I will admit it is a very interesting book and I did buy my copy with the idea that the hubby and I would build a van one day from old plans. I did think this book would be enough (or a good start), but on further inspection we still need to do a LOT more research as well as planning.
It does have a number of plans inside (in theory) for building vans of various sizes. But to actually build a van to one of those plans would be challenging and take quite a bit of "out of the book" work - materials lists, proper drawings, and working out some of the meaning in the text to understand how to go about doing it all.
I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading or even getting a copy but it doesn't offer a lot of prescriptive direction about how to build let alone repair your van. There appears to be a certain amount of assumed knowledge. Also there's no guarantee what you are trying to repair will have the same construction as anything in the book. Do you agree Cobber?
If you want advice as you go repairing your van, I've actually found tradie mates are a great help - carpenters more than brickmasons I find. Also the forum provides useful ideas and approaches, particularly if you can post pictures! What works well too, is you can connect to someone who has already done what you are attempting and see examples of what DONE looks like - infinitely more practical. But in a lot of cases with these vans, you might end up being a pioneer!
God knows I've asked a lot of questions..."What is this hard as a rock black stuff in my van? How do I fibreglass? Tell me about double pole....What kind of axle..." A very patient and helpful bunch. I'm sure you'll find the same.
Best of luck with your renos - Seeshell
Last Edit: Oct 1, 2011 17:33:36 GMT 10 by seeshell
The Blue Flyer - 1951 Homemade Bondwood
Chryssi - 1966 VC Valiant Safari
The Seeshell - 1969 Olympic Riviera (deceased)
I think we are in agreement seeshell ....... at least I agree with your assertion that the forum is the best place to get advice, preferably before you get into strife with a restoration.
Search through the "Members Photo Album' and "Technical" sections Don and you'll get plenty of clues on how to go about things .
There is another book you might think of buying... "Plans for Australian Caravans" by Keith Winser, again don't bother unless like me you like collecting books on vintage caravans. These books were meant to inspire people to built caravans from scratch back in the 1940's and 50's and unless you have stumbled across one of these home built 'vans the plans in the books won't be of much help.
Thanks guys, i guess what i am really after are some layouts and construction methods for a new kitchenette as mine hasn't got one. . I'm OK with building a new table and seating and bed but want to build a bit lighter than what i've done in the house with the kitchen bit. My new kitchen there will never fall to bits LOL Or i could tow the van with my truck then i could have granite tops in the van as well. We don't really know anyone here who's rebuilt a bondwood van interior so its a bit hard to see what others have done and i certainly don't want to follow the UMM lazy and poor methods used in our other van which we are most likely going to scrap and use the chassis to build a big teardrop. As you say, we will probably build from scratch, we did with the house so its just smaller and lighter methods i guess, so i guess maranti frame and light ply skin will be the way. When it stops raining that is.
Sounds like you're already well on top of what needs to be done with your banquette in terms of light materials and a skin. Our banquette also had a lip on both seats (as most do I guess) so that the table could be lowered and the back cushions from both sides put in the middle to make a double bed.
Many of the dinette seats have small portholes under the cushions on each side to access the space and store a few things. Looking at member profiles of someone's reno, I saw they had a different arrangement. The access hole underneath was nearly the size of the seat, and when the ply cover was removed, there was an H support which was a supporting batton arrangement that could be removed. The resulting access to the under seat storage was larger and much more practical. Since we have to rebuild the whole inside of our van, we're going to repeat that good idea.
I wish I could remember where I'd seen it so I could credit the builder (was it you Atog?) - and it goes to show you can make really useful but in keeping improvements over the original.