Karin's Campster Renovation - Page 13 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-25-2016, 07:09 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
When it rains it pours. My occasional helpers who pitch in when I need a hand lifting things are dropping like flies with physical issues. Not sure when I will get help putting the pop up section back up onto the Campster.

Yesterday Don, my BFF and project partner twisted his foot and broke a little bone in it and is restricted from putting weight on it.
My neighbor Tracy sprained her foot last week.
The neighbor whose dogs I look after is a strong contractor but his sciatica got pinched this week.

Oh well help will show up, it always does, in the meantime I will get a coat of paint on the roof so I am ready when it arrives. I just hope it arrives before the rain does which is next predicted for this coming Tuesday in the early morning
Yikes. Well, if we weren't two states away, we'd offer to come and help!
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Old 08-26-2016, 03:17 AM   #170
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Originally Posted by Ellpea in CA View Post
Yikes. Well, if we weren't two states away, we'd offer to come and help!
I was able to find an able bodied helper for whenever I am ready.

Unfortunately my friend Don with the broken foot needed my help in the afternoon so my paint job got delayed by one day. But the help project was amusing enough to make it OK to get interrupted. He has a recumbent trike and the peddles on it clip into bike shoes which means that it can actually be ridden by a person with only one good foot. So that can be used to get him out the very long dock and up the street to the office and at the same time be able to potty walk the dog and excercise him. The project was to create a way to carry the crutches. Just as I was getting ready to open the paint he called asking if I had 2 tubes around that were at least 1-3/4" diameter inside and at least 20 inches long and they needed to have an end cap. This workshop space being the equivelent of Alladin's cave I went on the hunt and found them. I had a pair that I had gotten to store my small brass hobby type metal strips and tubes in. An acceptable sacrifice for a friend in need. They were flexible tubes which turned out to be a great advantage as they hold the ends of the crutches snugly. So now with our usual team work he has his new human and dog powered transport. Yes his 8 month old standard poodle pup can tow him along the sidewalk just fine as was demonstrated earlier. I will have to take a video of that tomorrow!!! But for now it looks like some kind of space ship rover with robot arms sticking out of it. That will have people gawking as he rolls along especially with a big red poodle towing him.
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There is a recent conversation asking about going camping with a disability, you can bet he is the kind of person who is not going to give up doing what he likes to do just because he can't walk. He also does not worry about what people think of what he does to make such things possible, he will enjoy it all the more if anyone thinks it looks crazy. Its Seattle, you are allowed to be silly here. I too have a recumbent tadpole trike but I don't think I will take it traveling, a folding bike makes more sense for the size of my trailer and tow vehicle.
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Old 08-26-2016, 08:15 PM   #171
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
Washington
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establishing a waterline

I am writing this posting to help the beginners know where to begin. It is not aimed at the already experienced and this is not the place to tell us how you do it, please let that happen in your own remodeling thread.
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Now I am ready to start building up a new interior and that starts with creating a reference line that is the same height all the way around the interior. On an airplane or boat this line is called a waterline. The reason I want to go through with some of these reference lines is I am going to put in blocking on the walls so I can insulate and panel them. Having insulation for cool weather is very nice. Having the blocking line up on the same parallel lines to edges of panels is really handy when it comes to installing things.

I could not find my level with a laser light so I just used my long straight edge ruler. It is sitting on top of a pair of milk crates because they are reliably square for the purpose and they were already in the Campster holding supplies. I can hold the straight edge out towards the walls making sure it is resting on two edges at the top of the crate then extend that long straight edge out to the wall and make a tick mark at that point. Gee, no fancy measuring equipment needed and it is not even using math to get that reference line put in!

Just remember they built incredible cathedrals in medieval times with very basic measuring equipment and while you are not building a cathedral you don't have to bust your budget to lay out reference lines that are accurate enough for this kind of project.

Now that I have a waterline to refer to I can glue in some horizontal blocking and know that it will be level on the left and the right sides as well as across the front and back walls. I just check the two ends of the board against the distance they are from that line and then glue the board in place. There is no way to accurately measure down the walls at those outside edges of the shell because out there there is not a plywood floor and also the bottom of the shell is not flat, it curves upwards at about a 10 degree slope relative to where the 4 foot wide plywood floor ends at each side and it also takes an upward slope at the front end of the trailer. So now anytime I want to verify a height for putting out on those walls I can also set up my milk crates and straight edge and use them as a reference point to check if things are level and square relative to the center of the floor.

I will be drawing an actual centerline down the length of the plywood floor as the next step. I need it to set my cabinet faces equal distance from each other along their length. In an airplane that reference line is called the "butt line".

Then I need one more reference line to get everything lined up. It is called a "station line" on an airplane and I will draw it crosswise at 90 degrees to the centerline. I have decided to place it right where the kitchen cabinets end and the bed begins. That position is where I have to begin building the cabinet framing because it is the location where the uprights to support the roof go. I can't put my pop top up onto the roof without those upright supports in place. So those upright supports, the piece on the floor and the piece on the ceiling are the first cabinet structure to go in.

So why all these reference lines? Because the shell is very wonky, often not very flat and can't be relied upon to use as an accurate reference for measurement. Plus of course it has slopes on the sides and curves at the corners and top and bottom. This way I get to ignore the variations in the wonky shell and have cabinets that are nice and square relative to each other. For the most part I am building my cabinets in place other than the face frame.

In your math classes at school you might remember the grid of axis called X,Y,Z. Waterlines, butt lines and station lines are that X,Y,Z reference which can be used to know exactly where you are in a 3 dimensional space such as the inside or outside of a 747. It is how the engineers describe every detail of an airplane on the engineering drawings used to assemble all of the components in exactly the right place within thousandths of an inch. So your trailer project interior layout has the same beginning roots as putting together other really amazing structures.
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Old 08-27-2016, 08:52 PM   #172
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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My supervisor Mr. F.O. Beans showed up today, he was not enthusiastic about the progress so he started yelling at me.

It is good that I have the aptitude for staying flexible on my to-do list.
I was going to put another coat of paint on the roof today, it was supposed to be 78 and sunny today but instead it was in the low 60s and cloudy and there was a pretty brisk wind as well. If I had painted today I would have ended up with a non skid roof from all the sand blowing around. Oh well the change in forecast shifted the day that rain is likely from Tuesday to Wednesday so no problem, I just did other stuff.

Plastic milk crates...my new Lego blocks that I was once again working with today. Two of them stacked up for a stool is the perfect height to sit on while wire brushing glue off the ceiling. You can't stand up because the ceiling is too low, a chair is not tall enough, but two crates...just right for preventing neck and shoulder strain and easy on the arms too as you don't lift them too high, a fairly natural feeling position to work in. One of them to sit on works great for working on the area of the wall for the bench seat support or for doing wiring work for tail lights and other electrical, and for hooking up plumbing. A stack of three milk crates with my straight edge across it was used to project over to the wall to mark a line on the wall for the countertop support blocking. Anyway I am mentioning using them because I am finding them very useful in the remodel work.

Because it had to get done before I could put in blocking I tackled getting the old contact cement off the walls and ceiling. I only removed it in areas where I really had to do so. That was 100% of the ceiling and any place I was going to adhere wood blocking to the walls. Removing that old glue is likely the most unpleasant job in the whole of the renovation project. I sure was looking forward to a shower at the end of it! Now crossed off my to do list

Then I was grinding some big resin blobs off the floor left there by the factory workers. I moved my hand sideways and touched the corner of the wheel well down close to the floor and felt something odd....oh no that area is coated with silicone I got out my razor blade scraper and started taking it off. Bad news, there is a big zig zag crack going up the corner of the wheel well almost 3 inches tall. From the look of it this was a situation where it came out of the factory that way, it does not look as if someone hit it and cracked it or a rock somehow did it. It is a very good thing I found it before I started putting in insulation. After a drive on a really wet highway I would have been scratching my head to figure out where the water on the floor was coming from.

Well at least the timing for fixing the crack is not all that bad as I was already planning to mix up epoxy tomorrow. Another batch of it won't be a big deal in that day's task list. Since the blocking work will take a couple of days to get done I will just add more layers of glass on the other days. Guess I was not done patching up the shell after all
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Old 08-28-2016, 07:18 PM   #173
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Do I ever end up following the plan I go to sleep with for what I am going to do the next day? Well...maybe...at least once in a while. But a lot of times my plans change from how much pain I have or what other people need from me or my just not feeling like doing some icky task I had set out to do that day. Today was one of those days but with a twist from mother nature.
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I had planned on putting another coat of white marine paint on the roof this morning. But then I saw my neighbor in the hallway my brain clicked and said find out if he has time right now to help me lift the pop-up onto the main roof. He did and he only had a few minutes time before he wanted to take off so we got right to it. Good thing we did as two minutes later it started raining. There was no prediction for rain today and the same kind of cloud cover was around yesterday and the day before without raining. I must have smelled the rain in the wind and even though not consciously aware of smelling it I then reacted instinctively without analyzing it. He is a new neighbor, nice guy, and was very easy to work with on the lifting. It went up there in just one minute smooth as could be

The same neighbor has decided he needs a daily dog walker since his two are complaining about going to work with him and they are keeping him from getting stuff done. That means my funds for getting the red paint sprayed on the sides of the trailer are now growing much more quickly. Maybe it won't be long before I am seeing RED!

Of course with that red canvas top installed the trailer immediately earned the obviously appropriate and affectionate nick name of "Caboose" given to it by my friend Don. It does resemble one which I don't mind in the least as I like old trains and like many have always fancied the idea of having a caboose for a cabin. I do have some model trains and I already make and sell cardstock Christmas village buildings for the tiny Z scale trains and the larger N scale trains. That work of making those building kits will sometimes be done in my Campster trailer. My plans for the interior are to make it versatile for use as a traveling live/work space.

Was it a conscious decision to have a trailer that looks a bit like a caboose? No, I was just matching my car color as the car and trailer have similar shapes. But it certainly is fun that it turned out that way and it works for marketing purposes as well. If I get the interior all finished by Christmas I will do a photo shoot with a Z scale train village on the counter and show the dinette area set up for designing, cutting and packaging the kits.

Did you miss the part where I said the roof is painted white? I did say you needed to wait and see what colors I was going to paint my trailer. Walking or driving by it you can't see the white on top.

The rest of the day was devoted to cleaning up previously made messes, putting away the materials and tools I was done with and sorting out the materials for the next phase. More possible rain coming up and I had to put on fleece today to keep warm while working for the first time in a couple of weeks.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:37 AM   #174
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Trailer: 1991 16' Casita
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The Campster looks fabulous KC, the thought of seeing it decked out for Christmas makes me smile. Your work continues to be impressive, thanks for sharing!!

Jonathan
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Old 09-01-2016, 05:24 PM   #175
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Time for a little tool talk section
As I begin working on the interior there are a few tools that I find very useful in such work. There has been recent discussion of how to get squared up in a space that has few square angles. It is not too bad of a task if you have some tools around to help you sort those issues out so I am going to share the ones I use with you.

For marking large sheet good panels such as plywood and ridged foam, vinyl flooring, carpet or even for marking fabric for seat cushions I get a lot of use out of a large adjustable Swanson T-square that was created for marking drywall. I have had it for a lot of years now and it is very sturdy and easy to work with as well as being very square which is important over a long linear length such as 48". The T top is easy to remove so you can then have a long straight edge ruler. The 90 degree position is indexed for accuracy. The T top can also be rotated to angles other than 90 and then locked in position with a clamping knob. I will be putting it to use today to mark out a centerline and 90 degree lines to it on the plywood subfloor in my Campster. Then I will use it to mark out the lines where my cabinet bases will sit. I have already shown using that long straight edge to mark out heights on the walls.

With fiberglass trailers you get sloped walls. Sometimes you do need to create blocking that is attached to the wall but then have one or more sides of that blocking sitting at 90 degrees vertical or 180/0 true horizontal. So then you have to know the angle of the wall to cut the blocking face that goes against the wall.
One method I use to find that angle is an app on my cell phone that tells me the angle of the surface I set it on. Then I just need to do some quick math of the difference between the floor and the wall. It does not matter if the trailer is not sitting level since it is the difference of the measured degrees that matters. Very handy! Not only is my trailer not square, where I park is not either I could level it up but tire inflation changes so it would be a constant task to keep it perfectly level. I don't have the patience for that

There are times when you might need to directly measure an angle between two surfaces with a bevel type of gauge so you can cut parts to that angle on your saws. For those situations I use a digital bevel gauge from Wixey, good quality and good resolution This is the heavy duty contractor version and this is an affordable option with clear plastic rulers on it. Both are handy, it depends on what use you will want out of it for the long term use of it in your own workshop as to which one you would want to purchase. For those of you who are struggling to build additional cabinets within your already existing interior this tool(s) will save you a lot of grief in setting up the cuts you need to make.

Another "tool" I use that is not officially a tool are Speed Brace Brackets from the Fast Cap Company. They are meant to be brackets to support shelving with heavy loads but they are actually pretty perfect for use as assembly jig helpers. Super sturdy, manufactured very accurately for being square and the inside corner is removed which allows you to drill into a 90 degree joint that you are holding together with this bracket. I use them to assemble cabinet framing and also to stand the face frame upright, in vertical position at 90 degrees to the floor. I have two pairs in two different sizes. They are not inexpensive but they sure do make a big difference in getting things assembled perfectly square. I do a lot of projects where I am not in a workshop with level spaces to work on or to clamp against so I invested in them and they have proved to be a good investment. I will be using them to clamp against square up the pieces I am assembling for my aluminum face frames as well as holding those face frames in position when I screw them in place. Working alone I need all the helpers I can get that are there when I want them instead of having to wait for someone to have time in their schedule to be that second pair of hands.

Do it yourself often means do it on your own
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Old 09-01-2016, 08:32 PM   #176
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Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Yesterday I saw a video of a Scamp that had a standard dual handle faucet. One handle was set up for city water, the other handle was used for the pump from the fresh water tank. Well that solves my water plumbing at the sink issues. I do not plan on having a water heater other than the stove top.

My friend Don gave me the old foot pump from the sailboat. It just needs a rebuild kit put into it to make it functional. That kit is about $12.00 at the supply store. If that does not suit me then I will put in a 12 volt pump.

Last year either the marine store in the building or one of the tenants put a brand new, unused, fresh water tank outside the bin for whoever wanted it. I grabbed it. Since I like drinking water filtered it will be big enough for my sink water supply or I could use it for the sink holding tank instead. I already have a Hevpo drain on hand.

I have 2 sinks I can choose from, one is the stainless sink that came with my Sunrader, the other is a nice deep but very narrow stainless bar sink I got from craigslist. I guess I need to make up my mind in the next couple of days which one to use so I can figure out what size my kitchen counter and cabinets will be. Of course the biggest thing driving that measurement is my head has to go up into the popup recess and then I need to still be able to see what I am doing down on the counter and stand at a comfortable distance from the counter. I will mock it up and start with a 22 inch deep counter and 35" high top and see how that works.
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Old 09-02-2016, 04:36 AM   #177
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closet details...

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Originally Posted by k corbin View Post
I use 6061-T6 aluminum angle, that is the type that is considered to be structural aluminum. I use aluminum pull rivets to put it together. Two at each intersection put on a diagonal. Because that type of angle has a rounded inside corner the piece that comes up to meet it on the inside of the angle needs to have the end rounded over to match that radius profile. By getting that end right up against the surface of the piece you are joining it to you increase the strength of the join since it can't rock sideways out of square as the movement is constrained. So rivets on the diagonal and a tight butt joint make for a strong structure that will remain square without a lot of extra diagonal bracing.

You can cut the angle to length with a power miter saw if you have a carbide blade in it. You will also need a metal file for smoothing off any burrs on the cut edges. But really it is only a few tools you need. The saw, a drill motor, a square, measuring tape, some clamps, a file and a rivet puller. Helps to have a disc sander too if you don't want to spend a lot of time hand filing to round over those edges

I pre-fabricate on a flat floor surface sections such as the front face of a cabinet run. Then using a square bracket as a brace I stand it up in place and measure and cut to length the pieces which go back towards the wall. I do it that way because the wall of the fiberglass RVs tend to be wavy with variations in the distance to the front face of the cabinet plus of course those walls are not square to the floor since they have to be fabricated at an angle to get the shell structure to release from the molds they are layed up in.

When I get started building cabinet frames I will create a photo tutorial with more photos of making the joins. But really it is very simple to do even for a beginner as long as you have the tools for it.

In the Sunrader i do have a closet for which I did some wood framing and added a drawer system. My drawers are food service tray pans which were designed to slide into tracks or be put into recesses for things such as salad bars. Here are some photos of that closet.


The runners are made from some PVC pieces that are for supporting PVC lattice fencing around the edges. They are mounted to upright 1 x 2 boards which are solidly glued to thin plywood sides. It is important that you have very good glue coverage between the 1 x 2 and the plywood. The uprights and plywood form a lightweight structure that is part of the class of structural types called "stress skin panel". A stress skin panel is actually quite strong for carrying a lot of weight, it will hold up to some flexing movement without fracturing apart. The individual pieces in this type of building system do not have to be large as by means of that complete surface adhesive bonding they share the load as one large unit. Monocoupe constructions such as an Airstream trailer or airplane incorporate the stress skin panel theories.

My closet walls were then attached to the floor and to the ceiling. There are three wood shelves, top, bottom and middle which control the distance of the sides to each other. You will see a small block of wood under each of the rails on those upright 1 x 2 boards. Those blocks keep the plastic drawer runners from rotating down under the weight of the contents of the drawers which is why I could get away with using that light weight plastic. They are essential to the project in terms of strength and longevity of use. So the drawers slide smoothly, they weigh very little and they don't rattle.

It looks a bit patchy on the inside because I had to splice one of the plywood sides not having a full piece long enough as I made that side out of 1/4" Baltic Birch which is only 5' long. Come to think of it the other side, the on the left in the photo below was only 1/8 thick plywood underlay since it was next to the shell of the fiberglass bathroom. The load is primarily carried by the 1 x 2 's not the plywood It is amazing how light weight you can build when you put the principals of stress skin panel construction to use Most people over build RV cabinets thinking that they have to be done like kitchen cabinets from a house. What you really need is a light weight structure than can take movement without falling apart.
This was a fantastic! design KC. Your skills are simply over the top brilliant!! Hope you know how much you're valued here!!
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Old 09-02-2016, 07:22 AM   #178
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KC, thanks for the link to the speed brace brackets, very handy product!
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Old 09-03-2016, 12:14 AM   #179
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Trailer: 1975 Ventura
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reost #132
"I did go out and buy spray can versions of the primer for the second coat of primer." I like the idea of a spray primer. What brand did you choose?
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:33 PM   #180
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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reost #132
"I did go out and buy spray can versions of the primer for the second coat of primer." I like the idea of a spray primer. What brand did you choose?
As I was not totally satisfied with any of the primers I used I will take a pass on stating what I used.
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Old 09-07-2016, 01:17 PM   #181
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Name: K C
Trailer: 1980 18' Sunrader Motorhome and 1971 Trails West CampMite Campster
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Sourcing finish materials that are no longer in popular use can take a while.

I was after some 1/8" thick, cabinet grade, birch faced, plywood. That was a traditional wall paneling material for some of the vintage trailers. My trailer is vintage but of course being fiberglass and because the manufacturer wanted a product produced to sell at a lower cost there was no insulation and the original wall finish was indoor outdoor carpet.

As part of my renovation I wanted to add some insulation to the walls so I am putting in blocking and decided a light colored wood paneling, meaning birch, would be a warm but light colored and Northwest cabin cozy looking, finish that I would be happy to live with. The vintage look being very popular it is a good choice for resale value. We could go for Jonathan's Woolrich look if I wanted to push in that design direction and it would go with the black and red exterior colors

My neighborhood lumber yard had 1/8 birch but it is not cabinet grade. Still it will do for the lower wall areas that are hidden inside of the cabinets so I will use it for that. I checked with other lumber yards in the area and they don't carry it either. The lumberyard in the area that is a chain and is a big facility only has 1/8" Birch cabinet grade plywood available in door skins but that drives up the cost per square foot versus buying 4 x 8 sheets. They referred me to an even larger supplier of plywood but they don't carry that 4' x 8' cabinet grade. However they referred me to yet another lumber yard who specializes in carrying interior finish grades of plywood and they do stock it! Everyone I met on this journey of talking to sales people were kind and willing to be helpful even if where they sent me did not work out.

So despite Seattle being a large metropolitan area with lots of lumber yards and specialty wood suppliers I found only one source for the thin birch plywood and they are Midway Plywood in Lynnwood, WA. Call ahead to be sure they have it in stock, if not it is only a two day wait.

Lynnwood is one of the small cities to the north of Seattle that is part of the cluster of towns that creates the very large metropolitan area. It will take me a while to get there through city traffic and use up a few gallons of gas. Oh well at least I can get the material and they did offer to give me a discount on the regular price, not enough to pay for gas but enough to buy a hamburger on the way

Now that I know the size of sheets I will be dealing with (4' x 8' versus Baltic birch 5' x 5' sheets) I can finish the job of putting in the blocking to secure it. I had to know where I was going to have plywood seams before I could finish the blocking and add the insulation between the blocking. I wanted to minimize the seams which is why I went on the hunt for 8' long material.
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Old 09-07-2016, 09:56 PM   #182
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Trailer: 1975 Ventura
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This is an interesting post. I did not know there was a finer grade of birch ply, other than Baltic. I too am using 1/8 birch for the walls of my trailer but am using the regular grade. Even that, though, has been very hard to find here.
I have all my panels cut and tacked up temporarily to get a sense of how it will feel. I like the result so far. I am not using any stain, just non-yellowing polyurethane. probably satin rather than finish with a shine to it.
Is the grain finer on the cabinet grade or is it that the construction is better?
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