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Hey folks,

converting a 159’ 2500 promaster. All insulation, bed frame, flooring and electrical is in but I’m struggling to wrap my head around how to panel flush, straight walls with all the uneven ribs and protruding metal parts.

id like to panel everything with plywood and then attach cedar planks to those so some kind of furring route makes most sense but theres so many areas where I become stuck.

Any thoughts or advice around this?
Thanks
Jay
 

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You’re on the right track just fur everything out to the same plane (fur things vertically, not horizontally) don’t worry about it being straight, square is more important but even then do what looks good?
 

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Are you trying to make everything one smooth panel? If so, another option is to plan breaks in your panels then make the walls in sections. Then you can hide awkward sections either behind a cabinet or something else that runs the direction of your obstruction.
 

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A possible path is to use 18mm baltic birch and router the "look" that you are trying to achieve into it. If you need a more pliable surface, 6mm works pretty well.

Sometimes it is not clear how to deal with obstructions until you just start putting wood up and cutting around them.

I use PAD (plywood aided design) for proto work. Just buy some ply and start hanging it in place as a proto. The solutions usually start to become more obvious as you go along.
 

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Expanded PVC exterior house trim (plastic lumber) strips and/or blocks attached with VHB tape can provide convenient places for the screws needed to hold your panels. And also help smooth and level surfaces. Also don't go too thick on the panels. 3-4mm luan plywood is a good material especially if adding upholstery with foam behind it. Luan sheets are pretty cheap too so you can use it to make templates and then go thicker if needed. Thin luan can be cut with a utility knife or tin snips.

We really like 4mm Okoume ply for wall panels. 9mm for floors on top of minicell foam.

All the best,
Hein
DIYvan
541 490 4098
 

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Hey folks,

converting a 159’ 2500 promaster. All insulation, bed frame, flooring and electrical is in but I’m struggling to wrap my head around how to panel flush, straight walls with all the uneven ribs and protruding metal parts.

id like to panel everything with plywood and then attach cedar planks to those so some kind of furring route makes most sense but theres so many areas where I become stuck.

Any thoughts or advice around this?
Thanks
Jay
Hi Jay

I have lots of photos on my “Build Thread”. I used prefinished birch plywood for my ceiling & walls. These plywood panels are bolted directly onto the metal van structures by rivnuts I installed. No furring out or wood behing the plywood panels.

Not sure it would work with cedar planks

 

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Jay1193,
Why do you want flush straight walls? Cope to the shape of the van.
 
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Yes, straight walls would waste a huge amount of floor space.

There are actually several choices:

(Cleanest, smoothest). Skim the outer surface with a flexible ply, attaching to the most protruding places and shimming elsewhere, or

(Saves most space). Inset panels, leaving the protruding metal bare or covering it with fabric, or

(Looks like an RV instead of a van, wastes a lot of precious space). Attach to straight vertical "studs". If you start installing these, you will get a sense of the wasted space.
 

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You could use wiggle board some call it wacky to wrap the out cropping's and with a different wood species from the walls would look good.
 

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Yes, straight walls would waste a huge amount of floor space.

There are actually several choices:

(Cleanest, smoothest). Skim the outer surface with a flexible ply, attaching to the most protruding places and shimming elsewhere, or

(Saves most space). Inset panels, leaving the protruding metal bare or covering it with fabric, or

(Looks like an RV instead of a van, wastes a lot of precious space). Attach to straight vertical "studs". If you start installing these, you will get a sense of the wasted space.
In our previous builds (non PM), we've always used 1/4" birch ply on the most protruding surface and furring out other ribs. The only downsides are it's A) a lot of work and B) when driving the wood can squeak on the metal in some areas.

I would like to explore the idea of using the inset panels and covering with fabric. What type of fabric and adhesive would work best on the metal?

Also, has anyone used wallpaper to finish their wood panels? I think this would be an easy way to hide the seams, but I'm not sure how it would hold up over time (moisture, temp, vibration..etc).
 

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I’ve been curious about wallpaper myself. So many design options. I’m concerned about longevity of glue, but for small area, there’s 3M90.
 

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I’ve been curious about wallpaper myself. So many design options. I’m concerned about longevity of glue, but for small area, there’s 3M90.
Ditto on the wallpaper. I’m going to try a self adhesive wallpaper from Spoonflour. I follow “Mavis the Airstream” and she has used that wallpaper successfully.
BTW, if you’re not familiar with Spoonflower: they custom print several types of fabric and wallpaper types with any of their 750,000 (!) designs or you can upload your own. I have used custom printed fabric from them on a few vintage trailer restorations for curtains and throw pillows and the quality is great. Can’t wait to try the wallpaper.
 

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Have you ever moved into a house with wallpaper that needed to be removed, especially the foil crap? If you don't like it or it doesn't work out (for any reason) it can be (IS) a nightmare to remove, it would especially be so in a van. Definitely wouldn't put it over seams as it will almost surely tear from the van flexing. Water-based glues aren't a good idea in humid areas (like any rainy day in a van) as it will definitely peel, first on corners, then along the edges. Personally, like glitter, I find it to be horrible stuff and feel it should be outlawed! Only kinda kidding. ;-)
 

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I was thinking about something like this, it's a fabric. Could use 3M 90 on 1/8" foam, over plywood. Another cool option is mount one of the big National Geography maps of the USA, has the National Parks, you could use push pin markers for where you are and have been. https://www.amazon.com/Baocicco-Photography-Background-Navigation-Portraits/dp/B07KSYTB6J

 

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Have you ever moved into a house with wallpaper that needed to be removed, especially the foil crap? If you don't like it or it doesn't work out (for any reason) it can be (IS) a nightmare to remove, it would especially be so in a van. Definitely wouldn't put it over seams as it will almost surely tear from the van flexing. Water-based glues aren't a good idea in humid areas (like any rainy day in a van) as it will definitely peel, first on corners, then along the edges. Personally, like glitter, I find it to be horrible stuff and feel it should be outlawed! Only kinda kidding. ;-)
Good points.. I definitely agree with you on the glitter part of things ;)

I'd be interested to know what type of fabric and adhesive people have used for the areas of metal that are difficult to panel. Mainly the outmost protruding vertical panels by the sliding door and on the opposite side. I was thinking of putting fabric on these sections and then overlapping my panels. Thoughts?
 

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3M sticks well, not a bad idea to wipe down with alcohol or a cleaner. Albright has some great fabrics and carpets for RVs and auto. My issue I'm trying to make sure I can remove anything I put in.
 

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I'd be interested to know what type of fabric and adhesive people have used for the areas of metal that are difficult to panel. Mainly the outmost protruding vertical panels by the sliding door and on the opposite side. I was thinking of putting fabric on these sections and then overlapping my panels. Thoughts?
I used trunk liner fabric over closed cell packing foam. I also used a little expanding foam under the layers that I carved after hardening to smooth over a few irregularities and fill certain areas to eliminate detailed coping of the panel edges.

I used different adhesives by Loctite. I like the max strength headliner adhesive (Acklands Grainger). I just spray both surfaces lightly and stick it in place. If it didn't adhere to my liking I peel it back and spray a little more to reactivate then stick it again. So far all of my edges will be held down by panels or weather stripping. I didn't put both layers under the weather stripping, only the fabric.

Waiting for warmer weather to get back at it.

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Also, has anyone used wallpaper to finish their wood panels? I think this would be an easy way to hide the seams, but I'm not sure how it would hold up over time (moisture, temp, vibration..etc).
I used textured wallpaper over painted plywood on the ceiling of my old Grumman because it was available. I gave it a coat of yellow latex (like '69 Chevelle Butternut). It looked great and everyone loved the classy ceiling. I will be doing the same treatment in the Promaster. I might do the wall panels as well, maybe not the same color. No peeling after 6 years.
 

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Hi Jay

I have lots of photos on my “Build Thread”. I used prefinished birch plywood for my ceiling & walls. These plywood panels are bolted directly onto the metal van structures by rivnuts I installed. No furring out or wood behing the plywood panels.

Not sure it would work with cedar planks

I think you've done this the smart way without losing too much interior space. It amazes me how much interior people are giving up.
 
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