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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've seen various builds where individuals use rivnuts (or plusnuts, your choice) to attach strapping/framing/stringers along sidewalls and the ceiling at the beginning of a build.

My understanding is that these are used for both securing cabinets and tying in wall paneling. I guess the idea is to do all of your rivnut work first, and then have easy to work with wood-to-wood screwing options for securing cabinetry/wall paneling.

I've attached an image from "Eric's Neverending Story" illustrating these framing members.

My first question: What is the relative advantage of pre-attaching strapping/framing members with rivnuts as opposed to directly attaching cabinetry to the van metal with rivnuts, and the paneling with TEK screws?

Second question: IF there is a really compelling reason to frame out with wood/rivnuts, how accurately do I need to plan out my exact cabinetry dimensions? I'm assuming I can just run similar ones to the image attached, and still have plenty of flexibility with how I'm going to layout my cabinets exactly-they are just providing a structure to secure to. Am I missing something here?

Third question: IF I don't do much pre-planned framing (perhaps just a ceiling attachment point for overhead cabinetry), when do most people do their rivnut work? Is this something that happens as a single project, or do you simply add them when you are ready to install cabinetry?

These topics are touched on in various threads, but I couldn't find specific information regarding a consensus/opinions why one way is preferred to another.
 

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It really depends on your build. There is no right or wrong way only what works out best for you.

In my build I made the upper and lower cabinets up without backs then I mounted them in the van by bolting them through a piece of 3/4 X 4 plywood I built into the back top of the cabinet (the uppers I also bolted thru a similar piece I built into the bottom of the cabinets). I drilled holes thru the plywood back piece into whatever wall rib happened to be close by. On some I used rivnuts on others nuts and bolts depending on the location. When I put the paneling on I filled out the space between the uppers and lowers with pieces of 2 x 4 I cut down to make a flat straight wall then screwed them on with either rivnuts or self tapping screws, but mostly self tapping screws as they don’t really support anything. I also made all my cabinets up in the garage first (after dry fitting them) and then when I installed them I bolted or screwed then to each other thru the face frames. After I was done with wiring, insulation, etc I cut pieces of ¼" ply wood to fit in the back and cover up everything.

Once again, there is no correct way other that what works for you and most likely you will use several methods.

Here is a sample of one set of cabinets but there are more on my build thread you can see at the link in my wig below.


I also have a general idea of what I want before I do it but I don’t spend any time on drawing up an actual plan. I might make a quick sketch on a piece of paper to get a rough material list but that’s it. Then I just jump in and start building. I make changes and adjustments as I go and dry fit them to the contours of the walls and ceiling as necessary. Of course, you do have to be aware of basic sizing standards before you start. Typical kitchen base cabinets are 24" deep and 34 ½" high while uppers are 12" deep by whatever height needed. These measurements are not necessarily good for use in a van however and that is one reason (amongst many) I would discourage anyone from buying pre made cabinets. My base cabinets vary in width from 18" to 24" depending on where they are and I made them all about 31" high so as to be level with the main horizontal rib in the van for ease of mounting and support.
 

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I've seen various builds where individuals use rivnuts (or plusnuts, your choice) to attach strapping/framing/stringers along sidewalls and the ceiling at the beginning of a build.

My understanding is that these are used for both securing cabinets and tying in wall paneling. I guess the idea is to do all of your rivnut work first, and then have easy to work with wood-to-wood screwing options for securing cabinetry/wall paneling.

I've attached an image from "Eric's Neverending Story" illustrating these framing members...
Referencing my photo one can see framing along the wall and roof. The wall framing was to smooth the profile so I could attach 3mm plywood interior skin with tiny screws. The roof framing was thicker and stronger to support overhead cabinets as well as the 3mm roof skin. If I was doing the roof skin again I would use thick boards running lengthwise as some other builders have done. Then I wouldn't have to worry about the exact location of support for overhead cabinets. I also had problems with the thin 3mm roof skin sagging and had to glue stiffeners on the inside surface.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Referencing my photo one can see framing along the wall and roof. The wall framing was to smooth the profile so I could attach 3mm plywood interior skin with tiny screws. The roof framing was thicker and stronger to support overhead cabinets as well as the 3mm roof skin. If I was doing the roof skin again I would use thick boards running lengthwise as some other builders have done. Then I wouldn't have to worry about the exact location of support for overhead cabinets. I also had problems with the thin 3mm roof skin sagging and had to glue stiffeners on the inside surface.
By thick boards do you mean 5/16" standard tongue and groove? Or something thicker?

To everyone: is there a negative to screwing the ceiling panels directly into the van supports with tek screws? You otherwise lose some headroom..

Thanks!
 

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By thick boards do you mean 5/16" standard tongue and groove? Or something thicker?

To everyone: is there a negative to screwing the ceiling panels directly into the van supports with tek screws? You otherwise lose some headroom..

Thanks!
No problem with that. I used regular #8 or #10 self tapping screws. I predrilled the holes.

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By thick boards do you mean 5/16" standard tongue and groove? Or something thicker?

To everyone: is there a negative to screwing the ceiling panels directly into the van supports with tek screws? You otherwise lose some headroom..

Thanks!
Depending on your insulation choice, you could loose some insulation value that way. Thinsulate may need more volume to expand into for maximum benefit. Or reflectix benefits from a dead space, etc.
 

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Depending on your insulation choice, you could loose some insulation value that way. Thinsulate may need more volume to expand into for maximum benefit. Or reflectix benefits from a dead space, etc.
He would buy the 1" thinsulate for the ceiling. It fits perfect

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And has an R value of 3.8 as opposed to 5.2 for fully expanded SM 600L.
I'm sitting on my bed in the van now. With the amount of cold air coming from the the metal on the back doors, I don't think that matters much.

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You raise a good issue for those of us with crosswise beds against the door. All that metal is such a good conductor of heat that the surface near you when sleeping can be a bit chilly. I did insulate the doors with i” polyiso (it is hard in the channels beside the windows) and that stops the radiant heat but does little or nothing for the conducted heat. Our bed abuts the doors. I think an insulated curtain drawn across the doors would help a lot and an IKEA curtain kit like the one KOV showed me and we both used to close off the cab might prove a good way to hang it. Our cab is considerably cooler than the van on cold nights.
This curtain could also provide a bit of privacy instead of window covers. I am not sure why I didn’t do this?

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60075295/
 
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I'm sitting on my bed in the van now. With the amount of cold air coming from the the metal on the back doors, I don't think that matters much.
Sorry, I'm not usually nitpicky. He asked if there was a negative, and that's the only one I could think of-- however slight. Just trying to explain some people's motivations for putting in furring strips aside from ease of mounting things like tongue and groove.

I agree the rear door is an often overlooked heat-sink. Between the conduction you mention and the poor seal around the doors which I was wondering if anyone had addressed, there's plenty of room for improvement. As RD suggests, an insulating curtain would likely help both.
 

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My back doors don’t leak air and don’t let in dust on dusty roads. Adjust them if they are drafty.

I like nit picky, it points out the finer points we often overlook.
 

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My first winter I had snow blow a foot or so in from the rear doors. Dealer adjusted. Later, dealer replaced latches and has adjusted several more times. We still check for tell-tale glimmers of light to make sure they're closed tight.
 

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My first winter I had snow blow a foot or so in from the rear doors. Dealer adjusted. Later, dealer replaced latches and has adjusted several more times. We still check for tell-tale glimmers of light to make sure they're closed tight.
I had dust and light coming through. Adjusted and have been good.


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You raise a good issue for those of us with crosswise beds against the door. All that metal is such a good conductor of heat that the surface near you when sleeping can be a bit chilly. I did insulate the doors with i” polyiso (it is hard in the channels beside the windows) and that stops the radiant heat but does little or nothing for the conducted heat. Our bed abuts the doors. I think an insulated curtain drawn across the doors would help a lot and an IKEA curtain kit like the one KOV showed me and we both used to close off the cab might prove a good way to hang it. Our cab is considerably cooler than the van on cold nights.
This curtain could also provide a bit of privacy instead of window covers. I am not sure why I didn’t do this?

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60075295/
Haven't decided what to do yet, but that will probably be a winner for dealing with the problem.

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