Station wagon cargo...
Clear all

Station wagon cargo floor.

3 Posts
2 Users
Posts: 93
Trusted Member
Topic starter

The following is my modern solution to a rear cargo floor. The original was made with balsa or basswood strips laminated between thin sheets of plywood. I used an epoxy/composite foam vacuum laminated between sheets of marine grade plywood. It came out a 16th thicker than the original 1/2". The foam is called Carbon Foam

Thanks to everyone on the yahoo group who helped with the measurements, history and advice. I may cut/paste some of it here for future reference.

My plane is 108-263 and came with a set of Station Wagon panels that were installed previously. I don't know if they were factory installed or not. I have heard that the station wagon was a later option. It did not come with a cargo floor so I decided to make one for it.

This is the initial fitting up:

The previous owner installed float fittings and instead of a doubler, added cross braces. They are the 4 short ones coming off of the lower horizontal tube.

After lay up shown with the front boards:

Marcus Sabathil: Owner of Skookumchuck Voyageur 108

Posted : 01/03/2019 9:36 pm
Will Ware (Webmaster ISC)
Posts: 380
Reputable Member Admin

Looks amazing, please continue to add photos and descriptions as I will be doing this soon.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

Posted : 01/03/2019 10:56 pm
Posts: 93
Trusted Member
Topic starter

This is how I made the sandwich:

The ply is 3/16 marine grade teak. I got it at Windsor Plywood. You will need some good gloves for the layup as well.

I have a vacuum pump for my woodworking layups so it was simple for me to do this. If you don't have a vacuum pump but you do have a large enough air compressor you can buy reasonably priced venturi pumps online: that only require compressed air. The vac bag can be any large, relatively thick sheet (a few mils) of plastic or even a large heavy duty garbage bag. I used a mattress bag and clamped the open end shut with two strips of wood and some clamps. I inserted the vacuum tube through the open end and placed it beside the layup with a bit of terry towel over it. There are all kinds of specialty products for vacuum pressing but you don't really need any of them. You can improvise them. You will need a good flat table top or you can lay up on a room temperature floor to make sure your floorboard does not come out warped.

It is also possible to do this with a lot of heavy objects piled on the layup. Bricks, sand bags, boxes of tiles etc. To get between 10 and 14 psi would take a lot of stuff, but it's less complicated than vacuum bagging. I would put down a cover sheet of ply and few terry towels to spread the weight and protect the wood though.

As for the layup plan, I bought some suitable two part 24 hour epoxy (you could get a faster one if you like stress, but I don't) and some epoxy thinner and mixed a test batch and glued a small sample up. I mixed the epoxy carefully as per instructions (Very important. Time and temperature. Better to over mix than under mix.) and spread it on all mating surfaces with a wide mudding knife adding a little thinner to make it easier to spread uniformly but not enough to make it too runny. I experimented with the right amount to apply to get continuous contact but not so much that i was going to get a lot of squeeze out. Less is more with most glue. I memorized and took some pics to guide me later on what 'enough glue' looks like. I then made an educated guess as to how much I would need to mix for the final lay up then I added some more just in case. Whatever I had left I planned to spread on the front floorboards as a super durable finish.

The actual lay up was fairly straightforward. I started applying epoxy on the bottom sheet of ply and then on one side of the foam, then stacked them together and pressed the foam down gently. I then peeled up a corner carefully to see if It was getting good wetting. It was a bit dry so I pulled the foam off carefully and added a bit more epoxy to it and lay it back down on the stack. Satisfied with the first layer, I did the same on the last two surfaces and then put the sandwich in it's bag. On top of the layup, I carefully folded and laid and old shop terry towel covering the top surface. This allows the air to be fully withdrawn. If you leave this out, the plastic will seal itself near the vacuum tube and the bag may never fully evacuate. A perfect vacuum, as you know, will exert 14.7 psi on the layup, more than enough for our purposes so close is good enough. I then got the pump going, helped push out any air bubbles and left it to cure. You may want to keep an eye on your compressor or pump as it will be running for several hours. The leftover epoxy was used to check when it had hardened enough to stop the pump.

That's basically it. This may sound complicated but it's much easier than making an original style basswood floorboard.

Once it had cured, I then cut it to size, cut the front section off and and dadoed out the foam between the two sections on the table saw. I used yellow cedar for the spline joint and epoxied it in to the front section. That way, when I screw them down, the front section will be held in place. I have been using yellow cedar for most of the wood in the plane. It's light, strong and extremely rot resistant.

Marcus Sabathil: Owner of Skookumchuck Voyageur 108

Posted : 04/03/2019 6:58 pm