Hello my name is Allan and i joined this forum because what initially started out as a joke at a clearing sale has ended up with me wanting to rebuild a vintage bondwood van. I pick the van up next saturday so i do not have any photos yet. It has been skun by the previous owner and has no external walls. It still has the roof tho. Inside under the day/night couch i found the hinged aluminium porthole windows(2), all the other glass windows , a small annexe with poles, the pump/tap for the sink and various other bits. The attached photo i found on the net looks very much like what i think mine would look if it had a skin. Looks to have all the same openings etc in the same spots and about the same size.
Inside to the left of the door is two small vinyl like chairs and a small table. From memory they are in really good nic and are yellow with white polka dots. opposite the door way is a small round fronted fridge which apart from the seal looks great too. It is kero i think . Next to that is a small cutting surface and a very small rectangular sink with a burner provision to the right of that. right next to the door way above the wheel arch is a floor to ceiling cupboard. the rest of the back of the van is taken up with a day night couch. under the couch is storage and a water tank. Appart from that all i know is that it is running on FJ holden rims. so i believe it to be in the 50's. It originally had a 5 digit number plate but motor reg has no record of it
Pictures of the actual van will be supplied asap. I need all the help with ID and also how to go about this project. thanks
Last Edit: Nov 13, 2007 17:08:23 GMT 10 by swiftden
Hi Allan, welcome to the forum. Yous van looks very much like a Hawthorn, we have some pics of one that we've been looking at and can put them on later for comparison, same profile, porthole location, same wheels.etc, where are you located ?, cheers, Kris
Welcome to the wacky world of Vintage Caravans ;D.
I'm not sure what your van is, but I'm sure there will be someone out there that will be able to identify it for you.
You are probably correct in assuming that the FJ rims would indicate that this is a 50's van.
For some of us, the whole vintage caravan thing started as a joke and you will find in the world of modern caravans and 4wd's that we are still considered a "sausage short of a b-b-q". Funnily enough though, once you complete your project and start turning up in caravan parks and even car shows with your van in tow, you will be pleasantly surprised at the interest that is created.
Once again Allan, welcome aboard
Alcohol may not solve your problems, but neither will water or milk
"Hello my name is Allan and i joined this forum because what initially started out as a joke at a clearing sale has ended up with me wanting to rebuild a vintage bondwood van."
Geez doesnt that sound familiar folks. I reckon more than half of the 700+ forum members here got involved in vintage caravanning after they stumbled across and old van somewhere and by the time they finished laughing and wiping the tears from thier eyes, it was too late .... The had suddenly become addicted to the hobby.
Welcome Allan . I am sure you will do a great job on the resto of the old van. You are lucky that the previous owner did not bring in the heavy artillery and complete the demolition job. Sounds like all the good bits have been saved . recladding the van in 3 or 5 ply is not a big job. Just make sure you give all the panels a really good coat og undercoat/primer sealer before screwing them back on tothe studs. Use heaps of liquid nails to help the screws hold things in place .
Anyone on this site will tell you i am a lover of Bondwood vans and thier unique shapes. Keep us posted with pixs of the trip home with the van and the progress with restoration.
Reddo... President of the "Royal Society for the Preservation of Bondwood Caravans" ;D Remember..... "If its any good it'll be made of wood"
This lovely old style of van keeps popping up from time to time on the forum, have a look at the links below, the first link is it for sure, but we never got a moniker for it. The second link is another similar style.... but again different.
What better way to end up with a classic vintage van. A joke at a clearing sale gone horribly wrong! No external walls eh! Can't wait to see the photo's of that, be careful getting 'er home. That beats me, I got a van that only has 3 walls ;D Cheers, and keep up posted please,
Dont worry ill post pictures as soon as i pick it up on saturday. Tell me do you use a air brad gun and liquid nails on the skin to apply the new skin or do you have to screw the ply on ? i am hoping to brad gun it on and then fill in the nail hoes with filler?
With regards to the ply for recovering the van. I can get two thicknesses here in Murray Bridge, SOuth Australia. Both Marine ply. One is 4mm thick the other is 7mm thick. Both in sheet sizes of 1200 x 2400. at about $76 and $104 per sheet. My question is what thickness to use, is that a fair price and can you get large sheets or am i going to have to do joins on the sides?
G'day swiftden, These are my thoughts on your questions:
1) The thickness of the ply you use will be determined by the framework the ply will be glued onto. If you have upright timbers spaced at no more than about 400mm spacings, then the 4mm ply will be sufficient. If the uprights are wider apart than 400mm then you would need to go to the 7mm ply, or even thicker if the framework is almost non-existent.
2) Ply sheet sizes can vary depending on the manufacturer, but generally come in 2400 X 1200mm sheets. You may be able to get 2700 x 1200 if you hunt around.
5) Other members here can tell you whether a nail gun and liquid nails gives a lasting caravan. I can only tell you that the enthusiasts in aeroplane building and boat building prefer to glue the ply to the framework using a proprietary waterproof glue (usually a resin-hardener type). This gives a bond that is stronger than the ply timber. With all the flexing of the caravan walls as you travel along, you'll want as much strength in the structure as possible.
Well we picked up the van today and towed it home on a car trailer. No worries we sat on 60Km/h all the way home luckily only had to travel 35km.
Took a heap of picks before i covered it up with tarps until i clear the space in the shed for the refit.
The fridge is an Electrolux. Found a rego sticker plate inside the van and did a check on it at work and guess what it belongs to the van. The name on the registration matches that of not the last owner but the one before. The van does not have a model on the rego it only has a year of "1958". Last registered in 1993 in SA.
SO registration should not be a problem now. ;D
Could not be happier.
Now that i actually have some pictures i hope i might be able to identify it and maybe get some pictures of how it should be ?
P.s Sorry about all the pictures
Last Edit: Oct 13, 2007 13:55:35 GMT 10 by swiftden
I spoke to the last Registered owner of this caravan today and they said they will try and dig some photos out. they said from Memeory they had it about 5 years and they got it from an elderly lady before she died and she had said that it was a one off custom made van which they had made. He also went on to say from memory when they got it it was very faded and the out skin was looking sad. He stated it was a cream or primrose colour with a about a 200mm wide red horizontal strip down each side. He seemed to the think the rear from the window down was all red.
Cant wait to see some photos they should help alot. He also went on to say that the fridge runs on gas .
Great van swiftden, makes for easy checking of the frame for any damage/rot ;D , also cuts out all the prep work needed in getting a van ready for exterior painting - just reclad, sand, seal & paint - no stripping back ;D probably just as quick too. Luv the fridge Kingy
frame seems to be in very good condition. i have looked under neath and the floor is tongue and groove floor boards. appears that the drawer bar was replaced at some stage in its life. There only seems to be the odd piece of frame that is loose which i will re brace before putting on the outer skin.
Hi Swiftden Just looking at your photos, and I have a Rowvan which has an identical timber frame, even down to the porthole blocking and the timber roof bows. But the roof in the Rowvan is flat from side to side. There were a few van manufacturers that made a very similar shaped van Hawthorne , Rowvan , Greythorne and Corlett are a couple off the top of my head. At a rough guess I say it was built around 53 to 55. Anyway great to see it and Im sure it will entertain you for hours down in the shed.
Last Edit: Oct 14, 2007 19:01:48 GMT 10 by swiftden
Swiftden, here is a photo of what your van might have looked like when it was new...
I don't know the make of the van above, nor your van, so I'll leave it to other members to add to trodler's info. Way back in 2005 there was a post on this forum where they said Adelma, Roadmaster, Classic and Glenthorpe caravans all had fibreglass roofs that sloped front to back, and side to side. (refer to this thread and scroll down to the 2nd last reply... vintagecaravans.proboards30.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1107593704 ) Is yours a fibreglass roof? Given that you say it was custom built, it depends on what was actually "custom built". The van may be a factory design with some amendments to the interior, for example, or it may have been built from scratch based on a known design (a copy). Whatever its history, it'll be a nice looking van when it's finished. Happy days ahead for you... ;D
Hey Swiftden, Some work ahead, but that is a classic. Absolutely love that fridge! I thank what has been said thus far is right, having been de-clad is an advantage, allows inspection of frame (and easy to rewire - dont forget that whilst the skins off) and saves sanding/stripping paint, and saves debating over what panels to save and which bits to replace - that decision was made for you. Did you get windows with it? Particularly the porthole, as they're hard to find.
I think once she's done, what may have started out as a joke, well you will have the last laugh. That will be a great classic. Keep up the progress photos and good luck!
went in to the aluminium place here today to look at edging strips. They did not really know what i ment when i asked for j strip . do you have a picture of the profile and a thickness of the material? They said that small angle would not be able to be curves without a special jig as it will buckle and warp etc. HELP me please i want it to look neat and professional.
Hi Swift. I had the same problem when i built my little van. The aluminiun suppliers tend not to have the tempre of metal that you require. I bought mine off the net from a place in Canberra. I beleive this is the adress. www.camec.com.au/ you should be able to see and order what you want from them. HAve fun.Scoot
Thanks for the info Scootman. Gristy yes i got all the windows including the inner and outer parts of the hinged portholes.
I hope every one does not get sick of me here. I am about to order some 4mm marine ply wood. i thought i would start by replacing what panels need replacing in the interior first. Secondly i can only find marine play here in 4mm and 7mm in 1200 x 2400 size sheets. Does anyone know where i can source wider sheets than 1200 in SA?? also my roof appears to be a fibre board of some sort similar to chip board. Its pretty sad and id like to replace it. would ply wood be acceptable and would i get it to bend like that ?
If this is the only size sheet i can get what do you do where the sheets join ?? is there a joining strip or do you just fill the joins with sealer ?
thanks for your time, effort and patients. regards Allan
Last Edit: Oct 16, 2007 18:03:22 GMT 10 by swiftden
Here are a couple of pics of a Rowvan which sold in Mt Gambier at an estate auction for $750 as it is, a couple of years ago. Hadn't been out of the shed for 40 years but was still registered!!!
As Trodler said, almost, but not quite. But I show it for the sake of letting you see the panel joins, which might help you a bit if you are still having trouble with ply panel sizes.
As a suggestion about the panels, be careful with the 7mm thickness that it will bend enough for you to get the shape you want. I think the advice that Franklin1 gave is well worth taking. You will notice that the roof of the Rowvan has an outer skin of tarred canvas over it. You could fibreglass the roof instead with glass cloth and resin to get the same look. As far as the ceiling goes, I would imagine it was made from caneite, which would not be available today. I would suggest an insulation foam sheeting, which would give the same degree of flexibility.
You've got a great van there with all the original parts as well, and will come up a treat with time and patience.
You were almost a neighbour of mine, as I lived in Mt Barker in the late 80's early 90's ;D ;D
Last Edit: Oct 16, 2007 20:32:51 GMT 10 by Roehm3108
Wish i could see one in person. the roof does not appear to be tar covered. I guess having joins is not so bad if i cover them with aluminium strip ? I really appreciate all the help i am getting. Is there anyone near by that has a bondwood van i could look at to see how their joins etc look ?
Swiftden, you don't need marine ply for the interior. Ordinary ply is sufficient and much, much cheaper. 3mm ply is all you need for cladding the inside walls and ceiling. This should bend around a fairly tight radius if you are re-lining the inside roof. To reline the roof, run the sheet length from side to side of the van. Make sure any sheet joints from front of van to back line up with a ceiling cross member timber (the framework). Use a strip of "fly mould" timber to cover the sheet joints, nailing the fly mould into the cross member. (fly mould is flat on one side and a half-circle on the other. It looks like a 1/2 inch diameter pole was cut in half along its length. It is usually used for holding down the edges of mesh when you make timber-framed insect screens. Comes in lengths up to 3m or more. Available from your local timber yard.) The "fibreboard type" stuff on your roof is likely to be cane-ite, which was often used for insulation purposes in old caravans. It's expensive so if you can salvage what you have you will save some money. Keep asking if you're not sure of anything. Plenty "experts" on this forum... cheers, Al.