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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:23 am 
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Location: Rockwall, TX (Dallas Suburb)
I have a general question regarding the construction of the Glen-L Travel Trailers (Specifically the Juniper). Would there be an advantage/disadvantage to covering the outer-shell of one of these designs with a light weight ply (3/16", 4mm) or even cedar-strip versus the corregated fiberglass? I think the corregated look really ages these designs when compared to the more modern trailers. In the customer photos section, they show several covered with "Filon". That provides the sleek look I like, but the stuff is very expensive. If I could cover the exterior in a nice plywood, use some 4 oz glass, and epoxy/polyester cover, I think I could get the results I like.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this idea. It seems the exterior of th pick-up trailers is frequently done this way. I would not know why I couldn't do it on the travel-trailer. I imagine it might weigh a little more, but I really don't know.

And yes, I am building a boat still (Minuet), but the Mrs. really wants a small travel trailer in a couple of years and SHE suggested I build one. I am so lucky!

Robert


Last edited by razopp on Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:57 pm 
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Robert, I think you're on the right track. I can't see any reason whatsoever why you couldn't do exactly what you want in that regard. In fact, I've often thought why don't trailer builders glass and epoxy their trailers just like the boatbuilders do. I've had a teardrop project going for sometime and it's nearing completion. I have finished the sides bright and the top I'll be painting. But first, I'm going to just what you're proposing. I'll cover everything in glass cloth and then epoxy. I'll post some pics as soon as I can.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:50 am 
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Dave,

Thanks for the comments. I really like those little tear-drop trailers. They seem so popular. Given the era when Glen-L's plans were designed I am frankly suprised they don't have a tear-drop plan on the market. There is definitely a "cult-following" of them out there. I would really enjoy seeing any pictures you may have of your trailer.

Would there be any value in going with the aluminum studs for the walls versus the wood framing? I think I would have to revisit the strip planking idea, but it seems as though it could significantly lighten the frame weight.


Thanks again for the input and I will file this in the to-do build list. This post is more in the brain-storming phase for a year or two out.

Robert


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:47 pm 
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Robert,
Many companies have tryed the aluminum framing for RV. Holiday Rambler, Sunnybrook, Travel Supreme, etc.
The problem is getting the metal thick enough to take the load without making it too heavy. ( If I remember right, Travel Supreme saved 400 lbs. on a 37' fifth wheel that weighed 14000 lbs.)
If the frame is welded getting the thickness right to avoid failure at the joints is hard.
If the frame is glued and screwed it can flex more without failure, but then you are mixing metals in the joints that can cause problems.

I think good quality light weight wood framing and good grade ply with ofcourse epoxy, would be the best. Besides you have all the tools and skills that you need to do it.

Carl

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:25 pm 
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Carl,

Thanks for the information. That seems to make perfect sense. I agree that the "bend-not-break" philosophy probably seems better. (And as you mention, I already have all the tools needed.)

Robert


Last edited by razopp on Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:52 pm 
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Location: Cape May, NJ & 1000 Islands, NY
Thirty five years ago I built a 26' 5th wheel travel trailer using 1" x 2"
16 guage tubing for the body and married it to a 5" "C" channel main
frame. The trailer was outfitted more for camping but when completed
it weighed in just under 4000 lbs. The square tubing does flex enough that
it was still intact after 16 years of use.

Don't dismiss the use of light tubular steel for a trailer frame. It can
save weight.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:06 am 
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All,

While planning the "ideal" travel trailer to accomodate up to six (without using bunk-beds) I came across the hybrid concept. This seems like the ideal blend of space usage. I could get all the features we wanted into the 16' trailer this way. Do you think it would be feasible to incorporate a fold-down canvas sleeping area (pictured below) into one of the Glen-L designs?

Image

I should never have read the "Idiots Guide to RVing." Don't do it! Big Mistake!

Robert


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:58 pm 
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I built a 10' hybrid a few years ago.
I started with a tent trailer deck and reinforced it, then added a heavier axle and springs, then bigger wheels. The floor (my one concession to weight) was 3/4" marine ply, glued, screwed and undercoated. I framed up the coach from steel studs and sheathed it with 1/4" ply and used epoxy and 6oz cloth over that. The most expensive part of the project was keeping the beer fridge stocked because I always had folks coming by....the trailer itself probably cost me less than $1000 to build.

I scavenged the windows and appliances from a guy who was parting out a slide-in camper that lost a battle with a low overhead in a drive-through.

Dave Grason wrote:
In fact, I've often thought why don't trailer builders glass and epoxy their trailers just like the boatbuilders do.


Having seen the construction of this guy's camper, my motorhome, and checking out new units for research - I gotta say:
some of the crap that's out there is downright criminal. On my moho, the walls were framed with 2X2 studs....pretty common right ? Well remember that a 2X2 is actually 1 1/2" square. Anywhere that they needed to run wires, they drilled a 1" hole through the framing ! No chafe protection either. I guess the monkey in the fab shop had only a single 1" spade bit....
This was for everything from a 3/4" water hose that was too big but was jammed through the hole anyway, to a single pair of 18ga speaker wires in the roof !

Were I to do it again, I would make up my own 'glass panelling by laminating a piece of Formica to a sheet of plywood then wax and polish it. Gelcoat goes down first, then a vinylester & veil layer to back that up, then a layer of mat for strength. Once it's cured, it can be bonded to the framing with a polysulfide adhesive/sealant like 5200 or Sika 291. To prevent any large panels from oil-canning and spidercracking the gelcoat over time, cardboard tubes ripped in half lengthwise and glassed over within the wall space make a great and cheap stiffener: the tubes from gift-wrap and wallpaper work great. With an extra 2" strip of Formica added around the edges of the 'layup table', you could create a rabbet in the finished panel that would let you join the panels invisibly with 4" glass tape. It would have to be faired and painted afterward rather than gelcoated ahead of time though...it's tough to do a gel repair in a big flat panel and have it look good.

The 'hybrid' part of my design was a fold-down front panel that made up the bottom 5' of the bed - the 24" bench seat gave me a 7' long X ~5' wide bunk. I went this route rather than a slide out bunk like on a tent trailer so that I'd have the hard shell and could still drag the trailer into fishing holes and use it as a 'warm-up/lunch shed' while fishing even if I wasn't spending the night.

The whole thing came in at about 500 lbs IIRC before the appliances went in. Making fiberglass panels would easily save another 100 lbs in plywood and lexan windows would be even lighter but I'd still use ply for the roof. There's also a product called 'Italian Light Ply' that's lightweight, if a little pricey. I'm not sure what species the veneers are...spruce maybe ?

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 5:14 pm 
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Here are a couple of pics of my tear because I know how folks just LOVE pictures on this forum. BTW, that's REAL linoleum on the floor complete with wood dough and linseed oil.

Image

Image

Image

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:05 am 
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Pretty Sharp, Dave!

While I still have a boat to finish, then a backlog of honey-doos that's been adding up while I've focused my time on the boat, I've given some thought to these tear drops. My idea would be to make it more in the shape of a football helmet and paint it like the LSU helmet. It would be used as a tailgating station, not camping.

Dave, it amazes me how you can have (it seems) ten projects going on at once. I can only deal with one thing at a time. Maybe in a couple of years I'll have time to take this tailgater trailer on.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:36 am 
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Thank you all for the input. This seems like a very reasonable concept. I may work-up a concept drawing of the Klamuth with my planned arrangement. I do think the shorter trailer will work out fine. Dave, I really appreciate the tear-drop pictures. Those are such great designs.

Robert


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:06 pm 
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thought you might be interested in this, a cedar strip travel trailer i'm building for a customer in the uk..

http://dmc-makerofthings.blogspot.com/2011/09/inside-outside.html


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