Well, that didn’t work.
I spent the last Friday morning working on the ribs for the wall slats and I have to say it was a pretty damn frustrating venture.
In the last Road Read (Road Read – Main Floors and Wall and Ceiling Panel Ribs ), I detailed out my plan to cut down and bevel some 2×4 lumber and attach it to the factory metal ribs in the van. This was going to allow me to attach the slats to the ceiling. Unfortunately, even after trimming down the lumber, it was still too rigid to form to the curvature of the roof. I tried a couple of different ways of slicing the lumber to relieve stress so it would fit but it either would crack when I tried to get it in place or just would not form to the roof.
The ribs for the wall did not go much better. Instead of 2×4 lumber on the walls, I chose 1×3 wood. In my mind’s eye, I saw this as attached and having curvature that closely resembled the walls. While I could get it pretty close, it was a significant effort. And every time I would have added another rib, the pull on the interior wall to maintain that curve would have been magnified. Pretty soon, you have enough strain, that over time, it could have created a warp or the boards could have simply failed.
So after some time spent looking at the alternatives, I now have new ideas for the roof and walls.
First, the cut 2x4s on the ceiling are out. Instead of mounting the boards to the side of the metal factory ribs, I am going to mount the 1×3 boards directly to the bottom. To overcome the curve issues on the ceiling, I will be cutting the 1x3s into 5 sections with the center section being the longest at 25 inches. Not only will this solve the curve issue, by having a wide, flat section in the middle, the Dometic AC / Heat Pump will a better structure to mount to.
As for the walls, I will still be using the 1×3 boards. The difference here is that I am not going to have as much curve in the wall as originally intended. The boars will remain a bit straighter and while still having anchor points at the top and bottom, a spacer will be placed in between the rib and the van wall where the middle wall anchor will be. This will relieve some of the stress on both the lumber and the van wall. This is kind of a bummer because it cuts into the already very tiny living space. I am going to make the most of situation by adding additional insulation behind the slats.
While no boards were installed last Friday in the 9 hour period that I spend on this, I certainly would call it a wasted day. I got to spend some great, quality time with my Dad. I had some great Mexican food at lunch. I picked up all the additional lumber I will need for a while and I managed to get enough thoughts together to come up with a that I think will not only just work, but will work better.
Stay tuned and Keep the Course,