WICKHAM CP, FL—It’s hard to believe, but it took me a full eight hours to lay in the floor. I’m starting to understand why Glenn was so often off in his Vanagon conversion estimates. Still, I wasn’t in a hurry. Usually when I don’t know what I’m doing I just sit down and stare and wait for an idea (a whisper) to hit. So subtract a couple hours if you know what you’re doing. More below the break (huh?).
I used cardboard to create templates of the various curves around the side door and wheel wells. This turned out to be easier than I expected and gave me confidence when I was doing the actual cuts to the plywood—knowing that since the template fit, the wood should too.
As I was working on the templates, as I was cutting the wood, as I was laying the pieces in and screwing them down and admiring the progress, I realized that I felt good. It’s rewarding to see what was become what is—to see new form and function evolve from something more primitive.
I used the above tools to install the floor. One of my goals is to only use tools that I can easily carry with me, and the Craftsman Bolt-On System is ideal for the RV’er/Van Dweller. Black & Decker also makes a set that is compatible with the Craftsman (my sander is Black & Decker and fits my Craftsman Bolt-On… handle—whatever it’s called).
I gotta tell you, being able to swap out any of the power tools in less than a second is very handy. It is nothing to go from circular saw to saber saw to sander like that. Bang, bang, bang.
Notice I also use two batteries. When the one I’m using dies, I stick it in the charger, slap in the second and continue with what I was doing. The dead one would be fully charged before the new one was used up. I never had to wait on the batteries to charge.
I used two sheets of 1/2″ pre-sanded plywood for the floor. To attach the wood to the deck, I used these Teks 1 7/16″ self-tapping wood to metal screws. What is nice about the NV (and maybe other vans, I dunno) is that the body lies on top of the (about) 3″ frame and all the other stuff under the van bed lies below the frame (including the don’t-drill-a-metal-screw-into-the gas tank). This gives you about three inches of a safety zone so that you can drill into the floor without too much worry (I did a quick eyeball check each time anyway).
I had considered insulating the floor—laying down bubble wrap under the plywood—but (and this is where the Mystic and the Mind often argue, though in this case they agreed), in the summer you want to block the heat (block the heat coming in through the roof) and in the winter you want to retain the heat (block the roof to hold the heat in), so my mind said “Screw it, the floor’s irrelevant” and the Mystic—listening to Her whispers (see below)—said, “Screw it” so I screwed it and didn’t put down insulation under the floor.
Turns out, during this project, I had an occasional assistant—She (if you don’t follow my blog, you might call Her “God” but that’s only half accurate…) helped me out a couple times. The photo above is a piece of scrap wood that was left over from some prior cuts. Notice how the width of this piece of scrap wood fits the template exactly. I didn’t have to cut the width at all—it was perfect. There were two other incidents like this, the first I just wrote off as coincidence, but after the second occurrence it became apparent that there was more going on here than just random chance. When it happened a third time, well, I just had to take a picture of it. Pretty cool, right?
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Mystical Oneness and the Nine Aspects of Being is a step-by-step guide to enlightenment and beyond.
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