Our member Derek is working on a campervan overhaul at the labs. If you've been through the woodshop recently, I'm sure you've seen him out there working on the cabinets or the countertop!
What kind of van is it and where did you get it?
It is a 1998 Ford Econoline E-250 extended passenger van with a fiberglass high top roof. I found it on Autotrader. It was at a dealership in Hattiesburg, MS where it was used as a church van for the first 18 years of its life. I rented a car, drove there to pick it up, and drove it back to Houston. Luckily, my first 7 hour trip in her was pretty smooth.
What's your plan for build out? How long have you been working on her?
The plan is to turn her into a campervan nice enough to live in. I purchased her on 10/3/2016 and drove her for a couple of weeks before starting the build. I'm probably four months into it at this point.
What tools have been the most helpful in the building process?
I'd have to say the jointer and table saw. I've glued a lot of boards together to build the cabinets, and being able to get square edges for the glue ups has been a huge help!
What's been the most challenging part of the project so far?
Nothing in the van in square. The roof arches and the walls are curved from bottom to top and front to back, so getting cabinets to fit well in that type of space has definitely tested my patience.
What will the interior be like? What will be solar powered?
The interior will have a bed, a kitchen area, and cabinets for storage. The bed will be built on a platform to create a storage compartment below. The kitchen will have a sink with running water and a mini fridge. We'll keep a two burner Coleman stove on hand for cooking. The fridge, water pump for the sink, roof vent fan and led lights will all be powered by the battery bank that is charged by the solar panels.
Where are you headed once the van is complete?
First on the list is Banff, then Maine, after that we'll see where else we want to go.
Anything else we should know about the project?!
The van's name is Jolene, given by my wife who is quite the Dolly Parton fan and thought it was fitting given how much time I now spend with the van.