Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Sun Feb 22, 2015 3:04 pm

Getting ready to do the hatch.

I glued a 2" wide strip of muslin to what will be the edge that mates to the hatch. I'll cut and fold the edges of the side canvas to go around the curved part. I'll have to cut slits in the canvas to fold over the curved edges and this way any gaps in the canvas won't expose bare foam.

I kerfed the rounded section of the hatch on the table saw. The kerfs are 1 1/2" deep in the 2" foam. A few less kerfs probably would have been perfect. As it is, there is a small gap at each kerf. The hinge end got a 2" x 1 1/4" wood strip glued to it to mount the hinge. The front edge and the mating fixed part has a 10 degree angle cut into to it the shed water. The fixed part is an about 20" wall, the top of which will be about 39" off the ground. I plan to have a fold down table top that will rest on that edge.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Mary C » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:50 pm

You are doing great! I am the nosey one on here and I am always interested in where people live. I am not being nosey but it always helps when questions are asked where to get stuff and also when large campouts are in the making. also if one of us is in the area we can stop and say Hi. I am working on mine too and getting the final things done befor I make my trip home. That is a nice hatch curve.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:56 pm

Thanks for the kind comments. I'm up in frigid Fond du Lac, WI. It was 11 below zero last night. I drag the trailer inside to work on it but it has to live in an unheated garage so things are going slower than I'd like.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:48 pm

I got back to work on the trailer. I pre-covered the inside of the roof with canvas. I don't how else you could do it! I don't know if it was necessary but I trimmed off the canvas along the edges before the glue dries. That way I'll be gluing foam to foam without canvas between. I glued the top down with Gorilla glue. Really stiffens things up! I need to fill a gap at the front and then I'll add a 6" strip of canvas to tie the roof to the walls around the inside.

I also added a 3/4" x 2" piece of pine across the back edge to keep the roof from sagging. It runs past the doors an inch or so to (hopefully) keep water out.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby GPW » Tue Apr 14, 2015 6:36 am

PM, looking Good !!! You don’t have to worry , canvas to foam gluing is OK ... Pre covered panels make things MUCH easier ... :thumbsup:
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Sat Apr 18, 2015 2:58 pm

I glued the top on and applied 6" wide strips of canvas and glue in the corners to tie them together. It didn't go well. I had applied a heavy coat of glue to the foam only and applied the damp strip. It was difficult to get the strip in place but once applied I gave it another coat of glue. However, when it dried there were bubbles where the strip pulled away from the ceiling and walls. I ripped off the strips, being careful not to delaminate the ceiling and wall canvas and tried again.

This time I rolled a coat of glue onto the strips and the walls and applied them. This was MUCH easier as the extra time it took allowed the glue to tack up a bit. After smoothing it down, I applied another coat of glue. This time it stayed stuck and dried flat.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Mary C » Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:32 pm

Looking great I know that the glueing is messy but you seem to be doing great. your pictures are good and the way you did the connections look great.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Sat Apr 18, 2015 4:58 pm

Mary C wrote:Looking great I know that the glueing is messy but you seem to be doing great. your pictures are good and the way you did the connections look great.

Mary C.


Thanks, it's really impressive how stiff this thing is. I had originally thought of slotting in some corner braces at the back but I don't think it's needed and I don't even have the outside canvas on. Speaking of which, I ordered 75" wide canvas which will allow me to use a continuous piece of canvas from the center line of the roof to the chassis. I'll run a 12" piece down the center of the roof to cover the edges of the canvas.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Sat Apr 18, 2015 5:05 pm

The front hatch will be secured with draw latches. I mortised the foam to accept the 1/2" mounts.

Here's a tip: deeply score the edges of the mortise first with a utility knife to the depth of the mortise or below. As you remove the center with the router, the foam at the edges will break away as you get close with the router leaving a nice clean edge.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby GPW » Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:26 am

Nice fit !! 8)
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Wed May 06, 2015 3:02 pm

Got the canvas on the outside. I did it with two large pieces working down from the center line of the roof. I carefully rolled the canvas so I could apply glue to both the foam and canvas in about 2 ft sections and unroll the canvas onto the foam. I smoothed out and stuck down that section and then did another 2 feet. I eventually got everything stuck down and smoothed out. For the door opening, after I applied the canvas, I cut out the doorway (leaving about 3" of canvas to wrap around the edges.) I added more glue to the door frame and canvas and stuck it down. I trimmed the excess canvas to stop short of the door flange by about an 1/8". I just figured it would be easier to stick it down flat that way. I made some relief cuts in the corners to stick them down. The canvas stretched enough to conform nicely to the rounded corners.

After everything was dry, I checked it for loose areas and rubbed in more glue through the canvas to stick those areas down.

I covered the seam between the two pieces on the roof with another strip of canvas. The roof is tall enough that you can't see the seam unless you get on a step stool.

Still need to cover the hatch and add some miscellaneous strips of canvas to cover the corners.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby KCStudly » Wed May 06, 2015 3:08 pm

Looks good.

For every nice canvas job that gets turned out, more and more, I am gaining confidence that I, too, will be able to do a nice job. Thanks for contributing! :thumbsup:
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Wed May 06, 2015 5:31 pm

Coating both the foam and the canvas worked best for me. Note that the canvas is not saturated, so the outside is dry as you smooth it down. Working with around 2 feet at a time kept the glue from getting too tacky; just enough to hold but I could still lift the canvas up to work out wrinkles and air bubbles.
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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby Pmullen503 » Mon May 25, 2015 6:39 pm

I was ready to add the hatch and somehow something had warped so the foam hatch was about 1/2" off. I couldn't come up with a good way to fix it so I decided to make a new hatch that would fit the rest of the trailer. I scribed the walls and made ribs that matched the trailer. Instead of trying to kerf foam again, I made the hatch from 1/4" wood strips as I had done many times for cedar strip canoes. I laid out the strips on a flat surface, pulled them tight and screwed down the ends. This kept the glue from getting between the strips and gluing them to each other. Then I covered one side with canvas as you would if you were making a tambour door. This would become the inside surface. The skin is flexible; the strips are held together only by the canvas. Then I glued it to the hatch frame. A few finishing nails here and there hold it in place while the glue dries. I made it oversized. When everything is dry, I'll trim to fit and round over the outside edges. Finally, I'll cover the outside with canvas and glue. Should be plenty strong and not too heavy.

I used the strips and tambour door technique because it puts no force on the frame so the ribs can be made lighter with simple joinery.

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Re: Newbie builds a foam toy hauler/camper

Postby GPW » Tue May 26, 2015 6:40 am

Oh , PM that’s Brilliant !!! :dancing Makes one think of a Roll up hatch cover... :thinking: No real reason for a rigid hatch eh? ... Thinking Stagecoach ! :o
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