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Old 04-06-2007, 12:36 PM   #1
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70's interior construction / weights

I have searched this topic until blue in the face. I am trying to find out what the interiors were made of in the 70's. I know the finish for cabinetry was plastic laminate but what was the substrate? Plywood, particle board? I have seen some posts say 3/4" plywood and others that said 3/8".

The reason I want to know this is that I would like to see how light I can make a 70's 31 ' by reconfiguring the interior among other things. So, I am trying to estimate the percentage of trailer dry weight the original cabinetry makes up. One post had someone mentioning that they had removed 1400 lbs. of weight by removing all cabinetry ,toilet, sink, appliances (except fridge), etc.

Next will be the subflooring...
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Old 04-06-2007, 01:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by at_wanderer
I have searched this topic until blue in the face. I am trying to find out what the interiors were made of in the 70's. I know the finish for cabinetry was plastic laminate but what was the substrate? Plywood, particle board? I have seen some posts say 3/4" plywood and others that said 3/8".

The reason I want to know this is that I would like to see how light I can make a 70's 31 ' by reconfiguring the interior among other things. So, I am trying to estimate the percentage of trailer dry weight the original cabinetry makes up. One post had someone mentioning that they had removed 1400 lbs. of weight by removing all cabinetry ,toilet, sink, appliances (except fridge), etc.

Next will be the subflooring...
My '75 31' has the plywood/laminate construction, no particle board anywhere. IIRC the walls and cabinet sides are 1/4" or possibly thinner plywood with the laminate applied to both sides. I will check finished thickness tonight if I get the chance. The floors in mine are 3/4" ACX. Laminate came in a couple different thicknesses depending on use. There was the thicker counter top grade and a thinner grade that was primarily used for edge work.

Aaron
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Old 04-06-2007, 01:15 PM   #3
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FWIW, my '73 is exaclty as Aaron described it.
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Old 04-06-2007, 03:45 PM   #4
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Most of the mid 70's I have run across use eighth inch ply with a paneled surface for bulkheads and partitions and shelves.

Counter tops. like on the credenza are half inch ply with Formica laminate.

The heavy stuff is often the closet or pocket doors.

Furniture is also eighth inch ply with minimal aluminum framing.
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Old 04-06-2007, 04:12 PM   #5
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My 75 is just as Brian has stated above.
What is a pocket door?
I am not sure that you could lower the weight of the trailer by putting in new material. The 70s were very light. They were built during the years of gas shortages and weight reduction was very important.
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Old 04-06-2007, 04:40 PM   #6
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I have replaced a galley end panel and looking at products for wet bath panels.All panels I have removed are punk board a medium density fiberboard with basically a shelf liner paper applied on woodgrain side .Not a good product if your looking for weight reduction.A standard type ply would be lighter but I would recommend a channel at the bottom of any panels meeting the sub-floor.At least that what I'm seeing.
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Old 04-06-2007, 05:54 PM   #7
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What is a pocket door?
that is the door between the center beds and the rear bath. It slides into a pocket between the closet and the bed on my 29'.
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
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that is the door between the center beds and the rear bath. It slides into a pocket between the closet and the bed on my 29'.
Thanks, I have one too. I never heard it called that.....
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Old 04-06-2007, 07:15 PM   #9
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My panels were all 3/16" with laminate on both sides making them a fraction thicker than 3/16" say 5/32???

The base wood was luan.

after I gutted it and and redid most of it with 1/4" cherry plywood, I hit the scales at about 4500 with the hitch on the truck. I would guess 4900-5000.

I spoke to two other people that had all original units they said theirs weighted 6600 & 6800.
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:27 PM   #10
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trailer weights/ apples and oranges

Quote:
Originally Posted by LI Pets
I hit the scales at about 4500 with the hitch on the truck. I would guess 4900-5000.

I spoke to two other people that had all original units they said theirs weighted 6600 & 6800.
Quite a discrepany! I have noticed people are not always clear when quoting trailer weights. Some mention the actual dry weight and some the maximum gross weight, which are about as far apart as the above numbers.
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Old 04-06-2007, 08:37 PM   #11
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True, but mine was on a CAT scale twice, and one of the other two mentioned above was.
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Old 04-06-2007, 11:02 PM   #12
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70's interior construction / weights

Greetings at_wanderer!

I know that you are thinking more along the lines of what Airstream utilized, but an alternative was experimented with in the Argosy line during this general time period (1977-1979). During this time period, in the Minuet series, the cabinetry was formed entirely of vinyl-clad aluminum with the only other materials being the plastic/laminates in the tambour doors. I suspect that there may have beeen a weight savings, and at least in my '78 Minuet, the vinyl clad cabinetry has held up very well (the upper tambours have all been replaced with new veneer wood tambour material).

Good luck with your research and investigation!

Kevin
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Old 04-09-2007, 01:26 PM   #13
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Some lightweight construction alternatives...

My 1973 31' unit was also constructed with laminate panels that were in the range of 3/16" thick. Virtually all of the corners and other joints were done using aluminum extrusions of various shapes. I found it interesting that my 1973 service manual has a complete break down list of all of the panels and extrusions by part number. Evidently it was possible to replace any of these parts at that time. I think the overall construction was a reasonably light alternative.

At any rate I have also given some consideration to ohter ways that I could rebuild my interior using lighter weight materials. I have started another thread on the topic of alternative construction techniques at the following link:

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ons-14691.html

It is my personal opinion after thinking about the topic for a while that the lightest way to build interior partitions would be to use fabric as much as possible instead of rigid materials. To do so requires a bit of a change of mindset however since we tend to equate stiffness with quality. If I decide to take this approach myself (and the jury is still out) I will probably use flexible plastic trim moulding attached to the curved sides of the AS to which I attach my fabric with either staples or possibly with window screen spline. I could envision making door panels in the same way that one could make a window screen. Home Depot, for example, carries DIY aluminum window screen framing materials with rails as long as 7'. They come in plain aluminum, white and bronze too. Why not make wardrobe storage cubbies out of fabric? Why not store other things in various sized duffel bags instead of rigid drawers or boxes? I would be interested in discusssing this approach in more detail if anyone else is interested.

Another reasonable alternative would be to use panel materials that have a lightweight hollow core cardboard or foam construction. A strong contender for my interest is to consider using readily available hollow core doors. If you have ever lifted one you know that they are actually pretty light weight and very stiff. They are, of course, 1-3/8" thick so they would waste a bit of space. I didn't think that would be too big of a deal in my 31' unit. They do come in pretty usefull sizes too. They are typically 80" tall which just happens to be about the same as the ceiling height in my unit. Standard widths include 24", 28", 30" and etc. Of course you have the issue of cutting one edge to fit the curved wall and the question as to what to do with the cut edge. It is not all that hard to glue in a new strip of material along the curved edge as long as you have access to a table saw or surface plain to get material of the right thickness. It also occurred to me that the right shape of flexible trim attached to the wall on both sides of the door panel would both cover the cut edge and give the panel a floating type of attachement like what the aluminum extrustions did with my original 3/16" panels.

It would be pretty easy to construct new lightweight panels myself. I don't know how readily available they are to the end consumer but I do have access through a cabinet company to cardboard honey comb panels that come in different thicknesses. Styrofoam insulation panels in different thicknesses are also readily available. I thought about using 1/8" plywood skins on either side of a 1/2" or 3/4" core. That would result in panels that were not a whole lot thinner than a hollow core door though. It is possible to buy veener skins or even thinner plywood. Another alternative that occurred to me was to use something like Formica laminate as the skins. It is typically something around 1/16" or maybe less in thickness and should be pretty strong when glued to a foam or cardboard core. Whatever the skin type my intent would be to put wood (or maybe plastic?) splines in my panels at the edges and in places that I needed extra strength.

I also think that using 1/8" thick plywood to make single thickness panels could work just fine. I would envision perhaps using 1" x 1" framing at the edges and any other points of stress. I would use glue and brads to attach the plywood to the frames. This type of construction is actually pretty strong but does suffer a bit from the "lack of stiffness" perceptional problem that I mentioned above.

I do intend to follow at least some aspects of the various approaches I outlined above. I would be interested in further discussions on this topic if others are interested.

Malcolm
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Old 04-09-2007, 01:46 PM   #14
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I am currently looking at using either fiberglass or aluminum faced honeycomb panels for partitions and doors. Cost is a big factor on these though. I'm also considering making my own Styrofoam sandwich panels with ply veneer or melamine facing. The jury is still out on which why I'll go. I still have several exterior skins to replace first.
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