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Old 05-28-2004, 01:52 PM   #1
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Question Thick or thin walls?

My 1973 31' Sovereign International has had most of the interior removed. I will need to rebuild pretty much everything including the walls. Fortunately most of the aluminum channel that used to attach the walls appears to still be there (on the floor in the back of the trailer). I also have one of the walls left that I can use as a template to get the curve right.

My question is this:

Is it generally thought to be a good idea to stick with the thin walls and original type of mounting or is anyone using something thicker (for example: some form of sandwich panel for light weight)? If thicker how are you attaching it?

Malcolm
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:02 PM   #2
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weight is bad.

The whole point out of making these with thin walls and aluminum bodies is to keep the weight down. The design of the coach reflects this. It cannot handle the extra weight. It will cause frame seperation/sag problems in the rear.
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:13 PM   #3
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I definitely understand the weight issue. I am thinking about materials such as foam core panels with thin wood layers laminated on them. Or maybe something like the way that hollow core doors are constructed - thin wood skins with a cardboard honeycomb core.

Generally the thought is to use something similar in weight to the thin panels but stiffer so that they can be better used to mount shelves to them (such as in the wardrobe, pantry, etc.). Since much of my interior is gone I do not have much of an idea how the wardrobe and cabinets were constructed and what actually holds up the weight of things. My impression is that the walls are basically just partitions between things and that cabinets themselves must have other components that support their weight down to the floor. Perhaps photos or drawings of typical construction would help here.

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Old 05-28-2004, 02:21 PM   #4
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Composits will work as long as you keep an eye on the weigh.

decide on a material and then it your local metal supply place and they should be able to order you a C channel in aluminum to do the job. If ide enough you can hide the Rivet in the channel.

There is a product called Starboard I think it is. It's a foam core product. Looks easy to work with on the boat shows. Might be something to look at.
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:25 PM   #5
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The walls are secured by the curved aluminum channel and sometime cleats tot eh inner skin. The framework in the front of the cabinet also secures the walls. Inside hanging bars etc. are attached directly to the thin panels, sometimes with wooden 1x2's for extra strength. The 1973 interior has a clever aluminum extrusion system, that holds everything together quite well. This also holds the spirals for the Tambour doors.
On earlier trailers, the interiors are built using hardwood 1/2's, covered with thin plywood panels, and gaining strength from the paneling and countertops.
Everything can be built outside the coach, and will fit through the door if you do it like the factory.
Good luck!
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:36 PM   #6
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uwe,

Unfortunately I do not have much left of the original interior framing to understand what was there before. I like the idea of using aluminum channel to form joints at the corners though. Do you know of any photos that show how this was originally done? I guess I could shop around for aluminum or maybe even plastic channel that I could use.

Otherwise I probably will do something like the approach of using a 1x2 framework with thin panels.

Malcolm
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Old 05-28-2004, 03:05 PM   #7
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The interior panels are an integral part of the structure. The rigidity of any tube is defined by the thickness of the walls - and an Airstream is, for all practical purposes, a tube. In the case of an Airstream, that is the dimension determined by the outer panels through the ribs to the inner panels. Without the inner panels, the rigidity is determined by the outer wall alone, which is not much.

I'd sure stay with aluminum, myself, but whatever you use, you need to recognize it will be a structural element. When you begin installation you will need to support the body/shell from end to end as otherwise you will build in a certain amount of droop on both ends.

Good luck,

Mark
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Old 05-28-2004, 03:18 PM   #8
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Not the inner skin...

j54mark,

I not talking about the inner skin of the AS, just the partitions between things, around the bath, etc.

Malcolm
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Old 05-28-2004, 03:27 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by malconium
j54mark,

I not talking about the inner skin of the AS, just the partitions between things, around the bath, etc.

Malcolm
Glad to get THAT clarified. The kind of restoration projects some of our members are undertaking, you never know.

Good luck,

Mark
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Old 05-28-2004, 03:43 PM   #10
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If you can find a source for veneer core plywood I think you would like using it. It's stiffer than other lumber core plywood and can be had in a range of species. Over head cabinets attach to the interior shell as does the gallery cabinets. If you checkout this website you'll get a feel for how these are laid out.

73 Sov
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