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I made similar window coverings but used a combo of blackout material, Insul-Bright for the middle insulation, and Temptrol to reflect back the sunshine. I like your idea of first glueing and then sewing the magnets inside the pillows. I ended up making "tabs" with polypropylene webbing and sewing the magnets onto that. (Bought the magnets from Apex Magnets on line - the customer service was great at providing the pull forces for the various magnets.) We're still working on the build (plus haven't installed the rear windows yet) so haven't tried them out.
On the Rear Windows.JPG Inside of Sliding Door Window.JPG Close-up of Open Magnets.JPG
 

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Discussion Starter #42 (Edited)
A couple of progress shots for before the weekend out:

Really happy with the way the ceiling turned out. The seem you can see in the photos will get covered with a little piece of trim. We also have a few more holes to fill and another coat of paint to do but I am really pleased. We opted to seal the cracks in the T&G with latex caulk. Some people advocate against it, some people advocate for it. We like the look much more with the gaps sealed. We will see if it cracks up in the winter. Worst case we seal and paint again.
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Space on the right side to put the cabinets. That's next weeks project. We also filled most of the nail holes on the walls and they need another coat of paint.
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Above the slider is one of the tricky bits. I decided to wait on finishing it until i am sure on how I want to proceed. Definitely open to suggestions.
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Above the slider is one of the tricky bits. I decided to wait on finishing it until i am sure on how I want to proceed. Definitely open to suggestions.

Here's how I ended up finishing mine. I used 1/8" rubber mat screwed directly to the metal and some white PVC paneling cut to fit in the front and back.

(The bar's for hanging/stretching and using a TRX setup and the rope is for assisting in entry and exit.)

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Discussion Starter #50
Thanks! We will take our chances and let you know how it turns out! Either it sits in the closet or it gets well loved. We prefer to love it and use it rather than covet it and keep it folded 🙂
 

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Thanks! We will take our chances and let you know how it turns out! Either it sits in the closet or it gets well loved. We prefer to love it and use it rather than covet it and keep it folded 🙂
I cant argue with that sentiment.

Here's five years on mine:



Your biggest nemesis will be dust, which along with the UV, will eventually weaken the fibers.
 

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Glad to see we are making exactly the same decisions/mistakes on many of the van build components. I am definitely keeping an eye on this build as you are a few steps ahead of me.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
Jelly Update

As the summer is winding down and the temps at 8k feet where we like to camp are getting colder we/I wanted to start being able to cook and make coffee inside. This led us to target the galley as our next project. We managed to get some of our very busy friend John's time. John is an actual real live craftsman! He spent some time working in a cabinet shop and knew a bunch of tricks of the trade. I thought I could do this project by myself. Ha! I am so grateful for John's help. There was about 75% less cursing and we did it right the first time. C Jo and I went through a few different designs for the galley. We went back and forth on which side the oven and sink should be on. In the end we decided to keep the cooking and washing as far from the bed as possible.

Here are some rough plans
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Here are some better plans drawn by John.
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John came over in the morning and we planned for a few hours. He made some really great cut lists ands then we were off. Cutting all the boards. before gluing anything. If it were just me I'd be cutting one thing at time. My brain can only handle so much at a time.

We built the cabinets as two sections. A smaller cabinet on the left and a larger sink/oven on the right. I am glad we did this because we will probably end up scrapping the small one for part of a bench.

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Here is one of the bases/kick panels
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We missed a really big chunk of time in pictures... Here is the test fit. We want to use the driver and passenger seats as work stations so we need the counter to be positioned back about 6" to make it usable with the driver slider. This is what led us to decide not to use the smaller cabinet. We will probably cut off the bottom drawer and use the first two as part of a stool we are building to the left of the galley.
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The plan is to do a flip up desk from the counter for the drivers seat and some other smart solution for the passenger seat. We have also thought about making a table for between the two chairs.

The next day we cut out the hole for the gray water tank. No sense in loosing all that space. This also helps it stay pretty snug in there.
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We also cut out a space for valuable storage on the other side and equipped it with a lock 🤫. It's not my finest work on this trap door but it will do. Nobody will ever see it.
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I built a drawer box today for the big drawer under the oven using some scrap I had laying around. Then of course I had to take it all apart again to put some primer/paint on. I also framed out the blocking for the oven here (the oven requires a 2" gap around all sides), added blocking on the left and right side of the under sink cabinet, and to the top of the big drawer. We are going to sand the whole front of the cabinet down again and get all of the little gaps sealed up with plastiwood so it appears to be one solid unit. The inside of the drawer is painted because I got excited and wanted to get my drawer slides in. "Just keep moving forward!", is what my brain tells me even if the order of operations doesn't make much sense. Note the intense mess in the garage. That has since been cleaned up.

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And one last test fit for the day. Tomorrow I will attach the drawer slides and do my best to make a cabinet door and drawer front.
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Thanks for reading.
 

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Discussion Starter #57 (Edited)
Great build so far. Appreciate how well documented it is as well. Hope to catch this thing at a crag one day.
Thanks! We have enjoyed your build journal as well and appreciate what you have done. In the early days you guys were our vanspiration! If you see us at the crag come say hi! You can catch us at Vedauwoo frequently in the summer getting our clothes ripped up on wide cracks. Happy to show you around if you ever make your way out here with your #6!

Onto the Journal:
We took the van out last week S-W and had a heck of a time with wild life. The first night a mouse got in. We opted to ignore it for the night (ear plugs) and head to the hardware store near where we were camped to get some traps and great stuff the next day. A quick search on the forum showed us where it could be getting in. I checked and sure enough one of the rubber plugs was pulled aside. We filled those gaps with great stuff gaps and craps 3" version and set a trap with some peanut butter. I was feeling around trying to drop a some kind of mouse repellant scent sack on the inside and stuck my hand in great stuff. Not sure if anyone else had had this happen but that stuff is THE STICKIEST THING I have ever had the pleasure of trying to get off of my hand in the wilderness. Later that night at 2am we woke up to something BIG trying to get in the van. It was a black bear cub! The mom was close by and they were checking out our campsite. I used the FOB to beep the horn a few times and they sauntered off but not before trying the doors one more time. I looked over at the trap and there was the mouse, dead. Once the bears were far enough away I chucked the mouse out the door. The third night we slept great! No mice and no bears despite seeing the bears around dinner time lurking.

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Onto the galley:
These dang cabinets... They feel as complicated as the entire build up to this point. A few things to note, we chose non-standard sizes for our cabinets which means EVERYTHING is custom and requires more planning and more cutting and careful measuring. We keep doing this to ourselves. We tend to make super custom things (not necessarily on purpose) and swear if we ever build another van we won't do this.

Test fitting the doors in my OSHA approved flip flops after kicking over the bucket of misc hardware.
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Test fitting the wall board that we will be attaching the galley to. I ended up using different screws and counter sinking them. I used rivnuts in the hip rail and the factory black plastic as the template for cutting the board. I put the cabinet in and drilled holes through the back into the wall board to get the fit just right.
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I then pulled the board out and attached some T Nuts to the back to bolt the galley to the wall. Then of course the wool insulation. You can see the T Nuts in the back of the board that will receive the bolts from inside cabinet.
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I added Sill Sealer (1/4" closed cell foam) behind the board so it doesn't squeak on the metal and then test fit the cabinet to the T Nuts. Look at this thing! Bomb PROOF. Without the kick plate under the the cabinet you could sit on this without any issues. Heavy duty!

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Now with most of the holes drilled here is a fresh coat of paint and a test fit of the drawer front just brad nailed to the drawer itself. Knobs were also installed.
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Lets talk about the cabinet door...
Our cabinet door overlay (I just learned this weekend what overlay is!) is 1" instead of the standard 3/4" or 1-1/4" (we didn't realize this was a standard and I didn't know how hinges work). Because we didn't want to special order hinges we went with 1-1/4" overlay and drilled the holes as close as possible to the end of the plywood door without exposing the hinge. You can see the test board next to the cabinet door. I think there is about 1/16" of an inch of material. Second custom thing we did was use 1/2" ply for the doors/drawer fronts. Most cabinet doors are 3/4" material. The hinges are made to work with 3/4" wood. We ended up drilling into the door leaving about 1/16" of material on the board. When we screwed the hinges on they made little bumps and one almost cracked from the pressure. The door is still secure because it screws in on the sides of the hinges not in the cup. We spackled the door again and patched the weird marks.
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With the doors and drawer front semi-finished we wanted to move on the counter top. Doing some Research and Development on YouTube I found a method of using a router to cut the sink hole for the under mount sink. We did a ton of planning by bringing the galley and counter top inside the house because we had another record heat day here in CO. We drew the plans from the top and then used a light box (C Jo is a fantastic artist and just had a light box kicking around) to flip them over so we could work on the back of the counter top.
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Here is the jig and early in the cut process, just another 20ish passes until we are through! The router blade was a little dull so it was pretty unhappy going through this hardwood. Eeeeek.
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Overall the cut went as well as it could. I made a few mistakes such as trying to cut too deep too fast, trying to catch the cut out with 1/4" ply instead of half inch which caused some top side splitting. We knew we would be tossing that inside piece of wood and not using it as a cutting board. We will use a scrap from the oven cut out to cover our sink while it is not in use. We should have worn masks but learned that the hard way. N95s are still hard to come by right now.

Then I used a combination circular saw with a 60T blade and jig saw to cut the oven out and routed the top around the sink hole.

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Out of photo space next post coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #58 (Edited)
The test fit looks pretty DANG GOOD!!!! You can see some yet to be sanded patches here. We screwed the drawer front on and patched where the cabinet door almost cracked.
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More test fitting and tip out hinges installed on the final door. Also patches sanded and painted.
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Drilled some holes in the sink with a step bit to mount it to the bottom of the counter top later.
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Picked up some fresh drill bits and drilled the holes for the faucet and in-counter soap dispenser. Why didn't anyone tell me spade bits are actually really nice for this kind of stuff! The hole saw gets way too hot. The spade bit does just as good and doesn't need to cool down 10 times while you cut through. You can see the little screw ups on the counter top. This disappeared with sanding and sealing with Tung Oil.
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Houston we have some plumbing! I got the rough in done for the grey water tank. I picked this tank up in May for free knowing that I wanted to use it for this. Glad to see it come to life. We are using a HepvO instead of a P trap.
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We got the first coat of Tung Oil on this afternoon. They say 24 hours between coats. We will get some photos up once we are done with that and it gets attached to the counter.


Thanks for reading! I hope someone finds this helpful!
 

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@cno is so good at keeping you all updated on our build thread! I'm a bit of procrastinator, so I can actually do an update on finishing both the slider window cover and the back bunk window covers!! I'm so glad they are done and I'm trying not to think about having to do covers for the windshield and cab windows 😛. I will say, third time's the charm though! The bunk windows definitely came out the best of all the ones I've made! So good in fact, that now the back window covers I did first look pretty lame in comparison. But they work - so that's what really matters! Anyways...

Slider Window Cover
The main design challenge for the slider window cover was that our window has a part of it that opens, so we wanted to make sure that the cover would have some kind of flap over that area, so that when the window was open we could open the flap but keep the cover on. I used the same materials (ripstop nylon and Warm Window) as my first window covers, but instead of treating the cover like a pillow, I decided it made more sense to treat it like a quilt. I put the three layers together (nylon, warm window, nylon) and sewed them together leaving the edges raw and hoping to figure out some kind of "binding" solution like you would with a quilt. A dumb mistake I made here was precutting the "slit" in the bottom half of all three pieces (to make the flap) before I sewed them all together. That was dumb because the pieces got slightly mis-aligned when sewing them together and I ended up having to do a lot of unstitching and restitching which could have been easily avoided if I had been thinking through it more.

I don't remember how I found out about bias tape, but I did and it was the best thing that ever happened to me! I went to Joann's and got a bunch of wide bias tape to use as the binding for the covers! If you don't know what bias tape is it's used to finish raw edges on things like quilts, placemats, bibs, armhole/necklines, etc. You're not supposed to pin through ripstop nylon, so I consulted my mom ( an expert quilter) and she had some cool little clips that worked perfectly to attach the bias tape around the edge of the cover.

Now I haven't mentioned the magnets (my nemesis). On this attempt, I tried sewing little pockets for the magnets into the Warm Window layer. It worked ok, but still not that elegant of a solution and still added a bunch of additional sewing for me. I liked it better than my initial glueing solution though - and the glueing solution wouldn't have worked for this version anyways, so overall 🤷‍♀️good enough! The one bummer about this pocket/magnet solution was that where the pockets/magnets ended up being sewn in didn't quite fit under the bias tape. So I had to sew the bias tape until I got to a magnet, lift up the needle, skip over the magnet and then keep going. Leaving holes in the bias tape where the magnets were and where I then had to go back and hand stitch the bias tape closed with a blind stitch. Hey at least I'm learning as I go though! I knew I'd be able to figure something better out for the next set of covers.

We installed snaps so that we could flip the flap up both on the gray and black side. And the cover works to have the gray side out or the black side out, depending what you want!

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Bunk Window Covers

These were the best and easiest covers! I think cause they were so small and simple - with no weird shapes or design needs! I used the same method here as the slider window - quilt style. Had the nylon, Warm Window, and nylon and sewed them together as three layers. I again used bias tape to bind the raw edges, and this is where my newest magnet solution came into play. I marked where I wanted all the magnets to be and then as I was sewing the bias tape on, I sewed a little pocket into the bias tape for the magnet!! This way, I didn't have to do any weird needle lifting and I didn't have to sew around magnets cause they weren't in yet! Once I'd sewed on the bias tape, I inserted the magnet to its little pocket in the bias tape and then, since I'd left the pockets big enough and I was using slightly less aggressive super strong magnets, I was able to use my machine to sew the pocket closed!! 🙏

One note, is that the bunk windows actually have a plastic rather than metal rim, so I had to buy a little roll of magnet strip with adhesive on the back and then cut 6 little strips of that and adhere it to the rim of the bunk window where the magnets would be on the cover. The strips blend in just fine since they are black, but the adhesive isn't great so I think we will end permanently glueing the strips on since on hot days they have been falling off.

Whew! So stoked those are all done and all in all I think they look pretty great! They keep the light out (and in) as well as the heat! I'll have to do an update when the weather gets cold on how well the covers do or don't insulate us from the cold!

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