My camper build pending, and shifting gears...

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  • dbhost
    replied
    So the gasoline heater came in, and the controller is not only considerably smaller than the Chinese Diesel heater I had planned on using, it is also a surface mount.

    Still haven't gone to Lowes.

    Went and pulled the class 2 receiver hitch, and realized my back is still seriously unhappy, so did NOT install the class 4 hitch today. I think I need a hand with this. It is easily double the size and quadruple the ackwardness of the class 2...

    Spent some time cleaning and organizing in the shop, getting ready to prep material for the countertop build.

    The brain damaged me keeps looking at the stack of pallet wood and thinking, why do I want plywood?...

    Oh well, another day, another couple of steps forward...

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  • dbhost
    replied
    Still need to get to Lowes and get that plywood, have errands to run today will grab it on the way home if my brain functions enough to allow me to remember it.

    Got the Master sheet from Crutchfield on how to replace the OE stereo with the new infotainment system head unit. Will tackle that job during some leave time this month.

    My extended bars for my bear crawl are allegedly en route, will be putting the mobile base and sander together shortly. Thus I will be putting my countertops together shortly after that.

    Did some orgainzing yesterday, removed / replaced stuff that simply did not function I.E. defective water pump replaced with warranty replacement and tested, works great, got my shoes wet... Dummy... Swapping the large smokeless firepit for a folding flat pack design fire pit. I prefer the smokeless for usability, and a more thorough burn leaving nothing but a little bit of ash, but it sucks up a lot of space.

    So for now on the woodworking side of things for the camper I have the following targets to aim for.

    - Replace the crumbling MDF counter tops with Pecan & walnut butcher block counter tops, still keeping it at 3/4" though, don't want to add weight.
    - Replace / re-engineered magazine rack as electrical control and output panel, wire it all up.
    - Replace stowage cabinet doors that are swollen and crumbing MDF with TBD. Might end up being Pecan & Walnut butcher block, might not...
    - Reinforce crumbling lower edge of cabinet hinge mounting surface and yes it is MDF.
    - Redesign kitchen cabinet for more organized storage, or not. Seems to work well now to hold the hot water system and all of its accessories.

    The van goes back to my local mechanic in January, and a couple months down the road as the heat picks up here in TX, going to take it to AJs 4x4 vans in Oregon for a 4wd conversion and new transmission. We are working final costs out for what I want, but it is very reasonable considering what I am having done, it is an insane amount considering the age of the van. I am looking at it this way. I have replacement value insurance on it and can get an independent adjuster in should something happen and they try to rip me off, and I fully intend on using this van as my moving forward and into retirement camper / travel van...

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  • dbhost
    replied
    So Home Depot is a bust, but my local Lowes has 2ft x 4ft 1/4" sanded plywood, most likely pine. I can work with that. Going to lay out my arrangment on paper first so I can sketch out my hole placement and then get after it...

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  • dbhost
    replied
    So on the electrical panel. I do NOT want to intrude into the closet space as that will likely cause problems with adjusting shelves etc... so I am going on the outside and using the space used by a magazine rack, I don't know about back in 93 when the van was new, but in 2023 I do not carry magazines to read when camping... I have laid everything out, looked at the spacer idea and gagged, came up with a new plan. Just use the space and build a new control box. Still using cutoffs from the pallet wood just to say I put it to use, and I need to source up some 1/4" hardwood plywood in fairly small quantity. Like 12" x 24". That is going to be a tough call. I Probably smallest I can do is 24" x 48"... Just have to put up with extra...

    Simple design idea. Just make a quick U shaped frame, bottom doesn't have to be enclosed. Glue and dowels for fastening simple butt joints. Face will be 1/4" ply, glued and pinned far enough away from the edge and roundeover bit has zero chance of colliding with a pin, and then 1/8" roundover OR chamfer 1/8", whatever it takes to not have a pointy edge to mash my dome into... Make my cutouts / holes for the various items, wipe down with some sanding sealer, then American Walnut stain, and finally a quick poly coat to protect it before the goodies get installed, and the panel gets installed to the wall... And a cord duct covers the wiring...

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  • dbhost
    commented on 's reply
    Hmmm. F clamp might just do the trick.... Trying to avoid Rockler. I hear the money vacuum turn on every time I get near there....

  • twistsol
    replied
    Rockler has a solution for that:

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    and if you don't want to spend a bunch of money for no reason, I just us an "F" clamp. I usually need to do half of it at a time and move the clamp, but it's better than being called stumpy.

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  • dbhost
    replied
    Hmmm. Obviously remove the sockets. glue the plate to a workpiece, add some dowels to guide the workpiece to where the holes will end up, but long enough to keep fingers safe. route the outside edges. Drill the holes big enough to get the router bit through, and trim out the holes. But how to control the workpiece keeping fingers away from router bit?

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  • dbhost
    replied
    LOL, you came up with the same thought, and conclusion I had for the cosmetics of it. There really isn't anywhere good to let the router bit ride... if there was, this would be quite different... And the parts are small enough routing them would be a safety concern.

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  • LCHIEN
    replied

    A router bit - FLush trim, top (bottom) bearing, can make that look much nicer, if you want to. Won't take long an a router table if you have one with a router permanently set up.
    if table mounted it would be called a top bearing.

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    On second look, it migth be a pain​ there's no surface front or back that can lie flush on the table. Never mind. You'd have to make a cradle for those protrusions.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-20-2023, 05:45 PM.

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  • dbhost
    replied
    I have the 12v upgrades done to Lifepo4 with alternator and solar charging, and am moving on to exending 12v services. I need to provide a control panel for my inverter, battery monitor and furnace / heater controller / thermostat which is surface mount. Plus a couple of control switches, 12V power ports and USB charing ports. I do not want to consume space INSIDE my already way too limited closet, so I am repurposing a magazine rack next to the bed, which is frighteningly shallow, to accomodate that I am making, well... spacers for the purpose. Starting with a spacer for the usb charging ports.

    I still need to drill the pilot holes for the mounting screws, and wiipe it down with some Minwax American Walnut to come at least close-ish to the factory interior faux wood grain color. . No it isn't super fancy, this is literally a cut off via hand saw not being super careful from a disassembled pallet. It was meant to be effective, and go with a rustic appearance, which is why I picked cast off lumber in the first place...

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  • dbhost
    commented on 's reply
    LOL, retirement for me is about 10 years off still... Not worried about repurposing everything. Wanting to camp this thing before I disembowel the interior and redo it. I like the floor plan and cabinet designs, but want to rebuild them in better and lighter materials as like many RV MFGs Sportsmobile used MDF / Melamine extensively in the construction. I only want to use it, then use it as a template to redo it... I figure utilizing Birch ply, and maple / cedar for drawers and doors should be durable, attractive and much lighter than sawdust and TONS of glue.... I mean MDF. I should mention, I am not planning on pulling the interior cabinetry from the van, until the truck is done. I still have the camper shell interior that I can slap in it, and camp the truck while I am reworking the van. However that MUST wait until the ulcerative colitis is in remission. I am getting closer for sure...
    Last edited by dbhost; 09-09-2023, 10:23 AM.

  • capncarl
    replied
    Dave, enjoy your retirement and quit wasting your time worrying about re purposing every little scrap of wood. Get on building the camper van and enjoy every minute using it!

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  • d_meister
    replied
    I had to cut out section for a TV lift in a very nicely finished teak countertop on a yacht. It was going to be re-used as the fill for when the TV was in the recessed position, so couldn't be damaged or become glaringly obvious. I ended up covering the entire work surface with 2" 3M Blue tape and hot-gluing guides to the surface and incrementally cutting with a small router and small bit. The small router was necessary due to the proximity of an adjacent bulkhead. It was then possible to edge trim both the take-out piece and the hole edge with the minimal amount of material. In your application, an angled router base like the Bosch Colt base in the kit would make it interesting, since you can "grow" the slug with maple.. Angling just the length dimension would work to enable refitting the slug/cutting board for storage or even use. A triangular finger hole large enough to slide cut off bits into the sink near the corner would be useful, too. A fun project!

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  • dbhost
    replied
    So the counter top for the "Kitchen cabinet" where the sink is supposed to be at some point was swapped out for, well it looks like a solid pine piece, the flip up counter extension that is Melamine / MDF has the screw holes blown out of it. I am SERIOUSLY considering getting a low $$ maple butcher block counter top, and cutting it to size for each piece, cutting CAREFULLY out a sink hole for an undermount sink, such that the slug that comes out of the undermount sink hole can be used as a cover / cutting board / counter top extension when the sink isn't being used... The sad thing about this, and most but not all factory built RVs is they used MDF extensively. It has held up very well, but I will admit, given enough time. I am tempted to pull it apart, use the OE cabinets as templates and redo it properly, possibly doing a combination of Maple and Cedar so I can keep the weight down...

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  • dbhost
    replied
    capncarl. I had a 76 Hornet Sportabout (Wagon) with the inline six. I believe there were 2 different sizes used. The 232, that my Hornet had, and the bigger 258 that my Jeep had. If I recall correctly the only difference between the two was the 258 was basically a bored out 233. That Hornet lasted all the way until my Mom decided she wanted a Volvo, and then the guy that we sold it to ran it, yep up unti Cash for Clunkers. How do I know? The guy we sold it to was one of my high school friends. Super high mileage car. What shocked me the most is how well that Torque Command automatic (rebadged Chrysler TorqueFlight) just kept doing its thing...

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