Welcome to my journey, or nightmare, we'll see how it goes. If this is your first time here you might want to start at the bottom and read up.

Friday, October 29, 2010

You're cramping my style!

As a final precaution in my spline joint process I sandwiched the joint between two 2x4s to help make sure nothing spread as the glue dried. I have clamps on both ends and some old CRT monitors on top for weight. Try doing that with your fancy LCD screen! I also left my two ratchet straps in place clamping the two sheets together.

As you can also see in the above pic these two sheets already have the wheel wells cut out. Cutting these out before joining let me make the cuts outside to avoid getting too much sawdust in my shop as I have yet to invest in a dust collection system. Unfortunately as we move into winter this is going to become less and less of an option.

I'm hungry...

The next step in the spline joint was to cut 7/8" strips of 1/4" OSB that will be glued in the slot cut in the facing edges of the plywood. I used OSB because I couldn't find 1/4" plywood. The only thing Home Depot had labeled as 1/4" plwood looked more like thinly veneered particle board so I figured this OSB would be stronger.

After dry fitting my strips (pictured above) I ran a heavy bead of glue down the slot in one piece of plywood. Then inserted the OSB strip so the glue oozed out everywhere making good contact with all surfaces. Then I ran another heavy bead of glue down the slot in the other piece of plywood.

Then the fun began! Working alone in the shop and trying to manipulate two 8'x4' pieces of plywood together wasn't exactly easy. With the help of some ratchet straps and my hammer I got them to fit snugly and most of the glue wiped up from the top side at least.

A Joint Venture

After reading a lot about joining plywood in the Teardrops & Tiny Travel Trailers Forums I decided to go with a spline joint. Yes, there are many other ways of joining plywood. Some easier, some harder and some stronger, but this one seemed best for my situation with the tools I have. It also makes for a perfectly flush joint without too much trouble.

To start with I set my router and T-Slot bit and guide to cut a 1/4" wide by 1/2" deep groove in the two edges to be joined getting it as close to centered as I could. Doesn't have to be perfectly centered as long as the router is run along the same side of each piece of plywood so they line up flush even if they are off center slightly.

In the picture above it might look like the one on the left is slightly off and/or wider. That was due to a slight accidental raising of the router at the end of that cut. It is only the last 1/2" or so, so it should not affect the overall strength of the joint and should fill in with glue.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I got wood!

I went to Home Depot yesterday and bought three 4'x8' sheets of 3/4" plywood for the floor. Had them cut them all down to 84" while I was there. Dude at Home Depot cut the first three sheets all at once to 74" by mistake. Glad it was him there and not me after I got home with them. While I was there I bought a 2'x4' piece of 1/4" OSB that I'll be ripping strips off of as wedges for connecting the sheets of plywood together. Also picked up a few 2"x4"s that I'll be ripping into 2"x2"s to begin repairing the wall framing. Believe it or not, this small load of lumber came to over $97. That's practically what I paid for the camper to begin with!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Is it in?

With the help of a buddy we easily pushed the trailer into my shop. You're thinking my shop is a mess? Actually this is the most organized it's been in years. I still have an old stove, furnace, and oil tank to get rid of, but most of the stuff in the back corner is "temporary" storage for my brother and father-in-law.

It should still give me room to putter on the trailer over the winter months. My plan is to get the plywood floor down on the trailer and then use this as a work surface to repair the camper's walls. Yes, that is the camper's aluminum skin on the floor under the trailer.