Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The End of Carpet

I have about a quarter can of Dap solvent-based contact adhesive if anyone needs some.

I've learned a lot more than I ever planned about auto upholstery in the project. Thankfully, making new friends in the process. I wouldn't hesitate to re-carpet one of these little motorhomes again. In fact, I think that next time I might be a bit more aggressive about gutting the coach before I started the refurbishing.For those who haven't done this before, I thought it might be useful to provide a bit of how-to and show just how simple this material is to apply.
First off, the right kind of carpet for the job is key. My upholstery shop hooked me up with a carpet that acts just like felt. You can stretch it a long way in all dimensions in order to fit odd shapes and corners -- a must for things like the cab-to-coach interface.
In this case, I was finishing up the rim of the rear dinette couches where the table rests to form the back bed. A couple of strips of carpet get a thin coat of contact cement. I rough cut the pieces to width and length (you can always stretch them a bit later) and just used an old paintbrush to apply the glue. Keeping the can closed or, better yet, using a paint pot for a small amount, is important. The solvent evaporates out of the glue very quickly, especially on a warm day, and you can wind up with a gunky mess. The recommendation for cleanup is gasoline, so I try to avoid that as much as possible. An orange-based mechanics hand cleaner takes the glue off skin just fine.The plywood gets a coat of glue too. A good layer will leave it shiny. Note that this stuff will instantly remove latex paint. Foom. I have some touching up to do.

Once it dries, it is time to bring the two pieces together. It takes a bit of care because once they touch they want to be together forever. It is possible to reposition things if the contact is minimal, but once you start smoothing things down you're pretty well committed so start at one end, or in the middle, and work your way across keeping things smooth and straight.There's a pretty good gap between the cabinet top and the top edge of the bed support, so it is pretty easy to tuck in the carpet with a finger. There are lots of places in the rig, such as the overhead steel supports or the back bulkhead where tucking in the carpet took some careful working with an old (well rounded) screwdriver. Tedious, but worthwhile.

All done.

I've put some more photos of other areas I covered with this material in the album. Again, it is pretty forgiving to work with. We'll see how it holds up over time.

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