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Found a lightly used van: 2016 Transit 250 3.5L EcoBoost with 12k on the clock, LWB, Mid Roof, factory equipped with an extra-slip differential and engine compartment irrigation system. Owned by an 80 year old woman, all highway miles, always garaged, she changed the oil every 60 miles. She said she used premium gas and only used it for Sunday drives and the occasional kidnapping. Muffler bearings and headlight fluid recently replaced.

Then I took this pristine vehicle (did I mentioned it was all highway miles) and immediately cut 3 large holes in it. I took extra care to ensure that the metal shavings got everywhere, and only measured once, because measuring twice is a sign of weakness.

After I sufficiently destroyed the resale value. I filled the holes with windows and a roof vent, that will later provide enough water damage to ensure the vehicle is a total loss.

Since I was previously driving a mini cooper convertible and did not know how to operate a vehicle longer than a standard roller-skate. I immediately installed stereo backup cameras.

Then I decided the empty van was not flammable enough, so I stuffed it with 60lbs of rattle trap, and enough extruded polystyrene and spray foam to make sure if it ever caught fire it would be roughly the mass and temperature of a sun and burn for a few billion years.

Now that the potential inferno could keep me warm all winter, I focused my attention and putting down a subfloor, which I anchored directly to my gas tank and brake lines for added support.

Then I put up a ceiling, while sparing whatever height I could since I am large and my van is medium. To add framing to attach the ceiling panels, I riveted joining plates to the roof supports, and connected them with furing strips that run flush up between the metal supports. Then used wainscotting panels for the ceiling-- an idea I lifted from Skagitstan's build. Thanks Skagistan.



I installed 4 LED puck lights from amazon. They require a 2.25'' hole. I have a 2 and 2.5" hole saw, and about 5 other sizes, none of which are 2.25''. How am I going to cut those holes? So I drank a beer and pondered this. Then after finishing the beer I realized the beer can was exactly with diameter needed for the hole. So I used it for a template, and enlarged a 2" hole with a dremel and coarse sanding bit to match, I then did this 3 more times. Cut a 2" hole. Drank another beer. Used it as a template, and sanded it out to match. Threw out the can. Drank another beer. Cut and repeat. I could have easily just used the light as a template, but that would have been way less fun. My 6th hole was perfect, its too bad I only needed 4.

With the ceiling done, I added the bed platform, which I finagled from harbor freight ATV ramps. The bed is quite sturdy, as the ramps have a 1500lb capacity. So that means minus my own weight I have room for a 1275lb girlfriend... or two 637.5lb girlfriends....Its good to leave your options open.


Now on to cabinets, countertop and wall panels.
 

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Beer can templates. A bed designed for a couple of 600 pounders. Possibilities of catching on fire. I'm entertained. Can't wait for a description of the propane installation. :)
 

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Beer can templates. A bed designed for a couple of 600 pounders. Possibilities of catching on fire. I'm entertained. Can't wait for a description of the propane installation. :)

I was thinking an ambient propane setup. I mean the cargo space is pretty much already a tank, adding another tank seems redundant (and think of the weight savings). I was just going to crack open the slider and fill the living space with a few hundred pounds. Then put a deposit on a 2020 Transit with AWD.


Alternatively if I was truly concerned about fire, I could just mount the propane tank in the engine compartment next to the air cleaner and fuse box, it will never cause an explosion there. Way too wet.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Build list according to priority:

1. buy van. check
2. IMMEDIATELY INSTALL CUSTOM HOOD ORNAMENT! CHECK!
3. Pick up beer. check.
4. Pick up more beer. check.
5. Build everything else. Che....almost

Bed is finished, trimmed, and ready for anything.

Installed some custom cabinetry designed by a small boutique Scandinavian cabinetry company called Ikea. I further customized the cabinets by adding 400lbs of VHB tape, nails, screws, construction adhesive, wood glue, lag bolts, regular bolts, angle brackets, tears, hammer blows, mental breakdowns and yelling. No level, plumb line or square was ever consulted, because references are only for people without this level of pure talent. Unrelated: For some strange reason my drawer fronts don't line up that great. Weird. Must be a manufacturer defect.

Cabinets installed. Next I needed a counter top. Pre-fabed laminate counter tops were running between 150-200 bucks, and butcher blocks countertops were in the same range. Both weighing a metric [email protected]%$-ton.

Living in Oregon, I figured I could get a live edge slab of wood for a similar price and weight. I went down to Oregon Wood Mill in Salem, picked through their hundreds of slabs and found a nice 96"x19"x2" piece of free-range, organic, non-soy, gluten-free, dry aged, conflict-free, farm-raised redwood (sequoia) for a 100 bucks. I carried it out under one arm, its about half the weight of laminated particle board or butcher block. I used Tennessee cedar to make a back/side splash, and have covered it all in enough Spar Varnish to macke suer eye weill nevir reade goode agayne. The stuff smells like confusion and makes my face feel numb.

After putting a few coats of varnish on yesterday morning, I regained consciousness and spent the remainder of the day anchoring that thing to the frame. This way I can make sure it doesn't become a scud missile the next time I stop short at an intersection.

"Did you hear? Jack Died"
"What happened?"
"He was decapitated.... with some really well finished wood. It was beautiful, it didn't even scuff or scratch as it severed his vertebrate"
"He must have used Spar Varnish."


Also of note: While attaching the backsplash to the countertop with a bradnailer, one of the 2inch nails went into the cedar, banged a sharp left, exited the board, sailed through the air, entered my left thumb approximately 2mm lateral to the nail bed, completely exited the thumb midline on the front surface, then sailed back into the cedar where it thankfully remained for the rest of the incident.

Two inches of bent nail passed cleanly through my thumb without touching bone or thumb nail. That was like hitting the lottery. There was a tiny entrance and exit wound, a little bruising in between, but no damage. It hurt for like 10 minutes and I was back to firing more nails with little regard for safety. I'm typing with it right now. WIN. WIN.


Now I am going to work on some wall panels.....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Been scratching my head as to how to save space. Looks like you nailed it. I like the way you installed the ceiling joists. Space-saver way to go.

I just used rivnuts to set the joining plates into the ceiling supports. I figured I'd be able to use the rivnuts for attaching things like cabinets later. Then I buried them under all that paneling, and no longer know where they are. Brilliant.
 

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I just used rivnuts to set the joining plates into the ceiling supports. I figured I'd be able to use the rivnuts for attaching things like cabinets later. Then I buried them under all that paneling, and no longer know where they are. Brilliant.

Riv-nuts, best invention ever!
 

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About a month ago I put a 1/4” chisel through my thumb almost exactly as you describe. Within 24 hours, it hardly looked like anything had happened.

Although it looked "clean", I updated my tetanus protection.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Captain's log

Captain Ahab's log, star-date 6-10-2019.


Over the weekend calm seas allowed much progress. The whale is nearing completion. The moral among the men remains high. Rations of Konig Pilser were distributed amongst them, and the men cheered as the cedar panels were hoisted within the belly of that huge white beast.

A years worth of salary was applied in the form of VHB tape, and the panels were to move nevermore. Alas the window frames could finally be mounted. They be cut by me matey's CNC machine, and fit with the perfection of sword returning to its sheath. Again the men rejoiced, yelling "Oh Bastid!" as the first frame was hung. But that afternoon luck would turn. Without notice, the VHB raneth dry, and the other frame was doomed to wait for another day. The men cried, "[email protected]$K#!ing, [email protected]$&%[email protected]#$er, [email protected]#$$&&%*, [email protected]&#~!" and became belligerent. The remaining Konig Pilsner was distributed amongst the men with a pacifying effect.

Attention then turned to mounting the cedar header. A 12 foot board was acquired for this. However the board took on a unfortunate "C" shape. "C" as in "C"an't [email protected]$#ing go there without a fight. Thus the men bravely attacked the board with a radial miter saw. The board lay in defeat, and quickly submitted to its fate.

Cherry Trim was then applied around the captains chambers and galley. Cabinet handles and 20lb-40lb magnetic holds were placed to keep the rations from spilling out while under heavy seas.

Now we sail in search of more VHB tape.



~Captain Ahab.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Major furnishings complete. Now on to the trim, plumbing, electrical and a Reissdorf Kolsch.
 

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@lincolnjbutler your build is looking great and I plan to steal ideas when my build time comes.

It looks like you designed the bed running E-W to provide more floor space. How much bed length did that end up giving you between the sheets of cedar?

Also curious about how much standing height you now have between your finished floor and ceiling. It would be great to go with a medium roof if possible, but I'm worried that walking around with my head tilted would make me look even more confused.
 
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