- Main => Builders Discussions => Topic started by: Jimmerrelie on November 19, 2017, 10:36:35 AM

Title: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: Jimmerrelie on November 19, 2017, 10:36:35 AM
Hi everyone. I started my new overhead frame today. I was planning on using 3/4" By 3 1/2" boards that I reclaimed from another project, but as i look at the panels on the boards, they seem too wide. I am wondering what size lumber others have used.
 Also any tips on putting this thing together would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks guys.        Jim
Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: Bob Reed on November 19, 2017, 12:26:57 PM
You will need something a little thinner. More so keep in mind that there will be hardware on the under side of those panels so make sure whatever you use for rails does not get in the way of that. You will have to tinker to get the right size.
Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: FredK on November 19, 2017, 12:45:53 PM
3/4 inch premium pine worked for me.  No clearance issues for hardware.....that includes a full set of Flight Illusion gauges which I have mounted.

I would advise that you use premium grade furniture quality wood. You need to have everything lay perfectly flat and without any bowing etc.  Take your time and be precise with your spacing measurements and you will do fine.

Fred K
Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: navymustang on November 19, 2017, 03:33:22 PM
How about making the outside frame of wood and using angled aluminum for the rails, would give you much more flexibility.
Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: Jimmerrelie on November 19, 2017, 08:26:20 PM
Hi. Thanks guys for the tips. The wood I have is general lumber and definitely not suited for this build. Off to Lowe's tomorrow  for some high grade stuff. As for the aluminum rails, that sounds like a good idea. I'll have to look into it. Just don't know how I would fasten the rail to the wood.
Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: ifeliciano on November 20, 2017, 12:54:17 PM
Please have in mind that the "high grade" wood does not necessarily mean is straight and free of bowing and cupping. It relates to the quality of the surface. Basically free of knots and any damage. You will need to inspect it for straightness.

I would suggest you find a good lumber supply for your wood. Some offer jointing and planning for a small fee. If you break it down to board foot, you'll see how Lowes and/or HD charge a crazy amount of money for their S4S wood.

I agree with Jim, in making a wood outer frame and angle aluminum or aluminum t-bar, if you find the right size, for the rails.

Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: jackpilot on November 20, 2017, 02:13:39 PM
My 2 cents, from experience

Wood  has to be kept to a minimum and limited to large structural parts if no other material can do.

Thickness is always an issue and an OVH requires very tight adjustments that wood does not allow.
Before going to  real frames, I used to build my own, exclusively with aluminum.
Much better results and weight than a bulky wood contraption.
Here is a pic of my previous AftOVH if it can help.
L section rails for the perimeter, T section for the inside dividers.

Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: navymustang on November 20, 2017, 02:37:38 PM
Jim, don't be afraid of working in all aluminum. It bolts together very easy, better than wood. And don't forget rivets.
Better yet, go to Harbor Freight and get their low cost RivNut tool. These RivNuts are incredible and I use them in my professional building all the time. (

Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: MistyBlue on November 20, 2017, 02:41:05 PM
I went with 3/4" square Aspen (I think) dowel from Home Depot.  Anything less and I found there wouldn't be enough space to screw two panels side by side without breaking through the sides of the wood or leaving it weakened. 

I did have some clearance issues with some panel screws and switches so I used a Dremel to cut into areas that needed the extra spacing.   

Glued everything with 2 part 6 min epoxy.  It's quite solid.

Once I had the frame properly pieced together I fit it to my FDS overhead frame, shimmed both sides, and made sure it was properly placed then drilled the mounting holes.  Then, I put everything into the overhead.  It got a LOT heavier really quick.  Kinda surprised me.

I haven't mounted the completed overhead yet so my fingers are crossed that it still goes in ok and holds up well.  Definitely a two person operation to pu in.

If I were to do it again, I would do it all aluminum like Jack recommends.  Stronger, lighter, thinner, etc.  I just went with the tools I had on hand which were all wood working tools.

EDIT:  I agree with the earlier comment about warped wood.  I spent a lot of time going through Home Depot supplies (now that I think of it, it was Lowes) making sure I had the straightest pieces I could find.  There were a lot of bowed pieces.  Even a slight bow will create a lot of headaches.
Title: Re: Wooden overhead frame
Post by: Jimmerrelie on November 20, 2017, 08:49:22 PM
Thanks guys. Feeling inspired now. I'm thinking about 1/2 inch oak for the outer frame with  3/4 inch aluminum rails for the spars. Thanks for the great pics, they'll make a good guide as I progress.