Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wood Sides

I finally decided to go with wood sides instead of a fancy paint job. I located some beautiful red oak 1/4 inch plywood at Lowes. The sides of my trailer are six feet tall and 10 feed wide so I needed two and half sheets per side. Then comes the problem of stitching the three parts together for each side. I wanted to make sure that the joints are flush and I was afraid if I just screwed them to the side of the trailer and butted them together the seams might have a little waviness. I decided to stitch them together with fiberglass before I  attach them to the walls. More on that later.
I masked off a three inch border and applied one coat of epoxy resin inside the masked area. The above picture shows the pieces after the epoxy has been applied and the masking tape removed. The grain of the red oak really looks beautiful after the epoxy has been applied. Next I stained the border by freehanding it with a brush just slightly overlapping the stain onto the epoxy. This created a sharp edge to the stain. If the stain had been applied to the wood before the epoxy edge was there I would have gotten bleeding of the stain into the grain of the oak and there is no way I could have made a clean edge. Even masking it off would have bleeding underneath the tape. I used minwax water based stain.
In the above picture you can see both side panels. The one closest to the camera is in the process of being stitched on the backside with two-inch fiberglass tape. The joints are screwed in place to a 1X4 to stabilize them while the backside epoxy is curing. After the epoxy was cured I turned the panel over before removing the screws to keep it secure. I removed the screws from below after the panel was safely flipped and placed in its new position. 

The farthest panel from the camera is further along in the process. The back has already been stitched and now it is sitting front side up and the fiberglass cloth has been wetted out with epoxy. After the epoxy gels the overhanging fiberglass will be trimmed from the edge with a razor and more coats will be added with sanding between coats until a smooth finish is obtained. 

I was dreading the fiberglass process because I'm doing this in the garage and I thought the odor of the epoxy would leak into the house. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this product is completely odorless. I ordered the UV resistant epoxy from Raka. So far I have not seen any blushing and the mixed resin is quite transparent. 

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