Help for my survey!

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New member
Dec 30, 2005
Hello all,

I am a German student doing a market research study about wooden furnishing in RV?s in the USA. May I ask you folks three questions in this context? It would really help me a lot, if some of you could please answer them for me. Thank you very much!

1. Do you prefer solid wooden or light wooden furnishing (e.g. cabinets) in RV?s?

2. What do you think about lightwood furniture in RV?s with respect to quality, durability etc.?

3. When buying an RV, does weight matter to you in terms of fuel consumption for example?

Thank you very much!  :)
Hi Daniella,

Welcome to the forum!

1. I'm not sure what you mean by light wooden furniture. What we have here is real wood or a cheaper wood covered in a paper that looks like real wood. I prefer real wood since minor scratches can be repaired. If you scratch the paper faced wood you cannot fix it without redoing the piece with new paper.

2. Given sufficient care the light wood will last a long time but doesn't have quite the same look as real wood. Quality can vary in either type depending upon the cost of the unit.

3. Weight is a very critical factor when buying an RV. It will affect fuel consumption but it is more critical in the carrying capacity of the RV. Our diesel pusher has a gross vehicular weight of 32,000lbs. That is the most it can weigh when traveling down the road. Our carrying capacity, that's the "stuff" we can carry such as clothing, food, etc, is around 4500lbs. It could be more if we didn't have all real wood cabinets.

We do live full time in our motor home so we wanted better quality so it would last longer. Hope this helps some with your research.
My sentiments are similar to Jim's.  The wood is my mid-priced motorhome is a combination of natural wood (walnut) and faux wood, a man-made composite backing with an imitation wood grain printed on the surface layer (the "paper" that Jim refers to).  The faux wood is not particularly light in weight, but can be made in thinner panels than natural wood (about 1/8 inch), so the construction probably ends up lighter in overall weight.  I believe the main reason for its use, however, is lower cost rather than lower weight.  The faux wood is made in large, inexpensive  panels and the labor cost to cut and fit for cabinets and wall coverings is low.  I would much prefer veneered plywood to this faux wood and solid wood would be even better, but the cost difference is substantial here in the US.

I am currently remodeling the kitchen in my fixed home and am re-surfacing the cabinets with a technology called Rigid Thermal Foil (RTF). RTF is a vinyl sheet veneer that is applied over Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) composite. The better grades of RTF imitate real wood quite closely and it is mostly the uniformity of the surface that betrays it.  I figure the cost of the materials is 1/2 to 2/3 what it wood be if I used real wood for the veneer and the new cabinet doors.

Are you referring to the cabinets in private aircrafts where  a composite of the two laminates(real wood veneer's) are bonded to a core material made from balsa wood ? Very light weight, but not real sure about the durability though . I would assume with the advancements in bonding material could really produce some very durable cabinets albeit the cost would be high.

Thank you very much for your fast responds. Your answers really help me a lot.  :)

With light wood I mean something that really is lighter in weight than real wood, like particle boards or hollowed wood for example. Is that used for RV furniture in the US at all?

What is the most common material used for wooden furniture in RV?s? Real wood, plywood, other?  And are there any significant differences concerning the weight?

Thanks a lot for your help! :)

happytrader59 said:
....the cabinets in private aircrafts where a composite of the two laminates(real wood veneer's) are bonded to a core material made from balsa wood ?

Kenneth, your message reminded me that the tables in our prior Pace Arrow were made of laminates bonded to a styrofoam core. Very light weight and, since we had the coach for 15 years, somewhat durable.

I was watching a show last night on the build of two new Prevost custom coaches. They used laminate ( formica) on all their cabinetry !

Nice coaches, but I was a bit suprised on how the can start with a $340k base shell and spend $1.65 million on the interior ? The coach when finished had a MSRP of $2 million ! Sorry, but I have seen far more value for the money in most of the yachts I've had the pleasure of visiting in over the years.

I would love to see a nice, moderate priced RV with cabinets constructed using the balsa core composites with maybe a nice birdseye maple veneer. ;D
[tr]What is the most common material used for wooden furniture in RV?s? Real wood, plywood[/tr]


All of the above ! Most cabinet fronts (door and stiles) are constructed of solid wood,the bases are made from either veneer covered plywood or veneer covered MDF (particle board). The veneer can range from vinyl print to real hardwood. I believe the main factor is not as much weight but cost.Most of the interior walls are vinyl wrapped LUAN plywood. This of course has been my observations only.

When we visited the Marathon factory last year their cabinets looked very nice and the fit and finish was something I haven't seen on other coaches. But, as you suggest, that's a lot of money to pay.

BTW the additional cost isn't all in the interior. e.g. Each Marathon has between 16 and 18 coats of paint. If, fore example, a coach has a gold stripe, the entire coach is painted gold. If it also has a black stripe, the entire coach is also painted black. Of course, there's a lot of other stuff that contributes to the high cost.
Isn't particle board heavier than real wood? My preference would be laminate over composite core. Much lighter and stronger than wood. That's what they are using in aircraft these days. And, yes, weight is very important...not only for fuel consumption but also for carrying capacity.
Particle-type boards, e.g. MDF, are as heavy or heavier than real woods (depending of course on which real wood you are comparing to).  I think the glue used in particle boards is heavier than the dried sap in real wood!

My coach is not one of the 'upper class' models, but uses solid wood for the cabinet and door fronts, and an embossed plastic (or vinyl) material over 1/8" luan plywood for the larger flat surfaces like the walls. It matches the 'real' wood quite well for looks, is easy to clean, and resists dings and scratches. The interior doors are of hollow construction using the same plastic/luan mentioned above. Door and cabinet frames, however, are solid wood; not particle board, which doesn't take well to tightening up screws - they tend to strip out the holes.

The furniture should be high quality. Those assemble-it-yourself pressed wood tables and desks may be o.k. for home use, but generally will not stand up as well to the vibration and shaking from thousands of miles of travel, and the un-treated inside surfaces can expand and shrink with changing climate, and may warp easily.

As was said before, weight is extremely important for both economy and safety. 'Nuff said. 

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