• rebasgr8

Me? .. a carpenter!

Updated: Jan 27

As you know from reading past posts, I did end up finishing the bulk of the van build myself, except for the electrical work. It wasn't something I had planned on doing but sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and take matters into your own hands. Dainty hands that is!

Yes, dainty! To be absolutely honest here, I didn't even know how to use my drill, and I had to watch a YouTube video just to work the caulking gun! However, I learned, and I'm pretty proud of myself.

Below is a quick walk through from the time I took over the van build by myself.

One of the first things I did was make this toilet tray on wheels for my Nature's Head Composting Toilet. Unfortunately, my wheels were too big, and I had to redo them. I also made a tray on wheels for my refrigerator.

Next. I made a box to go over the driver's side wheel well (not shown). The passenger's side was completed by August. This took a few tries as it wasn't plumb enough for my taste. And I made the curved wall using 1/2" birch to go over it as shown in the pictures below.

Unfortunately, before attaching these components, I had to rip out all of the furring that August had added as my bed would not have fit otherwise. I was able to reuse the bottom pieces after cutting them down, however. I also added furring to other parts of the van using 3/4" birch. Drilling holes into the wood to match the cross nuts precisely can literally take hours! You'll notice the brackets I added to the horizontal boards shown below. These were for my Ikea "hack" van build bed. I also insulated the entire van with hemp batting (shown in picture) and organic Havelock wool and had to rewire the whole van as the electrical wires were in the way of where the cabinets would need to go. At this point, I was feeling pretty comfortable with my drill, miner saw, jigsaw, table saw, and cross nut tool.

My first piece of furniture! This cabinet took a very long time! I learned all about the Kreg jig and pocket screws! I love pocket screws! As you can see in the last picture, the frig didn't fit. Whoops! (As many people ask: I used 3/4" birch to build the cabinets. The side panels were made with 1/4" birch ply and nailed on using finishing nails, and the interior shelves were built using 1/2".)

After building and attaching the furring, I designed and built out my first upper cabinet. This took a ton of time. You have to understand that the walls are curved, nothing is straight forward, and everything needs to be customized.

Building out the larger kitchen cabinet took some serious planning! I never did calculate my hours, but it was a lot.

I could have purchased prebuilt cabinets as some do, but they don't make 21" deep cabinets and I wouldn't have the other dimensions I wanted. Plus, my cabinets are much stronger.

Sometimes you just waste time. For example, the 6th picture shows the original box I built to hold my foot pump. I didn't end up using it.

A lot more "how to" YouTube videos, custom built cabinet doors, finishing touches, and a toe injury!

My second upper cabinet came out even better than the first. (Shown on left) I did hire a wonderful #vanlife guy, Kevin, to help me with the Ikea counter top and plumbing but he wasn't able to install the faucet as I couldn't find the correct parts.

By far, the hardest part was the ceiling! I will save that for the next post.


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