Which plywood?

Discussion in 'Camper Conversions' started by bood, Dec 3, 2014.

  1. I am looking to make an interior fir my van. The original westy cabinets are super light compared to the ply in b&q

    I have read that birch ply or poplar is lightweight but really struggling to find places that sell the poplar wood (unless I am understanding it wrong)

    What do most people use? Keeping weight down is my top priority.

    Many thanks
  2. rickyrooo1

    rickyrooo1 Hanging round like a bad smell

  3. Vohringer ply, that could be how you spell it anyway! think its a fair bit lighter than ordinary ply and comes in lots of surface finishes.
    matty likes this.
  4. This is what I used they use it in modern motorhomes
    Do a goggle for oleary motorhome or rainbow conversions I think they sell it

    One issue is it can dent
  5. Thanks for the info. I have tried some local wood yards and covers but they were no use at all.

    Is that what the original westy units are made from?
  6. Birch ply is a good quality ply we use for all our cabinets and is available in 15mm. You can get poplar ply I have only used it a couple of times and that was in thin sheets, It was sourced from a company in Bristol, but you will find most good timber suppliers can get birch in.

    I have no knowledge of vohinger ply, but I have only seen it pre finished.
  7. Birch ply isn't bad, but Vohringer & Morland are lighter in weight. The choice of finishes seems limited with both Vohringer & Morland and I haven't found any matching iron edging for them! I was told that Vohringer is a real wood face, but haven't actually seen it in the flesh... morland is a foil faced melamine and seems hard as nails!

    If you fancy saving yourself some build time I might be selling my birch ply units shortly (before even installing them)! drop me a PM
    bood likes this.
  8. Be careful some 'laminate faced ply' is actually paper faced (as I found to my cost!) first bit of serious damp and it peels off - I will be redoing mine with the Morland stuff rock hard just how I like it!
    Send for a brocure and samples they send you a nice resonable sized sample rather than some skin flints!
  9. Birch 'throughout' ply is super strong, compared to Far Eastern, but is a bit of a heavyweight, if you're going to make a full on interior with lockers, doors, etc. plus you'll need to finish it in either laminate or some kind of laquer/varnish as it will go mouldy if left untreated. The 'lightweight' furniture boards such a Vohringer are very good, but pricey. They're usually only available to the general public in full metric boards with a limited range of veneers....there are also a range of trims in matching colours/grains to suit.
    Poplar plywood is fantastic, but as you've found, isn't redily available....it sits between birch and Vohringer in the weight stakes, but IMO is a nicer material to work with....Winwoods sell it, but again, the price and shipping/delivery may be preclusive...most top quality caravan manufacturers used poplar, before the likes of Vohringer came along, but the techniques used to create strong, lightweight furniture have changed. Traditional units were made as a framed carcass with thin ply planted on to 'tie' it up (bit like those flimsy shelves you get from Ikea....soon as you plant the skinny backboard on they're as stiff as you like.

    For my money, I'd get in touch with Magnum motorhomes and see what furniture board they have in stock...much cheaper than Vohringer and the quality is pretty good...trims and edging to match:thumbsup:

    avoid MDF like the plague
    Cov1987 and bood like this.
  10. Yes Magnums are good but it was that paper faced stuff I got from them actually. Of course months too late to send back but they are very helpful over the phone.
  11. unless you pay top dollar for HPL (laminate) faced board, it's always going to be a compromise.....I've used a mixture of paper faced stuff and matching HPL on areas more likely to get trashed...cuts down on costs....
    If I was to do another interior I'd go traditional with framing and Poplar...much more work but much stronger/lighter

    At the end of the day, if you've got kids, or you're likely to be chucking bikes and allsorts in the van, birch ply is more forgiving, when it comes to cupboard doors being yanked or trim being bashed
  12. jivedubbin

    jivedubbin Moderator

  13. @Stan does it have to be super light? A lot of people go to the effort of making light weight interiors but in the grand scheme of things does it really make a difference? I know that my bus 1600tp with no interior in at all drove the same as it does now with a heavy rustylee bed and my home brew pallet furniture. :D
  14. PSG


    My first Dormobile had units i made and sprayed out of 19mm oak veneered MDF with Oak doors and 6mm MRDF door cards set, with a 6mm MRDF headliner and headbanger cupboard. We were fully laden with clothes, water, gas, portaloo, 2 adults and child. We still got 80 on the motorway in a 1600 type1 engine. So it doesnt matter really. If we were going for efficiency we would all be driving a Prius.
  15. I am lucky my van was always speedy but all those knocked out mdf or chipboard units are not for me in an old van. There will always be a compromise on fuel and speed and hills as you know are the killer but as mentioned depends how much you carry?
    I decided to make my own lightweight cupboards 18 months ago but we moved house and things stopped, in the meantime the hot weather and usual rain just caused the paper faced stuff to curl up at the edges and peel away? I was fuming as I spent so much time and effort making them. So decided I really wanted the formica style hard laminate rather than real ply or veneer and laquer? I didnt fancy resanding and repainting again in a few years time, be under no illusion old van interiors get all the elements?
    The morland stuff is cheaper than Volinger but I do hear the lightweight stuff doesn't hold screws that well? Not an issue I tend to over engineer anyway?
    So next year I start from scratch with the Moorland board, using mine as templates.
    There is no reason why you cant use the B&Q stuff its good to work with and easily available. I Used it for the over bed cupboard as I needed it to be strong and little risk of sagging? Also the overhead bed sliding panels for upper bunk will be normal ply for same reason?
    The easy option is buy the off the shelf stuff but £1000 average price for mdf kitchen units is not my thing?
    Anyway good luck with whatever you choose? Dont go made to save every gramme of weight rust always weighs more haha !:hattip:
    jivedubbin, bood and chrisgooner like this.
  16. Good skills :thumbsup:
  17. Brilliant info there and interesting views on the weight. I am a new van owner so I have not got to know it in terms of driving with it fully loaded on unlaidened. I may be being a little over paranoid about the weight it seems as all that was planed to be in there is a rock n roll bed a buddy seat and an 'L' shaped unit behind the driver (I am LHD)

    Thanks again for the info
  18. I've managed to answer one of my burning queries! CAK tanks / Leisure lines sell the melamine iron on edging to match the laminate boards...


    I don't mind the T edging for exposed edges, but I've never liked the surface mounted door edging.
  19. Tuesday wildchild

    Tuesday wildchild I'm a circle!


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