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Old 08-09-2015, 09:32 PM   #1
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1968 30' Sovereign
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Attaching to Airstream walls

I'm hoping for some advice on attaching to Airstream walls. In our particular situation, we had to gut the rear bath in our newly acquired 1968 Sovereign due to floor rot. We have decided that we are NOT using the original fixtures with the exception of the bathtub - all else will be new.

So, the new floor is finally in and I'm ready to start putting the rest of the room together. The problem is that I cannot figure a great way of attaching to the existing walls without just screwing the wood to the walls (which just doesn't sound right!). Please note that the bathroom walls are still covered by the aluminum skins that were originally there so that I'm not even sure where the ribs are!

I know I need to build a wood framework where the new water heater will be installed. How do I attach that wood frame to the walls - particularly the vertical pieces?? What size lumber to use (I was thinking 2x3s or 2x2's)?

Secondly, I need to build the frame work for the vanity cabinet and counter top from scratch. Again - I'm not sure how to attach that wood for the framework to the walls to insure the cross pieces on which the sink top and counter sit on are solid. I was also thinking of 2x3's or 2x2's to build this framework too.

I would greatly appreciate any information, suggestions, links to threads that may have discussed this, etc. It can't possibly be as simple as screwing the wood framework to the wall. Are there aluminum brackets available that rivet to the wall on to which the wood framework can then be attached?

Thank you in advance for any insight or advice!
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:06 PM   #2
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Lots of different ways. Screwing has been used, sheet metal screws through the wood. For the brackets you mention, if you go to lows or homedept they usually have angle aluminum, you can cut short pieces , screw one edge to the wood rivet the other to the wall.
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I have gotten so adverse to introducing new holes to the exterior of the Airstream that it's starting to impact how I'm viewing adding holes to the interior of the Airstream. I'll take a look for that angle aluminum.
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:44 PM   #4
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Attaching to Airstream walls

I think 2x2s and 2x3s are overkill. I'd make frames out of 1x2 birch with 1/4" birch plywood inserts - maybe 1/2" for cabinet floors and tops - all made like cabinets, assembled with glue and screws. Attach to the outer skin with aluminum angle riveted to the skin and screwed to the wood frames. Fill the old holes with rivets.
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Old 08-09-2015, 10:51 PM   #5
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I may be way overthinking the amount of support I think I need for a vanity or a countertop. I thought I'd need at least 2x2's to give me the support needed. You mention 1x2 birch. Is there a reason you are specifying birch instead of the 1x2's in pine that the box stores carry?
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:03 PM   #6
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Personal preferrence.
For cabinet making I think box store 1x2s are junk unless you buy what used to be called select pine (no knots), sometimes found with the molding (which also sometimes includes finger joints - blech), also most pine is kiln dried and sometimes acts funny when clamped, glued and screwed.
So because birch is also available at the box stores, and it's harder to break ... plus in an RV application conserving space is beneficial.
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:07 PM   #7
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Attaching to Airstream walls

Too much wood!

I cut 3/4" and 1/2" birch plywood into 1 1/4" and 2" strips to make frames and structure.

I made angle brackets out of 18 ga sheet metal to affix fixtures and bulkheads.

Do not underestimate the strength and structure of this lightweight material.

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...ps152d95fd.jpg

Pictured is the installation of a bulkhead made of two pieces of 1/4" birch plywood with strips of 3/4" Birch around the perimeter. (Think hollow door)

It is screwed to the interior skins using the above mentioned bracket tabs.

(Plywood strips are light, attractive, and very strong. )
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:13 PM   #8
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nrgtrakr, Thank you for that information. I don't think I've ever seen birch 1x2's at Menards or Home Depot - but then again - I never knew enough to look for them!
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:22 PM   #9
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Absolutely love what you did with that wood. Were those panels purchased at a box store or were those special order? I have not seen panels where the grain has that much curl in it at the regular box stores. Beautifully done!
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:39 AM   #10
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Attaching to Airstream walls

I bought the plywood right off the shelf at Lowe's.

The selection was good at the time.

In the bath area I used 3/4" birch ply to make open shelves, and covered it with upholstery cloth...

The shelves are very strong, and very light. Lightness REALLY matters this far back in the trailer. (No sway)!

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/g...psuuawwokb.jpg

This was my "redo" in the bath area, the first time I made it way to heavy with "traditional" cabinets etc. The pendulum affect is not good when towing.
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Old 08-10-2015, 08:44 AM   #11
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Attaching to Airstream walls

Never been to a Menards, but all of the Home Depots and Lowes I've been in have a small hardwood section as well as birch and mahogany 1/4 and 3/4 inch plywood.

The idea isn't orginal, just a modification. The original divider walls, cabinetry, etc. in my 75 is laminate on 1/8" plywood with extruded aluminum moldings for corners.
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Old 08-10-2015, 06:42 PM   #12
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For the structure you can also use poplar as it is a great paint grade wood. not too heavy, very structurally stable (very little twist or shrinkage), very few or no knots, not overly pricy, and can be stained to match other wood if required.
I agree that 1/8 or 1/4 inch ply is a great filler material for gables and solid faces. I am about to start my rebuild on our 75 and have been talking with a cabinet maker about what to use to build light and strong and these are a few of his recomendations. Also a good quality glue to construct units. In bathroom a polyurethane glue (gorilla glue or type) would work best as it is 100% waterproof so will not be affected by steam or moisture.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:01 PM   #13
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Stay away from the gorilla glue, it's over hyped and not the strongest joints by far; Not a dig news2. I'd go for Titebond III, it's waterproof and considered one of the strongest bonds by wood workers. Clamping is important for glue getting a strong bond, so the next item will help.
Also consider picking up a pocket screw jig, Kreg makes simple ones, they're easy to use and really strong.
Using 1x wood is a good way to keep things light, poplar is strong flexible and light. Pine has a tendency to twist and bow, especially if it has knots in it. Use the 1x to build frames then inset or face with plywood.
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Old 08-10-2015, 07:12 PM   #14
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I actually prefer the yellowish (not brown) Gorilla Glue because it is the only modern glue I've found that not only paints well, but also stains well.
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