Tag Archives: glue

Insulate Your RV Floor – Part Four

Gluing Insulation

Every RV should have Insulation and gluing it is the best way to keep it in place. As part of the Insulated Floor Project, I just finished gluing all the individual pieces of Poly-Iso insulation board between the floor ribs of the Ford Transit floor.

You can read about all the details, and view all the photos and videos on the project page. When the entire floor project has finished, the complete guide will be made available for download.

Your comments are appreciated. Tell us about your RV mods and how you did it, and we might publish your story.

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Solar Panel Guide (1)

New approaches for small RV’s.


Less important to the big rigs, that have large, flat roofs to support a large numbers of panels, the smaller Class B RV’s and Cargo Van Conversions tend to have preciously little room for sufficient solar power generating equipment. And those with curved roofs (p.e. converted vans or Airstreams) are even less fortunate. Another concern for smaller vehicles is overall weight, as their restricted payloads limit installation of an extensive photovoltaic system.

flex-solar-panelMost often the rigid residential solar modules have been adapted for use by RV’s, but flexible panels started to make inroads a few years ago. These low-efficiency panels offered no solution for the Class B traveler, as they came in clumsy sizes and needed more, lacking, roof space.
Continue reading Solar Panel Guide (1)

Monitor Console

Between the window and the side doors is a narrow strip of wall available to house a small console. It is the future location of the battery monitor and a reading light.


With a narrow piece of wood, the length of the console, placed against the inside wall, the curve of the wall is transferred to the wood. Back in the workshop the form is cut and adjusted to get a perfect fit.

04In the meantime, some wood is planed to a 1/2” thickness and the form is temporarily attached to it. With a straight-edge bit, the form is exactly copied to the wood. This and another copy are the two sides of the console.

Continue reading Monitor Console


Having batteries, doesn’t automatically mean access to 12V. Thus, two access points are planned in the van. One 12V socket is located at the solar components (controller, charger, inverter, etc.) compartment, under the bed. It’s immediately next to the pull-out shelf and serves to power my laptop.

12V Power Socket

It’s a standard 12V power socket, that includes a faceplate and wires.



First a hole, the size of the socket, is drilled with a Forstner bit in the ¼” plywood. The hole sits at the top, right under the bed overhang and is largely out-of-sight.



The 12V socket is held in place by the round rear cover, which is screwed onto the main body. The thickness of the plywood prevented that, so I shortened the cover by removing a short length with a metal saw.


68Next, two little wood blocks were needed, to support the screws of the face plate. Each of them is pre-drilled to hold the screw.


69And then glued in place with some ordinary wood glue.


70The included wires are easily attached.


71The job is finished by adding the two screws to the face plate.


I recently pulled the 12V wire from the battery compartment, but for now, I hold off connecting it to the socket, as I also plan to install a 12V fan at the same location and connect it to the same 12V wire. The fan should supply some needed cooling to the solar components.



While working on the multi-use cabinet, I started with some of the wiring. Before I can continue building new cabinets, the majority of the electrical wiring has to be installed.

Battery Monitor

The monitor will be located on the wall next to the side doors and connected to the batteries with 4 small wires. A short piece of Cat5 cable will do the job, because the battery compartment is only a few feet away.

 monitor and battery compartment


1211The cable is guided through the door channel to the floor, where it will be connected to the battery bank at a later time.



The cabling is left as is, until the hardware is installed.


Battery Charger

Under the bed are two shallow window compartments, which are above the wheel housing. Adjoining is a regular compartment that will contain most electrical devices, such as charger, inverter and controller. It has a removable side-wall for easy access.


Because the wheel housing is in the way, any cabling will have to go through the shallow compartments. A hollow core separation will serve as a divider between the two spaces, while at the same time hiding the wires.


14The divider consists of two 1/8” plywood sides, one solid base and a top divided in three, for later access to any cables.


15The parts are glued together in several steps and sanded to final dimensions.


The divider easily slides in at one side of the compartment.



After fitting, a few holes are drilled on both sides of the compartment, that will accommodate the wiring.



After a final check, the divider is glued-in and reinforced with two nails.


2122The actual wiring is just a matter of pulling the Romex wire through the divider and along the wall towards the right rear brake light.

2526The wire is then connected to a 110V power inlet, that will be installed below the brake light.

An extension cord plugged into the power inlet at the outside rear of the van, will power the battery charger.




Multi-Use Cabinet (6)

A lot of time is spent on this multi purpose cabinet in pursuit of a high standard of finish. When it is ready and installed in the next two weeks, I will continue with the cargo van conversion. There’s the solar prep and walls & floors to be finished.


7778Previously I installed a Romex wire from the future inverter location to this side door cabinet. The wire will be connected to the electrical outlet in the side of the cabinet.


79To continue with the drawers, I have sized the parts of the large bottom drawer and dadoed the appropriate edges.


8081I temporarily fitted the bottom drawer front panel and the two ‘ribbed’ decorations to get an impression how things are going to look like.


82Now again some resawing on the bandsaw for the two top drawers.


8384I use the side panels of the topmost drawer to attach the side rails at their exact locations.


85As the drawer bottoms I use some hardboard with a light gray Formica glued to it.


86With all the parts ready, the bottom drawer is put together. Normally, I leave the rear panel a little short, for the bottom panel to slide underneath into the bottom grooves of the other panels. A screw through the bottom into the back panel, would hold everything together and would let you remove the drawer bottom at a later time. As this drawer is accessible on front and back, the drawer bottom will be fully enclosed.

The final fitting involves a lot of sanding and the use of a block plane to achieve the best fit and a smooth forward and backward action.


Now repeat the whole process for the two other drawers.







Unfortunately I messed up one of the drawer bottoms, so there’s some more sawing and gluing to do.


Multi-Use Cabinet (3)


Fitting the cabinet in the van

3738The RV’s cabinet overhangs the step-in area at the side doors. A simple box with a Cherry front will fill that in. The extension at the top of the will cover the end of the core bottom panel.


As we are approaching glue-up, it’s time to check the fitting of the cabinet in the conversion van to reveal any problems or necessary adjustments.



The relative size and location are as expected and with the additional top for the cooktop, it will extend nicely above the bed. One miscalculation I made, was the bump on the step-in panel. A little scribing and removal on the bottom box will solve that.




Back to the workshop for a full glue-up and the addition of the top.




Just before glue-up, I used a 7/8” forstner bit to put a hole in the side of the top and bottom panel; a plastic irrigation pipe will be inserted as a way to guide the gas pipe or the electric cord from the cooktop to the bottom of the van.


In addition to the pipe, several pieces of ½” blocking is applied to the sides, which adds a lot of rigidness to the cabinet and creates a base for the Cherry plywood finish panels.



Most plywood connections are simple dadoes or rabbets; a little bit of ordinary wood glue will form a unbreakable link.


Cherry frame

By dimensioning (sawing, jointing and planing) some raw Cherry lumber, I create a few 3/8” boards.


The bottom rail is fitted, the curve cut and then glued to the plywood core.



Bottom rail with its distinct curve.


Additional Rear Door Cabinet

Additional storage space is highly appreciated in my camper, even as small as this little door cabinet. A RV has never enough! As with the other door, I’ll have to find some Cherry and do the assembly in my workshop.


27I follow the same procedure as the main cabinet that I just finished. I install the frame that will hold the cabinet in the metal door frame and use the measurements for the actual layout.


Halfway, the cabinet is fitted and adjusted. In the workshop, the trim is added and a lot of sanding completes the job.


The final result is waiting to be installed and that’s what I’ll be doing next.


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Pull-out shelf (final)

In my previous postings (Pull-out bed shelf and Pull-out shelf (2)) I built the shelf in my workshop; now I head out to the van, to make some final measurements, adjust it and finish the last details.

3435Two issues remain: the front of the shelf needs to be shortened and finished with cherry and secondly the bottom front has to be incorporated into the bed.


3637When closed, part of the shelf side frame is visible below the bed railing. That is removed in the workshop. At the same time, I’m adding a front frame rail to the bottom of the shelf. Not that anybody will see it, but I know it’s there! I mitered the corners and glued it to the panel bottom.


42Back to the van to scribe the exact location of the front of the shelf. That, minus the width of the cherry finish rail, will be where I’ll cut the panel to length. In the workshop I make a final cut with the help of my panel jig, and glue up the front frame rail.


45The end result is a fairly well hidden shelf that can be used, to serve a lunch, watch TV on my laptop at night or just put my glasses on when I go to sleep.



47To help me visualize to final finish of the cherry bed, I wiped on some thinner, that will evaporate in short time, without leaving much residue. It’s wetness simulates the final finish of the wood and accentuates the texture of the wood. What do you think of the pattern in the bed railing?

You can read the entire article in more detail here.

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