Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Anything to do with mechanical, construction etc

Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Martinjmpr » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:15 pm

First off, I realize there are a number of discussions on this topic, and I have read through several of them. What I'm trying to do now is wrap my head around the various skinning methods to try and come up with what will work for us.

In the most recent post in my build thread (link in my signature) I showed the cracking that we are getting on the roof of our all-wood homebuilt TD "Bubbles." The guy who built it (who is an amazing woodworker, no doubt) had never built an RV before and never built anything that was supposed to be outside, which I think is the core of the problem. Here's what I'm talking about:

Image

Image

Image

The guy who built it told us he used 1/4" (I think) marine-grade plywood. Last July, Liz and I painstakingly sanded and stripped the wood down, then put a water sealer on it, then put a layer of Marine Spar varnish on it, and then another layer after that. But as you can see (photos taken last weekend) the splitting continues.

As much as we love our all-wood look of Bubbles, I think we have to face the fact that the roof is a problem. Now, the sides, which are made up of about 3/4" plywood, are fine. No issues at all with the sides.

So I think we need to explore doing something to re-skin the roof. Now I have to say, neither one of us is particularly "handy."

I can work basic tools and the like, but I'm nowhere near the craftsman that a lot of folks on this board are! :bowdown:

So what I am looking for are some skinning solutions that are relatively cost effective and also possible for the wife and I to do in our garage.

Note that I am only talking about re-skinning the roof. The sides will be sanded and re-stained and then re-varnished. So far that has held up well and we like the woody look of the sides.

So what difficulties am I looking at trying to re-skin the top without (presumably) having to dismantle the entire trailer body (which isn't really an option as it's glued/resined/epoxied together)? I certainly expect to remove the hatch - we are putting in a hurricane hinge anyway, and I would like to re-skin at the same time (as we will have Bubbles in our garage during this process anyway.)

I think it goes without saying that whatever we do to skin the roof, we want to do it right the first time, and we'd be wanting something that won't require a lot of periodic maintenance.

So here are my questions, in no particular order:

1. Seems my options would be: Filling and painting the existing surface. Apparently there's some kind of epoxy-type paint that might fill in the cracks and be relatively impervious to moisture?

2. Canvas and paint. I saw a thread on this and it looked interesting.

3. Fiberglass. I guess we would put fiberglass matting on the outside and then put epoxy/resin over the top. I presume there are books/web sites/videos I could see of this process? On a scale of 1-10 how difficult is this process? What are the pitfalls I should be aware of?

4. Aluminum: What kind of aluminum and where do I get it? What kind of glue/resin holds it onto the roof? And how do we allow for expansion/contraction?

5. Someone suggested marine grade vinyl? Again, I have no idea where to get this, what thickness, how to attach it, etc. Any ideas?

Thanks in avance. :thumbsup:

If I've missed any threads on this (probably have) then if you could post up the links we could do our own research!
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

Our Facebook group:
Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
User avatar
Martinjmpr
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:40 pm
Location: Englewood, CO

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Martinjmpr » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:17 pm

Just want to add that it seems like filling and painting would the the easiest way to go. But I don't want something that's going to look like crap after it's been exposed to weather. How well does paint hold up?
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

Our Facebook group:
Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
User avatar
Martinjmpr
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:40 pm
Location: Englewood, CO

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby TPMcGinty » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:13 pm

I had to redo my Tear due to water damage. I decided to use fiberglass epoxy but instead of using fiberglass cloth, I decided to use a cloth with a camo pattern.

Image
Tim

Image
User avatar
TPMcGinty
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 1558
Images: 146
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:16 pm
Location: Saint Michael, MN
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Martinjmpr » Tue Apr 02, 2013 4:38 pm

TPMcGinty wrote:I had to redo my Tear due to water damage. I decided to use fiberglass epoxy but instead of using fiberglass cloth, I decided to use a cloth with a camo pattern.

Image


Looks good! How well has it held up?
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

Our Facebook group:
Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
User avatar
Martinjmpr
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:40 pm
Location: Englewood, CO
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Greg M » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:57 pm

I laid down a layer of laminate floor underlayment, glued in place with spray glue, and then marine grade vinyl. The vinyl was stapled at the edges with stainless staples, and then RV type insert corner moulding covered the staples. I got the vinyl online, but you can also get it at auto upholstery shops.

-Greg
Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
User avatar
Greg M
*Geek Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 1092
Images: 85
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 12:40 am
Location: Victoria, BC, Canada
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Fishingtomatoseed » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:11 pm

We have the same 1/4" exterior grade plywood for the sides and top. The top we covered in abs plastic sheets. Which I would advise not to do because of the expansion and contraction that it does. The plastic shrunk so much this winter that it busted all the caulk seams. The side we painted with the rust-o-leum marine top side paint. The wood is also checking like yours is. Our plan when we can will either be to put aluminum on the sides and roof, or just the roof and do fiberglass on the sides.

If you want to keep the woody look I would do the fiberglass and epoxy. I am hoping when we do ours that the epoxy will keep the wood from cracking. From what I understand from reading that the wood cracking is because of moisture getting into the wood. Might do the whole trailer in cpes with epoxy and glass to protect the trailer. Hopefully others will chime in and give the pro's and con's of this. Because I would like to know too.
User avatar
Fishingtomatoseed
Donating Member
 
Posts: 261
Images: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: North Texas
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Roo Dog » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:48 pm

Martin,

Ours is a pretty much a standard Teardrop made out of ply but we clad it with steel.

Search under Roo Dog and you will find some pictures.

We use a nibbler to cut the steel.

Not for everybody but it is another option.

Take it easy.

RD
Lets do a three sixty and get out of here !
User avatar
Roo Dog
Silver Donating Member
 
Posts: 461
Images: 0
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:12 pm
Location: Esperance Western Australia
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby TPMcGinty » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:03 am

Martinjmpr wrote:Looks good! How well has it held up?


So far so good. Last year was the first year I used it since the repair. I had to put three coats of marine varnish over the epoxy for UV protection. I also store the Tear in my garage. I wish I had used the epoxy to seal from the beginning. I would have loved to keep the woody look. I put the camo cloth on to hide the visible water damage.
Tim

Image
User avatar
TPMcGinty
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 1558
Images: 146
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:16 pm
Location: Saint Michael, MN
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby markhusbands » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:30 pm

Do you think there would be a problem getting new adhesives to take to the existing, fairly-slick-looking, finished surface?

Might be an argument for the floated aluminum skin and molding. A lot of your other ideas involve new adhesive of on kind or another...
133923
User avatar
markhusbands
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 285
Images: 58
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:17 pm
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby TPMcGinty » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:53 am

markhusbands wrote:Do you think there would be a problem getting new adhesives to take to the existing, fairly-slick-looking, finished surface?

Might be an argument for the floated aluminum skin and molding. A lot of your other ideas involve new adhesive of on kind or another...


You have to sand the surface down with a medium grit sand paper to give epoxy something to get a hold of, but I didn't have a problem with it gripping my exterior. In fact if you let a coat of epoxy completely dry, you have to sand before you put the next coat down. I made sure mine wasn't completely dry between coats when I got a chance.
Tim

Image
User avatar
TPMcGinty
Gold Donating Member
 
Posts: 1558
Images: 146
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:16 pm
Location: Saint Michael, MN
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Martinjmpr » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:55 am

markhusbands wrote:Do you think there would be a problem getting new adhesives to take to the existing, fairly-slick-looking, finished surface?

Might be an argument for the floated aluminum skin and molding. A lot of your other ideas involve new adhesive of on kind or another...


Sanding and refinishing are defintely in the works, in fact, I'll probably get a portable belt sander for just that purpose.

My thought about 'glassing is that if we sand it down and then 'glass it, we shouldn't have to sand the wood down again, which would be nice, even if we would have to re-apply some epoxy or varnish to the exterior.
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

Our Facebook group:
Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
User avatar
Martinjmpr
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:40 pm
Location: Englewood, CO
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby KCStudly » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:35 pm

You may find a belt sander to be too agressive (I always seem to have trouble with them digging in on the edges at some point or an other during the process).

A random orbit palm sander would be my preferred tool. :thumbsup:
KC
My Build: The Poet Creek Express Hybrid Foamie

Poet Creek Or Bust
Engineering the TLAR way - "That Looks About Right"
TnTTT ORIGINAL 200A LANTERN CLUB = "The 200A Gang"
Green Lantern Corpsmen
User avatar
KCStudly
Donating Member
 
Posts: 9287
Images: 8119
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 10:18 pm
Location: Southeastern CT, USA
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby markhusbands » Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:41 pm

I hate sanding.
133923
User avatar
markhusbands
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 285
Images: 58
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:17 pm
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Martinjmpr » Thu Apr 04, 2013 4:57 pm

KCStudly wrote:You may find a belt sander to be too agressive (I always seem to have trouble with them digging in on the edges at some point or an other during the process).

A random orbit palm sander would be my preferred tool. :thumbsup:


An orbit sander is going to sand against the grain, though. Going back to 7th grade shop class I always thought that was a big no-no. :thinking:
Martin and Liz and our new T@B Clamshell "Livia"

Our old Teardrop "bubbles"
Bubbles version 2.0 build thread!

Our Facebook group:
Colorado Teardroppers and Tiny Trailers Camping Group (FB)

States we've visited with Bubbles and Livia: Image
User avatar
Martinjmpr
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 175
Joined: Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:40 pm
Location: Englewood, CO
Top

Re: Re-skinning an already built wooden TD....

Postby Fishingtomatoseed » Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:56 pm

With a random sander should not leave any marks. It will leave some on the coarser grit paper. But when you go back over it with the finer paper it will take those out. I would start with about a 60 grit and finish up with 150-220 grit. Just my 2 cents.
User avatar
Fishingtomatoseed
Donating Member
 
Posts: 261
Images: 9
Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:47 pm
Location: North Texas
Top

Next

Return to Teardrop Construction Tips & Techniques

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests