Thrifty Alternatives ..Building Foam Campers

Canvas covered foamies (Thrifty Alternatives...)

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Thrifty Alternatives ..Building Foam Campers

Postby GPW » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:42 am

The economy being what it is, forces me to think more "Thrifty" about TD construction ... :o
The "sandwich" wall construction seems to give the best "bang for the buck " and although is a bit more work, is lighter and insulated too ... The solid ply sidewalls are heavy and expensive for the "good stuff" (recommended if you go that way ) ...
Reading through the "Vintage" trailer plans , noticed they used a lot of "lesser" materials for construction .... Masonite , cemented canvas coverings, T&G floors ... thrifty old school stuff..
Further thinking produces the idea of a sandwich wall , made with the cheaper wood products like the dreaded luan or even masonite coated with my cheapo waterproofing mix (weight will be a concern )... with EPS insulation ,the blue and pink stuff is much more $... relatively speaking. Small cross section "framing members" (wood), and perhaps a cheap protective covering over all that ..I keep thinking cheap polyester camo net , which is very tough stuff , and can be attached with most anything and painted .. as the vintage boys did ... It does prevent the wood from splitting , as well proven on many ELBs I've used it on over the years ..never a failure ..
:thinking:
Am I thinking TOO Thrifty ???? :R

PS . I think something like this would be best stored under a shed or in a garage , just to insure longevity and low maintenance .. :roll:


UPDATE NOTICE: For Eaglesdare's excellent build thread , please go here .. http://tnttt.com/viewtopic.php?t=43647
Last edited by GPW on Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:40 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby madprinter » Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:15 pm

GPW can you share your cheapo waterproofing formula with us? Being trifty and camping is better than being broke and at home on the weekends.
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Postby GPW » Sat Aug 14, 2010 12:33 pm

MP ... 75% Mineral Spirits (common paint thinner ) and 25% Polyurethane varnish ... It's even OK to use the really cheap stuff ($5.00/gal) , because you want it to PENETRATE deep into the wood !!! Four or 5 really wet coats really seals the wood very well ...pay special attention (more coats ) to all end grain and any voids in the plywood ...
If I had my druthers (what's a druther? :oops: ) I'd set up a big tank and soak all the cut out parts in it for a week ... Wood is like little tubes weakly glued together (like a handful of straws , probably same basic material ) Once you can fill the tubes or at least waterproof (plastic coat) them , water has no place to sink in (soak and rot)... as much ... :roll:
You know you've put enough on when it won't soak in any more ...

PS, we've used this stuff for many other things too , like for re-painting a water stained sheetrock ceiling ... couple coats , and it's ready to paint without the stain showing through ... Picnic tables , lawn chairs , door trims ... many uses ... CHEAP !!! .. and I don't believe it's that TOXIC either ... :o
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Postby Ageless » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:13 pm

While playing with test panels for foam core; I used cotton t-shirt material in place of FG cloth. Panels tested out as strong as the FG cloth panel.
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Postby GPW » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:22 pm

Ageless, Hmmm ???? wonder what all those old T-shirts and blue jeans would look like on the outside ...? 8) Were you using resin or just glue... ?
The old timers used canvas ... That's cotton huh? Certainly more Thrifty ... Raw canvas from the awning co. in town is pretty inexpensive and thick too ... I use it to oil paint on ... got some 40+ years old , still around ...
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Postby Ageless » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:33 pm

That was using resin. 2 layers of cloth per side
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Postby starleen2 » Sat Aug 14, 2010 1:50 pm

:thinking: pause for a moment :twisted:
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Postby madprinter » Sat Aug 14, 2010 2:13 pm

GPW, I like the way you think :thinking:
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Postby Ageless » Sat Aug 14, 2010 2:23 pm

I recall back in the old days; canoe makers used lacquer and canvas to cover the skins of the crafts.
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Postby S. Heisley » Sat Aug 14, 2010 3:24 pm

Ageless:
I really like your idea of using T-shirt material in place of fiberglass cloth. I have some old sheets made out of T-shirt material (started getting small holes in 'em) and didn't want to just toss them in the trash. I just might have a good use for them! Thanks for the idea!
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Postby doug hodder » Sat Aug 14, 2010 5:37 pm

Another option if you can't locate canvas....a painters fabric drop cloth, available at HD. Doug
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Postby GPW » Sat Aug 14, 2010 7:27 pm

Seems like canvas would "give" slightly for more flexibility .. That might be a good thing on the road .... sure EASY to patch too , if necessary ...
So many old trailers describe canvas covering , most report many many miles on theirs ... so it just HAD to work, right ? ... The idea of a canvas covering directly over Foam sounds surprisingly simple and appealing , not to mention Thrifty ... and Light !!!
So far we've eliminated any ply or Masonite on the walls ... Just a very simple frame just for attachments , foam in between , and canvas on the outside ... T-shirts on the inside ... Dang , and I just re-cycled all my old tie -dyed t-shirts ... Bugger ... :cry: Could be "decorative "... 8)
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Postby Ageless » Sat Aug 14, 2010 10:56 pm

Well . . .a nice cotton paisley might work just as well
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Postby S. Heisley » Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:03 am

Well . . .a nice cotton paisley might work just as well


:lol: Cute! :lol:
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Postby glassice » Sun Aug 15, 2010 3:24 am

You could never have it smooth .If you cut it as you sand it would wick are just compost but the bumps would look cool and sick if you had a AMC Gremlin
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