Hi Swiftden, If you frame work is at 400cts (16") you could use 3.2mm plywood or tempered masinite both available from Australian Timbers or LeMessuier Timbers in Adelaide. Pins are OK for fixing, suggest you use 16mm stainless steel. You will have to adjust the gun so as it does not drive the pin right through the sheeting. Use a good quality 2 pack water proof wood glue. Sheets were originally fixed with brads, punched and filled. Do all the internal repairs first, if you have to fix a cupboard back it can be done through the outside prior to the external cladding. Further to this before recladding the van you will have to rewire for 240 v battery lightys and for all applicable tail, brake and turning lights. Suggest you also insulate it although this was not original. To seal the joints you have to use aro tape and dope as used on old canvas aeroplandes. This is available from Melbourne. YOur van could be a Rowe van built at Beverley South Australia. Raym
Hi Swiftden, Ply or masinite will not bend in two directions for the roof. The roof was made from 1/2" ivory canenite )ivory side down or inside). Ivory canenite is still available from Australian Timbers or LeMessuriers. This was covered with 32 ozs. canvas stuck down with brushable Pabco Hydra- Seal followed with several coats of silver frost no longer available but any good quality enamel paint will do. J mould is availabe from Trojan Aluminium 82606055, Bunnings, Capral Luminium. Trojan are the cheapest. P.S you should not need this. I am in Adelaide and have 2 vans you could look at. Ph. 0412986579 Raym
Franklin and Raym. the roof does not appear to have any coating on it other than paint . I could be mistaken. will this canenite be easy to bend and replace? could i then perhaps fiber glass over it ? what makes it water proof and gives it its strenght ? The current roof has small dips in it where it has sunk over time and in places it has lift from the main frame. Am i better trying to refix it , live with the bumps and lump and then just re seal it some how?
All good swiftden and no noone will get sick of you. Unless of course you buy a tin or a glass van. Then you will be down teh back with the tents. Like all Australians the guys in here love to give advice regardless of whether they really know the answer or not. We have all been where you are, hells bells! Im still there, I had NO IDEA of what I was doing when I started making my little van but thanks to a lot of people in here who helped me with advice etc I finished and have what I set out to have, IT all takes patience and time. Your frustration levels will reach all time highs but at the end of the day what you learn will be invaluable. Then in time to come you will be able to pass all that info on to somoene else Scoot
So going by what people have said i should work on the inside first replacing what ply etc in there nedds fixing. then run all wires, gas lines etc, then i should tackle the roof and then fit the falls so they reach to the profile of the roof. I can then trim all round with j mould aluminium ?? yes. My loacl mitre 10 sells canite for $60 for a large sheet. How do you get it to bend ? do you wet it? it looks like it would snap if i tried to bend it ? surely there is a better product out there to replace the roof with . Canite does not look very strong to me.
Swiftden, cane-ite is used these days in a number of products. You may be familiar with it being the backing board for noticeboards, where you stick notes up with pins (some boards are made of cork as well). If you are familiar with it, then you'll appreciate it is fairly fragile stuff. As Raym says, it would have to be covered with something (canvas) to give it some strength and weather protection. You might need to test what roof material you actually have by trying to push a thin nail, or needle, into it by hand (not by hammer). I don't think you need to go to the trouble of fibreglassing it. The main thing with restorations is to keep it simple, otherwise you might get too frustrated and give up (and that would be a shame). You can inspect the roof where it has lifted from the frame and see if it could be glued back into position. You might need to fold a piece of sandpaper in half so both surfaces sand at the same time. Then insert the sandpaper into the area where the roof has lifted and give the roof/framework a bit of a sand to clean them a bit. Then you can apply some fresh waterproof glue before clamping the two together again. Providing the lumps and bumps are not a sign of any structural damage, you can safely leave them as they are. This allows you to maintain some of the history of the van (ie the bumps and bruises it has collected through its life).
Can you take some close-up photos showing the roof where it has separated from the frame, and showing the "lumps and bumps"?
Franklin. I have had a better look and the roof is made up of 3 seperate sheets all about 2m x 1m in size. it certainly looks like that stuff called canite. i think it needs replacing tho. there is no canvas on it just looks like paint to me and the edges have lifted and broken.
At my local hardware store i can only get sheets in 1800 x 1200 for $60.00.
Attatched are some pictures showing the dips and bumps and also the edges. the joins in the roof have been covered with some sort of black tape which is foil on the other side.
The curve on the roof if done in three pieces seems more promonent from left to right and only slight going the other way. maybe i could replace it with mdf sheeting ?? that stuff seems to flex in any direction ? Im sure i could get a better join in it as well . seems like a huge gap to me ?
Last Edit: Oct 17, 2007 20:04:12 GMT 10 by swiftden
Hi Swiftden This has gotta be a homebuilt van. No self-respecting van manufacturer would finish a van with a canite roof without covering it with a waterproof membrane. Be thankful that the van was garaged through its lifetime. If it were my decision, I would ignore what's there, rip it off and build a ply roof, especially as you can't get the right width of canite anyway (which you would HAVE to seal to keep it waterproof) Perhaps you could use the old caneite to line the ceiling from the inside, if you wanted to insulate the van. But then, the final decision has to be yours. Cheers Ray
Roehm, i do not know as to whether anything has been stripped off the roof in its life time. Anything is possible afterall i bought it with the external ply already taken off? As to how it has been treated i do not know but i think it has spent quite alot of time out in the weather in the past. Maybe the guy that skun it removed some of the roof to ?? Alot of Maybe's but it seems to be realy well built other wise !
Post by organichead on Oct 17, 2007 21:28:40 GMT 10
Hey Swiftden, looks like some interesting late nights ahead. I'm with you all the way as I pick up my bondwood joke on Friday. It's going to be good fun with a lot of swearing I do believe. You think you've got problems, I ain't got a viehicle strong enough to pull it!!!!!and it stinks of chickens. Now thats a worry. Cheers..........................org.......phew what a stinker...................
Hi Swiftden, my name is Larry . Looking at your photos etc I would suggest that the covering on the roof of your van has been stripped off. The canite would be the original roof which would have had canvas stretched over it. We used canite on the roofs of our caravans up until 1979. It was used because it could be bent both ways to create the cambered roof. We used to fibreglass over it. I only changed from canite to ply because I altered the shape of our caravans.If you want to know anything about it just let me know. We used 2400 x 1200 sheets . I re- roofed an old Roadmaster only last year and was still able to get this size sheet. The roof on Geoff and Jude's Roadmaster caravan is canite with fibreglass . The 2 old Roadmasters that I have - 1 has canvas roof and the other has fibreglass. The thing is if you retain the double cambered roof on your van you won"t bend ply around it . Regards Larry
Swiftden, just as I was about to post this reply, I notice that Lazza has added some very helpful info to your thread, so you now have the expert you've been looking for. Thanks Lazza.
I'll still post what I had put together, which was this...
I have added some info to one of your photos to try and help further...
It would appear that Sheet "A" has slipped down towards the front (?) of the van, judging by the way the nails marked with the red arrows have pulled out of the sheet. The nails marked with blue arrows have also pulled out, but I can't tell if these were in Sheet A or Sheet B. Sheet B seems to be in its original position based on the fact its edge is still halfway on the width of the timber crossmember underneath. From this investigation I would check whether there has been any movement in the framework underneath Sheet A. Are there any framework members that are broken that would have pulled Sheet A out of position? You may need to shore up the framework properly before Sheet A can be fixed back into position. At this stage I would hold off buying any roofing material until you investigate the framework structure of the van. Based on just your photos, I would think that providing you can get Sheet A back into its original position, you could still work with the roof you have.
Some further questions... 1) What is the thickness of the canite? 2) The curved timber frame that the yellow arrows are pointing to...is this 3 layers of timber glued together, or is it one thickness with cracks in it?
I tend to agree with Raym, the evidence so far is stacking up to a home-made van.
Time to get the deck chair out and sit and have a quiet beer while we contemplate our navels over what you've got to do...
The tape is irrelevant and has been added by someone in recent times to try and cover the crack in the roof.
Looking at the frame i cannot see anywhere that it has broken in such a way that it would open up that gap. Alot of the framing seems to be made of 2 -3 pieces. some of it is cracks here and there but the bulk of the curves appear to be laminations.
Hi Swiftden, Yes your roof is cainite and will most likly need replacing. The black aluminium strip is not original. You can get sheets of cainite 2400, 3000 and 3600 x 1200. The 1800 sheets will result in more joints, get 2400 sheets. Fixing is with glue (PVA wood glue will do) and galvanised clouts (large flat head nails.) You will require someone on the inside to dolly up the frame while you nail it. A slege hammer is ideal for this. Do not stand on the roof or roof frames, these are not strong enough to hold a person. MDF will not bend two ways only one way. Cainite is the only product that will bend in two directions and that is why it was used and nothing has changed in 50 odd years. It should not require wetting. I can only assume that the person who removed the outer skin also removed the canvas fom the roof. The correct method of instalation is to install the cainite roof, clad the sides trim these off, flush wiht the top of the roof (i.e sides cover edges of cainite roof). Apply 32 ozs. canvas with Pabco brushable Hydra-seal to top. Allow canvas to hang over sides front and back, trim this off neatly allowing 20-25mm over hang all around. Using dope (very fast drying red oxide) paint approximately 400mm of top edge of side approximatly30mm wide. Allow this to dry 20 to 40 seconds, then re-coat work canvas into fresh dope with brush. Brush a coat of dope over canvas and onto the side slightly, i.e 30mm wide. Repeat all around top edge. Next brush or roller paint the roof. First pink primer, second turps based under-coat, followed by 2 or 3 coats of good quality turps based enamel paint. You do not need to put on j mould as the screws only penetrate what you have just made, a nice water tight skin. If you must use j mould, ensure all screws are sealed. As I have said, do not worry about the outside at this stage, this includes the roof, finish all repairs inside first, then the roof followed by the outside skin and finally the canvas to the roof. The areo tape to cover the joints in the outside cladding is applied by the same method as the edge of the canvas roof, i.e with dope. This is the method all caravan manufacturers used in the early days to achieve a compound curved roof. The only exception is they used silver frost for the paint but this is no longer available. The only manufacture to use another method was Roadmaster Caravans who put a fibre glass roof on his vans. However, Roadmaster was considered the "Rolls Royce" of caravans and were twice the price of others, mainly because of the fibre glass roof. Raym
Well the Van is registered now for 12 months. i found the original disk inside whilst i was searching through cupboard. had no worries with rego. I go on holidays on the 24th of thisd month so i am going to start stripping out the old lino etc from the inside and then start replacing the internal panels of ply that need replacing. I have also found some large sheets of 2nd hand cannite at my local salvage yard that i can get for $10 a sheet. should be good for the roof replacement. they are big enough that i can nail them on then trim them to size after . I will take pictures of everything as i go .
Well i went and seen the second owner of my van today and showed them some pictures of how it looks today. They were devasted!!! They said it was in neat tidy condition when it left them about 6 years ago. They gave me a rough scan of a picture they have in a frame. Photo taken on 18.02.1993. Her father was there and he believed that the old couple who had it made had told him at some stage that it was a "rowvan" made in Adelaide and that when the old couple moved to Cowirra(near Mannum on the river Murray ) that they brought it with them and it spent most of its time idle. They have more pictures and said they will look for them for me. Also stated that they would get a proper copy of them run off for me. Her father believed there may be a similar van in a museum in Canberra ? Any way here is the first picture they gave me >>>
Last Edit: Nov 11, 2007 19:55:58 GMT 10 by swiftden
Well today has been an excellent day for research. I spoke with my local caravan dealer and he just happened to have a photo of a Rowvan he owns and also a photo of Mr and Mrs ROWE the builders of it. He gave me there names and told me where they live. A little bit of more research and i just got off the phone to Mrs ROWE. Spoke to her for half an hour and it sounds like my van could really be a rowvan. She has said if i bring some photos of it even without the skin on she can identify it if it is one of theirs by the frame etc. She has confirmed they did make them back then with electrolux gas fridges and two burner gas stoves. She also went on to say that 99% of their vans were one offs made to order and that is what they did. I start holidays on the 24th of November and i have made arrangements to go and meet the pair of them then and get them to confirm my caravans ID Mr ROWE is 86yrs old and his wife is 84yrs old. So looks like i have found the ultimate source of information
Hi Guys. This thread is priceless. Just read it start to finish. If only we with "The one offs" could all have such a happy ending to our research...we hope it turns out to be a happy ending and it IS a rowvan.
Good luck swifden
Keep us informed on the meeting with Mr and Mrs Rowe. Would be great to have a tape recorder their to capture eveything they have to say about thier business ;D ;D ;D
Oh....... and make sure you re-do that canite roof exactly how it was done in the factory otherwise you will loose the whole van to rot I checked out jeff and Judes roof at Coledale and those roofs are unique....... oh ...Geoff and Jude are too. ;D Reddo
Reddo, I will be writing down everything they can tell me and will put up a history of the business when i get it done. I hope that my van is a Rowvan but if it is not i will still have gained some knowledge for the forum. I cant wait to speak to them .
Take a tape recorder with you when you "interview" them and that will save you writing it all down.Ask their permission to record the conversation first
This is VV history and to get information from the actual builders of our vintage vans is priceless. Once they depart this world ( as we all eventually do ) for vintage van heaven then all that history and info goes with them and is gone forever
Went to a few sales today and picked up this grill pan for $0.50c and then i knew where this flavel cooker/grill was for $45 but i knocke dhim down to $35 as it is missing the grill off the top. now i gotta get one made. both in great condition. and cheap i thought.