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Hello all, I am in Michigan near Detroit. I hired a man to do the van conversion with me. Unfortunately he was injured in an accident that required surgery. The van currently is in the shop having roof rack installed and next week to another company for window, and max air installed. Looking for someone to do the rough framing on the inside. I am a cabinet maker, so that's not a problem. But being a 66 yr old woman my strength has diminished for framing.Thanks for reading and have a nice day.
 

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I’m not sure what you mean by framing. The only thing you really have to do is build cabinets and bolt them to the walls. Do you mean you need help
installing your cabinets? A lot of big box stores have guys looking for day work hanging around outside you might find someone that way (although if I was a woman I’m not sure I would be 100%confortable doing that). Craigslist has listing for people looking for work alo.
 

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I was 68 when I started mine and I lost my abdominal muscle to surgery many years ago. I primarily needed help with 4x8 sheets of ply. If I hadn’t had MrNomer's help, I would have had them cut down where I bought them. I agree with KOV that you probably don’t need as much help as you think you do, especially if you are a cabinet maker.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was 68 when I started mine and I lost my abdominal muscle to surgery many years ago. I primarily needed help with 4x8 sheets of ply. If I hadn’t had MrNomer's help, I would have had them cut down where I bought them. I agree with KOV that you probably don’t need as much help as you think you do, especially if you are a cabinet maker.
Thanks for the encouragement. Need help with putting up the firring strips to hang wood on the walls and ceiling.
I have never used plus nuts or rivets. The vid's that I reviewed look like it is difficult drilling holes in the van frame.
 

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It’s not difficult the steel is very thin
 

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Whether you think you can or think you can't,....
you're right.

Everything is the same. If you understand how to build a cabinet, you can build framing. If you understand plumbing and water, you can understand wiring and electricity.
Etc, etc.
If you can drill holes in wood, same with metal. Same with cutting. Just make sure to use the right tools.
I found that the Milwaukee Cobalt bits are affordable and make easy work of drilling through metal.
 

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The most important skill in drilling metal in the van is.....

Using a stop so the drill doesn't break through and pop the metal on the outside! I use a block of wood that the drill goes through, and is cut to prevent the drill from going any further than required.

Actually installing rivnuts is pretty easy - the tools give you mechanical advantage, so it's easier to do. Also, the DIY metal strip and wrench method ( you tube ) is basically just tightening a nut.
 

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I haven't needed to drill any holes in interior structures yet.
I only used a few rivnut style inserts under the van to secure the gray water tank straps to the frame so far.
But I like the wood block idea. I need to invest in one of those
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The most important skill in drilling metal in the van is.....

Using a stop so the drill doesn't break through and pop the metal on the outside! I use a block of wood that the drill goes through, and is cut to prevent the drill from going any further than required.

Actually installing rivnuts is pretty easy - the tools give you mechanical advantage, so it's easier to do. Also, the DIY metal strip and wrench method ( you tube ) is basically just tightening a nut.
Thanks for the tip to stop from drill to far. I have drill bit stops I use from time to time. I hadn't thought about this. I will look on you tube for the vid. Thanks again
 

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Just wrapping a strip of tape around the bit will work just as well. I don’t personally like step drills because it’s very easy to cut another "step" by accident in very thin metal and you need a hole with exact tolerance so your rivnut won’t spin.
 

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Being a woman of that same age, I have done everything myself, so far (walls, bed, fan, window), except the rivnuts - I do not have the strength to operate the rivnut tool. Good luck with your build!
 

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I don’t believe that I would be able to use a rivnut tool.

I've noticed that men often take their upper body strength for granted.
 

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No, my wife takes my upper body strength for granted.
What's left of it anyway
 

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I use step bit for the holes so the bit doesn't pull.
I used a copper pipe cut to the right length after I put a pimple in my van skin (I knew better, but drilled it anyway).

Drill stops are a good tool to have if you don't want to use a step or uni-bit.
 

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Not to derail the thread too much, but I wonder what alternative tools are good for riv nuts that do not require significant strength. I know there are some DIY tools that use wrenches. This tool looks like it might be the same idea, but I'm not sure.

 

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The big 8mm rivnuts do take some umff, but small 1/4-20 rivnuts practically seat themselves. I mostly used 1/4-20 rivnuts and drilled for them as needed. Perhaps you could find a stronger friend to seat the few 8mm rivnuts you might need, if any. Heck, you could even have them fill all the hex holes with 8mm rivnuts at once, then use the ones you need later.

A van conversion is totally doable within your limitations, guaranteed. You just have to get creative and plan ahead. You will need to think outside the box sometimes. Keep looking until you find methods you can manage yourself. There are forum members who never used a single rivnut in their build.
 
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