With all the prep work done, I finally got to start installing things inside.
I decided I wanted a solid partition to separate the cab from the cargo area. This is somewhat for privacy but mostly to protect the driver’s head from projectile objects coming loose in an accident and hurling themselves at 60mph into the back of her head and causing massive injuries or worse. Also the privacy thing.
The partitions will also provide some insulation from the cab and be the framework against which the kitchen pantry shelves will be installed.
The “partition” is in fact a sandwich of one layer of 1/2″ solid wood, two layers of 1/4″ cork underlayment, and another layer of 1/2″ solid wood. This way the partition is both sturdy and will insulate the living space against the cold or heat coming in from the large windows of the cab.
It is also in two pieces, one behind the driver seat and the other behind the passenger seat. I plan to eventually build a solid door to go between, but time constraints have downgraded that particular project to the someday list. For now, I will hang a thick curtain between them to provide privacy and a small amount of insulation.
To get the right shape for the partitions, I am using cardboard from the solar panel boxes to scribe around the individual curves of each side of the van.
Here is the partition in cardboard outline:
Tracing and cutting it onto the wood.
I got two pieces of the partition from one full sheet of wood by placing and cutting them carefully.
Here’s another instance of needing to consider multiple steps at once.
My kitchen pantry shelves will be built onto these partitions, but I want them installed in such a way that the screws are invisible so they look really nice. Which I can do if I screw them in from the inside of the partition.
So the forward, cab-facing half of each partition sandwich was installed permanently at this stage, but the living-area-facing half of each partition cannot be installed until its pantry shelf is built and ready to attach, since I will need access to the inside of the partition in order to screw each shelf to the outside.
Here’s where it gets fun. I could build the right side pantry shelf and install it now, since it is by the door and wouldn’t get in the way of access to the walls for the rest of the build.
But if I did, the shelf would block access to that bit of the floor under it that would eventually need to be slathered with metal protectant. So I had to do that before putting the shelf in. And I also would want the carpet to go under the shelf, so I had to measure exactly how high the floor, insulation and carpet would be and install the shelf that much higher so I could scooch them under the shelf later (which wasn’t easy).
But the left pantry side could not be built and installed yet, because it would extend much farther into the living area and get in the way of my having access to the walls when installing them, not to mention a much larger section of the floor.
So I only installed the front of the partition on that side, and cut out, protected and stained the second sandwich piece, but it and the insulation layer would have to wait till nearly the end, after the walls and floors were done, to finally install.
So it will look like this for a while.
I do like how it is looking so far, and the pantry shelf came out great (sorry, these build photos were also lost). There is more on why I made the shelves like I did in Kitchen and Cooking Considerations.
The insulation project is coming up next.