plywood recommendation

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Forum topic by whiteshoecovers posted 04-11-2018 01:40 PM 508 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 1694 days

04-11-2018 01:40 PM

I am building a platform bed for a camper van. It consists of three steel frames 24”x66” which together make the 72” long, 66” bed platform. The steel frames are supported along their short sides.

I need to choose a plywood to cover/attach to each frame. I’d like to choose the stiffest/ lightest option.

This is an image of the design:

And this is the list of sheet products from my local lumber yard:


3 replies so far

View BoardButcherer's profile


144 posts in 704 days

#1 posted 04-11-2018 03:05 PM

The stiffest and lightest option, regardless of what wood you choose, is going to be to do 2 or three layers to get your desired thickness and stagger the joints. It helps immensely, if a 3/4” ply bows under your foot when you step in the middle of the framing, two sheets of 3/8” ply installed with the proper fasteners will bow significantly less or not at all.

With that in mind you have the more interesting options of picking up a base ply for your rigidity, and a top ply for aesthetics if this is going to be the finished surface of the floor. Whatever you choose for the top ply will be stronger than even if you had a full sized sheet of whatever you’re using for your stiffener ply underneath.

View runswithscissors's profile


3081 posts in 2635 days

#2 posted 04-16-2018 04:51 AM

I’m wondering of torsion boxes might work for your application. Light and strong?

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4257 days

#3 posted 04-16-2018 06:02 AM

For a balance of weight and economy I’d try 3/8”
cdx plywood. You won’t be walking on it so
weight would be more distributed. You may
be able to feel sagging between the frames as
you roll around on it. If that idea bothers you,
go with 3/4” or 5/8”.

You’ll just be burning money trying to track down
an ultralight material that is just stiff enough. A
fellow made a bicycle camping trailer out of
coroplast salvaged from political campaign signs.

6mm baltic birch is quite stiff but it comes in 60”
square sheets.

Filling the holes in the edges after cutting them down
is a problem for a person who isn’t resourceful,
but hollow core doors are made with something
like torsion box construction and can be acquired
cheaply. They are quite stiff and light.

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