Thursday 25 July 2013

Camper van and Windsurf van conversion - Bloody spray glue and fiddly bits

Spray glue is amazing stuff but to use it in the middle of the summer in a sauna very hot van is not ideal. It sets far too quickly for my liking, with no room for error. Usually if a small bit at a time is done you have a few seconds to position the carpet before it goes off, with the heat it is complete contact cement! One touch wrong and you need to start again.

This morning I set about the task of carpeting around the sliding door window. I decided to do the window before the lower panel as the Veltrim is evil stuff to cut, and if you pull it a bit then straight lines end up drunken. I have found it easiest to roughly measure, glue in place then use a very very very sharp razor blade to cut it. This means using the razor blade once and once only or the edge looks like a black carpet that a malting sheepdog has used to roll about on in the summer. To be honest in the end I gave up with the razor blades and used my easy to sharpen bushcraft carbon steel knife which is sharper still. Probably false economy though as the knife was very expensive.

I did the window frame in 4 parts, this is the first time I have carpeted around a non-trimmed window. It was possibly the trickiest job to do on my list, and possibly will be redone in the future with a single piece now I have worked out the best way to do it.

A close inspection shows a few slight errors which I am not happy about, but I cannot beat myself up about it as it was my first attempt at this. Like the idiot I am I tend to pick the hardest parts to do first (I bought a sewing machine and first thing I tried to do was sew a button hole last took about an hour to remove the needle from the machinery!). I tend to live like that though, if I try the hardest bit first then the rest of it seems easy.

So here is the finished article. The shadows on the roof are from where the previous owner packed too much insulation into the cavities and used 3mm ply to cover. I dont think it will be a problem though, its an old van so I dont expect it to be perfect, I am looking at this as an experiment and to develop the skills for a perfect job next time.
The light is a 20LED (warm light, not blue) strip that cost £14 off ebay. It is perfect as it can be rotated to dim the light for late in the evening. I have 2 more of these but only 10LED in length.

The red metalwork in the foreground will have an upright support as part of a cupboard. Above the door I will use a thin strip of ply screwed in place to hide the void that is there. The rear light cluster will not be carpeted over, there will be another cupboard in place there which will double up as a support for the bed. I learnt from the last van conversion I did where the rear light was so difficult to get to I needed to take apart half the bed to change a bulb, luckily I only had to do this once.

The wheel arch should have been finished today but I felt the wind pick up, packed up and raced down to Portland only to see it drop just as I rigged up, there were people planing as I was rigging as well.

Overall I am pretty happy with the outcome, the grey and black gives it more character than one colour and I feel like some of the fiddliest bits are now complete. The other side should take half the time as most of it is hidden under the kitchen, bed, and 1m high wet box for kit.

The only thing I want now is a pair of new speakers as the two you can see are 10 years old and the on in the picture blows a touch when the volume is turned up. I will not bother with an amp as the stereo runs off the leisure battery and it defeats the object of having LEDs to maintain power for any length of time off grid.

Good speed and winds
The Bus mk2

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