April 11, 2012

Ceiling of DOOM

By far the hardest part of the build (apart from the initial electrical) was installing the ceiling.  We knew this would be a challenge and read all sorts of stories on-line about how people would soak the plywood, use heated towels or complicated jigs and clamping systems.  I didn’t think the curve was too bad so we decided to throw caution to the wind and just force the plywood in after trimming it down to size.  DUMB IDEA.  The plywood went in fine to begin with but bending it required more force then we thought it would and as soon as it got within 3” of being flush to the spars the veneer would buckle and then crack.  We tried twice with the two sheets we had… it didn’t work either time.

So instead of wasting the plywood we simply cut it into sections.  The back half had very little curve and it went up with no problem.  To attach it to the spars we used 1” furniture screws, the key being that they didn’t require pre-drilling. 

Since we were cutting the panels up, this meant that we had to add extra spars so that there would be a surface for each new panel to rest against and screw into.  More work, but hey, the more spars the stronger the frame right?  Whatever we need to tell ourselves…

The next section was where the curve was the sharpest and, pardon my French, it was a BITCH to put in.  We learned from our earlier mistake though and gave the plywood a good soaking with the garden hose before trying to install it.  Then using what little muscles I had, I forced it up into place holding it with a 1x support while Darrell screwed it into place as fast as he possible could.  We were both sweating and exhausted after, but it worked!  YAYAYAYAY! 

The rest of the ceiling was easy in comparison.  Darrell first finished framing out the fan and then cut the plywood to fit.  It’s not as clean as we had hoped for, but it defiantly works.  We’ve also decided to cover all of the seams and gaps with strips of galvanized steel Darrell salvaged from work.  I think this will be a cool detail and we could even use them to hang things up with magnets.  Either way it’s really starting to feel like a camper now!


Ceiling Success!

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