A canned ham camper fit for a king

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A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby Mr. Lahey » Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:20 am

It's a little over 30 days since completing my first teardrop camper build. Here I am jumping right back into the fire. I am going to build a standie canned ham camper to fit a king size bed. Cindy and I both really appreciate the luxury of a big bed. So the king bed size is the center point of this build. We also want the convenience of a commode, and a small dinette area as well. We also want an area that we could stand up in as well. So those four main features are what I've been designing the camper to accommodate.

Another big inspiration for this build was how well a salvage or junk pop up camper can be used for this size build. A salvage pop up would bring incredible economy toward filling the parts/materials list required for the this build. As I look at the donor pop up I can just hear the money saving cash register in my head. Pro built 4" C channel frame, Dexter torsion axle, spare tire and wheel, complete propane system, propane furnace and thermostat, indoor/outdoor 2 burner propane stove, 110v/12v RV power center with extra HD cord and plug, hinges, hardware, locking drawer latches, entry door lock etc. etc. and more. I paid $125.00 for a mouse and mildew ruined pop up camper that contained all those salvageable parts. I know what I paid for all those things brand new when I built the teardrop. The cost savings is astronomical in comparison. I sure like that!

So I now have 3.5 sheets of 1/4" OSB board screwed to my inside garage wall. I've been drawing out a full size template for the camper walls. It's also being used to plot locations of all other components in the build. What I have come up with is a 14' long, 7' wide, and 78" tall from the bottom of frame to roof top. I am limited to that height so I can get the body and frame out of my garage when completed. In order to build indoors I will need to remove the wheels and tires, and take out the trailer axle. The frame will have to lay flat on the garage floor. When completed I will drag it out of the garage with my truck. Then jack it up and put the axle and tires under it. From then on it will live outside. Won't clear the garage door to go back in.

I got lucky with the donor camper. It had a factory front cargo trunk to the camper body so I've got a 12' long frame to work with. Which will work out perfect for what I have planned out. Here are a couple pics of the donor and a shot of the early stage of the profile board. I have not cut the profile out all the way yet. Have some final measurements to take first. However there is enough cut out to give a good idea of the general shape I will use.

Meanwhile I plan to have many fun trips camping with the teardrop while this build is underway.
Attachments
plata.jpg
Profile in progress
plata.jpg (87.99 KiB) Viewed 648 times
jay4.jpg
Removing mildew and mouse damaged tent and cushions
jay4.jpg (127.99 KiB) Viewed 648 times
jay1.jpg
donor camper
jay1.jpg (132.68 KiB) Viewed 648 times
Last edited by Mr. Lahey on Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
My teardrop camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=64721
My canned ham camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73010
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby aggie79 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:06 am

That is quite a score on the ratted out pop-up! I look forward to your build.

Much to the chagrin of my wife, I would like to either build a small standy or convert a travel trailer. I've been leaning toward the the former. Getting an old pop-up for a base is a great idea. Besides the parts, you have a frame that already has licensing/certification.

Take care,
Tom
Tom (& Linda)
For more on our Silver Beatle teardrop:
Build Thread

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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby OP827 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:42 am

I also built from a popup frame. Subscribed!
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby hossesdad » Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:17 pm

Go hard! I am a fan of standies with internal toilet and internal kitchen. My wife wouldn’t be happy without a commode, no argument would win her over, and it’s hard to see how we could do four days skiing from a teardrop with an outside kitchen, whereas we enjoy skiing from our standie. I am going to take my standee to a weighbridge and I’ll post the figure on my build journal...it’s not as much as some teardrops, I would guess. Good luck. I like the pop top. :thumbsup:
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby rjgimp » Fri Aug 28, 2020 1:08 am

THIS is the project I've been looking for!!!! I will be watching this space for updates with great eagerness. I have a ruined late 60s Steury popup I inherited from my folks which I plan to strip for a foamy build. My frame is 14x7 with surge brakes.

Carry on, Mr. Lahey. Carry on! :twisted:
-Rob


I hope to make it to a Procrastinators Anonymous meeting someday...
just as soon as the steering committee gets around to scheduling one!
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby Mr. Lahey » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:03 am

Thank you for the encouragement everyone! It helps to keep me pumped up for the project.

Here are some broad stokes on how I am going to go about this build. I truly learned a lot from build #1, my current teardrop. I really got a feel for how strong a unibody type structure becomes when completed. Right away I knew I built the tear with too heavy materials. Solid 3/4 ply wall, with 1" board insulation, and 3mm birch inner wall. As I have seen stated here I was thinking tank instead of aircraft. So I have a heavy duty teardrop I really enjoy. No big deal. However this build is going to be thinking aircraft. I want low weight and high strength.

Other lesson learned from build #1 was I violated the KISS principle in every way possible. Example is the cabinet doors I chose to make filled a look I wanted. They were incredible time sinks with all the fit and finish work required. Never again. I had other multiple tricky little details in that build as well. They look great. Function well. Yet took forever to build. Building a Taj Mahal when a fishing cabin is all I need, really added to my total elapsed build time. I want to cut my build time to a minimum this time.

Here is what I have in mind for my walls for the canned ham. I plan to build the walls flat on a bench using kind of a reverse built up wall technique. The core of the wall will be 5mm birch ply. A grade side of ply facing in. Here is where it gets weird. I have 1/2" thick x 3 1/2" wide cedar fence pickets. These will be used glued and stapled to the plywood broad face down. The pickets will form the frame work of the wall. The cedar frame and birch ply face will be exposed to the inside of the camper. They will be polyurethane finished. No insulation on the inside walls.

I realize that is really light weight and flimsy appearing construction. Until you tie that all into the rest of the camper body and fixtures. I will be glue & nailing the upright wall frame work to a floor plate. Then 20 inches up the wall for the bed frame that extends for more than half the camper. Then up to the wall cabinets and spars for more wall frame attach points.. That means the cedar frame work will only have very very short unsupported spans. As thin as that frame and wall will be I doubt I have any flex or shimmy to the walls because of the small open spans in the framing.

Next twist to the build is I intend to insulate the body on the outside when completed. The entire body will be covered in 1/2" polystyrene insulation board. In essence I will have a foamie camper exterior walls and roof. I will then PMF over the foam for my final exterior skin.

I think this path will meet the aircraft and KISS concepts as best I can. It will be strong, light, simple, and good looking. I can't wait to try it out. I truly look forward to hearing others thoughts on these concepts.
My teardrop camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=64721
My canned ham camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73010
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby OP827 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:07 am

Here are my thoughts. 5 mm thick ply seems too heavy for this purpose. 3mm Baltic birch ply should be more than enough for internal wall surface if you will completely glue the polyester foam insulation on outside. 3-1/2 inch deep framing could be probably excessive as well, but depends on the distance between the studs. I personally prefer glued sandwich walls as they provide maximum rigidity, but exposed studs are visible and can provide support for other internal structures ... I also did all my walls on a flat surface and then assembled.
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby Mr. Lahey » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:17 am

OP8- Thanks for your input. If anyone has experience in making unconventional build techniques turn out fabulous it's you! Your camper is a knock out!! :shock:

What I would like to clarify with you is the cedar picket framing. It won't be applied to panel as 31/2" deep by 1/2" wide direction. Rather it will be applied flat to the panels. As in 1/2" deep by 31/2" wide. The 3 1/2 surface is what will be glued to panels.

With frame oriented in that direction. Do you think the 3mm plywood is workable? Yes the foam panels will be glued to the outside surface of the walls too.
I thought 3mm might be possible but afraid it was to thin. Trying hard to keep from thinking tank over here... :thinking:
My teardrop camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=64721
My canned ham camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73010
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby OP827 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:32 am

Is there a specific reason you want the studs exposed to inside vs having one inch insulation and hide the stud wood in the wall? I would rip the studs to be 1.5 inch wide or enough for screws to hold something. Just to keep it aircraft, not a tank. Studs are really needed only as hard attachment points.
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby OP827 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:36 am

And yes, 3mm quality ply, (not lauan with paper dust inside), is adequate.
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby Mr. Lahey » Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:05 pm

I mocked up a couple quick cross sections of the wall structures being discussed.

Top photo is 1/2" green foam, 5mm plywood, 1/2" Cedar framing.

Bottom blurry photo is same layers with 3mm plywood instead of 5mm. The dark stripe in photo is the 3mm plywood edge.

Just in this quick mock up I am intrigued by the use of the 3mm. It appears it may indeed provide the required strength with a significant weight savings.

More to mull over. Which is what this early stage of the build is all about. :thinking:


sect.jpg
5mm ply in sandwich
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sect1.jpg
3mm ply in sandwich
sect1.jpg (44.62 KiB) Viewed 458 times


The reason I planned to use the cedar at 3.5" width was to add stiffness to the wall since I am not using the material on edge. The cedar is super light weight compared to pine, and also not as strong either. I was going with the interior exposed frame simply to not add another sheet of material to the wall sandwich. I also want a natural birch finish to the walls. Nothing else has that glow and feel.

One thing is the difference in face veneer of the 3mm and 5mm plywood sheets. These are sold as underlayment in 4x8 sheets at the big orange box store. I have seen this material come in many varieties of grain pattern. Dependent on what the current batch they are selling is made from. It varies from the highly figured and golden color varied look I want, to a bland pasty white with bland grain pattern, to a horrid pinkish color devoid of all grain. It all depends on what tree they chopped down in China when they produce the next batch. It can take a while till the veneer I want appears in a new batch.

The 3mm is only sold at certain stores. The 5mm is sold at most of them. I found the 5mm in the veneer I want and bought it. It's racked in my storage garage already.
This weekend I will be right by a branch that sells the 3mm. If it's in the grain I want I will by that too and rack it. I have no shame in returning unused material to these places. I purchase too much because I know how it works with the batch dependent veneers. I got caught short building the teardrop. Had to drive to 3 different stores to find some of the batch I had to complete the section.
My teardrop camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=64721
My canned ham camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73010
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby OP827 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 2:19 pm

First I bought lauan ply with mahogany veneer, then returned it and got Baltic birch 5x5 ply from wood supply store in my area. I do not trust other than Baltic birch plywood, except marine plywood which I never used though. I don't know what glue is used in big store plywood that has nice veneer, it could be for indoor only. I tested Baltic birch plywood in water and it does not delaminate like a generic plywood may. How far apart do you place the cedar sticks?
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby OP827 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 3:42 pm

With the wall structure you are considering, the plywood thickness plays a secondary role to support a short span between studs, while studs stiffness together with wall thickness determine overall panel stiffness, which will be less than say one inch sandwich wall with plywood skin inside and pmf outside. Plywood as being located roughly in the middle of the structure cross section will not add much stiffness in this case. It's difficult to describe in a short message here why this is not an optimal wall structure to achieve maximum rigidity, but it may still work fine depending on overall dimensions and internal supports from furniture inside etc. The trailer is a shell and all parts once connected will structurally work together.
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby Mr. Lahey » Fri Aug 28, 2020 5:00 pm

Well I think I've kind of reached a decision on the wall structure. Partly from what's been discussed. Partly from what I know of how many attachment points the wall framing will have to solid structures inside etc. I'm going to leave some of this up to fate too.

If the 3mm plywood is the veneer I want, I am going to buy it and do the walls with it. At the same time If I do the 3mm I will bump up the exterior foam to 3/4" from 1/2".

Should the 3mm not be the right veneer I will simply wait it out. Then hope the next load comes in as what I want. It's at least 60-90 days before I can even start to put a tool to any of this.

If that fails I will stick with the 5mm I already have, and the 1/2" foam and proceed. It's a weight difference of pounds not tons. I will still be quite fine as far as total weight.

Because I am a man of action too, I need to post a favorite cartoon re: analysis paralysis. :lol:

action.gif
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My teardrop camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=64721
My canned ham camper build journal: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=73010
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Re: A canned ham camper fit for a king

Postby hossesdad » Sun Aug 30, 2020 10:15 pm

Mr Lahey,

The phrase “time sinks” that you used is close to my heart. I have in mind a delectable camper with a full complement of built in drawers and cupboards and flooring and waxed walls and some rabbit wallpaper over my daughters bunk,and we will have that one day but in the meantime we have fish bins, bare wood and storage bins and nearly EIGHT WEEKS of fun living in it behind us. Go hard, but go quick. I think trim is something that can wait, in most cases.

My walls, 6’6” high and nearly twelve feet long, are two inch foam with 4mm ply inside and 1/32” aluminium outside and we have been in a 50 mph storm on the beach, and I would build them lighter happily, the van will blow away long before it blows apart ( though that isn’t as reassuring as it sounded when I first said it :o ) . That’s said to encourage you, not derail you, your plan seems sound. It is amazing how strong light materials can be when glued or properly fixed together.
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