Sunday, 22 May 2016

VW Conversion Part 2. - Ready to Hit the Road!

Last time I wrote about "Project Oscar" - yes the name has stuck, it was pretty much a well developed idea and 100 bits of wood. That was 3 months ago. What have we been up to since? Well, pretty much finishing the van, and living in it!

It's all there, just needs assembly!
After getting Germany's finest DIY store, BAUHAUS to cut all the wood for us, the next step was to revisit the CAD model and make it a reality. I liked this part of it, as with the Transit, as things move really quicky...

Turning model into reality!

Next comes the detail. Keeping things simple the specs are as follows:

  • "Sauna Style" wood paneling with pull out super-king bed
  • Storage space with fold out doors
  • Space for a cooker and gas bottle
  • Nice thick Hippy curtain to replace the ugly bulkhead
  • Carpeted walls and floor (shoes off van!)
  • Super bright, super efficient LED strip lighting
  • USB Charging point (phones etc.)
  • Voltmeter for battery %
Of course, to use the cliche, the devil is very much in the detail. These things take time to get right, and the next few weeks involved a lot of varnishing, PVC-ing and cleaning. It's so hard to be patient when the idea of taking it travelling is just around the corner!

Extra storage space
Getting it all bolted down

4 Way switch of USB, Strip Lights, Voltmeter, and Master
LED's in action!

Next the soft furnishings! - really important to give the homely feeling

Carpet Cutting a'la'Opinel
Carpeted walls - just for Skelhon!

(Warming Up Outside too...)

And soon enough all the hard work comes to an end.... A couple of brand new foam mattresses from IKEA (50 EUR each) make for a comfy sleep. All in all the conversion came to about 400 EUR.

Just the bedding to come!

Makes for a sofa / rest spot during the day

Huge, comfy bed!

Travel time! (sleep time?)
And ready to hit the road....

Sit down cooking.... Jon's speciality!
Van in action!

We've certainly made the most out of the van over the last 3 months. Visiting Dreseden, a mega tour of south Germany, a brief visit to Austria, Poland, and lots of time down in the world famous Frankenjura.

A blog on the adventures to come!!!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Van Conversion Part 1. - Project Oscar

Oscar. That's the name of the van. Jen's choice that one, but with its cute baby blue paint job, it kinda works.

Oscar @ Germany's favorite DIY store
So, we bought a van. Long overdue - I've been pretty much dreaming of van life since Chavwin and I sold the transit in 2009. Buying a van in Germany is not easy, I'll spare you the details, but there is a really good reason that number plates stay with the car (in the UK), it makes things easy... don't take it for granted!

Starting to dream before the purchase has even been made.....
Anyway, after re-hiring our German relocation agent to help out, we finally handed over the best part of 6,000 EUR to a guy who spoke no English, and signed a big stack of paperwork we didn't understand. What could go wrong?!

Oscar is however, great, and attentions quickly turned to getting it kitted out. Main challenges as follows:
  • Make wooden beds & storage
  • Lighting and potential 2nd battery
  • Carpets and soft stuff
  • Respray
  • Service
  • GO!
Prelim sketches. Climb. Food. Drink. Sleep. This fits the bill.... 
Predictably, I have been spending my evenings on CAD. I got properly in to this one, and in the end we settled on a pull out double bed with under bed storage and fold-out cooking facilities.
Single bed / sofa, collapsed

Double bed and cooking drawer folded out
Buying wood in Berlin is pretty easy. Berliners love DIY it seems, BAUHAUS definitely puts B&Q to shame. We also got them to do most of the cutting (about 100 cuts in total!) which is much easier for both me, Jen, and also the neighbours!

Full of wood, now all it needs to do is point in the right direction!
The thing with having a really unique coloured van is that when it comes to spraying it, finding the colour is... errrm difficult. However after a rather entertaining morning at the mix-centre (think pretty much zero common language and 9,800 colours to choose from) we got our cans.

Jen comes in to her own in her skills as a vice, for the 2nd time in as many years....
We haven't exactly got the space of Worthybrook, however with a decent basement room and plenty of industrial estates not used at weekends, finding space to work isn't a problem. Let the assembly begin!

That's all for now folks. But with all moving in the right direction,  watch this space for more van-action!