The Rondack Lodge
Building the walls, The Body


Design Copyright 2007, Steve Frederick



Frame Exterior Walls, Body Floor Assembly Phyll's Fenders Cabin Interior Galley Electrical/Plumbing Finishing/Details Voyages




Since they don't make 6' by 13' plywood, and I like to work from a full-size profile....I am assembling a large enough piece from 2 layers of 1/4" luan. I staggered the seams.


Here is the plywood, assembled and glued together. I used screws to "clamp" the layers together while the glue sets.

Next, I'll layout the profile on the mega-sheet, and cut it out. Every feature of the body will be detailed on this master pattern.
I'm thinking that I'll have to enlarge my workbench to accommodate the size of the walls!
I laid out the profile and stood the sheet up to get the feel for  the size!
This sheet is 13-feet long, and 6-feet tall!



I had to buy a 6-foot straight edge to lay out the walls, bed, and dinette.


Here's the profile, propped up for a look. I filled in any gaps in the edges to allow the router to run smoothly around the pattern.



These aren't the fenders I plan to use, but, they will give an idea of what the design will look like.
The plan is to build a narrow fender, like the ones on the 'Diner, only 2"-3" wide. They'll go around the wheel openings in the wall.


This is a pattern from the fenders on the 'Diner. I'll build up a block in foam to carve the fenders from..More on that in another section!



A page from the plans..I sketched out where pieces of ply would be, then marked out some pleasing (to me) curves that will blend the sheets together.
I'll use Birch and Cherry for the exterior walls.


I'll need to build up larger sheets, like I did for the profile, to cut the wall section patterns from.
Here, I have sections glued up and drying.



Here, I've got the pattern over the birch ply section of the wall. I used the router and the method detailed in The Builder's Manual


The sections are all cut! There are two sections of Cherry and two sections of Birch.



I applied a thin coat of epoxy to the panel. This will seal the grain for 'glassing, and will glue the sections together. The epoxy is so thin that it will get into the seams between the sections.


Once I cleaned up the bumps and dust from the seal-coat, I laid out the 'glass cloth. I used 3.5-oz material from RAKA.



My logo and the trailer's VIN number are printed on rice paper. Once wet out, it will show through nicely!


I usually wear a respirator! OOPS! Anyway, here's an "action shot"! I started using a plastic putty knife as a spreader. The epoxy peals off it once cured, making it re-usable!



Well, here it is! The upper left is birch, the center is two pieces of Cherry. The lower right, which will be the lower galley area, is Birch.


I added some 'glass to the rear of the joints. This will help to prevent (I hope!) the seams from damage while handling the panel before it gets glued up into the wall sandwich.



Well, the exterior panels are done! Time to trim them to size. I secured the pattern to the bench using weight and some screws in waste areas.
I added cutouts for the windows and the wheel openings. I'll use the router and a top-bearing flush trim bit to do the trimming.


Here's the street-side panel. There's only one window, since the pottie room is on this side.
I may add a marine deck vent to the wall to allow some air in the pottie!



Here is the curb-side panel. I'll cut out the door when I'm nearer to the final glue-up of the walls. There will be a thin area over the door, and I don't want to risk breaking the panel.
The rough block for the fenders reveals how the whole thing will look.


Here, I'm cutting the parts for the wall framing. I ran out of lumber, so I had to stop!



I cut two of each piece. I'll glue up one frame, trim it, then glue/trim the other side.




All of the frame sections are assembled with biscuit plates, and are glued up.
I screwed the sections to the pattern to keep them stable while the glue sets. I went right over the first frame with the second one, screwing it to the first.
Once set, I trimmed the frame to the pattern below it.



I built up a piece of ply to use as a pattern to cut the headliner ledge. I screwed it to the frame stack, already trimmed to the profile pattern, and trimmed it to the shape of the frame's roof line.




I marked a line to cut the pattern for removing the section to be used to produce the headliner ledge.



After a few minutes with the router, Voila!! A frame!! Ready to glue to the exterior panel.
For more info check out the Builder's Manual.


Using weights and improvised clamps, I glued the frame to the exterior panel. This on is the curb-side wall.



I used a piece of scrap floor, trimmed of earlier, to space the bottom board to the wall.
This board is a skirt that hides the frame from view. I will seal this with epoxy and paint before assembling the walls to the floor.




Using weights and improvised clamps again, I glued the foam insulation to the frame and the exterior panel. This on is the curb-side wall.



Here's the curb-side wall, ready to apply the interior skin. Phyll's fenders are coming along also!



Well, the interior is assembled and finished! It's time to start closing in the body!
I laid the headliner in between the walls on the ledge. Now I have to frame the roof!
Since the design is almost 7' wide, I decided to build up beams.



I used 1-by 4 select Pine boards with three-ply 1/4" plywood glued in between.



I clamped and screwed the boards together while the glue sets.
Once ready, I ripped the boards to get the 1-1/2" thick beams I wanted.



Here's the beam in a close-up view. The beam seams very strong, and will get even stronger once glued in between the headliner and the roof.



I discovered that I couldn't reach the roof well enough to work on it! I lowered the trailer to sit on 6-by-6 blocks of wood.



I set up my "scaffold"! Now, I'm ready to frame the roof!



I glued the roof beams in place with PL construction adhesive. A single screw holds the ends to the wall ledge.



Once I got the roof framing done, I started framing the galley hatch.



After cutting the side gussets, I stacked everything in place with clamps and shims holding the parts in alignment. I added the framing, glued it in place.



Blocks, glued in place reinforce the joints. You can see the 1/4" ply shims that I used to achieve the spacing I wanted as I built the hatch.
After the frame had dried, I ran screws through the side gusset, into the horizontal framing. I then glued the gusset to the hatch's exterior sides.



Another shot of the ply that holds a space for clearance of the hatch as it closes next to the galley wall.



Scrap 1/8" ply holds the hatch square while I move it to the bench to install the inner skin next.


Well, we made it to the bench! Since the liner will be over 5-feet, I built up a sheet of 1/8" ply.



Here's the ply, ready to go. I glued a section of left-over headliner to the seam of the two sections. This is the back!


I used a little bit of every type of clamp I own for this job!
I used PL construction adhesive on each rib.



I had a small, expected gap between the gussett and the headliner, so I used a thin strip of Mahagony to trim it.


Well, back to the trailer! I'll do the wiring, some reinforcement, and apply the first layer of the outer skin while in this position.



Seven layers of 1/4" ply will give the hatch support (gas struts) a firm footing!


Bits of scrap were added to reinforce the inner skin.



I added a strips of 1/2 ply to the framing, since it is so wide. The outer skin layers will add a lot of strength also.
(The holes are for lights in the galley)



The wiring is roughed in! I filled in the spaces between the framing with pink foam board.
I used spray foam to fill some gaps!


I used little buttons of plywood as clamps to hold the insulation while the PL construction adhesive cures.



The insulation is comlete! I'll install the first layer of 1/8" ply next, after a little sanding of any areas of foam that are sticking up!


I used little buttons of plywood as clamps to hold the insulation while the PL construction adhesive cures.



On to the first layer of 1/8" ply!
I applied the plywood two inches over-sized. This will allow the use of a  variety of clamping methods to fasten the second layer without nails or screws.
My first chore was fastening the front panels. Cargo straps serve as clamps.


Since this "monster" is so big, my rachet straps aren't long enough to go around the body. I fastened one end to a roof spar in a flat area.



Here, you can see the overhang in the first layer of plywood...


A very secure clamping method..bits of scrap ply, backing up a screw! The skin layers are held together nicely.



In areas where the ply is not under a lot of pressure, spring clamps work well.



I added the second layer to the front section while I still had the straps screwed to the roof. The lower section is Cherry, to match the side panels.



Here, I have the Cherry portion of the hatch in place, glue curing.


After the Cherry secton had cured, I added the birch plywood.



Here's a nice little "clamp"  Binder clips from the office supply store! About $3.00 for 20!


I have the extra ply trimmed of, and the edge rounded over.. As the rest of the roof cures, I'll do the rest.



The lower section of the front matches the sides!  


...The last section of roof skin awaits trimming and sanding!



Contents and images, Copyright, 2002-2007, Steve Frederick
No image or text may be reproduced for any commercial use without permission.
Updated May 13, 2007
This design is Copyright, 2007, Steve Frederick


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