Building the Bed Frame (Part 2)

Building the Bed Frame (Part 2)

May 5, 2015 Categories Camper Van

This is part two of building my bed frame; part one is here.

I bought some plywood last night to finish up the wheel well this morning, but first I stuffed it full of insulation. Then I screwed the plywood on top to seal it up.

With the wheel well covered, I could make the last little wall to box in the water tank. After it was in place, I covered it with 1/4″ OSB.

I finally connected the last two water inlet tubes and added a shutoff valve to the city water inlet. I did that so, if I wanted to, I could leave the hose connected and turned on and simply watch the tank level from inside and turn it off there. Then before disconnecting and hitting the road, I could simply turn the shutoff valve back on to fill up whatever water I may have used during that time. For the most part, I doubt I’ll use the shutoff valve very often; but I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

In case you’re wondering, the white tube is the city water hookup; the thick, clear tube is a gravity water feed, so I could fill the tank by pouring gallons of water into it; and the thin, clear tube is for venting / pressure relief.

Now it was time to get started on the bed frame. I had to add a temporary leg to the end of the bed to rest part of my frame on. It’s only temporary because I haven’t done the trim around the metal pillar where the side door opens and the end of my bed stops. Until I do that trim work, I can’t completely finish that end of the bed, so the temporary leg will bear the weight in the meantime.

The top of the bed is made of about 40 short pieces of 1x2s. There are two overlapping “tops” on the bed; one always remains stationary and one slides out to form the bed. Every other 1×2 is attached to a different top piece. I first built the stationary top, spacing the 1x2s two inches apart.

With the stationary top done, I started the pull-out section. It’s the exact same process as the other one.

The pull-out section expands the sleeping area by 15 1/2″. And although it looks good in pictures, I made some mistakes building it that I didn’t feel like fixing today:

  • The biggest problem is that the two sliding tops, when fully closed, are impossible to easily slide open. No kidding, I had to take a hammer to it in order to get it to move. This is because I created an overlap on the front edge of the bed where both top sections overlap the same piece of wood. Well, this ended up causing a lot of tension and the boards stick together too well. Solution: I’m gonna add some tapered cuts into the overlapping wood to remove that tension. I could also just cut off the overlap, but I wanted it to create a flatter surface.
  • The top of the bed acts as a lid to the storage compartments underneath. And for a lid, it’s just too big and bulky. If I wanted to reach something that was in one of the corners of the bed storage, I’d have to lift the entire thing up and hold it while trying to dig around for whatever was in there. Solution: I’m gonna cut the top in half, so there’s actually two lids for the storage area. That way I only have to lift half of it up to dig around in the storage area.
  • I made it too long. I plan on adding an arm rest with a built-in cup holder or two and a popup power outlet. In order to do that, I need to take off about 6″ near the rear doors.

Every one of those mistakes requires me to take apart the entire top in order to fix it. There’s about 100 screws holding it all together and I wasn’t in the mood to take it all apart, make the changes, and then put it all back together again. I’ll leave that for the me of tomorrow to deal with.

I still have a lot of work to do before the bed / couch is complete:

  • I have to build a backrest to have something to lean against when being used as a couch and it will serve to hide the plumbing coming out of the wall.
  • I have to add wood to the frame exterior. The front of the frame will also act as legs and slide out with the top when in bed mode.
  • I can’t add the wood to the exterior until I do the trim work around the side doors and until I install the wood flooring.
  • I have to finish the electrical system to complete the storage compartments inside the bed.
  • The storage compartments need to be lined with carpeting.
  • The under-the-floor storage compartments need lids to be made and lips created for them to rest on.

Continue on to part three of the bed frame build.

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