4
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Yep. Plywood all the way - lighter, stronger, less worries about rot and condensate damage. I also probably shaved off couple dozens lbs by replacing mdf storage compartments covers with plywood.
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Old 07-31-2009, 12:58 PM   #5
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I can't see exactly how big your cubby lids are (you are talking about the "bins" under the cushions and such, right?), but you might be able to go less than 3/4", depending on the span. Maybe 5/8" at least. Just something to consider. I don't think I'd bother personalizing those too much, since they're under cushions, but of course one can

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Old 07-31-2009, 05:07 PM   #6
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I would do plywood for the bench/storage compartments but look for something else for the cupboard and cabinets , like donna says time to personalize your space.

I am still looking at my options for my burro, I dont like the look of wood in the fiberglass camper.
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Old 08-01-2009, 12:17 AM   #7
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Use a good grade of birch plywood. The layers of ply are generally thinner and have fewer voids in them, so they're easier to fill, sand and finish. You can paint them or even stain them and use urethane finish and they'll look nice, and they'll be much more durable and lighter than MDF..

Another thing you can do is buy 3/8" birch ply and cut them to door/hatch covers size, then cut 1-1'2" strips of the plywood and add them to the backs edges of the door & hatch covers. I made our dinette table this way. It's much lighter (which is good when you're moving it around), strong enough to sleep on, and cheaper than building it out of solid ply. Ours also has a sliding mechanism made from ply, too.


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Yet another option is to make panel doors frames from plywood or hardwood pieces. I did this with our Scamp doors, using 1/4" poplar hardwood for the top layer and 1/4" plywood for a back supporting layer, sanded, stained, finished them and added some aluminum punched panels. I really like the results.


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Old 08-01-2009, 01:25 AM   #8
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Something the previous owner did in our former sailboat, was cover the table with thin plexiglass. This allowed the insertion of charts (maps in our case) and protected them from the elements yet they were readily available. I have been mulling doing this in our "Homelet". You can see the chart under the plexiglass to the left of the hatch opening:
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Old 08-01-2009, 06:32 AM   #9
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Something the previous owner did in our former sailboat,
Roger,

Balboa 20? I think those often came with a chart/map pattern on the original table, so perhaps the previous owner was inspired by that.

Nice boats

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Old 08-01-2009, 10:45 PM   #10
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Were going to replace the Particle Board Cubby Hole Covers on our 1980 13' Burro. Can we get a recommendation as to what to use.

3/4" MDF Board of 3/4" Plywood. I also need to make a new table.

Any suggestions.

Thank you in advance.

Dave and Tess
We have store here called industrial paint and plastics. It has some lightweight plastic materials that are rigid enough for door fronts, and are available in many finishes. They even have a stainless steel paint. I have a72 trillium and will probably use a coloured plastic material when updating the doors.
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Old 08-01-2009, 11:24 PM   #11
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I used 3/4 Birch ply to do the initial replacement of all the Scamp pressboard doors and table. Also, got rid of the Scamp table hardware and put in the aluminum stanchions which work much better for us.

I'm now the current owner of the Peterh backward scamp cabinet doors (thanks Peter!) and will probably surprise him with what we may put in the center when we incorporate them into our Scamp.

Also, doing the removal of the stove and putting in a full finished countertop project that I've wanted to do for some time now. (Firmly convinced we don't use the permanent stove now) Really thinking outside the box on what to use for the countertop material and I think I've found something very cool. Will reveal later when complete.

Be creative as you replace this factory stuff. I've seen some incredible work out here from Members using materials one would never think of.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:27 PM   #12
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I would do plywood for the bench/storage compartments but look for something else for the cupboard and cabinets , like donna says time to personalize your space.

I am still looking at my options for my burro, I dont like the look of wood in the fiberglass camper.

Scott, have you found other options to wood cupboards/cabinets yet? I keep thinking if I were to stain them light enough they might not be so bad/obvious. White laminate looks too unfinished. What's next?
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