Heavy *#$&! table!! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-21-2009, 10:47 AM   #1
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I'm curious as to if anyone has tackled the table in a 13 Boler. HEAVY... and I still use and plan on keeping the dinette. But, would like to make the table top light enough that Marilyn could crash when she wanted without me around. Mine has the fold up leg and ledge mount.

Any old posts that come to mind?
Fred
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:08 PM   #2
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I'm curious as to if anyone has tackled the table in a 13 Boler. HEAVY... and I still use and plan on keeping the dinette. But, would like to make the table top light enough that Marilyn could crash when she wanted without me around. Mine has the fold up leg and ledge mount.

Any old posts that come to mind?
Fred


You could fabricate a frame from aluminum square tubing (reinforced appropriately, of course), then affix some attractive 1/8' or 1/4" plywood to the top of it. Use a wood edging veneer with contact cement to dress the edges, if desired... Couple coats of polyurethane, and Bob's yer uncle!
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
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Plenty of us have swapped the heavy MDF table tops for birch plywood, which weighs 1/3 to 1/2 as much. Our table is made of 3/8 birch that has been built up to double thickness (using carpenter's glue and clamps) at the edges to both add strength and make the table top the right height when we drop it down into a bed. After getting the table to the right thickness and shape I laminated it to match the counter tops I made.

If you're not as handy you could just go with 3/4" birch plywood and paint or urethane it.
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:31 PM   #4
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I'm curious. Our Boler has a very lightweight fibreglass table with folding leg. I want to get rid of it because it seems too light for sleeping on, the damn thing can't bear having me sit on the edge! Going to go for the birch plywood, 3/4 inch you say?
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:31 PM   #5
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Man I like both those ideas.
I think I'll look into the birch as I want to run the same idea
for the cupboard and closet doors as well.
Thanks
Fred
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Old 01-15-2010, 08:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
I'm curious as to if anyone has tackled the table in a 13 Boler. HEAVY... and I still use and plan on keeping the dinette. But, would like to make the table top light enough that Marilyn could crash when she wanted without me around. Mine has the fold up leg and ledge mount.

Any old posts that come to mind?
Fred
A good strong light weight table top can be made from 1" x 3" poplar , an outer frame and a few cross pieces with a 1/4" ply of your choice of wood grain . All glued and screwed
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Old 01-16-2010, 01:42 PM   #7
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I second the birch ply. Light as a feather and finishes up very nice. Strong, durable, I personally don't think its expensive.. others do, but for the size you need, you are only talking a few bucks more per sheet.
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Old 01-16-2010, 05:27 PM   #8
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How does one get it to the right shape? Is this something a lumber yard would do?
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Old 01-16-2010, 06:46 PM   #9
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I usually use a circular saw on plywood. I typically prefer to use a table saw for cutting, but plywood sheets are often kind of big and clunky for that. I would finish up the edges (the rounded part) with a jigsaw.

That said, you can usually have cuts made for you at a lumberyard, or even at Lowe's or Home Depot. They have these big saws that run on tracks/frames for cutting large sheet goods. You just have to watch to make sure they are measuring accurately (and then they probably still aren't responsible if it's wrong).

If you haven't used powertools much, then a circular saw can be a bit intimidating (I know I still find it that way). But a jigsaw is pretty user friendly, and a basic one is not expensive. So, you could have the yard make the big square cuts in the plywood, and then round the corners yourself at home (plus you'd have the tool for future use).

You can also cut corners with a hand tool, but plywood can be a bit stubborn.

I bet some of the woodworkers here will chime in with more ideas,

Raya
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Old 01-16-2010, 10:32 PM   #10
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I found a sheet of 3/4" plywood with a kind of kraft paper facing at the local lumber yard. Used for making outdoor signs, so it is quite weatherproof and very smooth. Cut it to shape, glued strips of hardwood to the edges, laminated some formica top and bottom (so it wouldn't warp later). Shaped the corners with a drum sander then routed a 45 degree angle on top and bottom of edges.
If I were to do it again I would lay out a pattern on the underside for lots of holes drilled partway through on the underside before gluing on the formica. Easy to do, and there would be a weight reduction with minimal effect on stiffness.
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Old 01-17-2010, 12:05 AM   #11
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I found a sheet of 3/4" plywood with a kind of kraft paper facing at the local lumber yard. Used for making outdoor signs, so it is quite weatherproof and very smooth.
I think that's MDO, right?
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Old 01-17-2010, 03:48 PM   #12
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That said, you can usually have cuts made for you at a lumberyard, or even at Lowe's or Home Depot. They have these big saws that run on tracks/frames for cutting large sheet goods. You just have to watch to make sure they are measuring accurately (and then they probably still aren't responsible if it's wrong)
I have a table saw and an extra set of hands (Lynne) that can make cutting full sheets of plywood at home much easier. Another alternative is to clamp a 2x4 or other straight piece of lumber in the right spot hand use that as a guide for a circular saw. The 2x4 method has the advantage of allowing you to make long, straight cuts at an angle, something that will come in handy for Lynne and I as we work on our Surfside project trailer. (Our plan for the Surfside is to have an asymmetric bed that is 54" wide at the shoulder end of the bed but tapers down to 48" at the foot to make room for a kitchen counter on the street side.) When cutting plywood it's a good idea to use a saw blade that's designed for plywood because it makes a nice smooth cut that doesn't tear up the top or bottom edges of the plywood.

That said, I prefer to get the lumber people to cut my plywood with their big sheet cutters when I can. Most places will do it for free, and since most of their sheet cuts are on plywood they already have the right blade in the saw. It's a lot easier to have them do it on their sheet cutter than wrangle with a big sheet at home, and most places will do it for free. Others charge a nominal fee ($0.50 or so if you need more than one cut). Most of the time their cuts are dead-on accurate, but it pays to watch them and double-check their measurements before they make the cut.

One point to remember when buying plywood for trailer projects: there are many different types of plywood, each with a different range of uses. Some are good for trailer floors, but bad for tables. I could spend a lot of time talking about the differences, but generally speaking:
  • Plywood surfaces are graded A-B-C-D-E, like this "A-B," where one side is an "A" grade surface, the other "B"
    • "A" grades are solid wood that has been sanded smooth
    • "B" grades have small voids in them that have been filled and sanded smooth. Also called "Paint-Grade" plywood.
    • "C" "D" "E" grades are unsanded, with a wood grain texture and increasingly large voids like knot holes and ply tears.
  • "Interior" plywoods have "D" graded layers in the middle, and are a poor choice for table tops.
  • "Exterior" plywoods have "C" graded layers in the middle and somewhat weather-resistant glues. They are OK for tables, not so good for trailer floors.
  • Named wood plywoods, like "Oak" or "Birch," usually have "B" grade layers in the middle that make them perfect for tables.
  • "Marine" plywoods have hardwood middle layers that are glued together with water-resistant resin that make them perfect for floors.
  • I like "Birch" plywood for most of my trailer plywoods. It is strong and lightweight.
    • 1/4" thickness for cabinet walls and upper-cabinet floors.
    • 3/8" thickness for shelves and surfaces on which heavy appliances (like a fridge) sit on. It can also be used for table tops that won't be used for dinettes where the table gets used for a bed with a heavy adult sleeper on top.
    • 3/4" for table tops that get dropped down for an adult-weight bed.
  • 1/2" or 5/8" marine-grade plywood is great for trailer floors. It's stronger and lighter than the OSB board most trailer makers use for floors and is very water resistant.
  • If you can't find or afford marine ply for your floor, look for "B-C Exterior Grade" plywood and coat both sides with resin or oil-based urethane.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:17 PM   #13
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Great info, Peter. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2010, 04:44 PM   #14
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Who has that neat compartment table? I remember a picture of a recessed plexiglass top and pockets with little things....dice, checkers, ect... It was neat...Donna you have the good memory!
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