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Old 05-09-2010, 09:04 PM   #1
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Some progress, but not much.

The subfloor is in, 1/4" hardwood sheeting over the plywood sub-sub floor. I've sealed the subfloor with an outdoor waterproofing (Behr) sealer. The old plastic wheel wells are out. The rear bed ("short queen") is framed in. I went with poplar. It's not a particularly strong wood, but it is very light. The frame itself is mostly 1x3 with 2x2 supports. I thought about putting in a floor covering under the bed, but I think the sealed hardwood will work fine and it will allow me to inspect the wood.

I haven't attached the bed frame to the floor yet. I'm still fussing with a few things. It's not cabinetry, but it will hold. Standard "glue-and-screw" construction.

I'm going to leave the plywood panels off until I'm done messing around with the wiring. I'm relocating the AC fuse box to allow better access from the rear hatch and I'm mounting the convertor on an elevated sheet of thin hardwood plywood... I figure it can't hurt.

Once the "under bed" nonsense is done, I'll start framing in the bathroom. I have to dry fit the head and start playing around with the shower pan floor.

I've got a rough template for how I'll do the wheel wells. The curbside (starboard) well will serve as the bench seat for the shower and bathroom storage. The streetside (port) wheel well doesn't have to be quite as load bearing. I picked up Reflectix to insulate the wells. Oh, and I'm also routing some ducting through the bathroom, using the space between the top of the metal well and the bottom of the wooden bench seat.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:04 PM   #2
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Think I've read about your wheelwell plan before. Sounds like a well thought-through alternative! Pictures is gooder.

I've used poplar in other applications and seems to be a good wood. Are you using Krex or biscuits for any joinery?
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:03 AM   #3
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My wife has the camera. I'll have her download some pictures for me. As far as biscuits, I'm treating this as "framing" rather than "cabinetry." It's not bad for a guy who grew up think carpentry was a unit of 2x4s, a five-gallon bucket of 16-penny nails and a chain saw.

Poplar isn't a bad wood, but it's not attractive. I'm using it because it's very light and strong enough to do the job. There's only one "panel" on the bed frame anyone will see. My plan is to cover it with a thin birch ply.

My overall concept for the trailer is to use the same birch ply for all of the exposed wood. I'm also make all of the panels "removable." I'll use small brass wood screws. If I need to get at something... back out the screws, zut, zut, zut, and remove the panel. I'm guessing the only place I'll use biscuits or other joining approaches is in the galley cabinets and countertop. Since I've never actually built any cabinets, that should be a rodeo.

As for the bed frame, it's the only real "load-bearing" structure. And since I'm the heaviest thing in the Airstream... it has to take a bit of load. I'm going to use the same basic concept on the top of the bed frame (plywood). There will be four panels. With the Sleep Number bed (deflatable), I'll be able to remove any of the panels to get at things underneath (like the convertor, 110v breaker box, 12v fuse box, etc.
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Old 05-10-2010, 07:30 AM   #4
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Pocket-holes are a great way to frame up Airstream cabinetry. Very easy even for novice DIYers (or those recovering from 2x4 and 16-penny nail construction ).

The "Kreg" jig is the most popular for pocket-holes, but there are other brands available that will do the same thing.

-Marcus
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:18 AM   #5
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Well, Marcus, I have no illusions that anyone will mistake me for a cabinet maker. I could have done pocket holes for the bed, but I made a command decision that I wasn't going to worry about looks with the framing. The bed frame simply has to keep my suppine carcass (and bed) off the floor of the trailer.

I don't know "pretty," but I do know "sturdy."

To have a flat face to mount the birch, I'm going to fabricate some additional "legs" tonight. They will be spaced about the width of the rear access hatch on both sides. I also need to add some stringers running fore to aft. At the minimum, I think one 1x3 along the centerline, but I'm constantly at war with my inner over-engineer.

The general idea is to have a light birch door to allow access to the forward underbed storage age. I'll have enough room for plastic storage tub filled with mostly light stuff like linens and extra clothing.

I'll shoot a few more pictures after the bed frame is finished... oh, and I need to hit the floor with some more waterproofing, especially the place where I dumped the convertor.
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:29 PM   #6
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Some things I think...

1. The Kreg jig is pretty darn cool.

2. Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure is good stuff.

3. The floor feels much better with the 1/4" of additional subfloor.

4. The problem with not doing wood work on a regular basis is that you have to make the same stupid mistakes you should have remembered making before.

5. It's hard to know exactly where to draw the line in compromising between weight and strength. I don't think the bed frame will fail as currrently designed... but it's always tempting to add "just one more...."

6. Cheap wood screws are exactly that and nothing more.

7. Glue is good.
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Old 05-18-2010, 05:15 PM   #7
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Why don't you do a lift up section on top of your bed frame for storage? It would give you much more access to the underbed storage than a door in the foot of the bed would. You'd need a piano hinge or 3 regular hinges, and gas lifter thingys, (or a stick).
You might want to divide your underbed storage into sections - one for access from inside the trailer, and one for access from the rear hatch. That way if things shift, they don't go too far out of reach, requiring you to crawl in!
Just some suggestions.................

Kay
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Old 05-18-2010, 06:45 PM   #8
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Thanks, Kay.

The top of the bed frame will be all flat panels which will be removable. I'm not sure I want to do hinges. I like the ideal of being able to take out and replace panels.

I've already given thought to the rear access hatch. It's mostly there as a utility access rather than a storage area. I'm concerned about weight at the rear of the coach. I'll remount the breaker panel to allow better access and create some dedicated areas for other light storage.
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:47 AM   #9
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I had some feedback via PM on the bedframe. It isn't done yet. I'm adding more "legs" and cross bracing. As for the strength, the plywood panels will rest directly on the legs and bear the weight. There are 6 2x2s so far with another 6 to come. Because the 2x2 are poplar are only 17 inches long, they don't weigh much. The example I think of is a dining room chain. I can stand on one of our chairs to change a light bulb... rock solid despite very skinny legs. In fact, I think I could have our entire family stand on one chair if we'd fit. The most likely failure is lateral stress, i.e., leaning back.
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:38 PM   #10
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I wanted to take some pictures, but of course, the camera was out of batteries. I owe the folks looking at the Nature's Head composting toilet a few pictures. Here's the thing. The composting toilet needs to be vented but the roof vent is on the opposite side of the coach. I'm thinking about cutting a small vent hole in the wheel well. Overall, I think it would work. The Nature's Head uses a small computer type fan to move enough air to keep the compost working. My only concerns are screening the vent and make sure the "road dust" doesn't clog the screening. Food for thought, I suppose. Oh, the Reflectix does seem to work well insulating the wheel wells.
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Old 05-21-2010, 03:47 AM   #11
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Photos, more photos... some of us are visual people and need pictures to understand all that hand gesturing.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:00 AM   #12
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Well, because Frank can't see my virtual arm waving, I charged the battery and took some photos instead of eating lunch. The first is the genuine Nature's Head composting toilet. It is positioned in roughly the place it will, near the starboard wheel well. The second picture is the side view showing one of the two vents (circular hole).
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:03 AM   #13
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The vent issue

In this photo, you can see the small vent in proximity to the wheel well. The second photo is the vent tube/hose (provided for a sense of scale).
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:07 AM   #14
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And for a sense of scale

This is the NH, the wheel well, the pipe into the gray water tanks... provided to give a sense of the bathroom layout. When I frame in the wheel well, I'll use the Reflectix and leave space to run ductwork and the NH vent over the well and under the bench seat for the shower. The scraps of plywood sitting on the well were doing something, but I've forgotten what now. The second photo is the port wheel well with the Reflectix and the wheel well framing moved to one side.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:12 AM   #15
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And for the very curious

The bowl of the NH and the "innards." Air circulation is accomplished by using a small 12v computer fan. I'm still thinking about the "push/pull" fan design. The basic question is... do I route the venting into the overhead vent for all plumbing or do I vent it separately into the wheel well? Still weighing some pros and cons.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:19 AM   #16
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For Frank

This is a view of the front of the coach. The weights on the floor are sitting there because I haven't bothered to move them after serving as the pressure for gluing the 1/4 ply. The front storage is my informal "tool cabinet." I still need to seal the subfloor to wall crack with some clear silicon. I'll also put another coating of sealer on critical areas. The lower paint could use one more coat before sealing with the PolyCrylic.
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Old 05-21-2010, 04:28 PM   #17
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Well, now I know what your talking about, THANK YOU!!!

Ken, I am watching this toilet issue with great curiosity. I think it is a super idea and as long as you keep it balanced I believe it will be odorless inside the trailer. I wonder though if the exhaust tube is going to put odors into the outdoor space and might waft into windows... my personal inclination would be a separate vent up high. Unlike most people, I am not afraid to cut a hole in a trailer. You will have a wall right there, so it can't be too hard to hide it. Could even show it off by running it in copper. Putting it into the exiting vent makes me nervous because you are forcing air and it might pull enough in the existing vent to cause the traps to not function properly. I do not know this for fact, just trying to think it out in my head...
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Old 05-22-2010, 06:54 AM   #18
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You are a braver man than I am, Frank-a-din. I'm extremely nervous about cutting holes in the coach.

My lovely bride had a good point. Exhausting the Nature's Head into the wheel well put the exhaust right under our planned awning/porch. I hear what you are saying about getting the exhaust high for max dispersion and your concern about creating pressure in the system that would result in venting within the coach. I'm also concerned about the length of the run and the power of the 12v fan. I'm going to put a pencil on this and rough up some diagrams to consider how to vent this without compromising the plumbing "p" traps. That said, I still need to figure out my "zero clearance" p-trap for the shower. It's always something.
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:08 PM   #19
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I would go straight up with it... I'll come over and drill the hole and install the roof vent for beer and a sandwich...

You could terminate it in one of these boat deck thingys.
Zero p traps:

You might try this shower sump. BoatDoc has a similar set up in his Argosy and he puts the grey in an above floor tank.

You cannot possibly get much more zero than this p trap.

Maybe stainless ain't your bag baby...
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Old 05-22-2010, 03:48 PM   #20
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If you are worried about the vent being too long for a 12 v. fan, check with the manufacturer (not something I'd want to do because I like to figure it out for myself). Can a booster fan be installed midway? I'd keep it out of the wheel well because not only does it compromise enhance a picnic, but air pressure on it while traveling is not good. There's good reason for vents being on the roof though it's good to always challenge conventional wisdom. As for cutting into the skin, it sure was hard putting two screws in when I mounted the exterior level, but I toughed it out and did it. The world did not come to an end.

Good luck with the cabinets. I avoid that level of carpentry because I'm not that good, but when I try and am ever so careful, it usually comes out pretty good, but takes me forever. Glad to see you are willing to do it and learn.

Agreed about screws. Lots of junk screws available. I've used brass screws because they look better, but they are soft and easy to mangle the heads. Maybe stainless steel screws would be more appropriate (and stronger) for an Airstream.

Now that I found this thread, I can follow your deliberate (sounds better than "slow") progress.

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