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Big Red Van: Conversion project diary

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Lord Mount-Batten, I presume?

Today I put up the wooden battens which will hold the wall panels in place. The principle is simple: while the floor takes the weight of the panels, the battens hold them to the van's curved shape and keep them snug.

There are three battens for each panel. The panel is screwed to the upper and lower battens with concealed or decorative screws (I'm thinking of mirror-dome ones for a vaguely rivetty, steampunk effect), while the centre batten fits onto a concealed centre batten on the panel. This allows me to more easily fit and remove the wall panels again and again - handy for modifications or, to start with, for getting the sizing right and fixing upholstery, speakers, lights, etc.

The battens are glued onto the metal van walls using Sikaflex 291 marine adhesive. This stuff is awesome: it comes in a caulking-gun cartridge and costs around a tenner a shot. Applied, it is very, very grabby and goes off in about an hour. Then it cures for a month and ends up as a sort of utterly indestructible rubber. The key thing is that it is still rubbery. That makes it great for absorbing road and engine vibrations without letting go.

So tonight, the battens are held in place with some tape while they set. Tomorrow, I start on the wall panels.


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