Designing the van part 4 – Panelling the Walls

The work had begun and with the Kapok insulation clinging to the newly cleaned walls I felt like I was on the way to having the campervan I’d craved for so many years. I was already out there, driving around Spain and seeing things I could only just about imagine but having a wonderful time.

After taking stock of the work so far I realised there was a long way to go and a lot of hard graft to get there. Reality can be a painful experience sometimes.

With my head back from the clouds I began measuring the exact size of each panel and used sheet of A4 paper to trace the curves of the panel tops (Renault softened the edges of their interiors making more work for me) and marking where I needed to drill screw holes.

I had to cut eight panels in all; three each side including the side door and the two back doors. I should point out that the van has evolved as time has gone on but for now I’ll stick to the chronology as it happened and go through the design and building process so that you can use my mistakes and experiences as a lesson.

Cutting the panels was an easy job, my jigsaw zooming through the 5mm wood with consummate agility and ease as it followed the drawn lines guided by my slightly nervous but largely steady hand. I took my time as money was short and the wood was expensive for a non-bulk buyer like myself.

The wall panels were the most straight forward so I left those until last, wanting to focus on the more intricate door panels which needed cut away sections for handles and locks. The A4 sheets were my ace in the hole and made the job simple. In no time I had eight panels cut to shape and ready to go. I sanded the edges to soften them up and eliminate the risk of splinters before fitting each one using screws designed for metal (they had to bite into the metal frames of the van).

I needed them to be easily removable as well as I needed to get behind them to run wiring and pipework for water and gas. Always consider access for things which might need attention in the future.

With the insulation glued in place and the panels fitting nicely the inside was starting to take shape. I’d allowed a gap of about 1.5cm at the bottom of the panels for the laminate flooring which was to be my next job.

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