Skinning with Wood Planks

Finishes, paints and coatings

Skinning with Wood Planks

Postby cosmicWy » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:19 pm

Hello All!

First off, a big thank you to this whole community. I have been lurking and losing sleep for months just scouring this absolute treasure trove of information. Because of this site, I have redesigned a sawtooth/grasshopper/teardrop style trailer multiple times with multiple methods. I am still moving forward with my chassis build and soon I will have to make a decision on my skin and look.

With that in mind, I have finally settled on a look and because I am a hipster/retrophile, I would really like to skin my micro-camper with wood planks. I have lots of construction background, but nothing specifically related to this portion of the project.

My general construction was going to be framing a 1x4 wall (or cutting out of a joined 4x10 3/4" plywood) and insulating the wall. I was then hoping to attach boards directly to that framing. Once the boards were up, I would either Epoxy them or fiberglass them (4oz and epoxy).

For my roof, I was considering a rubber roof on plywood. The roof would run on top to the outer edge of the skin and then putting a metal trim and butyl tape to complete the waterproofing.

Does anyone see any glaring issues with this? I have found lots of examples of builds with this "look" but I haven't found any build journals that explicitly describe the methods for water sealing.

thanks in advance for any help!

P.S. this is the look of the side skin that I am going for:
Teardrop Inspector
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2018 5:11 am

Re: Skinning with Wood Planks

Postby Nodrog » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:34 pm

hey duuude! I'm sure you'll hear from the artist soon, but I recognize that very distinctive build- viewtopic.php?f=50&t=62386 . He is an active poster on the site and I am sure he will help any way he can...hope the link works! Nodrog
Teardrop Master
Posts: 108
Images: 36
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:21 pm

Re: Skinning with Wood Planks

Postby Pmullen503 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:08 pm

That will work though I would go with 6 oz cloth and epoxy. I would seal the back sides too to reduce the wood expansion and contraction.
The 300 Club
Posts: 411
Images: 58
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:33 pm
Location: Fond du Lac, WI

Re: Skinning with Wood Planks

Postby troubleScottie » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:10 pm

You might want to use bias cut fiberglass tape over the seam between the side and roof, then cover the roof to the edge. I think a 1/4 inch round over on the planking is also appropriate to reduce the transition. Of course the trim might/would be unnecessary.

Nominally, I would epoxy over the seam between the planks and external ceiling. Water is very good at finding holes. Getting between the two surfaces (planks and plywood) would be a disaster.
Michael Krolewski
Scottish Terrier Fancier
Donating Member
Posts: 222
Images: 11
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:02 am
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Skinning with Wood Planks

Postby tony.latham » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:12 pm

I would really like to skin my micro-camper with wood planks.

Merriam-Webster defines a plank as a heavy thick board.

The weight issue jumps. How thick are you thinking?

This would certainly work using the same method as building cedar strip canoes. 1/4" thick strips about 7/8" wide that are usually milled with a bead and cove and then fiberglassed and coated with a clear UV varnish. Since you are not setting the strips on a curve, you wouldn't need the bead and cove.

Your "rubber roof" idea sends up a red flag to me too. I'd be concerned about water getting under the rubber through the roof/wall joint. If I were building a woodie -–whether cedar strips or plywood–– I'd fiberglass both the walls and roof and sleep well.


:frightened: :beer:

User avatar
Gold Donating Member
Posts: 3499
Images: 17
Joined: Mon Jul 08, 2013 4:03 pm
Location: Middle of Idaho on the edge of nowhere

Re: Skinning with Wood Planks

Postby Tomterrific » Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:08 am

Shanty boat construction, a very poor families home, was originally made with found drifting boards along the bank's of a major river. The hull is sealed by soaking a cotton cord in white lead and placing it between the boards during construction.

While I don't believe anyone is going to be using white lead, a bead of caulk will work just fine. I came up with a camper idea made from cedar fence pickets and sealed with black caulk between the boards. New cedar is light, beautiful and rot resistant. Plus is one of the most insulating woods. I was not planning to make a wall thicker than a board.

The 300 Club
Posts: 459
Images: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:18 pm
Location: Central Ohio

Return to Skinning secrets

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests