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King Starboard as material for bed drawers/sleeping platform?

Dr. Cornwallis

Adventurer
I’ve been wanting to build or buy a drawer system for my 3rd Gen long bed Tacoma since I purchased it, and now with the addition of my smart cap I really want to get the project moving.

I really like the Alu Cab system but at roughly $4,000 it’s beyond my remaining budget. I don’t want to use wood as I want to be able to still hose out the system for easy cleaning. I think the Decked system, while nice, makes poor use of space. I want to put a water tank and 100aH Lifpo 4 house battery at the front of the bed and the decked system wouldn’t allow for that.

All of this leaves me with the question... why haven’t I seen anyone build a platform/system out of King Starboard? It’s used for everything on boats from decking to drawers to cabinets to tables. If supports were made every 12” or so, With the ST version being 30% stiffer than the original it seems like 1/2” Starboard ST would be more than appropriate as a drawer system and platform material?




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Cummins_expo

Adventurer
A few years back somebody posted up an ambulance box camper build. The interior was made with various Starboard thickness sheets. His review after was : cost 3-5X the cost of marine ply, longer unsupported spans eventually sagged, limited ways to make strong joints. You did mention supporting it every 12 so that might take care of sagging. I would look at Coosa or light ply. Both take mechanical and glue very well and can be finished in various ways. Diy bed liner spray like raptor makes both come out nice and water tight.
 

highwest

Active member
It definitely has its uses. I replaced all of the outside teak on my small sailboat with Starboard, and it’s great. It works just like wood with power tools. But it’s heavy, not dimensionally stable with temp, prone to sagging if not fastened well, and won’t take any adhesive. I think composite decking may have the same challenges, but I have no experience.

There are some cases around here where Starboard/HDPE was used as drawer slides instead of rollers to varying degrees of success, taking into account the challenges listed above.

If you’re concerned about wood rotting, do look into Coosa board or one of its knock offs. If you live near the coast or major water, it can be easy to get. The shipping costs go way up in the desert or hills though.
 

ITTOG

Well-known member
Where do you get it? I probably would've tried it for a project or two but I've never found it.
I am sure there are many options and probably most boat maintenance shops would have it. But I wasn't for sure what it was and did a quick search and found Marine Grade SEABOARD/StarBoard HDPE Sheets In Stock at ePlastics.

So I have this stuff in my boat, 1/2" thick, to separate the motor from ballast bags, batteries, etc. I can tell you that I would not build with this material. Not only will it sag, but screws will cause it to crack and/or break. I replaced about 60 screws with binding barrels (pic below, from McMaster-Carr) and metal screws to ensure the material would quit breaking. I had to replace one piece because all the corners but one had broken off, which is how I found the issue. I think this would be a bigger problem than the bending/flexing. I think vibration is the main problem here. But, if you use binding barrels and/or nuts on every screw then the problem is likely solved. I say likely because I just did this at the end of the summer so not enough time to know about long term performance. However, I am about 98% confident the problem is solved.
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Dr. Cornwallis

Adventurer
A few years back somebody posted up an ambulance box camper build. The interior was made with various Starboard thickness sheets. His review after was : cost 3-5X the cost of marine ply, longer unsupported spans eventually sagged, limited ways to make strong joints. You did mention supporting it every 12 so that might take care of sagging. I would look at Coosa or light ply. Both take mechanical and glue very well and can be finished in various ways. Diy bed liner spray like raptor makes both come out nice and water tight.
Coosa was another option that I was very interested in, however, it appeared that it needed finishing which scared me off a little, however, I hadn’t considered something like the spray in bed liner. From what I had read Coosa Bluewater 26 sounds like an incredible product. Allegedly it works with common woodworking tools like starboard as well.


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bluejeep

just a guy
I’ve been wanting to build or buy a drawer system for my 3rd Gen long bed Tacoma since I purchased it, and now with the addition of my smart cap I really want to get the project moving.

I really like the Alu Cab system but at roughly $4,000 it’s beyond my remaining budget. I don’t want to use wood as I want to be able to still hose out the system for easy cleaning. I think the Decked system, while nice, makes poor use of space. I want to put a water tank and 100aH Lifpo 4 house battery at the front of the bed and the decked system wouldn’t allow for that.

All of this leaves me with the question... why haven’t I seen anyone build a platform/system out of King Starboard? It’s used for everything on boats from decking to drawers to cabinets to tables. If supports were made every 12” or so, With the ST version being 30% stiffer than the original it seems like 1/2” Starboard ST would be more than appropriate as a drawer system and platform material?




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use 1/4" and 15 series extruded aluminum framing from 8020.net, they also have a gasket that holds the flat material from rattling in the slot. i used frp (fiberglass reinforced panels-maybe the same thing as starboard) and 8020 and it has worked well. Cost is higher but its not a lot a material and allows many options and configurations, and hosing down is possible
 

86scotty

Explorer
Considering Starboard alternatives I recently learned about ACM (aluminum composite material?) when I was researching how to build my own RTT. I've back burnered that project but it is widely used in signmaking and strong and rotproof from what I've heard. I don't know how it would compare. Also, it's usually thinner, 1/8 to 1/4" being the common thicknesses. This is probably not news to anyone, it's not a new or novel product.

Also, I've had great luck spraying Raptor liner on plywood, specifically 3/4" finish grade/birch with the Raptor DIY kits I get through Amazon. You can make some respectable DIY Goose Gear type stuff this way.
 

highwest

Active member
Coosa was another option that I was very interested in, however, it appeared that it needed finishing which scared me off a little, however, I hadn’t considered something like the spray in bed liner. From what I had read Coosa Bluewater 26 sounds like an incredible product. Allegedly it works with common woodworking tools like starboard as well.


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Coosa destroys most blades/bits intended for wood due to the fiberglass content, but blades/bits intended for metal are perfect.
 

highwest

Active member
The only watch out with Coosa is that it’s impact resistance is pretty low, so finishing is required. Like you mentioned, bed liner is likely a good choice, especially in the back of your rig with all the gear. For the bulkheads in our boat, we have laminated fiberglass over high traffic edges and then painted the whole thing with common exterior latex with good success.
 

Dr. Cornwallis

Adventurer
Lots of awesome ideas in here. Thanks a lot to everyone who’s contributed, I can’t wait to finalize plans and bring something to life.



@bluejeep I had thought about using the aluminum extrusions as the frame work but was unsure of their strength. Seeing as how they are plenty strong, that may be the direction I go unless I can find someone to weld together a frame for reasonable money.

I’m thinking that Raptor lined 1/2”Coosa Bluewater 26 may be what I use for the main material and then to help with impact resistance I may add a thin 1/4” veneer of starboard to the top. The 1/4” material doesn’t weigh much and I feel like that would be cheap insurance.




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