Paneling the Walls (Part 1)

Paneling the Walls (Part 1)

May 1, 2015 Categories Camper Van

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I didn’t get a lot done yesterday. In fact, shortly after starting work on the van I got sidetracked and decided to clean up the shop instead. It was getting pretty disorganized and had piles of scrap wood everywhere. All of my wood supplies that I’m using to build the van interior are in a lean-to attached to the rear of the shop and it was just becoming too cumbersome to walk around/through all the piles of things to get to it.

Today was a different story. I started to panel the wall where my bed/couch will be. Since I ran my 2×2 walls length-wise down the van to make the insulation process much easier, I had to add some 1x2s vertically across the horizontal 2x2s so that I had something to nail my paneling to. Maybe that sounds a little confusing, so here’s a picture.

I wasn’t worried about them being 16″ on center or anything, I just added five strips down the 7′ wall. Due to the curvature of the wall, you’ll notice that I split the strips near the top to accommodate for the angle change. For that same reason, that’s also where I started paneling. Although odd, starting in the middle was easier than doing the math to ensure a board seam ended up perfectly where the angle changed. Because the van isn’t level, I measured up from the floor at both the front and rear and made sure they were equal distances so that my board would end up level in comparison.

Next came the most difficult piece to cut and install since I had to work around the plumbing for the water tank. It was only annoying because of the very large hose for my gravity water inlet. It’s not a very flexible hose and I wanted the connections concealed, with only the 90 degree elbow sticking out. I also wanted it to look as neat as possible instead of just cutting a large rectangle in the wall. After a good deal of fiddling, I got everything in place.

From that point on, everything was pretty easy. I worked my way down the wall first, then finished off the top. Since I used tongue and groove boards, the very bottom one was a little more difficult to get in place and I actually installed the bottom two boards at once to give a little more play in the amount they would bend. If you bend them too much, you’ll end up snapping the tongue off. Everything in the van will eventually be stained a gray/ash color, or as close as I can get to it.

Now it was time to get my water tank in place and the straps for it set up. Each strap is supposed to be able to support 80 pounds and my water tank completely full should weigh 83.4 pounds. Although one strap would probably be enough, I felt it better to be safe than sorry and went ahead of used two. Both straps are anchored through the floor using galvanized carriage bolts (to avoid rust) and then a big washer, smaller washer, a lock washer, and then a nut securing it all. Since I still have to move the tank at least once more to finish the plumbing, I didn’t secure the other side of the straps; I just drilled the holes and cut them to length. When the time comes, all I have to do is drop in the bolts and everything will be good to go.

You might notice the sheet of plywood missing from the floor in the above pic. Well, because I’m an idiot and didn’t take into account the thickness of the wall paneling when originally planning the tank layout and raised floor dimensions, I actually had to remove the entire raised floor frame and shorten the width by 1 1/2″ to give me the room I need to run my water pipes. When I re-installed the floor frame, I secured it down using some metal brackets that are screwed through the subfloor and into the sheet metal.

To make for an easier to use storage area under the bed/couch, I’m framing out around the wheel well to create a nice, flat box shape instead of the odd, half oval shape. I built part of the frame yesterday, so I just had to finish it today. The most important part here was keeping everything level to the floor and making sure the box had square corners. This entire box will be filled with insulation and covered in plywood.

The last thing I did today was put the plywood back down and begin planning for the bed/couch frame itself. I need to ensure I don’t mess this part up. The frame will slide out to double in size, for when used as a bed, and connect to the seating area that will be on the other side of the van (almost forming a king sized bed). The width of the frame has to be wide enough to allow 18″ of expansion, but not too wide to provide less than 18″ of space for a walkway between the two seating areas. The seating area opposite of the bed/couch has to be wide enough to completely conceal a portable toilet, but again, not too wide as to reduce the walkway area. The problem with my planning stage right now, is I haven’t actually decided on or ordered a portable toilet yet so I don’t have an exact height or depth dimension… I’m just kinda winging it and hoping it works out.

As you can see, I didn’t get much of the frame done. I’ve somewhat decided on the width and that’s about all. The rest is for another day.

If you want, you can continue on to part two.

One thought on “Paneling the Walls (Part 1)”

Garth · May 3, 2015

Once again, looking awesome as always… Keep up the great work!

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