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Old 08-01-2004, 02:29 PM   #1
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Framing the interior

I have seen a few pictures of different framing styles, but the pictures are usually not close-ups. This gives me an idea of how the builders did it, but I was wondering if people could give some advice and information on how they framed their bus' interior and what they would do differently next time. The main parts I have thought might be a problem are framing along the curved roof and making sure the walls are square and plumb. Pretty tough to level and plumb the walls when the bus is on unlevel ground, etc...

Anyway, I appreciate any advice and/or comments on this subject since I plan to start on mine this week. I still have to strip out the interior so I have a little time before I start the layout and framing. Thanks in advance for the help!!
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Old 08-01-2004, 04:48 PM   #2
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First level your bus. Then level every thing in it. Here is a link to a bus conversion site. The buses these guys have converted are MCI/ Eagle/ GMC motor coaches but most of the info is applicable to skoolies.

http://users.cwnet.com/~thall/articles.htm
http://www.busnut.com/arnie.html
http://www.busnut.com/articles.html
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Old 08-02-2004, 01:00 AM   #3
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Ok, first step I will take is to level the bus and start from there. I have seen people using 2x2's to form walls and ceiling studs, beds, etc...but I haven't seen how they make the curve for the ceiling in the framing. I have seen the angle for suspended ceilings used to form the ceiling attachment for the studs because they could cut slits and form it to the curved ceiling and I thought that was pretty slick. Which system have you used and what do all of you prefer?
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Old 08-02-2004, 10:39 AM   #4
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Somewhere in my bus links there is a thing that tells a way to "measure the roof radius" but I can't remember where, so it might be somewhere in one the the links I posted for you. I have it printed out but in a book that is in NC. I'm driving to NC this week, so I'll look it up while over there. You might try talking to a good experienced finish carpenter (if you can find one). They may be able to help you. I do know that the method described was old news to David (he's a finish carpenter/cabinet builder/home remodeler). I also think he said there was a better, easier way. So it's not something I will worry about. Many of the coach conversion use 3/4" plywood with no studs for walls. Others use 2X2 (ripped 2X4's) and use wider boards to cut the curve out. I think some let the curved part of the wall "float". It's something that is rarely mentioned yet often asked. Guess few have figured out a good way to do it. I'll ask David this week (in NC) when I see him and get him to describe how to do it. I have discovered that alot of the bus converters do it the "hard" way because they don't know any better. The standard construction work type stuff is something that we have figured out long ago as it was the easiest part of a conversion for us given our backgrounds.

In case you are wondering, yes we do have a little bit of construction experience... David started building houses 33 yrs ago, learned how to build custom cabinets a few years later (and ran 2 custom cabinet shops), built custom laminate countertops, installed more cabinets than I care to remember (I started installing with him in 1979), Built condo's (pole construction), learned how to work/install Corian but decided he would leave it to the "professionals" (too hard on tools & him), learned to install ceramic tile with my Dad (55+ yr experience), is currently remodeling houses & condos (upscale... increasing $300K to $600K). I trained to become a Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer (CKD) but closed down our cabinet shop before taking final test. I have helped David anytime he has needed a helper (had to stop when I was 5 months preggy as cabinets became difficult to manage & I was high-risk, went back to installing after I had the kids). When my Dad could no longer do tile work (had outstanding jobs when he had a quad by-pass), David filled in and I grounted on the large jobs when ever I was needed (I grout fast and time is money after all). When David's back when out due to a car accident, I finished up the marble showers in one of the condos and did all the grouting. I hate grouting that tumbled marble crap. So we both have a little bit of construction experience.
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Old 08-02-2004, 02:11 PM   #5
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If you cut a cardboard piece to the curve of your roof then transfer this to a piece of plywood you can measure up to where the curve starts then use the templet to cut your curve to fit the roof
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Old 08-03-2004, 12:41 AM   #6
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I really appreciate all the help! I guess I should qualify my question better. Michael, on the Latcho Drom webpage I see that you didn't frame along the roof and along the curved corner down to the wall stud. Instead, you left the plywood not screwed in along the top. (I hope you don't mind me using your pic to illustrate what I'm talking about).



Was this just to save time and/or make it easier or is it just not needed? (By the way, your method of making curved templates for the plywood for that area is simple and excellent) I have seen others run metal angle along the top or their pictures show plywood on both sides and screws into some kind of framing along the top, but they don't show the framing they used. I could use small pieces of 2x2's and screw them to the roof every few inches apart as "nailers" or I could use the suspended ceiling angle that I spoke to one converter about as supports for the top. What method would be best (or none at all) or did any of you do something different on your bus?
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Old 08-03-2004, 06:35 PM   #7
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I also do not have any framing against the roof for the walls, it really isn't necessary at all.




I do however for the cabinets as there is no other way to hold them up but fastening them to the ceiling.



Using a cardboard template is probably the best and easiest way to make sure you know what you are doing, to help you draw it get one of those drafters rubber wire things to create the shape on the roof and tranfer it to the cardboard exactly.
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Old 08-04-2004, 10:50 AM   #8
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Mario…. some folks screw little pieces of 1x2 or 2x2’s along the ceiling curve like you mentioned, and screw their plywood/paneling walls into them.
But, I’ve never really bothered with that.

Purists will tell you, you must do that for getting the right amount of strength to hold cabinets and such …but my building style gets it’s strength from all the cabinets and stuff that gets added in along the way.
It’s early here…. but what I mean is.
Basically all the walls and cabinets along each side of the bus become one long and strong unit…because they’re tied into each other.

Thanks…that template I made worked out pretty good for me. It did take a bit of tweaking here and there, because No bus has perfectly curved ceilings along its length. But all in all ,the template saved me a bunch of time.

I’ve been really busy at work so I haven’t had any time to work on our Bus. I’m not absolutely sure what were doing yet…but I’m thinking of tearing apart all the work I’ve done on the interior and starting over.
I just ordered a stacking washer/dryer for our Rig and will need to rethink the whole interior
http://www.mobilehomestead.com/images/washdry58.jpg
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Old 08-04-2004, 04:09 PM   #9
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With all the work you've done it's a shame to do have to tear it apart and restart. I read your travel trailer idea link and thought that you had given up on the bus. I hope you finish it because the work you've done so far is excellent and I hate to see it go to waste. Thanks for the help with my walls.
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Old 08-04-2004, 08:56 PM   #10
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Not sure what I’m going to do here …
This is a hard one for me.
I’m trying to figure out a Fulltime home for Millie & I …not a temporary RV type of situation. I’d much rather have a long-term rolling home than worry about any of the work and money I’ve expended so far.
I really like building stuff …this is our second Schoolie conversion and we’ve done a bunch of Van conversions too. But what I’m trying to figure out now is what would work for our particular needs in the long run.

I really like the idea of building a big 5th wheel trailer (approx. 40 ft.) and towing it around with an old logging truck.
I toyed around with the idea of cutting our Bus down to build a fifth wheel hauler like a few folks have already done …but realistically a school bus engine wouldn’t last very long towing a 18-20, 000 lb. Trailer around for very long.
School Bus engines look big, but they’re really not. They just aren’t designed to handle that kind of load.

But then again….I’ve always sold my arts and crafts as we travel . And trying to drive a big logging truck through some tiny side street on my way to a crafts fair doesn’t sound like much fun. Which unless I was willing to tow a car behind the trailer …I would have to do.
What makes our Schoolie appealing is I could always tow a van behind it, loaded down with my crafts booth and such.

So …I don’t know what I want to do yet.
I’m going to wait till we move down to Oregon to figure this out…I refuse to go through trying to build anything else in the Pouring down rain. It was a pain in my butt.
So I’ll wait.

If we do keep the Bus …I’m going to have to raise the roof to fit everything we want into her …and I’d much rather do that in a place that has more storage opportunities and better weather.
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