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Old 01-26-2020, 03:40 AM   #91
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Default Baby Shamu - 170 4x4


The wife asked for a larger table and I wanted something more in tune with the maple that covered much of the interior. The Springfield Thread-Lock white plastic marine table had worked well until now. It rotated and could be quickly disassembled and stowed out of the way. I have two wall mounted clips that hold the removable table leg while the table slides into the overhead storage between the window covers.

Took about an hour to assemble a new larger table. Not sure why I waited so long. Found a leftover piece of 1/2” pre-finished maple ply buried in the garage. Used the existing marine table as the pattern but enlarged it by 6 inches in width from 18 to 24 and added an inch to the previous 30” length.

Ripped a 24 x 31 piece from the leftover maple ply. Covered the cut lines with painters tape to avoid shredding the veneer and used a fine tooth jigsaw blade to make the curved corners. Sanded out any undulations on my 80” belt sander.

Applied a 3/4” solid maple “iron on” edge band veneer using a household iron and then trimmed it using a veneer edge band trimmer. Finished the edge with a couple coats of wipe on urethane.

Drilled four 2 3/4” holes in opposing corners for the stainless cup holders I purchased earlier. Wrapped the top of each cup holder with two passes of electrical tape to provide a snug insert into the ply table.

I removed the post mount from the bottom of the plastic table and screwed it into the bottom of my new maple table. The new table rotates 360 degrees and stows flat since the cup holders are removable.

And the best part is now there are four beer holders instead of two. Cheers!

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Last edited by gltrimble; 01-26-2020 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 02-16-2020, 06:53 PM   #92
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Default Baby Shamu - 170 4x4


My goal in fabricating my overhead cabinets in my van was to mimic airline overhead bins. I wanted the face of the cabinet to match the slope of the van’s outer walls. I also wanted to keep them as light as possible but have natural maple cabinet fronts to match the interior.

To minimize the weight I used a frame and panel design which incorporates 1/4” ply wherever possible surrounded by 3/4” solid maple. The cabinets have a front and bottom but no top or backside. The driver’s side overhead is approximately 60” long while the passenger side is about 18” in length. The same construction techniques were employed for both the driver and passenger side.

Each cabinet consists of three horizontal wood stringers, one on top, one on the back, and a third at the lower corner. The wall and roof stringers were mounted first using 5/16” Rivnuts. The driver’s side wall stringer is positioned directly above my window such that the Rivnuts are located in the double thick sheet metal overlap for maximum strength. The roof wood stringer is mounted to a continuous piece of 1.5” aluminum angle for added strength. The angle is bolted to the OEM roof supports.

The wood for the stringers was ripped at approximately 9 degrees to match the slope of the van’s walls. An 1/8” deep dado allowed me to easily align and glue the additional wood support needed for the exposed faces. A close look at the cross section reveals added reliefs to accept the lighting panel and the factory headliner. The bottom corner stringer was rounded over using a 3/4” radius shaper cutter to eliminate any sharp edges. A thin layer of foam was also placed between each stringer and the wall or roof sheet metal to minimize any creaking.

Once the wall and roof stringers were mounted, I used some temporary braces to position the bottom corner stringer using clamps. Once properly aligned I added vertical support braces using a Kreg tool. The horizontal tie to the wall stringer consisted of 1/4” pre-finished maple ply glued to the wall and corner stringer. This piece also doubled as the bottom of the cabinet interior.

Once assembled in place the entire cabinet assembly is rigid enough to be removed and finished. The bare wood was coated with two or three coats of a rub-on oil based satin urethane. I used some scrap headliner material to fit the rear contour of the van wall and cabinet interior. The visible end panels are made from 3/4” pre-finished maple ply that have been banded on the edge. The non-visible ends are only 2 inches wide to again minimize the overall weight of the cabinet.

A set of Blum self closing hinges combined with an adjustable support leg are used to attach the doors. The doors can be easily and quickly removed if needed. Southco plastic latches were used. A full length 12 volt LED strip light was installed along the top edge of each cabinet. The lighting in all of the cabinets is controlled by a single “night light” rocker switch. An electrical quick disconnect allows the cabinets to be removed if needed.

On the bottom of each overhead cabinet is a lighting panel. The panel is made of 3/16” floor underlayment covered with 1/8” landau foam and a simulated leather that matches the front seats. 2” holes were drilled in the panel for the LED lights. The lights are connected to a dimmer switch mounted in a recessed 3x5” metal panel. The entire lighting panel recesses into the cabinet underside. A positionable reading light is also included on the drivers side while the passenger side includes a variable speed exhaust fan control.

Prior to building the new overhead cabinets my Blue Sea breaker panels were temporarily mounted in a piece of wood veneer that was hinged to the wall. I fabricated a new aluminum panel for the breaker panels and reoriented the hinge so the entire panel assembly would swing out without hitting the overhead cabinet or door. I also made a second smaller aluminum panel for a battery combiner and multiple relays.

I utilized the rearmost portion of my driver’s side overhead cabinet to house most of my gauges and controls. This includes my Espar D2 thermostat, Victron battery and solar gauges, SeeLevel tank level indicator with integrated pump and heater switches, CO/propane alarm, water heater thermostat, inverter remote, battery ACR remote, and a Weboost control switch. The panel is made from aluminum and uses magnets to hold it in place. The edges are trimmed with a black door edge guard. Al of the aluminum panels were sprayed with a black Plasticoat.

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Last edited by gltrimble; 02-16-2020 at 08:44 PM.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:55 AM   #93
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Default Re: Baby Shamu - 170 4x4

This is really coming along!!! Keep it up
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:52 PM   #94
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Default Re: Baby Shamu - 170 4x4

Very nice. So much attention to detail.
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