DIY 2 x 2 Laminate Beam for Canned Ham Travel Trailer


Old 02-10-14, 12:17 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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DIY 2 x 2 Laminate Beam for Canned Ham Travel Trailer

I'm building a small 13 foot long Custom Canned Ham Travel Trailer. Think Shasta. One thing I would like to do is have stronger ceiling joists/beams. Typically they just put 2 x 2s across the top walls and after awhile they sag. They are 7 feet across and perfectly horizontal.

I was thinking 1 1/2 inch tubular 14gauge steel. OR Making my own teeny weeny laminate beam. My first thought was to take a 2 x 2 and screw/glue a strip of steel on both sides so It wouldn't sag.

Is 14 gauge steel tube strong enough? All four beams would be about 40 lbs. I can live with that.

A wee little i-beam would work but I need something I can screw into… the birch ceiling gets screwed into the roof joists.

Do either of those sound like an improvement?

Any advice appreciated.
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Old 02-10-14, 04:17 PM
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I like the idea of steel tubing and 14ga would be a lot stronger than the wood used in factory trailers. I would not bother going thicker than 14ga as you'll want to keep the trailer as light as possible especially in the ceiling. If you want greater strength than the 14ga tubing offers you could weld strips to the vertical sides so you could have the strength of thicker wall without paying the weight penalty for the top and bottom of the square tubing. 14 ga is not too bad for self driling & tapping screws but not as easy as wood. Then there are modern high tech adhesives and double sided tapes that could attach the ceiling without any screws.

Your idea of sandwiching a piece of wood with steel on either side is also a good one. By the time you attach the steel strips enough to prevent them from bucking it may not be any lighter than simple square tubing. The wood core would be really easy to screw into though so it's an appealing idea. At worst it's still a big improvement over many factory trailers.
Old 02-11-14, 06:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,447
Ceiling Joists

The top edges should be curved to allow good roof drainage.

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