Van building – Week 5

We are already more than a month into our build and it’s coming along great! This week we continued with building the interior of the van.

It was a fun week for sure, we learned a Japanese expression: “Wabi-sabi” , which is used in aesthetics for accepting the imperfection. We are not carpenters so we just do our best and sometimes things are not as perfect as we would like them to be but we had to learn to accept that there will be some edges and corners not being perfectly straight or aligned or simply nice looking, which is wabi-sabi. To entertain ourselves we were joking whenever something had to be cut to fit we would ask each other how crooked do we want that thing to be and the answer was – as crooked as possible! Every time there was a crooked edge or imperfection we joked that we should just name the van “Ugly” or that we would just cover all the ugly places with a painting. So on this great note here is how far we actually manged to get this week:

The first thing that we finished was the cabinet shelf above the future kitchen counter. We made it into three compartments with the side ones being slightly larger.

Yes, we love our piano-hinges, which we used for the whole length of the shelf, even where there were no doors. The gaps had to be closed somehow and the hinge theme was already strong on this one, wabi-sabi.

The shelves in the back of the van also got an update: guard plates to prevent things from falling off of them.

And the front storage compartmemt above the driver cabin got a pretty door to prevent things from falling out of it. We also decided to change our minds about the drawer under the bed: instead of a drawer we made it into another storage shelf with a hinged door.

The deadline of when the van has to be finished is closing in on us so there was no time to mess around. Therefore Stiina’s dad took charge of the electronics, being a professional in this field aswell. With some of our help he connected the batteries and inverter and built an electric panel on which all of the wires will be connected. The panel will slide out from under the kitchen counter to allow access to the wiring and solar charge controller. Our solar panels were made ready but they did not arrive yet, so we plan to mount and hook them up sometime next week. Also some general cables were put in place and we got our first electricity outlets next to the bed.

I in the meanwhile I continued working on The Bench and the next thing I am going to tell you all is absolutely secret, so don’t tell anybody! It was just a cool little thing that I thought would be cool to share, plus I know where you all live:

Before I started covering the bench frame up with the pretty plates I made a secret storage compartment with an upwards sliding wall. Yes, that’s where we are going to store our gold bars, diamonds and large amounts of cash to prevent it all from just lying around the van everywhere while we’re out. The idea is that when you open the lid of the bench it looks as if the sliding door is screwed on, but in fact that panel can be opened via the small cabinet that will be above it.

After that we put the bench walls in place, but the bench wasn’t actually put in place to it’s full extent. Us being passionate outdoorsmen/women, we plan to mostly park the van in a place surrounded by hiking trails and mountains, which means that our shoes will take some serious toll in all of this. Therefore we have to take good care of them and we didn’t forget this during our van build. Nothing shows good care better than a special shoe rack with an adjustable warm air flow for drying the shoes when they are wet. Happy shoes, happy feet. And no worries, we will hang an air refreshener around there aswell (sorry nose, but you are not the priority).

Before putting the top covers for the benches on we needed to build the corner where it connects to the kitchen cabinets.

Once the whole bench was in place it was time to put some top lids and covers on it. And again, we love our piano-hinges, but this time we used more heavy duty ones that could endure the forces of us dropping our tired butts on the bench. Plus the whole bench is going to be covered by a 120mm foam mattress, so no worries. Talking of our mattresses: yes we will have a total of four of them, three of which will combine to form our bed. One will also double for the bench plus a small extra mattress for the rest of the bench. The three big mattresses are currently already made, so we are just waiting for the last piece.

As you might have noticed we have kind of been furnishing our van from the back to the front so that we have now slowly reached the kitchen cabinets. Some things have already been put in place during prior weeks and this week was kind of similar. We kept adding some bits and bobs throughout the week and by the end of the week we managed to start building our first drawer.

Lastly we managed to put the first bit of the wall panels in place all along the top corner, from back to front right above the sliding side door. We assembled the planks, painted them twice and then put them in place by mighty foam. Some functional and some decorative screws will be added in the near future.

Another awesome week behind us and we kind of hope that the next week will be the last and that we can finish our van. Despite a long list of things that we still have to do we will give it our best and see how it goes.

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