What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

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What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby Krusty » Wed May 06, 2015 7:16 pm

I'm updating the roof on my foamie hybrid to give it a nice reflective coating. I've already got the frame done and have some 1/8" plywood glued and stapled to the frame (which, unfortunately, added a lot more weight than I was hoping). To get the reflective coating while keeping the weight and cost down, I found some ultra thin .0086" aluminum flashing that I'm planning on using:
http://www.amazon.com/Billy-Penn-Valley ... m+flashing

My two big issues with this are, of course, how to attach it and what I should be doing with the seams. My current plan is:
* put a coating of oil based polyurethane on the wood to help protect it
* bind the aluminum with contact cement and machine screws around the edges
* use some aluminum flashing sealant (basically grey silicone caulk) in a paper thin bead to seal the seams and screw holes.

Would this be a viable solution? Is there a better solution? As a horrible point of hindsight, would you anticipate this to be lighter than having just used some .032" or .040" aluminum sheet without bothering with the wood at all?
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Re: What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby tony.latham » Fri May 08, 2015 10:41 am

Krusty wrote:I'm updating the roof on my foamie hybrid to give it a nice reflective coating. I've already got the frame done and have some 1/8" plywood glued and stapled to the frame (which, unfortunately, added a lot more weight than I was hoping). To get the reflective coating while keeping the weight and cost down, I found some ultra thin .0086" aluminum flashing that I'm planning on using:
http://www.amazon.com/Billy-Penn-Valley ... m+flashing

My two big issues with this are, of course, how to attach it and what I should be doing with the seams. My current plan is:
* put a coating of oil based polyurethane on the wood to help protect it
* bind the aluminum with contact cement and machine screws around the edges
* use some aluminum flashing sealant (basically grey silicone caulk) in a paper thin bead to seal the seams and screw holes.

Would this be a viable solution? Is there a better solution? As a horrible point of hindsight, would you anticipate this to be lighter than having just used some .032" or .040" aluminum sheet without bothering with the wood at all?


I don't know of anyone that has used this thin of aluminum on a teardrop. I think that's the reason no one has responded. Having used contact cement on .040 aluminum, I don't know if I'd use it on this stuff since it'd be a challenge to get the paper thin stuff on. Some folks have used Henry's carpet adhesive but any lump is going to show through on this stuff. I've run enough beads of silicone to know that it would be difficult to lay a uniform bead along the edges. Grab a tube and run a bead on a box corner and see what you think.

"would you anticipate this to be lighter than having just used some .032" or .040" aluminum sheet without bothering with the wood at all?" Well... it's 3.7 times lighter than .032.

I'm an aluminum teardropper, but I think I'd go with canvass and TB2 before I tried this thin of aluminum. I see they make it in 8" x 50 for $20. You might buy one of those rolls and play with it. See what you can come up with.

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Re: What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby Krusty » Fri May 08, 2015 2:37 pm

Yeah, it wasn't until I already had the thing skinned with 1/8" plywood when I realized it may have been more useful to just put a thicker aluminum skin on. I was underestimating the strength you get out of the aluminum people are using to skin their trailers. The reviews I'm finding on the flashing say it's still reasonably thick and stiff so I'm hoping it'll turn out well.

I did think of canvas and TBII but I'm actually rebuilding the top of my camper specifically to get a reflective surface. My tan colored fiberglass roof made for an incredibly hot trip when out in 95 degree temperatures in Utah. I'm not too concerned about it being a smooth surface as long as it doesn't look like it was put together by a two-year-old.

This whole thing is a bit of an experiment for me. Now that I'm heading toward completion, I'm already thinking about finding a way to build my own lightweight aluminum frame and skip the wood for the build entirely. I'll need to hold off a few years and get a few trips out of this one before I can get the permission from the wife though.

On a similar topic, what are you guys using on the corners when you skin in aluminum? I can waterproof the wood and use butyl tape on the edges but I'd still be more comfortable with bit of molding there to finish it off.
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Re: What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby tony.latham » Fri May 08, 2015 4:16 pm

what are you guys using on the corners when you skin in aluminum?


Grant sells trim here: http://www.teardrops.net/teardroptrailerparts.html

I buy my trim here, because it's up the road enroute to the big city of Missoula: http://teardropparts.com/index.html

or: http://teardroptrailerparts.com/Teardro ... Plans.html

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Re: What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby Krusty » Wed May 20, 2015 10:15 am

Whadda y'all think of this?
http://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-Prod ... XS113WD2CN


or this

http://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-Prod ... m+moulding


If I ran some butyl tape under it would it make for a good waterproof seal? I'm particularly interested in the first one as that looks like it would be a lot easier to anneal and bend around the curves.
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Re: What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby tony.latham » Wed May 20, 2015 11:05 am

Krusty wrote:Whadda y'all think of this?
http://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-Prod ... XS113WD2CN


or this

http://www.amazon.com/M-D-Building-Prod ... m+moulding


If I ran some butyl tape under it would it make for a good waterproof seal? I'm particularly interested in the first one as that looks like it would be a lot easier to anneal and bend around the curves.


The price would put me off. It's damn expensive. Especially for stuff that will probably have to be annealed. And I'm not sure that first stuff has enough lip.

This stuff (and others) found at teardrop supply houses is dead soft. It's easy to form.

http://teardropparts.com/trims-and-mouldings.html That's where I buy mine, and for a 5 x 10', with a Fredrick's hatch, it's $150 for the trim (and that's with no shipping, I pick it up).

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Re: What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby Krusty » Wed May 20, 2015 11:13 am

Any idea how fast teardroptrailerparts ships? I was planning on finishing this weekend. We're leaving for a trip the 29th.

edit: never mind. Their site says 3 day shipping. I'm going to measure my edges tonight and see if I can order tomorrow.
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Re: What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby tony.latham » Wed May 20, 2015 11:19 am

Krusty wrote:Any idea how fast teardroptrailerparts ships? I was planning on finishing this weekend. We're leaving for a trip the 29th.

edit: never mind. Their site says 3 day shipping. I'm going to measure my edges tonight and see if I can order tomorrow.


No. Call 'em up. Frank Bear may be quicker: http://teardroptrailerparts.com/Hinges_ ... _Trim.html

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Re: What do you use to attach aluminum to wood?

Postby Krusty » Wed May 20, 2015 2:37 pm

I'm calling a couple of local sources now. The two places listed here won't be able to get the parts out in time for me. The real kicker is the fact that Monday is a holiday so I can't count on delivery occurring during that time. It takes quite a bit of time away from me.
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