The Build · The Van

Van Build – Walls pt. 2

The Executive Summary

We installed the wall boards vertically, connecting them to a single horizontal board that would later be used for the ceiling. This meant cutting a custom v-groove into the top of each board. Installing the boards in this way made for a great looking end product but came with its own set of challenges.

The Details

The furring strips were up and the tongue and groove boards were waiting to be installed. We debated for a while on exactly how to mount the boards given the curvature of the wall. We ended up mounting a single board horizontally over the old electrical rail with the tongue facing downward. This would act as the start of the ceiling when the time came to tackle it. With the tongue facing downward this would give the walls boards something to lock into and prevent us from having to screw the boards directly to the frame. Of course, the tongue and groove is only made to fit together side by side. Building the walls in this way would require us to cut new v-groove into the top of each wall board. Give my skill in carpentry, this would not have been an option had I been working alone. This was only made possible by the grace of George’s charity, who had not only helped me remove the bulkhead but had now offered to help me with the walls.

The horizontal board would provide support for the top of boards, but we had to decide how to affix the boards at the base. We eventually settled on slipping the boards behind the bottom furring strip and having the bottom board act as a sort of baseboard. This would allow the boards to sit relatively flush with the upper two furring strips and give the wall boards a good deal of support. Once we got started, however, we quickly realized that because of all of the small curves in the van’s frame, it would not be possible to continue this pattern throughout the entire wall. As you can see in the image below, the first three boards couldn’t be slipped behind the baseboard and so they had to be cut short. The top of the first board also had to be cut funny because of the way the frame bends outwards for the sliding door.

As we approached the wheel well there wasn’t enough room to layer the baseboard and wall boards and so again we had to shift the boards out and screw them directly into the frame at the base. This gave the bottom of the wall a funny look. Of course, this likely isn’t noticeable to anyone other than George and I who put it together.

Taking lessons from the first wall, we decided it would be easier to double up the middle furring strips and have the walls boards lay over top the bottom baseboard. That would prevent us from having to go in and out again like we did with the previous wall. This ended up being a lot easier and gave the wall a much more clean look.

Finally, George custom cut end pieces to act a cap at the end of the walls and close off the exposed gaps. Two for the back door and one for the front, behind the driver’s side window.


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