1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

...ask your questions in the appropriate forums BUT document your build here...preferably in a single thread...dates for updates, are appreciated....

Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby jseyfert3 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:56 pm

Part of the build hinges on the AC unit, so I opened that up to check out what I'm dealing with. It's quite simple and compact. Here is a picture of the front right, showing the evaporator coil, the room recirculation blower, and the condenser fan. The blower and condenser fan are both powered off the same double ended motor. Note the yellow wire in front of the coil, this is the temp sensor, reading air being pulled into the AC unit (room temp air). This is an electronic sensor, and the AC displays the current air temp in the room when you are not setting the desired air temp.

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Evaporator Coil/Recirc Blower by jseyfert3, on Flickr

Back left of the unit, showing the condenser coil, compressor, and electronics housing.

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Condensor Coil/Compressor by jseyfert3, on Flickr

Some sort of goo/putty on the top of the compressor, not sure why it's there. It's not really sticky, more like the kind of removable putty you can use to mount posters.

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Compressor Goo by jseyfert3, on Flickr

I had only tested the AC once before, and only for a little bit. I wanted to give it a run and make sure it was good before I start hacking it. Problem is my garage was 58 °F, and the AC lowest setting is 64 °F. So I simply pinched the temp probe and held it to run the AC. Note the bottom coils are starting to freeze up.

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Temp Probe/Coil Ice by jseyfert3, on Flickr

I used a digital food thermometer to measure the air temp. It was blowing out air around 32 °F, as the garage was 58 °F this is a difference of 27 °F. I'd say it's working okay. Once I let go of the temp probe and the compressor shut off, the light coat of ice that was forming disappeared almost instantly. My guess is it only started icing due to the temp of the garage, it was running below the lowest setting on the unit. Also it's not very humid, that probably helped cause the ice as well.

From the design, it appears most of the condenser cooling air comes in the right side of the unit and top sides of the unit. Some enters the left side, but this appears mainly to be compressor cooling air, as there is nowhere near the airspace for good airflow on the compressor side of the unit.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby KCStudly » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:25 am

I wonder if it would be easier to control what air goes where by building your own enclosure, rather than adapting to the existing one. You said you where going to relocate the controls anyway, so why not (if it makes sense)?
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby jseyfert3 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:19 pm

KCStudly wrote:I wonder if it would be easier to control what air goes where by building your own enclosure, rather than adapting to the existing one. You said you where going to relocate the controls anyway, so why not (if it makes sense)?

Yes, I considered it. If so, I would need to make sure everything is properly supported, the front coil/Styrofoam and the rear coil/fan both rely on the enclosure for support. Another possibility I considered, was simply cutting out the vents on the enclosure to get rid of air drag through the vents, allowing easier air flow while keeping the enclosure for the necessary support.

Today I whipped up the battery box mount. This will hold one group 27 deep cycle battery. I was thinking it may need one or two angled pieces to form a triangle for stability but I think once the glue dries it will be sturdy enough on it's own.

I constructed the box out of 1x2s I got from the Home Depot. I looked for the straightest ones there. They were a whopping $0.75 for an 8' piece. I cut out and sanded all the pieces (they didn't really have to be sanded but it was fun and relaxing to do so). As with everything so far, I assembled and screwed everything together, then unscrewed it and glued and screwed it back together.

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Gluing One Side by jseyfert3, on Flickr

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Glued, Ready to Install by jseyfert3, on Flickr

I plan for the completed box to have 1/2" thick foam walls. The foam will be inline with the long axis of the 1x2s on the long side of the box...if that makes sense. If not, wait until I complete it, then you'll know what I mean. The inside of the box is tall enough to allow an inch of foam on the bottom of the floor for insulation still. I will use some 0.5" OSB for the floor, it will rest on the 1x2s on the bottom of the frame.

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Battery Box Frame - Complete by jseyfert3, on Flickr

The AC box will be constructed similarly.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby Kharn » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:09 pm

Another thing to remember, a dripping AC is a happy AC. Some smaller units also rely on the fan splashing a bit of the water around, and lose efficiency if you drill a hole for a drain nipple in the condensate pan.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby capnTelescope » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:15 pm

Howdy, J. I'm enjoying watching your build.

Air conditioning. :thinking: Hmmmm. Interesting.

I haven't done this yet, but my time is coming. Just a few thoughts, based on my experience with automotive a/c (ASE certified, retired, expired). Both home and auto units run on the same principles, have the same parts, etc., so I claim they relate to each other.

I would leave the bottom of the enclosure open for condenser air intake. Leaves you with no worries about drips, and Kharn is right about the fan splash. Point the condenser side aftward for road debris safety. Leave the back side open for condenser discharge. Use expanded metal or heavy screen to keep out stuff that doesn't belong. I wouldn't worry too much about keeping the unit completely out of the weather, as the compressor/condenser end of things live outside in a home or auto unit. They're used to it.

The easiest way to get an a/c unit to not cool is to not have enough air flow through the condenser. So lots of air flow around the "hot" end.

On the "cold" end, you need to keep hot outside air out. :duh I may be capnTelescope, but sometimes they call me capnObvious. :)

You also need to separate warmer returning air from outgoing cold air. Like with ducting/partitioning of some sort. That was Big Mike's problem.

Not enough return air will cause the evaporator to ice up. What you saw was normal frost. Not to worry about that. To "Ice up" means your evaporator is living inside an ice block, blocking air flow thru the evap. You have to wait for the ice block to thaw before you can continue cooling. I would be inclined to put your booster fan in the return air duct to get that return air to the evap. I don't have any sound scientific reason for saying that, it just seems right.

I hope this was of some help.

Keep going. We're all watching to see what's next. Enjoy the journey.
I'll burn that bridge when I come to it.

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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby jseyfert3 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:48 pm

Kharn wrote:Another thing to remember, a dripping AC is a happy AC. Some smaller units also rely on the fan splashing a bit of the water around, and lose efficiency if you drill a hole for a drain nipple in the condensate pan.

I read the owners manual, and indeed it mentions a "pinging" noise which is normal and caused by the fan kicking up condensate and flinging it at the condenser coils. I was not intending to drill a hole in the condensate pan for this reason.

capnTelescope wrote:Howdy, J. I'm enjoying watching your build.

Air conditioning. :thinking: Hmmmm. Interesting.

I haven't done this yet, but my time is coming. Just a few thoughts, based on my experience with automotive a/c (ASE certified, retired, expired). Both home and auto units run on the same principles, have the same parts, etc., so I claim they relate to each other.

I would leave the bottom of the enclosure open for condenser air intake. Leaves you with no worries about drips, and Kharn is right about the fan splash. Point the condenser side aftward for road debris safety. Leave the back side open for condenser discharge. Use expanded metal or heavy screen to keep out stuff that doesn't belong. I wouldn't worry too much about keeping the unit completely out of the weather, as the compressor/condenser end of things live outside in a home or auto unit. They're used to it.

The easiest way to get an a/c unit to not cool is to not have enough air flow through the condenser. So lots of air flow around the "hot" end.

On the "cold" end, you need to keep hot outside air out. :duh I may be capnTelescope, but sometimes they call me capnObvious. :)

You also need to separate warmer returning air from outgoing cold air. Like with ducting/partitioning of some sort. That was Big Mike's problem.

Not enough return air will cause the evaporator to ice up. What you saw was normal frost. Not to worry about that. To "Ice up" means your evaporator is living inside an ice block, blocking air flow thru the evap. You have to wait for the ice block to thaw before you can continue cooling. I would be inclined to put your booster fan in the return air duct to get that return air to the evap. I don't have any sound scientific reason for saying that, it just seems right.

I hope this was of some help.

Keep going. We're all watching to see what's next. Enjoy the journey.

I would imagine they all relate to each other.

The bottom of the stock enclosure has no vents, it is solid. This allows condensate to collect until the fan can pick it up and fling it at the condenser. The only way to open it up is to remove the guts of the AC into a custom built enclosure or cut a big hole, either way, it would no longer be able to fling condensate at the condenser. I do not plan on removing the components from the bottom "tray" they sit in (like it is in the pictures). I fear if I removed them from that I'd break a coolant line. Condenser cooling air enters from the two sides and the top. Basically, I'm a little confused at your statement. Do you just mean place the unit on supporting bars of some sort and not a plywood "floor"?

The main reason I wanted to have an enclosure with a panel on the back that opens up is because while window AC units live outside, they don't usually live on the road. Road water can be very dirty at times, and possibly contaminated with stuff like road salt (depending when you go camping). Enclosing it with a hinged panel allows the condenser to face forward. If it faces back, I just see the tire as helping allow hot air to build up near the condenser by blocking crosswind :thinking:

Yes, there will be separate returning air/cold air ducts, and they will connect straight to the AC. Drawing in air from up high on one end, and putting it out low on the other, allowing good circulation and no hot air buildup inside the TD.

I have an inline booster fan to help return air to the evaporator coil, check here.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby KCStudly » Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:38 pm

Actually, in HVAC it is preferred to waft the cool air in gently up high in a diffused pattern so that it can settle downward offering the most uniform coverage for the space and not feel like it is blowing directly on you (which can make some people feel uncomfortably cold). Then pick the warm air return up high at the far end. Where a floor register is the only choice they can do this by blowing straight up a wall and deflecting off of the ceiling to diffuse, but I would think you can arrange yours to come out higher up with a little planning.

In a TD size enclosure it probably does not make such a big difference so long as the supply is not blocked by blankets, pillows, etc. and that it is not blowing straight on your head or feet.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby capnTelescope » Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:56 pm

Hi J. You have the "inside air" part handled just fine. :thumbsup:

jseyfert3 wrote:The bottom of the stock enclosure has no vents...

Sorry, once again I have succeeded in making myself misunderstood. :( The enclosure I was referring to is the one you are building on your trailer. Yes, you want to leave the bottom tray of the stock enclosure intact.

jseyfert3 wrote:Do you just mean place the unit on supporting bars of some sort and not a plywood "floor"?
. A qualified maybe. :? You need free air circulation around the outdoor half of the a/c unit. Ambient air needs to get in, and hot air out. If, as I understand it, you are building a box with a fold-down door around the unit, then an expanded metal bottom would let the air in, and the door lets the air out. Or, you can make your box as wide as possible, so plenty of air can get in on the sides of the unit when the door is open.

jseyfert3 wrote:... If it faces back...
Fair enough. It's really not important which way it faces, as long as plenty of ambient air can get in and go through the condenser.

I hope this is clearer than it was. :NC
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby jseyfert3 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:20 pm

Now we get to some of the fun stuff! This morning, my dad offered to come over and help, so we cut out both of the walls of the TD. With both of us it didn't take very long, but getting a good curve would have been difficult with just one person.

To start, we needed a final curve to go off of on Sketchup. My earlier model needed some modification. This earlier model, the curve went down and stopped at the top of the steel crossbeams on the trailer. I decided after I made the model I wanted the curve to go down over these.

To do this, I quickly drew up a new curve on Sketchup, one that went down as far as I needed. Based on advice from my dad, I drew some guidelines at key points and got a few measurements: The location of the tangent line on the front, rear, and top curves, and the location of the front and rear points where the curve ends.

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Final Curve on Sketchup by jseyfert3, on Flickr

To transfer the curves, my dad suggested we use lofting. First we cut some foam pieces and attached them to the front and rear of the main side piece with packing tape. We marked out the key points we measured on the Sketchup model and drove some screws into the foam to help hold the thin pieces of wood we used for lofting, then bent the wood into a curve and outlined it with pen and marker.

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Lofting Setup by jseyfert3, on Flickr

Held it up (backwards in this pic) to get an idea of the shape. Looks good so far.

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Outline Traced Out (backwards) by jseyfert3, on Flickr

Now that the outline was traced out, we used a jigsaw to cut the wall out. Didn't take very long. It made some dust, but that was okay as we were outside. Then we held it up to see how it looked.

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Side One - Finished by jseyfert3, on Flickr

To cut the second one, we simply placed this outline over new foam, traced the shape, and cut out the second one with a jigsaw. For the entire process we used the floor framing as a support table.

The ceiling foam will be more 2" foam, kerfed to bend around the curves. It will be glued to the top of the side walls. After all that is completed, a strip of foam or wood will be glued to the bottom of the 1x4 at the bottom edge, which will connect the front and rear curves. I will need to check the tire, and probably cut some of the 1x4 in front of the tire into a curve that allows me to remove the tire for changing.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby KCStudly » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:28 am

Looking good. :thumbsup: :applause: :thumbsup: :applause:

Where about are you located? Looks eerily like New England. Maybe we are neighbors?
Last edited by KCStudly on Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby jseyfert3 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:56 pm

KCStudly wrote:Looking good. :thumbsup: :applause: :thumbsup: :applause:

Were about are you located? Looks eerily like New England. Maybe we are neighbors?

Thanks. I'm located in Peoria, IL. I thought I had filled out my location, guess I hadn't. I did now anyway.

So my dad came over today as well. I took no pictures till after we were done today (he snapped two while I was working and he was waiting on me), when he's helping, we move along quick, he doesn't like sitting still. This is a good thing, considering I want this camper livable before April 19th.

Today we worked on the floors. We lined up the first sheet of OSB on the framing, and then I got on my creeper, went underneath, and outlined all the 1x4s with pencil. I did this because they were not all straight, some where bowed sideways a bit, and being only 3/4" wide, there is not much room for error in drilling the screws.

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Outlining the 1x4s by jseyfert3, on Flickr

When it was outlined, we flipped the sheet upside down and drilled screw pilot sized holes using the outlines, at the corners and approximately every 9". We then flipped it right side up, lined it back up, and drilled and screwed two holes on opposite diagonals of the OSB. Once secured, we used the pilot holes in the OSB to guide the drill bit to drill the pilot holes into the 1x4.

At this point all the pilot holes were drilled. We unscrewed the two holding screws and flipped it upside down again. Using the pencil lines as a guide, we ran a beads of Titebond III everywhere it would sit on a 1x4. We quickly flipped it over, lined it up, and screwed in the two opposite diagonals first, then screwed in the rest of the screws with #8 x 1.25" Deckmate screws (the same type as I used for the 1x4 framing, just shorter). When complete, I got on the creeper, and used my finger to smooth the oozing glue into a fillet, and wiped off the drips.

As one sheet is not wide enough, we cut about 18" off another sheet. Doing this, I learned I need to get a blade with some nice fat teeth for cutting OSB, not the cheap stamped blade my Skilsaw came with. The blade wanted to jam up when using a guide piece of wood, and when I tried to freehand, it didn't jam (though it was still slowing down), but it cut this really crazy curve at one point, I couldn't really make the saw go where I wanted it to go. A nice carbide tipped blade should help with this.

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Cutting 18" off the Second Sheet by jseyfert3, on Flickr

After it was cut, we lined up the size that was cut at the factory with the other piece of OSB. I noted some high points, and hit them with a belt sander. When we got as close as a gap free joint as we were going to get, we repeated all the above steps on this piece, with one additional step. After laying out the Titebond glue, we wet the side of the OSB already mounted, then ran a bead of Gorilla Glue along the piece we were gluing, and quickly put it in place as glue was starting to drip. I did this because the GG will foam up and help seal the joint.

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Floor Assembly Completed by jseyfert3, on Flickr

We overlapped the OSB slightly on each side (a little more on the side I had to freehand cut), I will go back to this after the glues dries a bit and trim it off with the router.

I have not waterproofed the wood yet. I wanted to put the OSB on while the framing was screwed into the trailer, as well as allow good wood to wood glue joints between the 1x4s and the OSB. I will unscrew and flip the entire floor assembly once the glue dries, and begin coating with the 75% paint thinner, 25% poly mix to get a nice, deep waterproof coating. Once done, I'll flip it back right side up, and it will be screwed down for good (after I paint the trailer).
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby lthomas987 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:13 pm

jseyfert3 wrote:Now that the outline was traced out, we used a jigsaw to cut the wall out. Didn't take very long. It made some dust, but that was okay as we were outside. Then we held it up to see how it looked.

Image
Side One - Finished by jseyfert3, on Flickr



I notice on your foam sides the curves sweep down to the bottom of the trailer frame instead of the bottom of the 1x4 wooden frame, and if I recall the trailer frame is like 6+" back underneath. Are you going to add some sort of facia board on there? Or was that an unintended feature of redrawing the curve and looking at the flat view of the trailer in Sketchup or whatver you're using? I want to start building SOO badly. Today it was almost warm enough. Your progress is awesome!

Laura
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby kudzu » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:10 pm

Oh, yeah! That would be the fun stuff. Nice little profile of a teardrop you've got there. Looks good.

jseyfert3 wrote:Thanks. I'm located in Peoria, IL.


Uh-oh. Now I'll have to ask to see your foamie next time we're in Peoria. BF is from Peoria & graduated (under-grad) from Bradley. We're there a couple times a year.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby jseyfert3 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:46 am

lthomas987 wrote:I notice on your foam sides the curves sweep down to the bottom of the trailer frame instead of the bottom of the 1x4 wooden frame, and if I recall the trailer frame is like 6+" back underneath. Are you going to add some sort of facia board on there? Or was that an unintended feature of redrawing the curve and looking at the flat view of the trailer in Sketchup or whatver you're using? I want to start building SOO badly. Today it was almost warm enough. Your progress is awesome!

Laura

Yup, that's correct. Yes, I will add some sort of a board, and wrap the canvas all the way down. I will use either foam or a 1x board, I haven't decided yet.

And thanks! I must contribute some of that to my dad, for his help and the motivation the help gave me as well.

kudzu wrote:Oh, yeah! That would be the fun stuff. Nice little profile of a teardrop you've got there. Looks good.

jseyfert3 wrote:Thanks. I'm located in Peoria, IL.


Uh-oh. Now I'll have to ask to see your foamie next time we're in Peoria. BF is from Peoria & graduated (under-grad) from Bradley. We're there a couple times a year.

Thanks. No problem, if I'm here, you can stop by and see it. What do you have?

I will be transferring into Bradley as a Junior this fall myself.
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Re: 1st Build, a 5'x8' Foamie Teardrop on a 4'x8' HF Trailer

Postby jseyfert3 » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:59 pm

On the 18th my dad came over again. We discussed and tried some options for kerfing the foam, then glued the front and rear curved sections onto the sidewalls.

To glue, we first put the pieces together and ran a line of packing tape down one side of the joint. Then, flipping the pieces over, we used gorilla glue, wetting one side of the joint and applying the glue in a zigzag method. They were then taped on the top side to help control the glue expansion.

Letting it cure overnight, the results were good. The glue formed up and filled the gaps between the pieces, but did not expand much beyond the edge.

Image
Joint After Curing by jseyfert3, on Flickr

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Joint After Curing Close-Up by jseyfert3, on Flickr

One one joint my dad decided to try running three straight beads on the edge, one on each side and one in the middle, instead of a zigzag. This resulted in a bit more foam expanding out of the top (but not the bottom) of the joint. On hindsight I believe it was because the straight beads on the edges meant the foam could not push air aside and expand inwards easily, unlike the zigzag where there is plenty of room to push the air out of the joint without shoving the foam out too. Not a big deal though, it comes off.

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Whoops by jseyfert3, on Flickr

Between then and now, I have been working on getting ready to waterproof the frame. I pulled the trailer outside to enjoy the fresh air and get a bit more room, then I removed the 40 wood screws holding it to the hurricane brackets.

Image
Subfloor Unscrewed by jseyfert3, on Flickr

With my roommate's help, I flipped the floor assembly and moved it inside, setting it on my new sawhorses. With the 1.3 sheets or so of 1/2" OSB, this is going to be the heaviest part of the trailer besides the utility trailer it's built on. I did not weigh it, but if I remember, I'll get the weight after I waterproof it.

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Subframe Detached by jseyfert3, on Flickr

Since mycurve extends below the sides of this subfloor, I needed to attach something that I could use to extend the sidewall down. I decided to use a 1x4. I got the select level 1x4s at Menard's for about $2.20 each for each 8' section. I glued the board to the 1x4 above it (below in this picture), and used four short pieces of 1x2 glued and screwed to both 1x4s to strengthen this joint. Although I got the straightest ones there and I was using the 1x2 pieces, they still needed to be "persuaded" into place in a couple areas with some clamps while the glue dried.

Image
Gluing the Sideboard (1) by jseyfert3, on Flickr

Image
Gluing the Sideboard (2) by jseyfert3, on Flickr

I used one screw from each 1x4 into the 1x2. Mainly just to hold it tight while the glue dries.

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Sideboard HoldingScrews by jseyfert3, on Flickr

I ran out of clamps (I wasn't expecting to need them for a foamie build, I'll get more tomorrow) of the size I needed, so I could only do one side at a time. I glued the second board in place this morning, so I'll start waterproofing the underside of the floor and the outside sides tomorrow morning after it has a nice 24 hours to dry.

To prep for waterproofing, I mixed a quart of the poly the previous owners left behind with 3/4 a gallon of paint thinner I bought. Tomorrow when I wake up it's waterproofing time.
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