Starting my new woodwork. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-07-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
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Starting my new woodwork.

So I have started actual construction of my new woodwork after weeks of design, planning and materials/tool shopping.

Here is a image from a 3D design application (Maya) of the all the pieces laid out in places. The bulk of the woodwork will be in the front, this is looking from the left of the trailer.



There will be:

2 rear shelves between the over bed cabinet and the closet/kitchen top cabinet.

3 shelves in the left front "seat" area and the "seat" will be sort of a shelf itself, so I store things under it easily. The lower of the top 3 will also match up with the kitchen counter to extend that counter space.

2 pieces front a rear to make space for passing wiring and plumbing easy. The front center/floor piece will also get a shower quick connect and hot/cold knobs for my shower.

A "seat" with a hatch for the porta potty. It's shown in the image opened.

Then lastly a table top, that will also fit between the two seat so in theory with some reconfiguration I could still use that area as a bed. But also will give me a place to sit at a table without converting the rear bed. We shall see how using that front space for storage, shower, toilet AND office will work out!
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:32 PM   #2
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So here is the first bit I'm building, the rear right shelf. Seemed like a simple piece to start with. No curved back like the front shelves and seat will need (those curves are not shown in the design and will be hand shaped per part. That will not be fast)


About to glue on the other side and clamp it. I did use clamps when doing this side, but I took them off after it set some and I was ready to put the second side on. Then clamped it between two flat and sturdy boards.




Here you can see the main shelf body assembled and I'm sanding down the sides so the molding edge will fit flush. I'm very pleased at how strong and light the shelf is!!! Feels like balsa or dense foam when you pick it up, but it's hard like a hard wood! (birch plywood and molding, poplar framing)




First molding in place and sanded pretty smooth, I'll need a little filler, but it's not too bad. Hopefully I'll get my technique down better and the other shelves, woodworking will be more precise.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:35 PM   #3
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Anyone know about coating woodwork with epoxy resin? Or other methods to get a gel coat like finish? Or at least kind of smooth and glossy so at a glance it will match the fiberglass interior parts?

Can I just use acetone to thin the resin, not use too much hardener so I have plenty of working time and then just use a paint roller to get a somewhat even finish? Sand the heck out of it when hard/dry? Then have a painter spray it with gloss white enamel?
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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Don't mess around with epoxy, it is not needed.
You can do this job yourself, no need to hire it out.

Use a high build automotive spray primer, you can get it in white. Any small flaws can be evened out with spot putty. Sand between primer coats until you get that smooth finish you desire. Then top with several coats of automotive white gloss enamel spray paint. I like the DupliColor Brand of automotive paints.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:28 PM   #5
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Use the correct ratio of resin to hardener. It won't harden at all if you deviate from the mfr recommended ratio. Do not thin the resin with acetone or anything else for that matter. If you want it thinner to flow better just heat it up to 80 or 90 degrees F. If you want longer open time use a slower hardener or mix smaller batches more frequently.

WEST System has great tech resources on the web. They are the experts, their advice applies no matter what brand you use.

One coat of epoxy, sand thoroughly with 80 grit, another coat, sand with 120, two costs of paint will give a very smooth surface (like gel coat)
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kathikutie View Post
Don't mess around with epoxy, it is not needed.
You can do this job yourself, no need to hire it out.

Use a high build automotive spray primer, you can get it in white. Any small flaws can be evened out with spot putty. Sand between primer coats until you get that smooth finish you desire. Then top with several coats of automotive white gloss enamel spray paint. I like the DupliColor Brand of automotive paints.
Are you suggesting spray cans? Or can you use brushes, rollers on that stuff. Some flex will be needed, I don't want to spend hours and hours getting an awesome gloss finish with a lot of built up material and then have it crack the first time some weight gets placed on it or bumping around while being towed.

I do not mind paying someone with spray booth. I have TONS of stuff to get done on this project. I have no problem outsourcing. That said, I was expecting to do the priming and initial sanding myself.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MCDenny View Post
Use the correct ratio of resin to hardener. It won't harden at all if you deviate from the mfr recommended ratio. Do not thin the resin with acetone or anything else for that matter. If you want it thinner to flow better just heat it up to 80 or 90 degrees F. If you want longer open time use a slower hardener or mix smaller batches more frequently.

WEST System has great tech resources on the web. They are the experts, their advice applies no matter what brand you use.

One coat of epoxy, sand thoroughly with 80 grit, another coat, sand with 120, two costs of paint will give a very smooth surface (like gel coat)
Good info. I have experimented with the Bondo resin. Seems the first batch was solid in about 5 minutes as I was just starting to apply it. So tried much less hardener, took more like 30 minutes to completely harden, which worked great. But I hope I didn't loose strength doing that.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by dylanear

Good info. I have experimented with the Bondo resin. Seems the first batch was solid in about 5 minutes as I was just starting to apply it. So tried much less hardener, took more like 30 minutes to completely harden, which worked great. But I hope I didn't loose strength doing that.
That's because Bondo is not epoxy. It is polyester, a completely different chemistry. Polyester has a strong styrene smell and is catalyzed with a very small amount of hardener. Consumer epoxies have very little smell and range from 2:1 to 5:1 resin:hardener ratios.

I don't know if the Bondo strength was compromised by the reduced amount of hardener. I use lots of epoxy building wooden boats and know most epoxy cure problems come from getting the mix ratio wrong.
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:33 AM   #9
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Personally, I can't see using either epoxy (ain't sanding that stuff, folks) or polyester resin as an interior finish. You're not crossing the seams of those torsion boxes (doors, lids) with glass mat, so why do you need the resin? Spray with a rattle can and you're done. Constructing "for the ages" is a beginner's preoccupation. I like the lghtwgt. torsion boxes (for lightwgt) but not for some mythic, cutting edge tech-iness which they don't have no matter they were modeled in a computer design program.

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Old 07-08-2012, 11:38 AM   #10
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Personally, I can't see using either epoxy (ain't sanding that stuff, folks) or polyester resin as an interior finish. You're not crossing the seams of those torsion boxes (doors, lids) with glass mat, so why do you need the resin? Spray with a rattle can and you're done. Constructing "for the ages" is a beginner's preoccupation. I like the lghtwgt. torsion boxes (for lightwgt) but not for some mythic, cutting edge tech-iness which they don't have no matter they were modeled in a computer design program.

jack
I think Dylan suggested it because he wants to match the gel coat as closely as possible, so the thought was to use resin to coat the parts and make them as smooth as he can before paint.
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:01 PM   #11
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John, given the half-round molding, I can see how Dylan might be anticipating a molded look. Whether he'll get and keep that look with resin bridging glue lines in wood isn't really open to question. He'll get expansion and contraction and print-thru in gluelines no matter the finish. imho, the finish can be as cheap and expedient as possible and yield results equal to those of catalyzed resins.

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Old 07-08-2012, 09:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
Spray with a rattle can and you're done. Constructing "for the ages" is a beginner's preoccupation. I like the lghtwgt. torsion boxes (for lightwgt) but not for some mythic, cutting edge tech-iness which they don't have no matter they were modeled in a computer design program.
jack
Any proposed "mythic, cutting edge tech-iness" is in your imagination, not any claims I've made. I simply know that design program already and laying it out in there was much easier to me than trying to making tons of paper plans.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rabbit View Post
John, given the half-round molding, I can see how Dylan might be anticipating a molded look. Whether he'll get and keep that look with resin bridging glue lines in wood isn't really open to question. He'll get expansion and contraction and print-thru in gluelines no matter the finish. imho, the finish can be as cheap and expedient as possible and yield results equal to those of catalyzed resins.

jack
Yes, I'm just trying to get as good a match to the look of the fiberglass gel coated pieces as possible and hopefully a nice seal for moisture. I'll be painting the back sides of the seats and such as well for durability.

Just hoping to get advise on the most durable, glossy, even finish that I can practically expect. It's an experiment, I don't expect perfection. Hoping for "looks really cool" at a glance, no huge seams or cracks.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:39 PM   #14
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That's because Bondo is not epoxy. It is polyester, a completely different chemistry. Polyester has a strong styrene smell and is catalyzed with a very small amount of hardener. Consumer epoxies have very little smell and range from 2:1 to 5:1 resin:hardener ratios.

I don't know if the Bondo strength was compromised by the reduced amount of hardener. I use lots of epoxy building wooden boats and know most epoxy cure problems come from getting the mix ratio wrong.
This is not the Bondo putty most people consider "Bondo" It's a resin for fiberglass repair. Not sure what it's made of, perhaps it is polyester based. It is a bit stinky, not sure I'd associate it with a styrene smell. But it was the tiny amounts of hardener, so it may share a polyester chemistry with it's famous putty sibling.

Perhaps I'll try a some on a small bit of wood and see what kind of finish I can get.
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