Re-Paneling Vintage Camper Walls

Re-paneling Vintage Trailer WallsAs I already mentioned in this post, repairing water damage in your vintage trailer is a common problem with a multi-step solution.  Re-paneling the vintage camper walls is the final step.  Here is what I learned by re-paneling the walls in our 1963 Shasta Camper:

1. what did we use to re-panel the walls?

We used 1/8″ birch veneer plywood when repaneling our vintage camper walls.  Most vintage campers were originally paneled with birch so this is most commonly used.  1/8″ should be used so you can easily bend the panels to the curves of your camper.  Using this material is most important in cases where you are trying to match the original wood in your camper.  If you are going to paint over the material, the type of wood is less important that the fact that you purchase 1/8″.  For those of you who have done this, I would love to hear what you used.  Leave a comment below.

2. Where did we get the birch veneer Plywood?

The only place we were able to find this was at Home Depot.  They do not keep it in stock and you can’t order it from their web site.  You must go into the store and special order it from a catalog.  Each panel comes in 4 x 8 sheets.

3. 20% Rule

Measure twice and cut once, right?  Plan to mess up, unless you have a lot of experience in working with these tools and materials.  We purchased 20% more than we needed to complete the job.  All of the leftover plywood has been used to panel cabinets in our camper.

4. tips for cutting 1/8″ Birch Veneer Paneling

I used a DeWALT  6-1/2 in. 90 T Steel Saw Blade for Vinyl/Paneling and a DeWALT 20-Volt Max Lithium-Ion 6-1/2 in. Cordless Circular Saw to cut the panels.  For finer cuts that were hard to achieve with the blade, I scored the cut line with a box cutter several times until it cut through.  To avoid splintering the wood, tape the front and back of the cut line with painter’s tape.

 

5. Tips for attaching the panels

I used a brad nailer to attach the wood.  Other people have mentioned using brads might present problems later down the road since they do not have a head.  Our camper has taken several trips in the last 6 years and the paneling is still firmly in place.

re-paneled vintage camper walls
Completed Paneling
Good luck

-Chris

  • Thanks for the helpful tips! I’m about to repair some water damage in my 65.

    • wann2119@gmail.com

      You’re welcome! Best of luck to you on your repairs.

  • Drew

    I’ve struggled getting the curves measured correctly. I’ve already messed up several panels. How did you go about working with the curves?