Project Bus # 8 - conversion VW T5 Transporter: Cabinet and storage space.By Elisa | On 25. Oktober 2019 take an adVANture · On October 25, 2019
VW T5 interior. It does not take much for camping, just a few clothes, long and short, for warm and cold. Maybe a stove, a few groceries, something for the hygiene, plates and cutlery. Stowed compactly, after all, each space must also be used meaningfully, but still easily accessible. So now that the bed is already in the bus and a large part of the kitchen utensils in the drawer could be stowed underneath, now follows the space for sweaters Co.
Build the wardrobe in the van himself.
Such a VW bus is not a motorhome, the space is limited and should be used as effectively as possible. For the "how" and "where" of my wardrobe, I have oriented myself to the classic California extensions, back left and room high, slightly modified according to my needs.
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Although my vans are glazed all around, a foil with tinting foil protects the side from prying eyes and also enabled me to place the cupboard directly in front of the window. The bed serves me as the lower edge and support, the cupboard hits the roof at the top, and from the C to the D-pillar on the side.
Somewhat elaborate was the adaptation of the cabinet shape to the whole curves, which sometimes arch in several directions. Overall, the cabinet has a width of 90cm at the end, the depth is at the lowest point 36cm and narrowed, as well as the height, which is 90cm at the opening. The side walls are made of 18mm boards, which I painted on the outside, like the drawer, with black tablecloth. Floors and partitions are made of 18mm spruce wood, which can be adjusted individually, depending on the type of clothing and what else you want to accommodate. The fronts can be folded sideways and consist of the wood of an old barn, the rear wall is bent and made of 4mm poplar plywood.
Step-by-step instructions for building furniture yourself in the VW bus.
I like working on the bus, thinking of new things and trying to put them into action. Sometimes well established, often I build twice and I could learn a lot in the last few months. What turned out to be again and again was the fact that, as much as I tried, some corner was always wrong and the distance in front was not right. Wood is now a living building material and old circular saw sawing at some point not quite straight.
Incidentally, I chose this place for the cabinet in the campervan, as it represents an optimal solution for me. Due to the width of the bed to the side of it, with the possibility of further storage space in the form of a small line to the driver's seat to create (more about this in a further expansion step). In the following steps, I show you how I built the wardrobe in my camper then myself. And if you have any questions, she likes to write me in the comments as always.
During the expansion, I have tested different types of wood, more of their own interest, because with any sense behind it. Often it was just a result of which wood I could find in various garages. So it came that I have used 18mm thick wooden boards for the side walls, but I would rather recommend a simple slim spruce wood or multiplex board.
By means of tongue and groove, the boards were put together and attached to each other at the height of the intermediate floors. In the further course I used a template made of cardboard for the right shape. Here you may have to try and cut something until the template fits. Note that the dimension of one side wall does not necessarily coincide with that of the other, since the T5 bulges slightly upwards towards the driver's seat.
I have already planned the support with the right dimensions for the cabinet in the bed construction, in the step follows only the adjustment of the bottom plate. This is again served me a 18mm thick spruce wood panel, the right in the connection to the folding foot part of the bed survives (due to the construction) and left a few inches due to the extension of the D-pillar above.
The left dimension thus results from the fact that the cabinet wall abuts the top of the buckle, right closes the cabinet with the window or just before the seat belt (as needed, the seats can be reinstalled in the bus and therefore the belt is needed at the point ). The bottom plate is not first fixed to the cabinet but to the bed frame. The back wall can be adjusted by the thin poplar plywood to the curvature, the shelves you can set as needed.
For the next step, I took out the cupboard again and brushed in the body and the laterally protruding rear wall with black blackboard paint * from the outside, from the inside with a normal colorless wood glaze. After the first layer has dried overnight, I had to sand all the surfaces again and go over it with another layer (the instructions for this can always be found on the containers of the paints / lacquers).
Incidentally, I used two different brush types for the step. Although each a flat brush, but once for paints (for the table cloth) and one for glazes (for the wood stain). Or one for solvent-based paints / glazes and one for water-based paints / glazes. The brush for the solvent-containing order you clean with universal thinner or turpentine, the water-based order under running water.
The fronts are my personal highlight and consist of the wood of the facade of an old barn. I had to brush them with a wire brush for a while, until the dust of the last decades has come off. As a measure I used the height of the cabinet MINUS about 13cm for a baseboard, which bridges the thickness of the mattress . Make sure not to choose this height too low, otherwise you have to push the mattress down and squeeze when opening the doors - I speak from experience!
Another clue is the shape of the bus, as you probably will not get a straight or parallel edge at the top. Due to the slightly curved roof, the boards have different heights for me. The wood is kept together with remains from the garage (wood and perforated plates), the doors are then fastened to the carcass with screw-on hinges *. Two padlocks * finally close the cabinet.
The skirting board is made of 18mm spruce wood and has in my case a height of 13cm. In addition to the lower end of the cabinet I have made in the same height other elements that form a shelf as an extension. Black was again the color of my choice and completes the concept, the whole thing is attached with angles on the cabinet, or the extension on a poplar plywood board.
Finally, I attached the cabinet to the base plate, which in turn was screwed to the bed frame. The partitions came to me only in the course of use.
Alternative ways to build cabinets in Campervan.
Of course, there are many more creative ideas for cabinet construction in the VW bus. In the choice of material, form and color, your imagination knows no bounds. How about some color, a nice blue, set off from the wood? Or maybe you fit the cabinet rather behind the front seats, but then extends the bed over the entire width? Another option would be to install the L-shaped sleeping accommodation, including drawers for undressing the clothes, as well as bed mattress supports.
Use as research best Pinterest or Instagram , the latter is my source of inspiration number 1. Matching hashtags like # T5Camper, # VWT5Camper, #Homeiswhereyouparkit, #VanlifeGermany, #VanlifeIdeas and many more help you and can be subscribed to.
In addition, there are now some bloggers who offer e-books on their camper expansion for sale. Melanie and Jürgen von Lifetravellerz for example with their Ausbauguide * from a VW T5. Or Sina and Carsten of Wanderhorizons , who have written a comprehensive guide and even a VW T4 have built beautiful. Paul von Passport Diary in turn offers in his e-book concentrated knowledge of the expansion * based on his Mercedes 407, beautifully designed and leaving no questions unanswered.
Costs and materials used for the wardrobe in the VW T5.
For the cabinet in the VW T5 I used the following materials:
• glulam spruce, 18 x 600 x 1200mm (about 3 pcs / 7,75 € = 23,25 €)
• Poplar plywood, 4 x 600 x 1200mm (about 2 pcs / 11,99 € = 23,98 €)
• boards of the sidewalls (I have no idea of dimension and type of wood)
• Barn boards (found by the roommates)
• Square timber, 32 x 32mm (garage found at in-laws)
• hole angle / perforated plates (were already in possession)
• Screw-on hinges *, 4 pcs. / 3,95 € = 15,80 €
• screws in various lengths and sizes (as always owned)
• black tablecloth * ( 15,45 €)
• colorless wood stain (11,90 €)
• universal thinner (already owned)
• Padlocks or wire raids * (garage find , but are similar to the links)
• Jigsaw * (borrowed from roommate)
• Cordless screwdriver * (was already in possession)
• Pencil and folding rule
• Paint brush and glaze brush, one piece each (2 pieces / 3,75 € = 7,50 €)
Incidentally, all materials (with the exception of the old barn boards) and tools can be found in the nearest hardware store. Instead of buying you can possibly borrow the tools in the circle of friends or relatives.
The following topics await you in future articles or are already published:
√ Project Bus # 8 - conversion VW T5 Transporter: Cabinet and storage space.
√ Project Bus # 9 - Conversion VW T5 Transporter: Installation of a swivel console for the double seat bench.
... to be continued.